Saturday, March 08, 2008


Not much progress in the illness front.  No wonder most kids who had this were out at least two days.  Blech.

Also?  There's not a whole lot of visible symptoms except sneezing and the occasional cough -- the main tip-off seems to be the fever (which is not responding very well to Tylenol).  Makes me grateful I can articulate, "I feel like I've been hit by a bus."  No wonder parents were sending their kiddos to school (except for the fever).

Hope that made sense.

Friday, March 07, 2008


This cold sucks. Take your vitamins, folks.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Holy Crazy People, Batman!

I don't know what's worse...that someone came up with the idea, or that people actually do it.

Appropos of Nothing

A while back, I posted my incredulousness that a woman was more perturbed that an upcoming surgery might paralyze her than the notion that whatever the surgery was for might kill her.

Well, I watch a lot of science, nerdy type shows. In fact, my suggestions list on my TiVo is full of astronomy specials, history channel specials, and Extreme Engineering (Sky City sounds way cool, and is likely the future of cities).

At one point, I saw a special about a woman who had been born with a condition that required her to have both legs amputated at a very early age. It was...meh. There are lots of more interesting things out there, but when there's nothing else on, there's nothing else on.

Then I saw a preview for some upcoming shows that featured the same woman, who gets around by pushing herself on a skateboard.

She says, "I couldn't imagine being confined to a wheelchair."

Putting aside my issues with the phrase "confined to a wheelchair" for a bit, I have to boggle at that comment. What on earth would the difference be between using a skateboard for mobility and a wheelchair, besides eighteen inches or so?

But, I mean, really, how ingrained in our culture must this notion of wheelchair=bad be for someone who already uses alternative means of transportation (a means that, one could argue, is more unusual-looking than using a wheelchair) to reject it out of hand?

Further googling led to a few people who reacted to the documentary with admiration -- she can drive a car! She has a job! How amazing that she doesn't "allow" herself to be convinced to use a wheelchair!


Here's a bit of logic for you.

A wheelchair is a four-wheeled device upon which one sits. One propels oneself either manually or with electronic assistance. One uses it to get from one place to another. One does face the inconvenience of being at stomach-level with most people without disabilities.

A skateboard is a four-wheeled device upon which one generally stands, but upon which the aforementioned woman sits. One propels oneself manually. One uses it to get from one place to another. One does face the inconvenience of being at knee-level with most people without disabilites.

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

It's a thing. It's the short-distance version of a car.

Think about it. You could, if sufficiently motivated, walk anywhere you can go in a car -- but it would take you a heck of a lot longer, use up more energy, and is just not practical.

It gets you from one place to another.

That's all a wheelchair is. It's a thing. It's a device.

And, for many people with physical disabilites, it's a liberating device that's the difference between going places and being stuck in bed at all times.

How pervasive must ableism really be, in our culture, for someone to internalize wheelchair = bad to the degree that a skateboard is the only option, to the extent that she can't even imagine using a wheelchair at all, when she's essentially using a short, homemade wheelchair to begin with?

How pervasive must ableism really be, for people's reaction to the documentary be admiration that she can drive?

No wonder we debate things like the Ashley Treatment. No wonder children like Katie McCarron and Annie Marshall and Tracy Latimer have been killed.

If we view using an assistive device (for the record, I use several: glasses, the ocassional ankle brace, and a specialty keyboard, among others) as OMG THE END OF THE WORLD...

...then people automatically think Ashley's life should be about her parents' convenience, that Annie and Tracy's life was pointless, sad, and hopeless.

It shouldn't even be a question. Of course Ashley is entitled to grow and mature and experience life as an adult. Of course Katie was entitled to life, however it would or would not have been affected by autism. Of course Tracy and Annie deserved to live, to be happy and engaged by whatever made them happy and engaged.

But we can't even discuss these as a society because the majority of people -- likely people who think they have no contact with someone with a disability (I say think because they likely know someone with learning disabilites, someone somewhere on the autism spectrum, someone with dyslexia, and so forth) -- can't even get past the use of a wheelchair.

And what's worse: someone who has disabilities can't even get past the use of a wheelchair.

It's...ridiculous doesn't even cover it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sick Days

I am not one to begrudge someone their sick days.

But if Aide J wasn't (1) vomiting all day, (2) delirious with fever, or (3) harboring something extremely contagious, like, say, ebola, she is On My List.

Last Monday, Aide S told me she'd be out this Monday.  She and her family were going to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend.

Okay, fine...put in for a sub...we'll survive.

Then, late last week, Aide T was not feeling well.  The doctor said she had to have a colonoscopy.

Okay, fine.  We'll sur -- it's on Monday?!  The same Monday Aide S is going to be out?

Aide T, bless her, tried to reschedule but couldn't do so.

So I packed up my stuff for today, and slipped a tape of The Jungle Book in my backpack, since I knew it was something Mr. Voice would pay attention to.

I didn't expect to have to use it, really -- we actually survived pretty well the last time anything similar happened.  'Course, we didn't have Mr. Voice then.

Then I get to school and ask if the positions had been filled with subs.

"Aides S and T have," our office clerk B says, "but Aide J's position is still open."

I - uh - eh - urrr - aide - ... -- WHAT?!?!

I was already not in the best of moods, because the muscle in the back of my leg is STILL kinda cramped (though it comes and goes now; it's not constant like it was).  Last year, I probably would have taken a sick day myself -- though not on a day with 2 people out -- to keep it slathered in Icy Hot, but instead, I took some Motrin, slapped on an Icy Hot patch (which had fallen off by 8:00), and grinned and bore it.

Incidentally, we survived.  If we hadn't had Mr. Voice, we might have even made it through a normal day, but he was the straw the broke the camel's back.  We got agenda books, journals, social studies, and Swiss Family Robinson done, but we also watched Jungle Book and played board games.

At one point, though, I was juggling Superhero, M, and Bulldozer successfully, so that's what I'm hanging onto for today.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Things I Learned This Weekend

  1. Parts of Disneyland's fireworks are in stereo.  I learned this because I was actually near the speakers this time, instead of off to the side, either at the Plaza Inn or Carnation Gardens.
  2. The beginning of the fireworks -- the parts largely stolen from Disney World's Wishes (though I think it was at DL before the current show, as well) -- are an elaborate magic trick-like diversion.  They are trying to keep you from looking at the top of the Matterhorn, where Tinkerbell and her harness come out of the gaping hole at the top of the mountain.
  3. Tinkerbell must de-harness herself somewhere on top of the castle after the finale, because...
  4. ...if you sit around Main Street after the fireworks, while they're playing "Remember When," you can see them retract Tink's empty harness back into the big, gaping hole in the top of the Matterhorn.
  5. Pillows can tear.
  6. I have a soft spot for "McKay and Mrs. Miller," almost entirely for the throwaway bit where England-born and Canadian-raised Amanda Tapping's Sam is amused by Rodney and Jeannie's Canadian pronunciation of "sorry."  For the record, the Canada is very audible in her speech (to me, the accent nerd), and there are even hints of the British.
  7. It hurts to rip an Icy Hot patch off the back of your knee.
  8. All those times I put AFOs on kids with CP whose muscles were tight?  I'm deeply, deeply sorry -- if my last two days' experience of having one muscle inexplicably tighten to the point that straightening my leg (thus lengthening the muscle) is painful.  Seriously.  Deeply sorry.
Meanwhile, I had the interesting experience of reading an article about cochlear implants just after reading a story where a character was considering (under duress) cochlear implants.  Funny  how life and fandom collide sometimes, eh?