>Knitting, Podcasts and Dean Cain.

>Well, it seems to be official.

By the unanimous decision of the two people who commented and myself, the best looking of all the Superman actors is Dean Cain. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuummy.

Have been doing loads of knitting today and also listening to podcasts. I love podcasts but I’d probably love them more if i knew what i’d done with the cord for my iPod and could listen to them on that. I also love how quickly I seem to be getting through the sections of my current projects.

Oh and finally I discovered today that someone I know has a weird and not great attitude to disability. That surprised me. I snapped at him that i found his attitude insulting. That surprised him. Win – Win situation, that.

>Burning Question

>Because I am ever so slight obsessed with all thing Superman at the moment (and also somewhat shallow) I thought I’d take a poll.

Who is the best looking Superman?

Christopher Reeve? (Superman Films)

Dean Cain? (The New Adventures of Superman)
Brandon Routh? (Superman Returns)

>And now for something completely different…

>Just thought that this was worth sharing… Will be back later, probably.

Accept that some days you’re the pigeon,
and some days you’re the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet,
just in case you have to eat them.

Always read stuff that will make you look
good if you die in the middle of it.

Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that
can be recalled by their maker.

Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing
worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

If you can’t be kind, at least have the
decency to be vague.

If you lend someone £20, and never see
that person again, it was probably worth it.

It may be that your sole purpose in life
is simply to serve as a warning to others.

Never buy a car you can’t push.

Never put both feet in your mouth at the
same time, because then you don’t
have a leg to stand on.

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.
Just get up and dance.

The early worm gets eaten by the bird,
so sleep late.

When every thing’s coming your way,
you’re in the wrong lane.

Birthdays are good for you; the more
you have, the longer you live.

Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier than the people
who have to wait for them?

If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t
more people happy?

You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun
to only make once.

Don’t cry because it’s over;
smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty, some
are dull, some have weird names, and
all are different colors but they all
have to learn to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can
enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Happiness comes through doors you
didn’t even know you left open.

Have an awesome day, and know that
someone has thought about you today….

>”It’s my fault, I’m really sorry.”

>Someone made a pretty big mistake today. One that affected me pretty badly.

But then took the time to put there hands up to me and say “Emma, I’m really sorry.” and to admit to me that it was their fault. He looked me straight in the eye and went “I spoke to Julie and she told me she’d got you on the train but I just forgot to come help you off.” He told me he shouldn’t have forgotten and that it wasn’t good enough.

By the time I had been to Reading waiting for a train back and gotten to my sleepy little town he’d arranged for a wheelchair accessible taxi to meet me (no mean feat in my sleepy town where they are like gold dust) and it was there waiting. And he’d arranged for it to be paid for by the train company.

I live literally ten minutes walk from the station. I told him it was pointless, no need. But he was insistent that I took the taxi home. He stood there saying “it’s my fault” and variations on “sorry sorry sorry” as the driver clamped me down. And he told me that he wished he could do more to make it up to me.

I went “actually, you can. These things happen stop apologising and shut up!”

We laughed and off the taxi went.

I was an hour and a half or so late getting home. And I will complain about that. but more so about the fact that on that train type the “emergency call” buzzers are set in the ceiling and as a wheelchair user I can’t reach them when I need them.

I really, really, respect the fact that he had the nerve and the confidence to admit to me. To say that he forgot and that he’s sorry. And he meant it too.

I’ll tell the train company that.

And I’ll tell them about the train manager on the one I got stuck on. I never saw her until after I should have left the train. She got me sorted out and off of the train in Reading. And even though I was then with Gordon (who does journey care there and who I know well) and I was fine she insisted on waiting with me and traveling to my sleepy station with me to be sure I was ok. Her shift was over. I never got her name but hopefully if I tell them the train times etc they will know who it is.

Gordon waiting with me the entire time I was waiting to (they usually go and do other work). He told me it was great to see me but he wished he hadn’t. We laughed.

With both of them I insisted I was fine. She could leave me and as long as he came back so could Gordon. They refused and they stayed.

None of that makes what happened today okay.

But it goes a LONG way towards helping.

Particularly the person brave enough to own up to forgetting and to apologise. I’m annoyed but I also have huge respect for him and his honesty. I don’t think I could do that.

>A Letter Unsent

>Dear you,

I know you’ll never read this and even if you did you wouldn’t understand it. But sometimes a girl’s just gotta get some stuff off of her chest.

