Tag Archives: Disabilities

End Of Life Care: How Does Complementary Therapy Help?

If you haven’t heard the term, palliative care refers to the care of patients that are coming toward the end of their life. It’s about keeping them comfortable, happy and secure as their life comes to its full circle. Advanced progressive illnesses such as cancer and dementia are commonly not responsive to medicinal treatment in a curative way.

When your family member has been through a rigorous programme of drugs, drips and hospital stays, palliative care can feel like a relief. It’s not just about managing their pain at the end of their life, but it’s about providing a holistic approach which incorporates spiritual care services with the view of achieving quality of life for the remaining months they have. If you want to learn some more about spiritual care in end of life patients, Stanford Medicine has a great spiritual care library collection that can be read from online. Many patients find palliative care difficult to handle, and not just emotionally. The side effects of palliative care can be difficult and so those patients that struggle with those effects often turn to complementary therapies.

An Elderly couple holding hands

Image Source

There is a great range of complementary therapies that are available to patients on end of life care. We’ve listed for you below the most common types of palliative care that patients turn to that differ from the traditional medical approach. If your relative is currently looking for additional relief, always seek the advice of a doctor before going ahead.

Homeopathy. You may have read about homeopathy in passing, but the extracts used in homeopathy are all designed to help stimulate the body into self-healing by activating the natural defences. These can mainly help a palliative care patient mentally, providing relief alongside traditional medicine.

Reiki. There are many healing types out there, and Reiki uses the energy of the patient in a positive way to find an internal balance. People have an electromagnetic field surrounding them, and Reiki helps to restore that healthy energy that is missing for a patient under end of life care. It can be used in patients to make them feel calm, relaxed and peaceful; which we all know goes a long way to healing.

Acupuncture. You can read about acupuncture here in more detail, but using needles to restore a natural rhythm to a system that is out of balance can be very effective. Emotional and physical stresses can be relieved in this way, and regular appointments can give patients time to relax and as it’s tailored to the individual, no two acupuncture programs will be the same.

Holistic therapies are often not supported by medical doctors as a method of treatment, despite the numerous evidence based articles that support them. Complementary therapies like the ones that have been listed have all had great success in alleviating emotional and physical pain of patients who are struggling to cope with their course of palliative care – which can be stressful. It runs alongside their regular treatment to provide additional relief, and can always be considered.

Disability Q&A #20 Angela Mills

Welcome back ladies and gents to another #DisabilityQ&A. Today’s interview is brought to you by Angela. I have known her since the beginning of my blogging journey, and I learnt a lot from her about adrenal insufficiency, back when her blog was called Days In Bed.

 

I’m really happy she wanted to take part in my series, now she can educate you lovely lot on her condition, far better than I ever could.

Tell me about yourself

Hi ,My name is Angela Milnes. I’m 33 years old. I live in Lancashire, United Kingdom, I’m a full time mum and professional blogger.I love researching my family tree and finding bargains.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

Yes sure.

What is the medical reason you have a disability?

I have a diagnosis of Adrenal Insufficiency, Human Growth hormone deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Have you had your disability from birth?

No I became unwell in 2013, a week after my wedding.

Do you refer to yourself as a person with a disability? If not, why not?

Yes. I am unable to do the same as a normal healthy person.

Do you tell others about your disability? Or do you prefer to keep that to yourself until you are comfortable with the person knowing?

Yes I tell people about my disability and health issues. I often share on social media and on my blog theinspirationedit.com I also have been published 5 times on The Mighty.

Do you use any mobility AIDS such as a wheelchair or walking stick?

My illness fluctuates and I have a wheelchair and a walking stick and my needs and abilities change from day to day.




If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.

Of course. It is not fun being unwell and feeling so sick and I would not wish it upon anyone.

For those who do not know much about your disability how does it affect your mobility?

Adrenal Insufficiency can make me feel sick and dizzy. I get weak muscles and sometimes I cannot stand or walk.

How has your disability effected you?

*Socially

I can be isolated a lot when stuck in the home or bed bound and so I try to socialise via internet. This is my main source of socialising.

*physically

I can no longer exercise or do things like healthy people. I don’t walk my child to school as it drains too much energy and I have to limit and pace everything I do to manage myself the best I can.

