Living Life In A Wheelchair

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March 2023 Newsletter Edition

The month of March hasn't been easy. Ironically the challenges, working out viable solutions and talking over my plans with friends has made this process easier on me. It has been wonderful how kind my friends have been to me during this time.

In November 2022 I started attending a 7 week grief support group. I found it beneficial. The pain in my legs was out of control almost the entire time. My right knee joint had buckled. I was in a lot of pain from this. So the group felt rushed. I was using a lot of emotional fortitude to co-exist with the pain. I asked if I could do the group a second time. This opportunity was offered to me with a group starting in mid March. I realized during the first week I hadn't given myself credit for the progress I made. Although to be fair I was going through the motions. I know by the time this group finishes I will have got what was needed in helping me move forward in life after my aunt dying. I am also seeing how this is leaching over into the rest of my life and helping me better respond to the challenges I face as I go about my life.

Several years ago a dietitian gave me a recipe for a breakfast oatmeal cookie when I explained mornings were hard for me on account of my physical disability. At the start of March I made up a huge batch of this. This time I made them up as loaves, cut them up into individual servings and froze them. In fact I sat them on separate trays overnight initially so they wouldn't freeze together as a large bunch. As a strategy cooking my meals up ahead of time and freezing them works really well. This helps me make provision for my physical disability and chronic pain. Then I am still able to eat well when my physical disability is flared up. I am really glad I tripped on this strategy.

In mid February I saw a video on youTube that I found inspirational. It demonstrated how to roast whole chickens in the oven. This technique uses 'S' shaped hooks where the chicken is hung from the upper rack and moisture is contained in pans below the chicken on the bottom rack. I wanted to give this a try. The stainless steel 'S' hooks I ordered on eBay arrived. This attempt didn't work out as I had planned. I intentionally purchased medium size hooks for ease of removing the whole chicken when roasting was completed. This didn't leave me enough vertical space within the oven for the chickens to hang. I needed up using my turkey roaster. I am no longer sure if this method for roasting whole chickens is viable or not. There are stands a whole chicken could be placed onto for roasting. This now seems like the most plausible strategy based on the dimensions of my oven. Not everything I attempt works out. I don't regret trying. With my knees upending my life again I am determined to find strategies to make the best out of my life. The pros outweigh the cons for trying.

I didn't feel comfortable pursuing dental care once the coronavirus pandemic had been declared in spring 2020. I didn't have information to make a decision. I was offered regenerative medicine treatment for my knees. The vaccine and the regenerative medicine treatment were not compatible with each other. I decided the medical treatment for my knees was much more important. I started feeling a slight tingle in the tooth. The medications I use for my chronic pain doesn't discriminate the source of the pain. I figured this was serious. It sure was. I have 2 cavities: One is immediately adjacent to the tooth root. This needs a temporary cavity to see if the pain will calm down. If so a permanent filling will happen in June. The other cavitity is slightly less urgent but still near the root of the tooth. However it is eligible for a permanent filling and shouldn't be troublesome. These were filled mid March. My dental care is getting back on track. I am grateful for this.

It has become too physically challenging for me to cut my toe nails. The deterioration in my knees has made this no longer practical. I asked if I could be enrolled in the foot care program. Although I am not the typical client I was accepted. Typically foot care is important for individuals with diabetes, toe ulcers, obesity and fungal infections on the foot. The help I need is much more straight forward: Simply cutting my toe nails. I had my first appointment. This went well. We plan to have my toe nails cut every 6 weeks. Having someone do this for me instead of me doing this by myself means I don't spend the following 2 days being barely able to keep myself alive. This is one of the life lines that I really needed to have in place. With all the challenges I am having right now I am glad this is now in place for me.

One of my friends changed the sump pump for my home in February. The previous sump pump was failing. This has been a recurring problem with this house. My basement has flooded a few times as various sump pumps have failed. The space is unfinished. My furnace and water heater are down there and are protected by the sump pump. With how problematic it has been I've decided to prototype a sump pump monitoring system using an Arduino. It will alert me to any problems with the sump pump and as the sump pump looses it's strength. It is very difficult for me to get to the sump pump. This will act as a remote set of eyes. It should equate to peace of mind on account of my physical disability.

Rocky The Hamster isn't feeling well. I am concerned about him. I love Rocky. I really enjoy caring and providing for him. I've also been so grateful that Rocky has been here in the middle of the night when I haven't felt well from my legs. A lump has started growing out of his left ear. It is presenting the classic symptoms of cancer: It is hard and growing larger. Additionally Rocky isn't running on his wheel. He is spending a lot of time resting. He is starting to loose weight from not eating. I think I am past the point where a vet is able to intervene. As well hamsters are so fragile that sedating a hamster for treatment is exceptionally risky and would more likely than not kill Rocky. I've decided to keep Rocky comfortable and support him the best I am able to.