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Archive for July, 2011

Spoons

Explaining to normally fit and healthy people how you might be finding any particular situation or activity physically demanding or even impossible to participate in or complete can be an ongoing problem. Even close friends and family may not truly understand how day to day tasks and living can detrimentally affect those of us with debilitating conditions. A lot of people are now familiar with Spoon Theory which can simply yet eloquently enable us to communicate how we are managing on any particular day. For those who have not come across this term until now please follow the link below and read for yourself.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/

Further reference to Spoons will likely occur in future posts.

The whole point of this blog site is to enable us to collect spoons where possible and save as many as possible of the ones we already have, or in other words, to identify problem areas and come up with practical and achievable solutions.

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Penny-pinching on the Porcelain

Why are the majority of toilets in existence today so low? Are they that way to save money on materials? Are they mainly designed and selected for installation by fit young men perhaps who have no thought or care for some of their users? Women have to sit down every time they use the toilet, unlike men. How often, if ever, is this considered?

I am not an expert in interior design but as I recall from personal experience, toilets used to higher. Was it in the seventies perhaps that the new fashion for low level suites came into play?

Surely I cannot be the only one who has daily and ongoing problems accessing the loos when I’m out and about? I’m one of that group of presumably ever-growing people who may or may not use the ‘disabled person’ epithet and who is getting progressively frailer as the years go by. Personally I have always been ‘disabled’ having had wonky legs from babyhood but lack of mobility and fully functioning joints come to the vast majority eventually.

Older people are often criticised for failing to make the effort to get out and about in society and staying at home. Well perhaps one of the reasons for us ladies in particular is the general lack of accessible toilet facilities both in our younger friends’ and family members’ homes and in public buildings such as cafes, shopping centres and perhaps worst of all in my experience, hotels.

Wheelchair users have a lot to contend with and in no way do I envy them but at least where facilities exist for them they are usually fit for purpose. As a non-wheelchair user with knees that do not bend properly when I am away from home I have to lift my body weight from the toilet pedestal by whatever strength I can muster in my hands and arms. And I have to do this on average more than ten times every twenty-four hours. Most pressure goes on my thumbs and wrists and this manoeuvre is only possible in cubicles that have sufficient space between the wc and the door to enable some forward as well as upward movement. Sometimes I sit down in an unfamilar location and blind panic sets in that I might have misjudged my capabilities in this case and be stuck there unable to get to my feet again without assistance! Even when I have used a loo successfully in the past, wearing the wrong footwear on slippy tiles can lead to near disaster as I found to my cost only last weekend.

In my own home I have no problem whatsoever. Several years ago when we had the bathroom re-fitted with a walk-in electric-seat -raising bath we had the foresight to choose a toilet pedestal which is higher than the norm. From the top of the seat to the floor measures 19”. No one would notice the difference in height visually and it cannot greatly inconvenience anyone of short stature since I myself am five foot three and my feet adequately touch the floor, but compared to all the other toilets I am obliged to make use of, getting up and down from mine is effortless!

Manufacturers are aware of the issues. Here’s a quote from one website.

Comfort also comes into play with toilet heights. Many manufacturers now offer toilets that measure a few inches taller than standard 14″ fixtures. “For taller people … it’s more comfortable,” says Suzie Williford, National Kitchen & Bath Association vice president and manager of luxury products at Kiva Kitchen & Bath in Houston, Texas. Taller toilets are also an integral part of universal design, which makes a bathroom accessible to all users regardless of mobility, because they make sitting down and standing up easier.”

And this webpage illustrates my case perfectly.

http://dailyhomerenotips.com/2008/10/29/toilet-height/

So, my plea is, let’s try and raise awareness on this issue. I’m fed up with looks of TMI (too much information) when I try to explain to younger fitter friends why I can’t go out as much as I used to, to clubs and pubs and gigs. Fit/younger people take so much for granted they need more information to appreciate the difficulties some of us oldies face. Let’s campaign for Taller Toilets and save our Spoons* for more interesting, fun exertions.

*For those unfamiliar with Spoon Theory please refer to the following post called “Spoons”.

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Words

Having spent a good few years as an active representative on the Disabilty Advisory Comittee of the NASUWT I am familiar with (or was up until a few years ago) legislation in the UK.  I am also aware of how critical language and vocabulary are in this area.  I do not want to get bogged down too much with politically correct language but there are certain terms and expressions that I cannot allow on this site and might feel the  need to question or  edit if they appear.

I have always been happy to self-identify myself as being a disabled person, but I know many who are not.  For the general public, untroubled by disabling conditions, the word ‘Disabled’ is often I suspect synonomous with the ubiquitous wheelchair symbol, yet I also suspect that the majority of disabled people are not wheelchair users.  The trouble seems to be that providers seem to provide primarily for that group of disabled people and thereafter show a distinct lack of imagination.  What I think we need is a word to signify those of us who might best be described perhaps as a ‘Physically Challenged Person’?  So I think of myself as being a PCP.  I’m interested to know what others might feel about identifying as such, or if people can come up with a better term or word for us as a group.  I think it would be useful to have a descriptor, but maybe others disagree?

 

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Hello world!

I have started Phyzzezee as a means to help address some of the day to day difficulties experienced by those of us who find ourselves at some stage in life, for whatever reason, physically challenged or even disabled as effectively functioning members of society.

I want to encourage discussion and comment and the sharing of coping strategies that have helped improve our abilities to stay active.

Phyzzezee is not just for people who self-identify as being ‘disabled’ but also for those who may be just getting older and more frail, or perhaps be temporarily affected by illness or accident.  It’s very likely that many or even most of these people will also not be online to read this so I am relying on their friends, family, carers etc. to perhaps pass on information and also maybe comment on their behalf.

Several issues have recently come to a head for me personally and Phyzzezee allows me a place to try and raise public awareness with a view to improving life not only for myself but hopefully for a perhaps otherwise silent minority.

UPDATE   January 2017

The paragraphs above were the prime reason for starting this blog, and I still have a great deal I wish to share but life has been very busy this last year or more.

And now I am in need of a means of documenting some of my memories of interesting times throughout my life.  I am trying to get my various personal memorabilia into some kind of accessible order to leave as a record for my grandchildren.  I have already written here about my experiences during the  year I spent in the children’s orthopaedic hospital so it seems reasonable to carry on from where I left off.  The pages may not appear in chronological order but as and when I have cause to construct them.

That time is now for the first important post regarding a letter which I received in 1964  from my best friend of the time whilst I was on holiday in Germany.  Finding this letter recently has brought back so many memories of that time and it conjurs up  a perfect time capsule of the life and times of the  16 year old me.  I’m on a bit of a learning curve trying to remember how to operate this wordpress blog so it may take a little while before the page appears, not to mention all the others which will need to support it and flesh out the rest of that period in my life.

So, reader, apologies if you get updates about posts that have little direct relevance to disability, and which may not be of any interest to you, but since I have had my diagnosed condition now for around 68 years I guess there is some connection because I am who I am  probably because of the limitations and constraints Stills Disease has placed upon me.

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