kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
Wheelchair physics -- deliberately designed to be generally accessible and written by a physicist in collaboration with a wheelchair user. Links onward to a more in-depth PDF, which is probably something to read after I've slept...
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
Lots and lots of tweaking has happened over the past few days -- I've brought the footplate up a fraction, I've adjusted the upholstery tension, I've removed the arm rests and anti-tips, and I've swapped a drinks bottle holder onto it. A, meanwhile, has provided Sheer Brute Force and willingness to do fiddly little bits, and (a) got the axle bar moving for me and subsequently tightened it up again (so it's now medium tippy as opposed to not-even-remotely tippy), and (b) swapped the brakes over between chairs, so I've got scissor rather than push brakes on it.

So far I've used it getting home from Edinburgh on Saturday (with flat tyres, pre-tweaking) and out & about Sunday and today (post-major-tweaking).

Read more... )

<3<3<3

Jun. 11th, 2016 06:23 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
I am on the East Coast Mainline, sat on the left-hand side in the direction of travel, getting to stare down the cliffs onto bays full of dykes (of the igneous rather than queer persuasion), having picked up a new-to-me wheelchair in Edinburgh by dint of a friend's willingness to collect it from West Lothian, and the gorse and red campions are out and the buildings are Old Red Sandstone and this is amazing (I'm in heaven, I'm in heaven, this is the best thing I have ever seen) -- just: yes, yes, thank you.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(content note for mention of misgendering with a happy ending!)

Popped in today to talk about additional paperwork for academia purposes. He's perfectly cheerful about writing a letter to the effect that I'm well enough to resume studies, but the amount of physio/medical appointments/etc I have to do isn't compatible with working full-time.

We also got chatting about sports wheelchairs and The New Chair (I've just booked train tickets to go and pick it up and I am so excited) -- I get the impression he's a cyclist, and therefore goes oooOOOOOooh when you point out you've got Spinergy wheels on, and that wheelchair wheels are basically the same thing as high-end bike wheels.

And while he was distracted by all that, he referred to me using an inappropriately gendered pronoun in the notes he was making, caught himself, apologised appropriately, and rephrased entirely without input from me.

I genuinely hadn't even noticed that he'd spent the past however-long-it's-been carefully making sure that he doesn't misgender me in my medical records.

I am doing a small good cry about it, okay.
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
... would you site your showroom and workshop:

(a) near well-serviced public transport links,
(b) somewhere with decent pavements,
(c) five miles from a train station that's only accessible while staffed, because while unstaffed they turn the lift off,
(d) on an industrial estate with few (poorly surfaced) pavements, fewer dropped kerbs, and non-existent maps, or
(e) c and d, for bonus points IN THE SNOW.

You know. Hypothetically.

(I am mostly amused. I am also very firmly of the opinion that I am going to find a mother or a partner or a someone to drive me back out there for collection rather than public transporting it again, not least because the cheaper route turns out to contain Lichfield Trent Valley station, which for reference is a terrible idea and Not A Friend. In case you were wondering.)
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
Pull requests made: 13 16 18 (with a few more probably to come)

Attendees: twelve I think (in addition to general hanging out in IRC)

Other bug progress: [personal profile] hunningham and [personal profile] pseudomonas did loads of work on big projects, [personal profile] shortcipher has done a lot of testing, [personal profile] cesy has made serious headway on an automated test suite, and [personal profile] me_and has written a feature spec

Longest telecommutes: [personal profile] swaldman had this one cornered (at ~725 miles) until the Australian contingent rocked up (thereby neatly overtaking the San Franciscans and Seattlites); video calls worked, eventually.

Wiki pages edited: SEVERAL.

Issues filed: five (#1604, #1608, #1609, #1612, #1613)

Naps taken: three

Wheelchair tyres changed: two

Slightly suspect soldering jobs: one

Food made: white bean dip & smitten kitchen's chickpea thing, macaroni cheese, sweet potato chilli, couscous, rice, parsley-tomato-cucumber-preserved lemon-pomegranate salad, apple-honey cake, gingerbread-apple upside-down cake (recipe via smitten kitchen; nb you can substitute yoghurt + a little water for the buttermilk), Apfelstrudel (family recipe I should probably write up), lemon meringue pie (with more reasonable meringue)

State of the kitchen: astonishingly non-wrecked.

