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Ally at Every Crooked Step Forward: Well, there goes that plan.
We, as members of the disabled community, do not need you to represent us, artistically or otherwise. We need to be given the opportunity to represent ourselves. We do not exist to provide you something interesting to look at, dissect, discuss, or parody. We do not exist to provide you with thinking points or talking points. We are not a theme. We are not the gun on the wall. We are not here to make a point to you about the preciousness of life, the resiliency of the human spirit, or even how fucking weird the world can be. Our lives are not made meaningful by enriching or educating you. We do not need you to make our lives meaningful.
To make a long, painful story very short, she’s had a shocking, nightmarish experience at Mount Holyoke, which you would expect to be a liberal, supportive environment since it’s a women’s college. She was led to believe everything would be in place for her arrival and that disability services there were top notch. However, it’s been a nightmare. She was unable to eat in the cafeteria the first two months of school because the student workers told her she couldn’t bring a dog in. Disability services told her they weren’t sure what they could do, because not all student workers might understand an email saying they couldn’t refuse her service. She was given a room on a third floor that her scooter wouldn’t fit in, and when she complained she was told to leave her expensive piece of medical equipment in the lobby. When they finally moved her to a new dorm room, she had to go across campus to shower in her old dorm because they didn’t install grab bars in her shower.
Stephen Kuusisto at Planet of the Blind: Disability and Its Discontents
Most of this blog’s readers are familiar with this puzzle, many of them are, like me, living that puzzle. Many of them are alertly, day by day building lives of evident accomplishments with or in spite of disabilities; many are still misunderstood when they’re on street. “How do you know when you dog has made a poopy?” asks a woman. And one wants to say, “Well I have an advanced degree Madame.” Mostly one winces. Moreover, one says something benign: “They teach you about that at the Guide Dog School”.
The Vancouver Sun: No sugar-coating for disability exhibit
For disability rights activist Catherine Frazee, the personal overlaps with the political even when she doesn’t intend it. That happened with Frazee’s recent journey to Vancouver from Toronto for Out From Under, a unique exhibition on the social history of disability in Canada.[…]
The only option for her was to take the train. Frazee was willing to make sacrifices to travel out west, such as sleeping in her electric wheelchair. She can’t be separated from her wheelchair, which is uniquely customized to her body’s needs. At times, for example, she has to tilt it slightly back to help with her breathing. When she contacted Via Rail, she was told that she and her wheelchair had to travel separately. […]
From Toronto, Frazee and Seeley drove south to Chicago where they got on a train that had a railcar with an accessible room. They travelled across the U.S. to Seattle, where they rented a van with a ramp and drove north to Vancouver. The irony of not being able to cross the country for a disability exhibition during the Winter Paralympic Games wasn’t lost on Frazee, one of the country’s most articulate advocates for the rights of the disabled.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International is sending 350 specially designed extra-durable wheelchairs to Haiti to help those who need them most.
Have you seen the movie Murderball? The Internet Movie Database calls it, “a film about paraplegics who play full-contact rugby in Mad Max-style wheelchairs.” While rugby and extreme sports have little to do with Haiti at the moment, wheelchairs sure do, especially “Mad Max-style” ones. In a situation where towns are covered in rubble and many people have severe injuries from the recent earthquakes, there’s a desperate need for low-cost, durable wheelchairs.
Patients, who typically expect doctors to be invincible and need them to be on top of their game, had to know, too. Word spread swiftly.
One patient in the throes of treatment texted Webster, asking how she was. Webster remembers replying: “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be back.” The woman, adamant that sometimes — even in the stoic world of medicine — the tables turn, wrote, “No. We get to worry about you, too.” […]
She lived in a three-story townhouse, and just managing the stairs would be a hefty challenge. She’d need rides to doctor and therapy appointments, not to mention assistance with routine household tasks, especially during the hours when her partner, another busy physician, wasn’t around to help.
As patients offered to assist, Webster wrestled with the question: Was it OK to let them?