Style

Miss Swim / Library of Congress

Miss Swim / Library of Congress

An MIT lab is designing accessible fashion for the disabled.

Zippers, buttons, jewelry clasps, tight-fitting dresses, and jackets with linings are daily grievances for anyone with limited dexterity. -BostonGlobe

Are there fashion items that drive you crazy?

Cobblestones

Quincy Market / Library of Congress

Quincy Market / Library of Congress

Boston’s Quincy Market is a much copied model of urban revitalization. Old falling apart buildings became an outdoor historic chic shopping mall. The designers left the cobblestones on the ground to give it authenticity.

Boom!…. Damn! One of my biggest falls was on the stones of Quincy Market.

Cobblestones suck. Pave them. Pave them all.

Do you have falling stories?

Beach

Bathers / Library of Congress

Bathers / Library of Congress

We are going on a beach holiday to Martha’s Vineyard later this summer. Apparently President Obama thought this was a brilliant idea and will be there too. Then it turned out Hillary Clinton will also be there. I have good ideas.

Anyone else going somewhere splendid?

Cheese

Camerawoman / Library of Congress

Camerawoman / Library of Congress

There are tons of tourists visiting Boston now. Sometimes, when I walk by a historic monument, tourists hand me a camera and ask me to take their picture. Then they jump back into formation and smile broadly. Cheese!

Once I was in the Boston Public Garden when this happened. The only problem was that the camera button was on the right side, my bad side. So I had to explain, in pantomime because I didn’t speak their language, that I was disabled and I was happy to take their picture, but it would be upside down so I could use my left hand to click the button.

The tourists look slightly confused. Disability is more complicated than a vacation.

Do you have amusing disability stories?

Rebellion

Bath / Wellcome Images

Bath / Wellcome Images

At the hospital after brain surgery, I committed rebellious acts. I snuck out of my bed and went to the bathroom by myself, instead of ringing for the attendant and waiting a very long time. I only fell once, sprawled out on the gray industrial bathroom tile, feeling sorry for myself.

Did you commit rebellious acts?

Amazon

Girl in Arms / Library of Congress

Girl in Arms / Library of Congress

After my stroke, my words were wacked. I meant to say “occupation” and it came out “Amazon.”

Here are some more strange words I said.

Do you have strange mis-speaks to report?

Time II

Clock Lady / Wellcome Images

Clock Lady / Wellcome Images

I got a call from a fellow stroke victim, one who had her stroke recently. She wanted to know about Botox, which doctors sometimes inject into stroke limbs that aren’t behaving. I had had the treatment.

“What does it feel like?” she asked.

“Like an injection,” I said.

She sounded nervous.

“Look,” I said, “If your doctor does a bad job, it leaves your system in about three months.”

“Three months!” she said, astounded.

Suddenly I realized how different our concepts of time were. Stroke veterans think three months is a blink of an eye. Newbies don’t.

Has your concept of time shifted?

Other Time issues….

Read

Spectacles / Library of Congress

Spectacles / Library of Congress

A stroke can disrupt your reading, called alexia. The term was coined by neurologist Joseph Jules Dejerine in the late 19th century. He was introduced to patient “Monsieur C.” The patient was a wealthy, cultivated textile merchant, who had a stroke. Soon after, he discovered he could not read, although he could speak and write normally. Monsieur C. could even read music — not the lyrics, but the musical notation.

Read more brain history here.  Do any of you have alexia?

Concentration

Attention / Library of Congress

Attention / Library of Congress

Were any of you prescribed concentration drugs? I was on one for awhile: a “wakefulness” drug. One morning, I took my first dose. An hour later, I was, well, zippy.

This was a very odd feeling. It felt like someone else has taken over my being. Someone who was more efficient than I was and had no need for pauses. In the background was the beat of a giant drum in a marching band.

I don’t take these drugs anymore. It feels too artificial and strange. Plus, I concentrate better now.

Do you have concentration stories?

Wrote

Write / Library of Congress

Write / Library of Congress

I wrote my name with my stroke hand! I used a magic marker and wrote in big cursive letters, but it was legible. This is the first time I’ve written using my right hand since my stroke. Progress!

Any other progress stories?