Next (in-person) event: Saturday 20th February & surrounding, probably. Watch this space for details! (With an option on having me do something virtual or less over-catered sooner if folk are in favour.)

Thank you all so, so much. <3
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Thing that are not terrible and also do not begin with P:

1. My baby brother phoned me this evening to vent about SPSS and request tech support as an excuse for catching up with me and it was lovely.

2. I heard someone asking a member of cleaning staff how to get to Leicester Square. There was perplexity and some problem with accents. I provided assistance in the form of detailed instructions, then checked the Earl's Court Thought for the Day on my way out, and it was about unexpected kindness, and I briefly felt less like shit.

3. I'm really enjoying seeing all the Canadians I know on tumblr being dazed and tentatively hopeful about politics. There are multiple aboriginal/Native ministers. The cabinet is 50% women, because it's 2015. The Minister for Science is a scientist who's served on the IPCC. 50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet.

4. My local bike shop has got in a replacement pump head and a new set of tyres for me, and I have in all the necessary parts to peer suspiciously over [personal profile] me_and's shoulder while he applies a theoretically-straightforward fix to my power brick, whereupon taken altogether my big chair will work properly again and it will be a great relief.

5. Hot chocolate. Utterly ridiculous hot chocolate with mixed spice and condensed milk and plum brandy.

6. After having an enormous grump late last week and early this about my literature review (and massive thanks to each & every one of you who provided pep talks) I'm now feeling rather more confident about my framing and approach and am kind of enjoying working on it? Obvious sources of stress are obvious, but. Enjoying working on it. That's definitely a thing.

7. your blue-eyed boys. my e-reader.

8. I have acquired all the necessary ingredients for planned baking (bar buttermilk, which I am happy to work my way around not having). Ergo tomorrow all I have to do is Cook All The Things. (Planned: macaroni cheese, Apfelstrudel, two varieties of apple cake, as much stewed apple as I have jars for, a vat of chickpea thing, a vat of chilli, and the start of lemon meringue pie.) (Prep done tonight: loaf of bread started; fennel and garlic laid out for roasting.)

9. I picked up another bag of apples from my parents' this afternoon, and additionally liberated a jar of quince jelly made by my mother's own fair hand, an avocado, and the aforementioned fennel.

10. I'm not enjoying the shit my brain is throwing at me but I am at least recognising it as distortions, and employing coping mechanisms around it.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
The proximate impetus to write this is that I'm trying to get back into the swing of technical, information-dense long-form writing. The motivation with respect to content, however, is that there's a whole lot of information about all this stuff and I found it utterly overwhelming when I was first seriously looking at mobility aids, especially in a cultural context that is hellbent on insisting that it's far more important that we look "normal" than that we be comfortable or capable. Form over function, as applied to people, is something that makes me particularly cross. Ergo.

The focus of this guide is manual wheelchairs for everyday active independent use by people who can stand and walk to some extent.

Contents


  • Orientation

    • Price points
    • There are lots of correct choices

  • Decisions

    • Materials
    • Frame
    • Footplates
    • Wheels
    • Seating
    • Additional features

  • Process

    • Measurements
    • Acquisition

  • Recommendations

    • Accessories
    • Aspirational


Read more... )
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
I react to being described as "in" a wheelchair (as opposed to using a wheelchair) by snarling, and I've just (in response to a Sociological Images article The NYC subway to a person in a wheelchair) worked out some more of the why.

There's part the first, which is that it's inherently passive terminology that obfuscates or elides my agency. But the thing I've just noticed, the actual big deal, is that it makes it sound as though me being in a wheelchair is a permanent and unalterable state, and that in turn contributes to the idea that if I can stand or walk at all I shouldn't be using one, and that by using one I'm faking -- in a wheelchair precludes the possibility of being out of it. I'm pretty sure this framing contributes directly to strangers' horror if I stand up to reach something on a high shelf in a supermarket, or get up to carry my chair down a flight of stairs rather than taking a sloped half-mile detour, or what have you.

