>Shrinking Slowly

>I haven’t written very much about this here but my new years resolution for this year was to be healthier.

So I’ve been taking my medication everyday (seriously I haven’t missed a single dose this year, how I don’t know), I’ve gotten my sleep pattern into something vaguely resembling sense and I’ve been eating somewhat healthier.  I’ve also been trying to spend less time on my computer and been enjoying that too.  And stretching but thats a topic for another entry.
I’ve been trying as a secondary goal to lose some weight but haven’t made that the be all and end all because otherwise I’d just end up losing and then regaining as I did last year.  So not too much effort going into the eating less part, just the healthier part.

One of the things I decided was that I would take measurements and weigh once a month officially, I have been weighing now and then just out of curiousity.  So the first thing I did this morning was to check out my progress.

This month I have lost 7lb

and in terms of measurements I have lost a lot and made myself visual reminders to put here so I can see how much, exactly, it really is.  What it looks like, if you will.

So I lost half an inch from my left thigh which looks like this:

And from my right thigh I’ve lost an inch and a half.  As you might suspect from reading the difference in these measurements my left leg is substantially weaker/more spastic than my right.  My right thigh was also bigger to start with than the left.

From my waist I lost a lovely 3 inches which I can actually tell I’ve lost, I did think my tops seemed looser in the tummy area.  My hips are also sporting 3 inches less fat too which makes me very smiley.  I will put the image reminder twice because I want to be able to see the total amount when I look here.


and Hips

Last but most definitely not least, I’ve shed a delicious 2 and a half inches from my chest:

Making a total of a miraculous and amazing and I don’t believe it can actually be true 10.5 inches freed from my body.

Oh and my BMI (body mass index) has gone from 35 to 34 – still classifies me as obese but hey it’s going down!

>Microsoft and the social model of disability

>I’m working on a piece in word right now, not for here but for another project. And I wrote a sentence about being asked how having a disability affects certain things. Basically it goes “when I was asked how disability affects this my first thought was that my CP…”
Apparently that sentence is passive and the grammar check thinks I should instead write “my CP does not affect my disability…”

I only ran the grammar check because I wasn’t sure if it should be affect or effect and it was easier than looking it up and I end up getting into the Social Model of Disability. I really do believe in the social model but that sentence did make me laugh which I needed. Because my CP is not what disables me but it what causes society to disable me. So cp does affect my disability.
And for those who don’t know:

The Social Model of Disability proposes that barriers and prejudice and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) are the ultimate factors defining who is disabled and who is not in a particular society. It recognises that while some people have physical or psychological differences from a statistical norm, which may sometimes be impairments, these do not have to lead to disability unless society fails to accommodate and include them in the way it would those who are ‘normal’. [from wikipedia]

>Priority by law, part the second!

>My sister is on the train home from Manchester right now and she just text me the following:

“Ooh Emma they just announced on the train about not leaving luggage in the wheelchair spaces and that it’s a legal requirement. lol. yay!”

Maybe, just maybe they are finally taking this access to trains thing seriously. Now if only all train operators did the same. But hey lets not take away from the fact that this is HUGE.

I think Virgin Trains may now be my official favourite train operator.



All day
Staring at the ceiling
Makin’ friends with shadows on my wall
All night
Hearing voices telling me
that I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Hold on
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown
and I don’t know why
Well I’m not crazy
I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay a while and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy
I’m just a little impaired
I know, right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be

talking to myself in public
And dodging glances on the train
And I know
I know they’ve all been talkin’ bout me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinkin
Somehow I’ve lost my mind

Well I’m not crazy
I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay a while and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy
I’m just a little impaired
I know, right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I’ve been talkin in my sleep
Pretty soon they’ll come to get me
Yeah, they’re takin’ me away

Well I’m not crazy
I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay a while and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy
I’m just a little impaired
I know, right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be
Yeah, How I used to be
How I used to be, yeah
Well I’m just a little unwell
How I used to be
(A little unwell)
How I used to be
I’m just a little unwell

Unwell – Matchbox 20

This is a song that helped me a lot right after I was diagnosed with depression and had problems all my other lovely related issues that go with it like not sleeping well etc etc. It’s a song that still helps me a lot nearly four years after my diagnosis. The end of January and february are not good times for me because of time markers in the past and I think a few people who read this may also find it useful so I wanted to share it tonight. (and because at least one of the people reading this will think i’m thinking of her and just her, I can actually think of three people who read this)

I was dx with clinical depression on 10th Feb 2003. I had a lot of issues for well over a year before I was diagnosed and my friends were encouraging me to seek help for four or five months before I did. In a little over two weeks I will mark four years on treatment. Originally I was wrongly told that I would need to be on treatment for six months. When the current WHO guidelines actually state that a pt should remain on treatment for 6 months once they are stable/better to ensure a true “cure”. I’ve frequently got to almost six months but i’ve never gotten there. I’m doing pretty well with things at the moment and have been since the end of August/September which pretty much is six months. But I’m not ready to stop treatment. I have however managed to take ALL meds and supplements so far this month! which is a huge big deal for me but still the four year mark is a huge thing for me because I was supposed to be back to being “me” way before now. My counsellor keeps telling me I’m making huge progress and I know I am and I know that I will reach a point where either I do stop treatment or it just becomes a “for life and accepted as such” thing. It is part of my normal at the moment but part of me still thinks about how it isn’t supposed to be in my normal any more.

You know what? I don’t think I will ever be back to being “me” as I was before. Everything we experience and every single day shapes us and moulds us and who we are. I’m not the person I was yesterday and tomorrow I won’t be the person I am today. I can never be the predepression Emma ever again. I can be and I am a better person than I was then. An older one, a bigger one, a stronger one. Just me.