*Mentally

Being unwell can make me feel anxious and upset, especially when I get really weak. I can get brain fog and feel confused and upset and that can lead to feeling stressed out.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

Well it’s helped me to speak out and talk about my difficulties and become an advocate for health and disability. I think being unwell has also given me empathy for others and understanding. I have more sensitivity to others who have conditions as I know what it is like.

*Please give a positive example of how this has done so…

Well, I have a friend who’s daughter has Chronic Fatigue and I Understand what it is like and can relate to how hard it is for my friend as a carer for her child.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.

Some people ask me when I will get better. I have a chronic condition and although there will be improvements in my health I will always have to manage and live with the health issues I have.

What are the positives of having a disability?

Well the one positive that came from my disabilities and health issues is my blog. I speak out about the condition and have built a small online space which I love to use. I don’t think I would have done this without having illness.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

There are many, the inability to do things I used to do and the way it impacts on my abilities as a mother.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being disabled?

Being able to go places on my own. I often need my husband with me incase I have an adrenal crisis.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily that frustrate you?

*In your home

I get frustrated when I feel sick and too tired to do anything. I often want to be productive and have to take time out to rest.

*outside your home

Well I really don’t get out and about too much. When I do, I often get tired afterwards and suffer for it but some outings are worth it.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another disabled person?

Just learning to pace and stop and rest when you need to. I think pacing and getting a good amount of sleep is really important.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

To learn what you can and instead of fighting the disability learn to adapt and live with it.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

maybe just to be more understanding of chronic conditions. So many people say to me “it’s great to see you better” but the reality is i’m never really better, i’m just getting by.

Also I get nasty looks a lot when I park in a disabled park. Just because my condition is invisible does not mean I am not disabled.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?

Not really. There are not many groups for my condition in the UK but I found support and people with my illness on Facebook and that has really helped me to learn.

Where can people find you out in the world?
*Blog https://www.theinspirationedit.com/
*YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2pXbt6jyS8iM4plsTFtNyA
*FaceBookhttps://www.facebook.com/theinspirationedit/
*Twitter https://twitter.com/Inspire_Edit
*Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/102124377100011897038
*Instagram https://www.instagram.com/theinspirationedit/
*Pintrest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/inspirationedit/
*Email angela@daysinbed.com

❤❤ Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed Angela! ❤ ❤

I hope that my readers got as much value as I did from your Q&A

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/category/disability-qa-campaign/




Blind Girl Hacks: Top 10 Uses For Vaseline

Blind Girl Hacks; 10 Fab Uses of Vaseline.

There are some things in life which I believe every girl needs,; yes you’ve guessed it Vaseline! Not only is it cheap but vaseline is multi-purpose! here are just a few ideas that I’ve found Vaseline to be fantastic for! And as a blind girl, it’s a double positive!

Primer

This may not be an original thought for those of you who are into beauty and make up, but as an emergency Vaseline can be used as a primer! It gives your face the smooth and glossy look, while also moisturising your skin!

Fix Eyeliner

Whether you’r a pro at putting on eyeliner, or you are just starting out with experimenting Vaseline is a handy way of removing excess eyeliner. Simply uses a cotton bud with a small amount on the end and rub the thickest part of the eyeliner.It will remove it, without messing up the rest of your make up!

Teeth

Sounds a bit strange right? But applying a little amount on your top 6 teeth before applying lipstick will make sure that not only will your lips not stick to your teeth, but if you do have a lipstick stain it can be quickly removed!

 




Lipstick

Applying a thin layer of Vaseline on your lips a minute or so before applying lipstick will give your lipstick extra hold and extra shine.

Lipstick II

Not a big fan of lipstick, or just forgotten it?
Use a cotton bud or lipstick brush and add about a pea-sized amount of Vaseline to the tip.
Using your finger add some eyeshadow to the brush/bud, and gently mix the two. You can now apply your new lipstick shade to your lips.

Highlight/Shine

Add Vaseline to your brow line, cheekbone and cupids bow to give that highlighted/shimmer effect.

