November 1st, 2006

Cut cuddle and be Cute

A challenging day

I won't kid you, today was not one of my better/more graceful days. The only good thing I can say about my coping skills is that I did not cry in front of my professor, but did cry in front of several other people. If I were God, I wouldn't allow pdf files that are just images, nor would I allow RSD.

I've been working on a paper, for which I had a rough draft due today, for a while now. I'm contrasting the use of light and nature images in the novel Barabbas by Paar Lagerkvist and the poem "Easter Monday" by Christina Rossetti. It's a neat topic, especially since light is something I enjoy when I can see it, and since I like the contrasting metaphors. The problem is the research... always the research. It involves searching the Bible, the internet and journals. Mainly the Bible and journals.

I was doing okay, and thought I'd have all of the information I needed, when I realized that all of the pdf files I'd downloaded were inaccessible because they were just pictures of the text. So I had to run them through Kurzweil 1000 (a sscanning and reading program), to get the text. On this computer, that takes a while.

In the mean time, today I took a trip to the welfare office, or "Human Services" as it's called now. Mom helped me take observations for my social work class. It is sad to realize just how inaccessible that process is for so many people, including those with disabilities or different language needs.

And, of course, today is Wednesday, which means we had a philosophy quiz, which I had to take outside of class. That ate up more time. I didn't get lunch, unless you count Snickerss (which are bad when you're in pain and nauseous for future reference), and a cup of hot chocolate. I still wasn't able to finish the paper, because of all of the accessibility challenges, and basically started crying. So a few friends saw me lose it, but didn't pity me, which helped. I was at the "I can't think rationally", stage of hitting a brick wall.

Add to all of this that my pain is high, and my foot feels like an inflated balloon with the swelling sometimes, and things are not pretty. I can't deal with the stress effectively because I'm in pain. I'm in a lot of pain because I'm stressed and that activates the sympathetic nerves even more. I don't feel much like eating because of the pain (though I still can thankfully), but I can't take the pain meds and get things under control until I eat something.

I did talk to the professor, and she was very understanding. As soon as I mentioned the pdf images, she understood. It helped that i had something to turn in, and that this is "just a draft". I still have two papers to do in the next two and a half days, but one of them is this draft.

On a somewhat brighter note, I have to laugh because Julio figured out how to wiggle out of his harness. Isn't that cute? We're having an interesting week, and I need to find time to spend with him, cuddling or playing. That will help him, and me.

As an aside, I should mention that I did end up explaining RSD to my relaxation professor, and her reaction wasn't bad at all. She seems receptive to working with me, and has allowed me to make modifications to the progressive muscle relaxation routine so I don't cause my pain to increase. In that case, self-disclosure was the right thing to do. And, I just found out that I will have a reader now for theology research etc... This is a good thing.

I am trying to be positive, and deal with this in a healthy way. Writing this whole thing was my way to decompress. I think I will grab soup and hope that that helps. Ginger ale might be a good idea too.

Cut cuddle and be Cute

Today's lesson in resourcefulness: Opening a LidoDerm pack with a stylus

Who says using a slate and stylus for Braille can't pay off in more than one area of your life? Did you know your stylus can help you open packages? It's a great tool when your scissors seem to have walked off, and you need your LidoDerm, for example. Here's how to open a LidoDerm pack with a stylus:

  1. Find the corner of the LidoDerm pack, away from the patch.
  2. Carefully hold the pack so that your fingers are out of the way of where you'll be working, but so that they provide stability to the corner.
  3. Place stylus in the corner, about a quarter inch in, or just far enough to avoid the reinforced side of the package.
  4. Press down with the stylus until a hole is formed.
  5. Pull the stylus toward the side of the package, forming a slit.
  6. Use the slit as leverage to open the package.
  7. Ask a friend to help you find your scissors when it's not after quiet hours.