>Part M rant

>While at work yesterday, the topic of Part M of the Building Regulations came up in conversation with another adviser (I’d been advising on building regulations. yeah, that was one of those ones which makes me go “argh!”) Part M relates to access to buildings and is the part which covers disability issues. As with most disability related legislation in this country it’s not really worth even the paper it’s written on.

I advised my client over the phone and so she didn’t know that I have a disability. One of the things she mentioned was that because of Part M they had had to ensure their property had wheelchair access.

We got to talking about that after I finished with the client. The other adviser thinks requiring all new buildings including houses to have wheelchair access is stupid and is “putting the cart before the horse” and that when you get to the point you need a wheelchair if you do you should put one in yourself then.

She did think that doorways should be made wide enough from chairs from the get go because “they are harder than ramps.” That surprised me because she is usually one of the best at awareness/accessibility issues (I refuse to go down the new PC route and replace those two terms with “equality”).

I think it’s a valid idea and that they did have to start somewhere. It is not the place I would have chosen to start and part of me does consider that whilst its a great idea insisting all new buildings have wheelchair access, the effort may be better put in ensuring that public buildings have full wheelchair access including lifts etc. I also seriously think that someone should rewrite both Part M and the DDA so they aren’t so bloody wishy washy and vague.
The other part of me (the biggest part of me) wants to shake my head sadly at my fellow adviser because I thought she understood but she really doesn’t get it and all new homes having to have level/ramped access is HUGE.

But then I suspect my friend has never been stopped from visiting a friend at home because she lives in a house with step access and she can handle the steps despite her disability but can’t help you up them. I have. And she doesn’t have to get up the steps into her mums house with help. I have and I can manage it but I’ve also fallen doing it several times. She can just do it. I bet you anything however, if she ever moves from TAB to PWD she’ll change her tune pretty sharpish.

The cynic in me does also believe however that the Govt brought the access to all new houses bit in to save them money because they would end up funding most new ramps under the DFG scheme if people became disabled and needed one but if building firms etc have to put them in from the get go they fund them.

Insisting on level/ramped access to all new buildings including private homes. A good idea or not? Discuss.

>Priority by law or why I need to get a life

>I went to Birmingham on Saturday and got very very excited on the train up there.  I frequently have to argue with people about moving their luggage or themselves or their child in the buggy out of the wheelchair space which I’ve reserved.  On at least one occasion the journey care assistant with me (a member of station staff who helps people with disabilities around the station and on to trains, etc) asked a mother to move her child and when she got off the train she had a go at me saying there would have been room for me and the child.

So when I got onto the train and saw that the wheelchair space was now absolutely plastered in “Wheelchair Space” signs I was pleased.   When I saw that the design had been changed to include instructions on where luggage could be left instead and it now included three other little words beneath the wheelchair space – Priority By Law – I was ecstatic.  So much so that I had to take several photos of this momentous sign that really made my day.  I was important.

Although the fact that we require “priority by law” signs on wheelchair spaces is a whole ‘nother story.  After all, TAB’s don’t have to have that plastered all over their seats on the train do they.

Priority by law

Close up on the wording

And then when we got to Birmingham I finally remembered to take a picture of their disabled toilet sign in the bullring – I’ve been going there for three or four years now a couple of times a year and I giggle at it every time.  Because unfortunately whilst the shopping centre managers and designers might live in a world where wheelchairs can fly up stairs, I don’t.

Luckily for me we then come to the second reason it makes me giggle – the ladies and gents are up the stairs but the disabled toilet is opposite the stairs on that level.

Wheelchair users should climb the stairs

Oh how I wish that one day these things won’t make my day and make me want to take photos.  How I wish that one day I can get a life and stop being impressed and ecstatic about things that to TAB’s are just little stupid things and not a big deal.

How I wish that day was now.

>Time away is blissful

>I didn’t come online at all yesterday and I didn’t come online tonight until 8.

I spent most of the day up in Birmingham with friends yesterday and today I visited my parents and then went for a long walk in my powerchair.  I’ve also been reading a lot, working on a cross stitch and I’ve done some writing I’m really proud of.

I just came back online to check my e-mail as my ebay listings were ending and now I’m going off again.  This weekend has just been for me.  And it’s been pure bliss.

>Mary’s Poem

>My friend Mary wrote a poem for/about me. I think it’s absolutely wonderful and love it. I was especially touched as she is one of the best writers I know and she managed to sum up so well who I am. It’s title is my name and surname which I don’t share here.
With her permission I am sharing it here with you.

Eternally hopeful,
Meeting life with courage,
Making no excuses.
Ready for anything new.
Energetic fish, alive and free,
Equality is all she asks.
Spirit of adventure and daring is hers.

Thank you Mary for such a lovely and from the heart gift.

>Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen Things About Emma


Thirteen Things about Emma

1…. This is the first time I’ve done T13 since last May!
2. I am working on a cross stitch bookmark at the moment
3. And I’m reading The Other Eden by Sarah Bryant
4. I’ve lost 3lb since New Years Day – 40 to go!
5. I’ve been writing some more poems on and off this month. They are at Creatively Emma
6. I haven’t missed a single dose of medication this year
7. On Saturday I’m meeting some friends from uni in Birmingham
8. A Whole New World from Disney’s Aladdin is playing as I write this.
9. The bracelets I made and listed on ebay didn’t sell so I relisted them
10. I finally got my certificate awarded to me this morning
11. Most of what I contributed to the bureau meeting earlier had to do with disability. That drives me crazy.
12. I am doing another talk on my JST experience in February.
13. For some reason I always miss my friends more after I’ve seen them than I did before.

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