Makeup Remover

If your make up isn’t budging with soap and warm water, apply Vaseline to the area and gently wipe with a cotton pad. Be careful around your eye area!
Applying Vaseline to your eyelashes helps give a glossier shine as well as helps the lashes to grow!

Nails

Applying nail polish can be a pain, especially with limited or no vision. Make sure to put a healthy amount around each nail before painting them, it stops the nail polish from staining the finger, and makes the excess easy to remove with a cotton pad.

NailsII

Gently massaging Vaseline into your nails is a great way of keeping your cuticles soft and healthy! If you’re lucky enough to not get varnish on your fingers, use the excess to rub into your cuticles, instead of removing it!
Make sure your nails are dry first! 🙂

Perfume

Applying Vaseline on your sweet spots beforehand, such as wrists, inner elbow and collarbone, keeps the fragrance lasting longer throughout the day.
Don’t rub your perfume, dab it!

I really hope these tips were useful, they certainly make my life easier 🙂

Much love,
Sassy x




How to Rock Your Disability

When you’re dealing with a disability, many people will say ‘don’t let your disability define you’. Well, that’s easier said than done, because your disability does somewhat define you. But, it doesn’t have to destroy you. There may be certain things that you’re unable to by yourself or unable to do period. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. In fact, many people have achieved amazing things because of their disability. Take Jim Abbott for instance – a major league baseball player with a deformed right arm. If you’re ready to take the world by storm, here’s how to do it.

Quote in the coulds I have within me all the dreams in the world
Flickr

Don’t Be Afraid to Dream
Your disability may hinder you in some ways, but dreaming of the future is still important. It’s also important to recognise that dreams can evolve. So, if you dreamt of doing something or being someone when you were younger but your disability means you can’t reach that goal, keep dreaming. For example, if you dreamed of becoming a ballerina but you haven’t got full use of your legs, you can still join wheelchair dance classes, and perhaps dream about opening a dance school for disabled children in the future. Try creating a dream board for inspiration. Your possibilities are never completely burnt out.

You Are Not Your Weakness
In fact, a disability isn’t a weakness at all. If you’re willing to look at it from a different perspective, your disability could be your biggest strength. Thankfully, there are many new and innovative disability aids that will allow you to have as much independence in life as possible. One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities is dealing with the views of others. You may be as positive as you can be about your disability, only to run into someone who treats you like a child or see’s you as nothing more than a disability. In these circumstances, you have to be the most confident person in the room and assert your independence. Show people how smart and beautiful you are. Every time you do, you become an advocate for every other person suffering with a disability.

A lady looking at the camera Eating an Apple
Flickr

Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When you have to live with a disability, there will undoubtedly be times where you feel like giving up. You may suffer with bouts of depression and anxiety and you may not want to make the effort to look after yourself. You may even turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the way you feel about your body and your life. If you need help recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, visit www.orlandorecovery.com/ and get some support. It’s also important to have a healthy diet and get as much exercise and fresh air as possible. All three of those things contribute to good mental health and encourage a good mood. If you’re living with a disability, taking good care of yourself is vital.

Know Your Limits
Pushing yourself to reach your goals and striving for independence is wonderful. But, there will be times when you need help. No man is an island. It’s okay to ask for help when you know you need it. If you push yourself too hard, you could damage your health and risk the plans you have in store for your future. When it comes to stress, you’re just like everyone else. Make sure you take well-earned breaks on a regular basis. It’s also beneficial to develop a good support network of family, friends and medical professionals. That way, when you’re really in need of some help, you have plenty of people to rely upon.

Picture of a glass with the quote because the glass really is half full

Flickr

Think Positively

Stephen Hawking once said, ‘Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically’. Sometimes, the first thing you need to do in order to live positively is to accept your disability. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with it and that’s that. But, that doesn’t mean the world has to be full of doom and gloom. It would be easy for you to become negative because of what you have to live with, but that’s not what you want, is it? Here are some tips on positive thinking – http://www.success.com/article/7-practical-tips-to-achieve-a-positive-mindset. Do your best to stay positive, even in the midst of hopelessness. Let your personality shine brighter than your disability and forgive anyone that offends you.