If I need help I will ask. Don’t just stick your hand on my side without saying a word and then act all offended when I ask what you’re doing. Don’t assume that there’s a chance I’m going to fall as I’m transferring and that you putting you hand on my side just above my hip will prevent that happening. It’s just really rude, really off putting and substantially increases the chances that I actually will fall!

I know from a previous experience we had that you’re just trying to be helpful and that you don’t get it. I kept my cool this time.

Last time made you think I had an “attitude problem” I know and I couldn’t be bothered to deal with it this time. I couldn’t really be bothered to deal with you. Looking back I probably should have snapped at you to “get your hands off of me!” when you grabbed my wheelchair and tried to take over. But you know what, there are plenty of things I can’t do – let me do the things I can. And even more importantly in that case, my Quickie tips incredibly easily, I couldn’t take the risk of you reaching around and pushing me from where you were sat as you were. I didn’t want to hit the floor.

Thanks for going “what’s she done, what’s she done?” when you saw me and S talking to a first aider this afternoon. And even more thanks for going “she’s cut her foot!” to every other person in there when S told you. It was just a tiny bit of blood and no big deal for a toe walking CPer like me. Quick antiseptic wipe and a plaster and i was good to go. Getting it blown out of proportion like that was really annoying and difficult too.

If you must ask none of your business questions ask me! You tell me you’ve been a carer longer than I’ve been alive. You have relatives who use wheelchairs, I know one of them. Personally I thought this would be obvious to you but obviously I was wrong.

Please, difficult as it is for you, leave me to ask for help. And if I do ask, help me exactly as I say. Because if i ask for an arm to lean on whilst standing and you pull me from sitting to standing chances are I’m going to lose my balance (or not get it in the first place) and you might hurt me. I could plunk back into my chair instead of transferring or I could fall. Even more importantly you might hurt yourself.

~Me

>R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me

>I’m not sure how this is going to come across.

I go swimming on a Friday afternoon. It’s a public disabled session which means that anyone with a disability can go. I belong to a social group for disabled people and we go to the session. There’s another group that goes of people with learning disabilities and there are a few individuals with disabilities who either go alone or with carers.

All the regulars know each other and most of us chat.

Last week there was a new guy with a disability there with his carer. Probably not much different in age to me. I was walking lengths of the pool with my volunteer Pat. He came up to me asked my name. I told him and he said his name was Charlie.

I said “Hi Charlie it’s great to meet you”

We kept going and eventually came back to the part of the pool he was hanging out in. He asked what I was doing that night and I said something along the lines of nothing much. Did I want to do something? No, not tonight, thank you.

His carer commented that he asks everyone that and it didn’t mean anything.

On with the walking.

Charlie comes back “do you want a kiss?”

Talk about nonplussed!

“No, thanks. I’m not that kinda girl.” I looked for his carer, planning to ask if that was a question everyone got as well but he wasn’t near me.

Pat and I had been planning to take a break but decided not to.

I went “well THAT’S never happened before.”

She laughed and laughed

and then so did I.

We laughed our heads off. It was contagious. I’m sorta ashamed of that. But we couldn’t not laugh.

Later on we were changed and in the coffee shop, I was drinking coke and chatting to some of the others about a new house someone had just bought. Tired and a bit sore, it having been my first time in the pool in a month. But happy to chillax and just hang out.

Charlie came over with his carer to say goodbye. He put his arm around me and his carer went “You can’t hug her, you just met!” He kept his arm there and rubbed my back.

His carer pulled his arm off of me. Commenting he was like with a lot of people and it didn’t mean anything. I did notice however, that he made sure to get between us.

I was teased mercilessly for the rest of time I was in there. And everyone laughed and laughed once again. I was frustrated and annoyed by that.

Not least because nobody liked to be teased… but because I didn’t really know how to handle the situation. And personally I thought I’d handled it badly. And that the way in which everyone else dealt with it didn’t take it seriously. I don’t deny that it was kinda funny. But… some more respect for people like Charlie would be bloody welcome. I hate the way some people in our group (which is just for people with physical disabilities) preach the need for understanding and acceptance and then treat those with learning disabilities like shit.

>Deja vu

>I do voluntary work a few times a week. And twice a year we get together socially.

