Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Procrastinator

Here is my contest entry that I submitted twenty minutes too late. The prize was a Kindle 2 and three years of free software updates. Oh, well.

Dragon to the Rescue

Damsels in distress are usually rescued by knights in shining armor, but my hero is a dragon. Dragon Naturally Speaking has enabled me to continue using my computer in spite of a progressive disability. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) twelve years ago and my disease has slowly taken away my mobility and independence. Because of MS, I can no longer walk, work or stand and my fine motor skills are also affected. Typing has become particularly difficult because I find myself only able to use one finger of one hand quite often. This is okay if I am just checking emails or surfing the web but when I want to do more, it's Dragon to the rescue.

With my trusty Dragon, I can reply to my emails, participate in social networking sites such as FaceBook, manage my family's website, solicit donations for the MS walk and even keep a blog about living with MS. Also, I am a political activist writing to my senators and congressmen about legislation that affects me and everyone else living with the disease. I could not possibly do all these things if I had to rely on my diminishing typing skills.

Dragon helps me stay connected to my friends, family and the world. I can't imagine my life without it. In this age where technology is creating smaller and smaller devices, I often feel left out because I can't use them. Dragon allows me to fully participate in the online world despite my physical limitations. I am no longer a "damsel in distress." I am an empowered woman riding through cyberspace on my mighty dragon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aide-ing and Abetting

Yes, I've neglected my blog lately but I have a very good reason, I'm breaking in a new personal care aide. Let's just say that things are not going very well. What I had hoped was new-job jitters has turned out to be standard operating procedure for this aide. Safety is a fundamental part of a successful client-aide relationship and after being dropped on three separate occasions, I do not feel safe. Once again today, I found myself on the bathroom floor calling my husband to rescue me. Fortunately no one was hurt, but enough is enough. I feel that I've been more than fair with this woman and if she cannot perform the basic duties of the job, then I need to find someone else. I didn't enjoy the interviewing and screening process I had to go through, but I'm willing to do it again.

Making me less willing to try and make things work with my current employee is her manner when interacting with me. For example, I wear paper or disposable underwear, not "diapers." I also don't pee-pee or boo-boo; I have to go to the bathroom to use the toilet. It's bad enough that I need help with basic bodily functions. I don't like being treated like a three-year old. After all, my mind still works pretty well; it's my body that has betrayed me.

The National MS Society does have an informative brochure on hiring help at home, but it focuses more on the psychological issues of having to admit that you need help. I am way beyond that stage. I need to know how to find and retain qualified aides. You would think that in this economy it would be easy to find someone, but there is a national nursing shortage. Unless you can offer a lot of money, it's hard to find someone.

It is very difficult for a control freak like me to deal with a situation like this. I am continually frustrated by my need to rely on others for everything. The knowledge that I have lost my independence forces me to be patient in ways I didn't think possible. It even makes me try to endure less-than-perfect care because it's better than nothing. I have to admit though that I must draw the line when my safety or dignity is compromised and this time that line has definitely been crossed.