As a disabled person, you’re faced with something that can seem almost impossible. But, don’t let your disability turn into a mountain you can’t climb. You have what it takes to reach your goals, no matter what your disability is. Find ways to jump over your obstacles and always look for the positive in every situation.

Bar Smith’s Farringdon: A Tiki Review

Bar Smith’s Farringdon: A Tiki review.

What is the Tiki culture?
The Tiki culture can be traced back to a man named DonThe Beach Comber. He was Texan born but knew that there was a world outside of the states so he went to explore.
His travels took him to the rum centred Caribbean and South Pacific. He loved the laid back lifestyle and on his return home opened a bar to recreate his adventures, the bar was like stepping onto a Caribbean island and he made the cocktails to match.

I was invited to attend Bar Smith’s in Farringdon to try the Tiki menu, to say I was excited would be an understatement. If you know me, you know I’m a lover of cocktails, so I was very much looking forward to having a taste.

Arriving at Farringdon, which is wheelchair accessible, we headed to St John’s Street, just a 2 minute walk from the station.

Upon entry to Bar Smith’s there was 3 steps leading into the bar, with no accessible ramp, but once inside it definitely felt like we were transported to a beach holiday.
The bar was a large open area with tall tables and high chairs, alongside lower table and chairs dotted around the space.
It was very rustic and dark which complimented the Caribbean relaxed vibe.

We were approached by a member of staff who asked if we wanted a table for two.We agreed. At this point he said that he would go and check with his manager to see if my dog was allowed inside
I politely explained that she was a working dog and she is allowed in, but he went off to ask anyway.
On his return he had 2 members of staff with him, one being the manager.
They said that the dog wasn’t allowed in. but we could stay. Again, I explained that Ida is a Guide Dog and legally she is allowed in.
I was told that the dog could stay if I ate outside.
Needless to say I was not a happy bunny, and I explained this, alongside stating that I was here for review purposes.
Their tune quickly changed.

We were then sat at a lower table, given menu’s and left to it for a few minutes, Ellie couldn’t see a Tiki menu so we asked for one.

cocktail menu at the tiki bar

Ellie and I both ordered pizza: I ordered the beef rib and Ellie ordered the Hawaiian .
As we were here to review the Tiki, we couldn’t not order a cocktail! Ellie opted for the Navy Grog which alongside the was out of ingredients, so we both went for the XOXO, very tasty indeed!

Our food arrived promptly and was plentiful. As Ellie and I are such little things we took our time eating the pizza’s, I managed to finish mine because i’m a fat pig, Ellie on the other hand did not…
It was a good 10 minutes after we had finished that Ellie caught the waiters eye and asked for some more drinks, the bar was very quiet, but staff didn’t seem to be around.

Beef Rib and tomato pizza

Ham and pineapple pizza

We ordered one more cocktail each, Ellie had a Pina Colada and I opted for the Tiki classic of A Zombie, they went down rather quickly…

Two Easter head style cups with ice and a straw poking out the top

We headed to the bathroom and I was disappointed to see that there was no disabled toilet.The toilet cubicles were small and the taps were quite high, this would not be accessible for a wheelchair user.

As we were in no rush to leave Ellie and I stayed for another 15 minutes or so, chilling and chatting.
The atmosphere was somewhat spoiled by a man climbing a ladder and fixing lights off to our right.
We left with our empty plates still on the table.

Although the food was very tasty and the cocktails were delightful, I don’t think i’ll be returning to Bar Smith’s Farringdon in the future.

Accessibility: 1/5
The tube station was the only accessible part of our experience.

Quality of service: 2/5
There were only 4 things on the Tiki menu, 3 of which being pizza, I originally asked for the salad but they had run out of ingredients.
Although the food was tasty and came quickly, the waiter failed to ask if we wanted more drinks, and did not take away our plates.

Hospitality: 1/5
I was made to feel very unwelcome because of Ida, even after I explained that she was a Guide Dog.
There was also a lot of confusion with regards to the bill, I explained that I was attending for review purposes…. I’m not too sure this information was passed onto the floor staff.

