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Dr. Who?

October 30, 2011

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am amazing. I know that
you already knew this but let me explain myself.

There I was sat in a
waiting room, anticipating and praying for my name to be called out. This
wasn’t only because I’d been waiting for what seemed like an age but also
because I was sat next to the men’s toilet. Point number one: Boys smell. I was
waiting my turn when I spotted these two adult women staring into the distance
as if they had seen the Holy Grail. One said to the other “Wow, he’s a doctor,
amazing isn’t it?” the other replied “Great, amazing” in a manner which made me
believe George Clooney had reprised his role on ER and gone to med school. It
wasn’t George Clooney. Nor was it a twelve year old doctor who had graduated
university at the age of nine, won the noble prize at ten and gone on to work
for the NHS. The doctor they were gazing at was a twenty something newly
qualified doctor who was on his way down the hall with stethoscope wrapped around
his neck. He wore glasses and a name badge but this wasn’t the massive hoo har.
He was in a wheelchair. Leaping lizards, I bet he does his shopping on his own

It seems that there is a percentage of the public, who upon
seeing a disabled person mixed into the harsh reality of life, think that they
are brilliant.  The world is accepting people
with disabilities into life more than ever at the moment however sometimes you
get the impression that  some people still
seem to think that the rightful place for a disabled person is at home or out
with a carer.

Before I get emails complaining that I’m tarring every able
person with the same brush, I’m not. My friends, family and the majority of
people I don’t even know don’t see me or anyone else in with a disability as
more then, uhm, people. Don’t be forced to expect less of people with disabilities.

As a footnote to this I would like to make a special shout
out to a lady at the clinic. This lady had volunteered to take an older woman
with Spina bifida to said clinic. I presume that they knew each other, possibly
neighbours. The lady in question was literally announcing to the hospital what
a good person she was. Yes, she probably was, it’s lovely that she came with
her friend however keep it down, love! Said woman then went on to run through
the waiting room shouting “Thank goodness I’ve got legs” as approximately
twelve people in wheelchairs looked on. The truth is we were all chuffed to
bits she had legs which so clearly worked; it meant she got away faster.



October 30, 2011

Dignity; that feeling that holds us back, stops us flashing in
public and prevents us from making friends with that one person who smells of
urine. This invisible element in our lives changes from day to day.  In the past women have spent hours changing
themselves into more extravagant dresses to please others; men would strive to
work in a credible job which feeds his family. In religious groups, many women
wear burkas whilst others force themselves into marriages to better their
family name. Dignity is a constant in this ever changing world; self-respect is
always there but does it change as we grow?

As a baby we know little, we dress in outrageous clothes from
our mothers’ wardrobe and parade about in it as if it were the spring
collection. As we enter into our adolescent years we become aware of our
bodies, we strive to blend in with the crowd and be fashionable within our peer
group. As an adult we face different options our self worth is affected by our
life choices. Respect for ourselves and maintaining our dignity is not just how
we look, it’s about how we think and feel. A glamour model will strip to feed
her children, would you?

As we grow older and enter into the years when we are at our
wisest we are faced with new obstacles. Our bodies grow tired and our eyes are
full of reflection and thought. Every person wishes to take age in their stride
but many put up a fight. Some will refuse the assistance of aids such as
wheelchairs or frames at the risk that they will lose their credibility as an
independent strong person. Others will not view care homes as an option and
insist on staying as active as possible. Some have no choice. The fact of the
matter is, even if you don’t have a choice, you still have a personality. One
man will shout and scream about his rights, whilst another will quietly let
life take its course; quietly screaming and kicking on the inside perhaps.

I’m not sure where I lie in this very humble opinion on how the
human life is split up. I know that I’m young, I’m a teenager and we’ve all been
there. The time when our body is changing and our opinions on the world are
forming. We’re learning about writers and artists and seeing the world being
destroyed by people who are praised as heroes. My peer group desperately try to
fit in with the crowd…even the ones who claim that they are “individual and
original” in style. The truth is, style is repeated, we wear flares and
leggings like our parents did many moons ago. What is individual and original
is us and the actions we take. What I’m fighting to say is that dignity comes
in many forms.

Unlike the majority of my peers I accept the use of aids such as
wheelchairs and medicine, I have to. That’s not to say I’m not independent.
Which I am but some days I wake up and deep down I feel this bubbling sensation
or a niggling ache in the back of my head and I just know that this is one of
those days where I pretend I don’t care, I block off my urge to maintain every
ounce of self respect I have. I let others take over. For years doctors and
nurses have been improving my body, a slice here, a bone fusion there. I tend
to accept and not fight; although some days I can’t help but be a ‘screamer’.
It makes me wonder where my dignity went. It’s still there but it’s a different
shape now. It’s more lenient I suppose; everyone’s dignity is a different
shape. I wonder where it’ll be in another ten years.

Eskimo Ali

January 9, 2010

I love snow as much as the next person; snow men, snow fights and snow angels are you know…cool. However this week has been a snow overload!

Tuesday, the first day college was cancelled due to the white blanket, my friend came round. She appeared at my door looking like a lost Eskimo; it was a sorry sight so I let her in. That afternoon we drove, yes drove, down to our local Costa. Oh dear lord. Firstly I got stuck just getting up my driveway, whoever decided to build a house on a steep driveway was insane and clearly has thighs of steel; so after I had called the AA and got towed away we set off on our long treacherous journey.  I had driven in snow and stuff before but it was like someone had just iced the roads, giggled then told every other driver to drive like pratts!  So there I am casually driving along, then I see that the bus in front of me has stopped, so I put on my breaks, I didn’t slow down, I pushed on my breaks harder, crap, the bus is really close now; ‘SLAM’ on my breaks but nope; I had to pull out my best James Bond moves and swerve around the bus. I came out feeling like a superhero. So basically, I’m like a snow driving legend now; I wish I could say the same thing for wheeling in snow…

Trying to get round my little town in my four wheels and six inches of snow was like putting a fish in a  bowl of jelly and telling it to swim to the other side; cruel, funny and down right wrong. The worst part was the snow fight. I was such an easy target that I may as well have had a flashing arrow above my head and a scoreboard on my lap. After that snow fight I made my way home, it was that or go into ANOTHER coffee shop and I think they were sick of us going in and getting snow everywhere, especially me because my wheels actually have the capacity to hold enough snow in their rims to build a small snow city. It’s at this point I would like to point out how useless leather gloves are in snow, my hands were very wet and very red, it was a good look!

The following day we headed over to our friends house, they all made an igloo…I stayed indoors with mince pies and heat; it was a very wise decision on my part.

So here are my top tips for wheeling in snow:

-Get good gloves

-Don’t be friends with people who will pelt you like you feel no pain.

-Wear good socks.

-Stay indoors.

Have fun amigos!

Ali x