(There's other issues - who's surprised? - with that SocImages article, including the part where actually level and step-free access is important to all sorts of people. It's genuinely very important not to conflate "accessible" with "level access", or to conflate "level access" with "wheelchair accessible"; the former erases a very great many disabilities, and the latter assumes that all you need is flat surfaces and doesn't stop to think about whether aisles are wide enough or there's space set aside for wheelchair users to sit, or what have you. ... but there we go.)
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
so I was talking to the boything the other day about how I am very definite that I want who only by moving can balance/only by balancing move as soon as I work out who to commission to do the lettering for me, and I'm very certain I want it on my bicep, and he was being a bit baffled about this until I explained that the reason to have it on my arm is wheelchair user. (And also erstwhile pianist/harpsichordist, but hey.)

Which got him to talking about wheels as symbology. And, whoops, now I apparently want the outline of a circle (medium-thick, dark ink; cannot decide just yet whether black or v dark blue) about the size of a 2p piece, on my spine just below the nape of my neck/shoulders. Because: wheels and movement and the Moon and choices and decision-making and going in circles (every five years or so/I look back on my life/and I have a good laugh) and a reminder to not try carrying the world on my shoulders.

This is sufficiently straightforward that I might in fact get it for my birthday (in that I don't have to worry about lettering etc). Because it is a thing that Feels Right, and is absolutely a thing about which I'll keep inventing more symbology as I go along.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Fic. Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic, as recced to me by [personal profile] jedusaur, who was spot on, seriously, this is so good, it -- just -- everything. And similarly, though less fluffily, my end and my beginning by [personal profile] recessional (-ish the latest in your blue-eyed boys) is heartbreaking and grounding and amazing.

2. Other fanworks! In particular, today I have been having FEELINGS about this Orphan Black s1 fanvid set to Vienna Teng's Closer to Home, because it is perfect.

3. I made it to my wheelchair dealer and back without messing up public transport at all! It was pretty astonishing! I mostly didn't panic! My chair has been tuned up, I've got my repaired wheel back (thank you all, seriously, so much), and I had a good chat with someone else who was getting a chair tuned up.

4. I continue preposterously mushy about facesfriend in ways that are causing me great cheer, not least because he linked me to a bunch of photos (largely of LARP) to which my reaction was guh. For bonus points largest smallcousin grabbed me and was all SO YOU SAID YOU'D TELL ME ABOUT YOUR NEW BLOKE so I got to gossip with her, and it was great!.

5. My housemate made me pizza last night even though I was out, and I ate it all for lunch, and it was great and amazing and delicious and I am super super lucky.

6. SOFA WAS STILL THERE and housemate very patiently helped me get it down the stairs. It is now drying off a bit outside. I am assured that I only think it's incredibly vibrantly purple because I am a geologist, and it is in fact grey or possibly taupe. ('s purple.)

7. I did make it into work despite having to navigate public transport by myself, and got done some labwork that I've been blocking on (hurrah!). Now I just need to keep up momentum and go in tomorrow to do a bit more handling of Stuff, but that should be doable.

8. I tidied the kitchen! It was a multi-stage process but it made me happy, because having a clean kitchen is happy, and I sorted it out while housemate's guest cooked us dinner, and <3 (I also tidied my room a bit, HURRAH.)

9. Out of largely-idle curiousity I attempted a French plait on myself for the first time in several years and to my utter astonishment I did a reasonably tidy job, which means VICTORY and more specifically that I am going to do that thing more of the time as optimal for a. keeping hair off my face and b. my gender presentation (idek).

10. ... no okay pretty much you are all fantastic and I am so lucky to have you around me. Thank you, so so much; I am so grateful for your kindnesses & generosities & for how much you are willing to trust me. I will continue to do my best to deserve it. ♥

(AND ALSO: my Yuletide fic is well over wordcount and just needs another paragraph or two, then tidying, and I have finally worked out what on Earth is going on with it; and I have finished washing out a honey jar with decorative embossed glass bees on it to hold tealights for when I want Ritual Fire. And -- just -- yes. Yes.)
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
Alas, part of the reason I am so wrung out, so strung out, so tired and sad at the moment - is precisely that I have been living a life without a wheelchair in it, that I've been avoiding not been able to face the mechanics of getting it up stairs and dealing with buses and on and on and on. I just... can't. And in turn that means I get tireder, and it's all a bit grim.