*I was invited by Bar Smith’s for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Understanding M.e. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)

Hi, I’m Ellen! Sassy has kindly given me the opportunity to write a bit about ME, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and my mum’s experience of suffering from it. I think it is so important to raise awareness and I have included some tips for anyone who wants to help somebody suffering from the illness.

In 2011 my mum was diagnosed with ME after many months of feeling very ill and numerous doctor and hospital appointments.




What is ME?

It’s not easy to define what ME is due to many different symptoms and theories as to what causes it. Some say it is a neurological disorder, others an immune dysfunction, but much research is still needed.

How ME effects my Mum:
ME effects people differently and can vary in its severity. For my mum, in addition to an overwhelming tiredness she gets body aches, pains, dizziness and nausea. And I’m talking 24/7. It’s like having bad flu every single day to the point where you can’t get out of bed.
One of the hardest things for suffers is the lack of understanding. You can look well on the surface or perhaps be having a good day but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. The next day might be a very different story. It’s much more than just feeling ‘a bit tired’ and can’t be made better by a good night’s sleep!
The stigma around ME:
Many doctors, (though not all!), don’t understand ME, probably due to not knowing the cause of it. Some can be unsympathetic and dismissive. It’s important to find a doctor who understands and supports you as this is the first step in being diagnosed and feeling better.
How to support someone who is suffering with ME:
Depending on the severity, developing ME can completely change your life, in some cases leaving you bed ridden. If you know someone suffering here are some ways you can help:
• Don’t tell them that they just need ‘a good night sleep’ or to take ‘a refreshing walk in the countryside’ to feel better. The only way to manage ME is to allow your body to rest and pace your activities every day.
• My mum can’t easily plan ahead as she never knows whether she will be having a good or bad day so be flexible and understanding. Plans may need to be adapted to include less walking for example.
• Encourage them to take time out each day to rest. This is the main way my mum can manage her illness. If it means having a Spanish style siesta each day, go for it! And don’t let them feel guilty for missing out on things!
• Offer to help with the more mundane life chores e.g cleaning/walking the dog. It means they can save more energy for the fun things!
But it’s not all bad news! When first diagnosed my mum couldn’t even walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and had to spend months in bed. But now she leads a normal yet slower paced life by building in time each day to rest! Most people improve over time and are even cured after 5-10 years. It’s all about balance and staying positive!
In a funny way I think my mums ME has actually bought some positives to her life. She takes a lot more time for herself and has rediscovered hobbies and interests that she’d given up during the usual frenetic pace of life. Now I’m older I look back and realise how hard it must have been, even at her worst she was always there to pick me up from school and cook me dinner and never complained about how ill she was. She’s an amazing mum!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, come and say hi at www.ohhelloellen.com or on Twitter




Sorry For My Absence

I’m sorry for my absence. I’ve been contemplating writing this for a while now. But i’ve been holding back.
The reason for this is that i’ve begun overcomplicating things in my own mind.

I started this blog to share with you the rollercoaster ride that seems to be my life. I wanted to share everything from the highs to the lows hopefully attempting to show that although having a disability sucks sometimes, there’s a lot in life for us all to be grateful for, and in my case, find the funny side of it all.

As more time went on I realised I didn’t just want to share my story but share other people’s stories too.
I wanted to be a platform for people to learn something new, become more open minded and even to be a resource to for those who may be seeking it.

I have a thirst for knowledge and a passion to educate and support others.I put my energy into creating content that I hoped would be of use to others, and put my own thoughts and stories on the back burner, until I thought they would be of use.
I’m open and honest on this blog and fingers crossed it’s somewhat entertaining…

But i’ve been overcomplicating things… I wanted my blog to be a resource, a platform, a network and a home to share it all.
I started my campaigns in the hopes of creating a community. I wanted to be inclusive of everyone; fromAutism to arthritis or cystic fibrosis to depression, right through to those that care for people with a disability.

My #DisabilityQ&A took off, and I was excited to be sharing peoples’ stories, and i’m extremely grateful for those of you who got involved!

I tried my best to create the same enthusiasm with my other campaigns, as well as trying to encourage those with any #Disability to get on board with no avail.
I was disheartened somewhat but I had a million and one other ideas for blog posts that I thought would be interesting and useful. So I kept going.

