Seriously?

Sep. 11th, 2017 05:07 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I went into Rochester for lunch on Saturday. Parking was a nightmare, but when I finally found a place I cut through the High Street via the small disabled car park as usual. For unknown reasons (it's not any of the local festivals I can think of, and I couldn't dig up anything on their website) the Council had the paved area at the entrance covered in stalls - one of those square garden gazebo things with a folding table under it and various vendors at each. Then I got onto the High Street, and the footpath is covered in stalls for as far as I can see. And those gazebo things are the full width of the pavement. Look left, and the pavement is completely blocked, look right (where it's very slightly wider), and they have a stall sitting on top of the kerb cut. The only part not blocked by the stall is the slope, and the customers are standing on that. In just the 100m or so I could see, the footpath was completely blocked to wheelchair users in at least 3 places.

I managed to squeeze past and onto the kerb cut, but no chair wider than mine could have done it, certainly not a powerchair.  Okay, the High Street is pedestrian-only on Saturday, so the road was usable, but to get into any of the shops you need to be on the pavement and that pavement is really difficult to wheelie up onto from the road. In fact it's impossible in my chair if I have the anti-tips out, and wheelie-ing is exactly when I'd want the anti-tips. I did manage to get back up the kerb cut on my way back to the car, but I'd seriously expected not to be able to as you would normally want to run straight up the slope to the far side of where the table was and then turn, not crab up the side-slope between ramp and pavement level.

And then the elbow I'd banged while I was away decided it wasn't up to pushing up slopes - guess which way it was all 400m back to the car. Waddle, waddle, waddle....

Bah!

Not too surprising that I fell asleep on the couch at 8PM, though sleeping through until midday Sunday was unexpected.

I was sarcastic about the stalls to the council's  twitter account. Apparently they'll "raise this with the town centre manager". I may go dig up the relevent councillor and copy them into the thread - the High Street's an obstacle course at the best of times, never mind if  the council start merrily blocking the pavement every 20 metres.
 

Home Again

Sep. 6th, 2017 03:27 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I made it home yesterday without any major issues, I even managed to squeeze in a haircut before travelling. On the other hand I'm fairly beat, 4.5 hours of travelling (6 door to door counting the haircut, a coffee with my mother and a trip to the bank) is tiring, even if I was sitting down for all of it. I was amused that passenger assistance at Darlington Station now recognise me and know that I live down South, that's not bad when I only pass through three times a year (six if you count both directions), at other stations I'm impressed if they just remember to turn up on the day!

I didn't see quite as much of my dad as I'd have liked, my sister being away for the middle 10 days limited how often I could get over to see him (or her for that matter), and the one time we tried taxiing over he slept through the entire visit, but still good to see him, and he was on good form and clearly pleased to see me when he was awake, and of course I saw a lot of my mother. Other than that, a couple of Sunday lunches were the only time I stirred from the house.

I think I'm officially declaring today a holiday to recover from the holiday, I'll think about getting back into my normal routine tomorrow. Maybe.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Made it to Durham without issue. Dad was on fine form for his 80th and pleased to see me. OTOH I went to visit him today and he slept through the entire visit. (Which happens semi-regularly).

My sister celebrated my arrival home by booking a late holiday and fleeing the country! They hadn't been able to book earlier for various reasons, so I can't really blame her. I saw her for a few days at the start of my stay and I'll see her again at the end, but timing could have been better!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Went to the GP's surgery to pick up my repeat prescription this morning.

"Oh, we haven't done that," says the receptionist. "I was trying to get in touch with you yesterday," (the phone never rang) "It's too early"

Me: "Hang on, we're half way through week 3 of a 4 week prescription and I'm going on holiday* tomorrow."

Receptionist: "It's due on the 29th"

Me: "And I'll run out on the 28th"

Her: "And we'd fill it that week. When did you say you were going on holiday?"

Me: "Tomorrow. In the morning"

Her: {wince}

She then proposed getting it signed off during the afternoon and me coming back for it (they theoretically shut at noon on Wednesday, and it was after 11:30), but then changed her mind, her terminal must have flagged the doctor was free, and walked it through there and then.

It's never been this complicated before!

