Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Utility Belt

Every superhero needs some stuff to get them through the day. I aspire to be super so here is my stuff that makes things workout more smoothly. As graduation loops in May I have done a lot of thinking about what has gotten me this far and how to move forward in the future.

Growing up dyspraxic is no easy task having to really work to make your brain connect to your muscles makes for some interesting adaptations. Here are the things that make it easier to work with limited dexterity, difficulty readily differentiating right/left, and generally being challenged in my ability to make muscles do what I want:

  • Laptop: my penmanship sucks, is extremely tiresome for me, and slow as well. Taking notes on the computer really helps me keep up in class. Plus it has the interwebs where I connect to people who 'get it'.
  • Planner: helps me keep myself organized, my brain really isn't wired for that
  • Ambidextrous mouse for my computer, just one less battle in the day.
  • Clothes with obvious directionality and simple closures:much easier to get them oriented correctly on my body. The less messing around with getting dressed I have to do the better.
  • Flat shoes that stay consistently on my feet: Favorites are chaco sandals, lace up shoes and shoes that stick to my feet. I haven't mastered walking in heels. Shoes that stay on feet drastically improve my chances of not tripping over my own feet. 
  • One handed eating: Chopsticks for noodle eating. Don't ask me how I've mastered noodle eating with chopstick and not with a fork, but don't be afraid to try different utensil techniques for getting the food to your mouth. Cutting with the side of my fork is so much easier than with a knife and a fork for me.
  • Short simple hairstyle: I just can't wrap my head around complex styling. Running a comb through my hair in the morning to smooth it out and spiking it straight up for going out are about it.
Some of my must haves

Allergies and asthma are a fickle thing to deal with over all basically avoiding triggers is the best bet but I do have a few favorites when that doesn't work out.

  • Carpenter Jeans and Cargo Pants/Shorts are a wonderful thing in life. They contain enough pockets to hold an inhaler, epipen, bendryl, and any other histamine paraphernalia as needed. I have definitely been known to fit an epipen, ventolin, and a spacer all in the same cargo pocket. 
  • Children's Bendryl Chewables/Disolvables/Liquid is my saving grace for when I need to dose up on antihistamines but want to not be so drowsy as to not function. I still take a full adult dose mg-wise. However, the fact that it absorbs into my system quicker tends to help out with not being so drowsy later. If it is early to mid evening, I take half my dose liquid and half regular adult caplet. This seems to leave me not so drowsy but still get rid of the reaction usually. 
  • A spreadsheet of my peakflows, meds, and FEV's. This gives me the data to know how it all is playing out. Are the lungs really behaving as well as they seem to be?

This is by no means a complete list of things that help my life function in a semi cohesive manner. They are some of the things that let me get to the point of being a "normal" college student or at least look like one on tv :). These things have empowered me to get up and live my life as an independent adult and yet this list is difficult to write as it reminds me how different I am. How I have to take round about way of getting from point A to point B. Makes me realize that the word disability might very well be an accurate descriptor and yet my challenges are so minimal compared to many others. I don't embrace the label. I will admit to being a spoonie but I refuse to think of my differences as deficiencies (see the spoon theory for more about spoonies).


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of the spoon theory before. I enjoyed reading it and I was surprised to see that out of the four languages it's been translated into, Hebrew is one of them.

I tend not to think of myself as sick or disabled in any way most of the time. What did give me some food for thought was last week I was on antibiotics and I was complaining to Kerri that I felt like such a sicky walking around with colorful pills in my purse that I had to keep taking 3 times a day. She asked me if I felt like a sicky walking around with a steroid inhaler in my purse. I said no. Inhalers are perfectly normal.

I probably think that way cuz I've been carrying around and using inhalers most of my life. And I still find it kinda weird that most people have never used one and can exercise and have colds, etc without even thinking about the kinds of stuff I have to take into consideration. It's just that normal to me. But it just goes to show how much of an influence perspective has on things.

Anonymous said...

I can sympathize on the penmanship, high heels, and fancy hairdos fronts. I'm crap at all three (although I'm not dyspraxic).

Regarding chop sticks... I prefer them for rice over a fork. As for noodle eating, if I'm using a fork, I must have a spoon, as well. I stick the end of my fork against the spoon to hold the noodles on as I twirl. Even still, I never wear clean clothes when I eat noodles, nor do I eat noodles at a fancy shindig. It's asking for trouble, as I'm bound to get sauce all down my front and on my face.

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