Blogging not only became my passion, but it became an obsession. If I wasn’t writing content I was thinking of what material to use and researched it to make sure my facts were correct.
I joined in fabulous linkys, I had a tribe and I spent all my spare time talking to bloggers, reading their awesome blogs and promoting as much as I could.

I was having the best time, I was making new friends around the globe, learning new things and achieving what I hoped with my little corner of the internet.

But then I began to overcomplicate everything.

I was in a tribe that were all on a similar level to each other, constantly supporting one another and giving continuous encouragement and praise.
It was fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and kind bunch of people to be around.

But the further I delved into the blogging world the more I realised how technical things got.
I was knee deep in blog posts or conversations that revolved around stats, branding and monitisation.

I became interested in raising my stats; the prospect of working with brands who could help further my campaigns, give my blog exposure and in turn become the platform I hoped it could be.I thought I could really make a difference; doing reviews, giving talks and getting more people to share their trials and triumphs.

I was eager and excited at the prospect of doing something good: exposing other campaigners and my little blog being recognised for creating a community of support and resources.

So I joined blogging groups, blogging platforms that would connect brands with bloggers and even emailed PR’s and organisations to introduce myself and explained my ambitions for the blog.

And that’s where things became complicated.

I quickly realised that I was too niche for brands, PR’s and even organisations to want to work with me.
Review opportunities came in the form of fashion, kids accessories, beauty or luxury jewellery.
These reviews were not quite what I was looking for, and the odd time I thought I could work with a brand to review things from a disability standpoint I was stopped at the first hurdle.
“5000 followers minimum to apply”

I appreciate each and every follower and reader of my blog.I want people to follow me because they have a genuine interest in my blog and my campaigns.
I’m not a parent blogger, fashion or beauty blogger.
Although I have interest in fashion and beauty i’m not going to pretend I follow the latest trends… I have little to no knowledge of these things to even warrant blogging about them.

I was also getting nowhere with contacting PR’s/ organisations via email. The few times I was lucky to get a response I was congratulated for what I was trying to achieve but ultimately they did not have the time or budget to work with me.

At this point I was surrounded by fabulous bloggers acing it with stats, brand work and even getting paid work! I couldn’t be happier for my friends,but I found it increasingly overwhelming and at points unworthy to be in their company.

I wasn’t achieving what they were.

Even the bloggers I was reaching out to for my campaigns seemed no longer interested in joining them.

I became deflated and even at times frustrated… I was trying to make my blog into a place that was more about the community than it was about me.

Even though I had blog post ideas zooming around my mind and cluttering up my drafts; I started posting less and focused more on promoting the blogs myself and others had already taken the time to write.
After a while I slowed down on the amount of linkys I joined too.
I began to notice that unless I was one of the first people to link up, my posts I pretty much got ignored.
I used to spend hours reading and commenting on blogs and even sharing them over my social media, but the less often I shared or commented I began realising that people clearly weren’t interested in my blog.
It had become a: you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours mentality…

Aside from the few people that genuinely enjoyed reading my blog, left me meaningful comments or shared my posts my stats dropped faster than an avalanche.

At this point I was done with spreading the blog love. I put 100% effort into my posts, and I wanted nothing more than to educate people who had little to no knowledge of disabilities and be a place for those with disabilities to find support and even new ideas.

By the time I had been in hospital for a week: after breaking my leg I wasn’t even sure if I should blog about it.
I’d become so wrapped up in wanting to be a space to share knowledge, ideas and experiences I thought people wouldn’t be interested in hearing my holiday dramas.

I began my blog to share my story, yet in my mind I feel it’s become something bigger than that.
I guess that it’s because I wonder often, what makes me so special that I should spend day after day talking about myself.
What is it that makes me more interesting than any other blind or disabled person out there?

And the answer is, there isn’t.

I’m just another blind person talking about their disability.

But it’s my space.

If my little corner of the internet can educate one person or give another disabled person a someone to relate to then i’ve done my job.

Stats, brands and opportunities are great, but this is no longer my focus.
Of course if a worthwhile opportunity were to come knocking, I would grab it with both hands.
But most importantly i’m grateful for my lot, and anything else is a bonus.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
– Theodore Roosevelt.