Just to make things even more fun, I'd taken crutches rather than the chair and started to feel very wobbly in the middle of all of this. Hopefully just lack of sleep, I crashed when I got home and has to go to bed for a couple of hours. Which meant I didn't get around to going to the chemists til late afternoon. It's a straight roll down a slight incline from where I park, which is just as well as my pushing was pretty crap today.  I suspect my shoulders aren't entirely happy after the shed re-roofing, plus my tyres needed blowing up. Getting the prescription was trouble-free, but pushing back up the slope wasn't going to happen, so I got out and used the chair as a walker. That wouldn't have been a problem if my legs hadn't decided to go very wobbly in the middle of the damned road! Fortunately with no cars about.

*Headdesk*

* Up to see the folks, Dad turns 80 on Saturday, so expect my presence to be intermittent for the rest of the month.


 

 

davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)

Last Month:

GPs' surgery: Hey, sign up for online appointments and repeat prescriptions.*
Me: Okay

Saturday:

Try to use it for a repeat prescription for the first time
System: You have no repeat prescriptions available.

Today:

Me: Hi, I tried to get a repeat prescription and it wouldn't have it.
Surgery: Ah, that's because it's a controlled drug and the system doesn't handle those.

It's the only bloody prescription I have! Talk about being as much use as a chocolate teapot!!


* That was the occasion when the receptionist took one look at my handwriting and decided to fill in the form for me.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I was lurking with my browser on an ebay page earlier, waiting to bid on an item at the last minute, when a Windows mail message popped up at the bottom of the screen - eBay warning there'd been unauthorised access to my account*, so they'd blocked it, reset my password and refunded any charges, plus disconnected my paypal account.

After I'd peeled myself off the ceiling given the untimely coincidence, I checked and yep, I was locked out of my account. Fortunately eBay has resetting your password well automated, so I was able to reset it and log back in again, just in time to see the item I wanted go for a third more than I was prepared to pay - I'm not too upset at losing it, there was a bunch of stuff I already have in the package, and the item I actually wanted, a set of out-of-print wargames rules, will eventually get an ebook version, so I'd restricted my bid to what that will go for when eventually realeased.

I still haven't forgiven eBay for the wheelchair fiasco, but praise where praise is due, they got it right here.

OTOH I may just leave Paypal disconnected for a while (and I'll be paying close attention to my next Paypal statement).


* Definitely not a false-positive misidentification of me, I hadn't done anything yet.
 

 


davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Shed roof succesfully re-felted. I've waited pretty much a month for a day that was both dry and largely wind free.

While standing at the top of a ladder isn't ideal for a wheelchair user, it actually went fairly simply and I was done in a couple of hours. There's some finishing to do, but nothing urgent, and all the up a ladder stuff is done.

I suspect my neck isn't going to be happy later, but for now I'm rewarding myself with beer.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Oh, this is so unfortunately classic American abroad that it would be cliche, but for Bannon being Trump's racist-in-chief:

The Intercept has looked into an story Steve Bannon tells about recognising the Muslim 'threat' when his ship docked in Karachi when he was in the USN.

Just one problem, the other details he gives, and the ship's cruise book, show that they were actually docked in Hong Kong.  All those Muslim hordes that haunt his dreams? Chinese.

To make things worse, Bannon was the ship's navigator.


Full article here


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Locus has the World Fantasy Awards shortlist here, and Mishell Baker's Borderline, with its double-amputee protagonist with Borderline Personality Disorder is on the list. Which is something the genre needs. There's few enough books with disabled protagonists treated in a realistic manner, seeing one of them nominated for a major award is an important step forward. (I'd hoped it would happen with Scalzi's Lock In, but the Puppies screwed that year's Hugo voting).

On the other hand, World Fantasy Con has a unfortunately well-deserved reputation for access screw-ups. I really hope they fix that this year, because having a book about an occasionally wheelchair-using protagonist win an award on a stage a wheelchar user couldn't access would be the access fail to end all access fails....

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

... was that I got to watch Trumpcare: The Return of the Undead Shambling Horror being defeated live on twitter through the comments of the disabled Americans with most to lose.

The message to take away from this: 45, and 49 Republican Senators thought 15m more Americans without healthcare cover was an improvement.

And then the Disabled People Destroy SF kickstarter funded. Sweet!
 

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)


The Disabled People Destroy SF Kickstarter*, to produce a disability-themed special issue of Uncanny magazine, is up and running here and well on its way to meeting the initial funding goal (about 80% funded with 29 days to go).