We do this thing when we go out to eat where every seat apart from mine has a number and after each course everyone gets up and moves on so many places. It’s always arranged so I stay put so I joke about how it makes me the Queen of the evening and how everything revolves around ME! So you talk to loads of different people and you talk about loads of different things. It’s really fun. You learn things about people you never knew and you get to talk to people you rarely see – those who volunteer on different days to you for example. It’s a practice I would recommend for any big group meal or some such.

Last year we went to for an Italian and I was sat there eating pizza and talking to one of my colleagues about Ashley X and the issues surrounding her and all the controversy. It was January and it was a hot topic at that time. And she hadn’t heard of her.

Fast forward one year and we went out to eat again last night. We went to a different Italian Restaurant in a different town to the last one (which I think I preferred but which has now shut). I ate a lasagna which could really have done with some more pizazz.

Again in a general current events type conversation I talked with a couple of colleagues about disability rights. Specifically, about Katie Thorpe. And again, just like the majority of people I mentioned her/The article in the Guardian to over the last few days, they’d not heard of her. Talk about deja vu!

Shane Graham

Brent Martin

Ashley X

Charlotte Wyatt

Terri Schiavo

Katie Thorpe

Different from me and yet the same, they are “my people” who have suffered and in some cases continue to do so from a system that doesn’t care or which cares but not enough. Who have their rights abused and their lives considered worthless because they share (or shared) the same tag I do – Disabled.

They matter to me.

I hope that this time next year when our post Christmas “Christmas meal” comes around there won’t be another name on that list and that I won’t spend my time socialising, chatting in general and educating my colleagues about another name on that list.

Enough is Enough.

>Katie, again.

>And me, this time, too ;o)

The Guardian has an article on it’s website about Katie Thorpe – Whose Life is it Anyway? And they included an extract from one of my blog entries about her in it.

How cool is that?!?!

I quite like the article, I think it does a fair job of describing the thoughts and feelings of disability bloggers and of Katie’s mother. And it hasn’t degenerated into disablist language or such stereotypes, which had concerned me.

As I’m writing this there are two comments left on the article online and neither of them particularly fill me with joy. I’m waiting to see if there is any further response on the article before I comment myself (and also until I’m less “argh!” about the comments). They are the sort of comments I would expect to see but to me they are ones that seem to miss the point. Or at least the point I was making in my entry.

The point being that this could have been (and still might) be a very, very slippery slope.

I pray it won’t be.

I’d love to hear your views on the issues involved/ Katie Thorpe’s case specifically/ Ashley X / the article in The Guardian. They can be left in the comments.

However I will be moderating them and if this is your first time posting it won’t show up until it’s been approved. If you have commented before and been approved before, however, it’s business as usual. That is standard procedure on my blog and is not new today.

>Equality and Disability Rights

>I just received an e-mail from Scope about their equality campaign.

National disability organisation Scope is calling on the Government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a matter of urgency.

The Convention is the first treaty in history to give the millions of disabled people across the globe comprehensive human rights and recognise that disabled and non-disabled people share a common humanity.

The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and was the fastest negotiated convention in the UN’s history. Negotiations involved individual disabled people and their governments from all over the world, but at present the Convention is not enforceable.

20 countries need to ratify the Convention before it becomes legally binding. So far only five have done so. The UK is not among them.

The UK should demonstrate its full and lasting commitment to disabled people’s human rights by being one of the first 20 countries to ratify the Convention and sign the optional protocol.

If you are British or are resident in Britain, you can sign Scope’s petition calling for the convention to be ratified here

And in other news, Katie Thorpe will NOT be having a hysterectomy. That was in Scope’s e-mail too.

I find a lot of that article disturbing and think it could have been a lot better written. Of particular disgust/concern to me is the the headline “Teenager refused hysterectomy”. It’s not exactly a bad thing that the hospital said no, is it?!?! They have said that when Katie does get her periods they will consider doing a partial hysterectomy IF a clinical case for doing so can be proved. Her mother claims in the article that they have proved a need for Katie to have the “necessary evil” removed. Obviously the NHS Trust don’t agree.

In other words, the excuse “She’s got CP” ain’t enough.

I am pleased by this development but saddened that it’s not made more of a splash in the news – it’s HUGE. I also want to note that I think this equality issue becomes more and more of a feminist issue too as the stories come out. We’ve still heard nothing about boys having their growth halted prematurely or puberty prevented due to disability – but I’m sure we will someday and that they’ll be more of an outcry than there has been for Katie and for Ashley. Cos they aren’t just disabled, they are girls too.