The Joys of A&E

Gary and I headed off to A&E on Friday morning as previously discussed by the Doctors and ourselves in Malta.
We are extremely grateful to our friends for picking us up from the airport, and then kindly carrying me to the sofa! As I had been in a foreign hospital I had no wheelchair or crutches to aid me; only the people around me!

Thankfully A&e wasn’t too packed, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be seen. I was given a set of crutches and an appointment to the fracture clinic for Monday morning to discuss surgery.

And we were sent on our merry way.

*****
Around 5 AM Sunday morning I woke up in considerable pain, my leg felt like it was having the life squeezed out of it, I took some painkillers and by 06:30 things hadn’t improved, I was starting to seriously worry; I had no DVT injection since Thursday and I was beginning to worry there might be something sinister going on.

(Fondaparinux injection is used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT; a blood clot, usually in the leg. It is given to those who have had a recent leg operation or have severely restricted movement in the legs from an accident.)
Gary and I went straight to A&E; I wasn’t seen by a doctor until 10:00.

I explained everything from my accident, handing over my discharge letter along with x-ray and CT scan, to the fracture clinic appointment, to the pain I was feeling, the Doctor did all the checks and said that I did have circulation flowing and there wasn’t anything to be concerned about. It wasn’t until I stressed that this pain had become increasingly worse daily that he decided to keep me monitored until I could speak to an orthopaedic doctor.
Gary and I made it clear that I was blind, but I don’t think this was passed onto the HCA taking my OBs; he just stood their silently waiting for me to hold my arm out and then finger so he could take my blood pressure and pulse…
Regardless of my sight loss I thought it was almost rude that he came into the cubicle without a word, moved about quietly and then expected to take my OBs in silence and stalk off again… There has been a change in the law that people with extra needs who attend NHS centres should be given notes/ leaflets/ medical information in a format preferred by the patient. So for me that would be; verbal communication as to who they are, what they are doing in the room, talking openly about my care, and any medical information to be given to me via email.
This was never discussed with me, but as it wasn’t exactly high on my priority list I decided not to mention it.

When my 4 hours in A&E were up; a nurse explained that I had filled my quota of A&E hours and I had to go elsewhere for monitoring and waiting to see the Doctor in charge of Orthopaedics.
Discussing with the nurse as she moved us elsewhere in the hospital it’s clear that the medical professionals are aggravated by the government putting this in place.
If I were to stay longer than my quota she would get it in the neck from her bosses!
How ridiculous is it that the government are more bothered about number crunching than patients and their welfare!

My family and I were put on a ward and told that they couldn’t give us a time, but the Doctor would be with us when he could.
We laughed and joked, and waited around for at least an hour and half before we began getting impatient. My Dad and Gary were giving us hangry eyes; so Mother and i sent them off to make us some breakfast sandwiches 🙂
Thankfully for us Gary and I live around the corner from the hospital so it was easy enough for Gary and Dad to pop home, make brunch and bring it back.
Sausage and bacon sandwiches with a cup of tea was just what we all needed! Thinking back now, it was very tasty and I was extremely grateful to the boys, even if it was more for their benefit than either mine or my Mum’s 😉

We waited for at least another hour before my Mother decided to go and investigate as to what was going on, she came across a bunch of nurses just sitting on their phones not doing any work!
Upon enquiring she was given an “we don’t know what’s going on”comment.
Mother didn’t take no for an answer and eventually we were told that the Doctor we were waiting on was in surgery and would see us when he was out…
Although annoying that we hadn’t been given this information before, at least we finally knew what all the waiting around was for!

Eventually we saw the Doctor. From the x-rays he had seen the fracture was severe and definitely needed surgery, but as the hospital couldn’t access the CT scans that i had brought over with me from Malta, he couldn’t make an informed decision of how to repair the leg properly.

CT scan give for more detailed information than an x-ray. I was told that I could possibly have the surgery as early as the next morning, so I was to prepare myself by eating and drinking nothing after midnight and I would get a phone call in the morning to let me know if I would be having surgery.
It was a long day; we didn’t leave the hospital until around 14:30 but at least we had cut out the middle man of going through this all the following day at the fracture clinic.:)
** * * *
I hope you haven’t had to attend A&e, but if you have, what were your experiences with it?



Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Find A Way To Shine No Matter What

Find a Way to Shine, No Matter What

By Jennifer Hansford (@HansfordJen-twitter)

My life’s ambition has always been to inspire people and give them hope in some way. I want to do this, because I have always needed something or someone to give me hope too, and I know how important it is.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I can walk, and to do things pretty independently, but I do have a distorted way of walking, which I have always been self-conscious of, as people would often stare at me, or say mean things.
When I was around 9 years old, and in fourth grade, I had an operation on my hip, and tendons in my legs. In the process of my recovery I had to learn to walk again. It was pretty painful, but I have always been a determined person, and nothing in my life has been easy, so this was just another thing for me to get through.

I was made fun of a lot as a child, because of the way I walk, and sometimes even in my high school years. I remember one particular girl who was in one of the same classes as I was, who had started to say some things to me that I didn’t like. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember losing my patience with the situation and saying to her, something like, ‘I don’t appreciate being made fun of for something I can’t control.’ She left me alone after that.
The one place I did feel like I belonged, was in college, where I studied journalism. School became like a second home to me, and I had the best professors in the world. My main professor, the one who taught us about reporting and newspaper layout, was one of the reasons I have always tried to remain in the journalism field. I remember him telling me, “If I give you a story that you can’t get to (possibly because of stairs, or something that might be difficult to navigate) just tell me, and I’ll put you on another one,” or perhaps he would find a way to get me to the one that was assigned to me. He told me there should be no reason why I shouldn’t have a great career in the field. Sometimes, though, the rest of society doesn’t share this type of attitude.
I have only freelanced for various publications, and I liked doing that, but I wanted to have a staff job at a newspaper, so I could feel like I had a ‘real career.’ A lot of staff jobs were unattainable for me, since I can’t drive on my own, which is why I liked freelancing. I could get around by bus, or someone driving me, and the editor was non-the-wiser, since I had never met my editors in person. I wasn’t judged by how I got my story finished, and they were unaware of my physical disability. They were just happy with the finished product. I had gone to an employment agency that is supposed to help people with disabilities get a job they want, and had asked them to call newspapers on my behalf, and assure them that I am perfectly qualified and able to do the actual job of researching, and writing an article, even though getting around has to be done in a different way than anyone else would. The worker I spoke to told me she wasn’t going to do that, and that if a career in journalism was going to happen for me, it would have happened by now.
This is the kind of attitude I wish I could help get rid of in society. Those who are ‘advocating’ for people with disabilities, especially should not have this attitude. I guess that’s part of the reason why I have an interest in journalism. Everyone has a story, and some people need others to make that story known. Everyone needs a voice, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I wanted to be the one to share those stories, and bring awareness to things that need attention and respect.

Two years, however, I developed health issues with my throat, which left me not being able to swallow food properly. I have lost a lot of weight, and also lost a lot of my hair, which I’m assuming is because of poor nutrition. I’m very weak most of the time and sleep a lot during the day, so I do my creating at night. I didn’t want to completely give up on all my writing goals, so I created my blog called Exuding Energy. This is a place for me to still do some form of article writing, as I find people willing to share their stories, ask them questions, then write about it. I decided to focus on what, and who, inspires people to keep trying to achieve their goals, while they are facing challenges or difficult times, because blogging became my way of staying positive during my own struggles.
This is my way of still sharing people’s stories and giving them a voice, while still giving myself a voice too. To all the people who also have disabilities, whatever they may be, I hope you’ll continue to do what it is that makes you happy, no matter how you have to do it. We may have to do things differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it well…Right?
If you have a story to share, I hope you’ll share it with me. I also have a YouTube channel, which will be based on my blog (I only have two videos posted right now, but I hope you’ll check them out), so if you have any video or photos to accompany your story and wouldn’t mind me making a video version of your story, please feel free to send them along as well.

The link to my blog-https://theexudeblog.wordpress.com/

The link to my YouTube page-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQydLY3VDFXOxoz0gQ1qsyg

Thanks so much to Sassy for allowing me to share my story on your blog!