And the first of their personal essays on disability and SF is up here, a good piece on Mental Health/neurodiversity** getting in the way of growing up to be the SF protagonist you dreamed of, that the genre allows you to be, so sitting down and setting to work to change the genre to allow for protagonists with MH/neurodiversity. I'm so glad the first piece talks about MH/neurodiversity and invisible disability, as they're the most invisible/most often cured of SFnal disabilities.
 

* If you aren't familiar with the 'x' People Destroy series, it has already done POC Destroy SF and Queers Destroy SF to significant success. I was initially a little disconcerted it's swapped magazines for the disability issue, from Lightspeed to Uncanny, but the editors of Uncanny have a disabled child and they've assembled a solid team of disabled editors for the special issue, so my worries seem unfounded.

** The author talks about a bipolar diagnosis, but then settles on neurodiversity as their preferred community label. It's a view I have some sympathy with, though it can confuse people about non-MH related neurodiversity.
 

Again?!?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:16 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Screeech! Bang!

Ah, someone's just crashed outside again...

Deceptive downhill bend and a greasy road. Fortunately they always end up on the opposite side (touch wood)*. This time he took out about a metre of wall/gate pillar for the house opposite and one up from me, and about 1.5m of fencing on the electricity substation that's directly opposite. And he's completely flattened the green metal box that everyone's phone on that side of the street is wired to. Fortunately no one hurt this tiime.

Guess I'll have people working opposite for half the week. I do love the sound of concrete saws in the morning....**

* This is the main road I back onto rather than my street address. We're also elevated several feet above street level, so reasonably safe from anyone ending up in our back gardens.

** Not to mention I've got back ache and rushing upstairs to look out of the window appears to have been contraindicated

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

So at the start of the month my laptop's power-supply and keyboard both turned dodgy within a week of each other. I sourced a replacement power supply off eBay, and I know I can get the keyboard, I just haven't ordered it yet.

But that reminded me that my desktop has been out of action for most of a year. It's on-switch had been getting gradually worse and it gave up entirely while I was away from home last summer. Making matters worse, the case design is dire and a metal clip  to hold the motherboard in place also pins the on-switch connector onto the motherboard (which is definitely powered, an LED lights when you plug it in). I finally found a way to get it out without trashing anything this spring, but the connector isn't wired in a straightforward manner, six wires feed seven pins of a nine-pin block, so you can't replace it with a standard two pin switch.

Ordering laptop bits made me realise I might be able to source a replacement switch, given I had the part number, and indeed I could. A fiver got me a brand new OEM switch, which arrived this morning. Plug it in, power on, and nada.... Looks like it's a dead motherboard, not a dead switch. Which means completely rebuilding the desktop. I have a much better case I can frankenstein components into, but at a minimum it means sourcing a new motherboard* and I'm not certain I'll be able to transfer the processor, which is potentially worth doing as, while it's 8 years old, it's also an early i7, so potentially still more powerful than the i3s and i5s most new PCs use. I'll have to do some digging to judge.

Of course, whichever route I take, I'll still need to reseat the processor in the new motherboard, and my coordination isn't exactly great. In fact I think it's measurably worse than the last time I did this, tw computers ago, and I got help then. I may need to lure my neighbour into offering to help.

Bah, computers.

 

* Plus a Win 10 license and a new primary drive - it was running Vista, which I'm not prepared to connect to the net anymore, plus I don't want to overwrite the existing drive, so I'll swap that to being a slave

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

I was reading the rulebook for 'Planet Mercenary', the RPG for Howard Tayler's 'Schlock Mercenary' universe this afternoon and I was absolutely delighted to see the game master's section has a section on making your games accessible, covering everything from wheelchair access to players with social anxiety. It's even written within the game's metanarrative* that it's a game for actual inhabitants of the Schlock Mercenary universe. There's a couple of slight mis-steps where it's arguably patronizing, and a faux pas in the segue to handling problem players in the next segment, but this is generally really well thought out - for instance, using a differently sized rather than differently coloured die if one of a set needs to be distinct and a player has a visual impairment that would stop them seeing that, and watching player body language for signs players are being triggered or otherwise driven out of the game. And of course the major step forward is that it's there at all.

* Also within the metanarrative, a short story told in the form of editorial comments - wow!

Idiot.....

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:46 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

In shower, peel off opioid patch - 'I must remember to put the new one on when I get out'. (I can't remember if I should have changed it today or yesterday).

5 hours later, sitting in the garden - "Ow!  Ow! Shit!! Fuck! Ow!"

I'm not surprised the painkilling effect ran out, opioids have a half-life in the body, I am surprised it happened so quickly. I had maybe five minutes notice my back was getting uncomfortable, and then suddenly I couldn't bear to be upright.

The solution was obvious of course, put the damned patch on, but it takes several hours to build up to functional levels, so I'm sitting here with my back brace on, which at least keeping things tolerable.

Other than that it was a very pleasant day in the sun with a book and a glass of wine, intermitently broken by consulting with my neighbour across the fence on his hard drive failure - he actually knows more about them than I do as he was network manager for a chain store untll a couple of months ago, And now I'm sitting here on the couch with the door open watching the para-athletics. 

 

 

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Left house for lunch at 2:30, home at 7pm.

Lunch first (see previous post) then I drove over to Wickes to price up some replacement roofing felt for my shed (the existing stuff half ripped off in one of the spring storms), plus loft boarding, passing an accident which had just happened on the way (one car had t-boned another - no injuries, but sitting in the middle of the main road). Passed by a police traffic car with sirens blazing as I parked at Wickes - 'I know where you're going!' Their felt was 50% more than at Homebase for the identical brand, similarly for the loft board (I'd checked there earlier in the week), so back up to Homebase, queueing to pass the accident again, now with police in attendance. Get the felt, drive back past the accident again. Drop off the felt, head up to Asda, getting to the accident just as the recovery vehicle arrives, waved past by the police for the third time in an hour. Do my shopping, head back, and at least this time the accident's been cleared and I'm not waved past by the police, who must have thought I was taking the piss.

Dump the shopping and immediately head out for my daily waddle, because once I sat down I wasn't moving again.

Got a hundred metres, turned around and came home again. Changed into ankle braces (AFOs), headed out once more. I was fairly certain too much time on my feet was provoking the intermittent drop foot issues I've been having, but today was all chair, and  the foot drop was the worst I've seen. My left foot was catching literally every step, my right about half that. Definitely time to talk to my GP about actually getting this looked at and AFOs officially prescribed and properly fitted (as opposed to bought from Amazon), but also important to know it seems to be fatigue-linked, not activity-linked, which makes it much harder to avoid. Passed one of the regular dog-walkers while on the second attempt: "You're definitely walking faster!" he says. Didn't have the heart to explain why.

So tiring, but useful.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Had the classic huffy "I was only trying to help!" in town earlier.

The entrance to the George Vaults has the door a step up, with another step inside, so the only way to do it is to get out of the chair, push the door open, cant the chair back and bump it up a step at a time, which I'm quite capable of doing.

First off someone sitting outside smoking offered to help, which set up the rest of it as fending her off (holding the door open from outside makes the doorway too narrow) made me forget to fold up the anti-tips and blocked me from my normal angle. Which led to the chair jamming half way in as I couldn't cant it far enough back and I'd hit the door frame.

As I'm figuring out what's gone wrong two people from inside decide to intervene. The woman pulled the door out of the way, which actually was helpful, the guy decides he needs to be manly and pick the chair up by the footplate. Which would, of course, have thrown the weight of the chair onto me and my dodgy shoulders, rather than leaving the weight on the step. So I said "Don't!" and started to explain why he shouldn't do it that way. (Amongst other issues it'll often leave you holding a footplate and not a lot more.) Which provoked the huffy "I was only trying to help!" Clearly more interested in being seen to help than actually helping!

And of course when I went to leave, which is easier than coming in, someone came rushing to hold the door (and get in the way).

"My boy's like you," he says. I wonder if he rolls his eyes as much as I did.

On the brighter side I was serenaded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as I wheeled back to the car as they did their soundcheck for the Castle Garden concert this evening - Scherezade, I think.

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Naomi Lawson Jacobs (a long time friend) on how society invalidates the voices of disabled people:

Listen to Our Experience: On Epistemic Invalidation

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Dove perched on the handle of a patio door
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
A couple of belated shots of my chair with the new back. Yes, just that bit between the uprights retails at £507. Mind you the seat cushion is £400 on its own. Expensive things, wheelchairs




The back of my wheelchair


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David Gillon

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