Democracy is the worst form of government ever tried, and all that. I resent that I am ill enough to need a chair. I resent that it forces interactions in public space. I resent so much.

None of it is about resenting the chair. The chair means I can sit up without things hurting; the chair means travelling 500m doesn't exhaust me (I don't even know how to deal with the idea of gradually building up stamina when walking 500m on one or even two or three consecutive days isn't a problem, but beyond that I don't recover, I don't get better or stronger or faster, I just get ground down).

And yet: it is so difficult not to resent myself, not to resent the tools I need, because of the ways in which interaction with the world work. And it's further complicated by the fact that resenting my body ends up resenting the chair by implication, not because my body necessitates it but because it is part of my body. I'm not quite sure how to explain this to people without the relevant experience, but -- it's an insensate part of my body; thus the intimacy of people-who-are-permitted-to-touch-it-without-asking and thus the revulsion and horror and discomfort when people not in that set do.

Perhaps that is some of why I'm finding this hard to talk about: fundamentally I think I think about life-with-a-wheelchair in approximately the same way as I think about life-with-my-brain or life-with-my-hips: essential, unreliable, often inconvenient, doesn't play nicely with others, and of necessity something to nonetheless be kind and compassionate to. Over and over I learn patience, and I do what I can with what I have, and I keep my head down and get on and try not to break my heart dreaming about the impossible. Or, to circle back around: it's a lot like living with my brain.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
thank you all so, so much; I cannot even; I-- thank you. Thank you. Poems & individual thanks to come (though I am struggling to match up some of your names-as-reported-to-me with names-I-know-you-as).

I do not the words, at least not right now. <333
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
I have just received a quotation of £500 for repairs to and return shipping of one of my wheels. This is particularly frustrating because the problem started when I was wheeling on a level, even indoor surface (rather than being obviously related to any of the kerb-hopping I do), and consequently is being treated as a mechanical/electrical fault not covered by my insurance. Plus the wretched thing is out of warranty.

This is something I can do out of my savings, with a great deal of stress and a trip to Cambridge and eroding my buffer. Or it's a term's worth of teaching, but I'm not certain I'm going to even get teaching (pay rates increased by a whole 30p/hr, which means that the number of graduate demonstrators has been dramatically reduced, with undergrad TAs taking up some but not all of the slack). And, yeah, I feel pretty dreadful asking for help given that I could cover it, but--

-- if you like my art & essays, and only if you have anything to spare without making things harder for yourself, I would be enormously grateful if you could chuck some money my way. My paypal is kaberett@gmail.com; if you don't like Paypal (entirely understandable!) I can also provide my details for bank transfer (or, you know, work something else out). Currently at approximately £500 - thank you so, so much <3

Regardless of whether you want or are able to chip in on this (really, I mean it <3), comments are open for prompts for poems. They'll likely be shortish and a kissing cousin to flash fiction, but this is true of most of the stuff I write, so.


eta aaaaaaaaaaaah ;____; <333
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
Over the course of this DLA application, I have over and over again caught myself thinking oh, but my walking is so much better than it was last time I applied, what do?!

And the answer is: actually, that assertion's bullshit on at least two counts. Namely:

(1) none of my DLA award was for my physical mobility impairments
(2) the reason my walking appears to be so much better is that I have a wheelchair. This means I'm not walking (so much) even when I really shouldn't be, which means I'm less tired & more capable on "good" days.

In conclusion: mobility aids are great, and I still need to write the essay about how I got over myself enough to start using them.
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
... which I was already contemplating making this morning, but feel even more in need of now.

It is a list of Best Things About Being A Wheelchair User, to be added to as I go along.

1. Wearing shoes I can't walk in.
2. Never being without a seat on public transport.
3. Going downhill.
4. Wheelies.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
1. An enthusiastic carpet of bluebells in the half-light of a patch of wood near Little Hallingbury.

2. A nightingale walk in Fingringhoe: many to be heard, & the gorse out & beautiful, & the lilac out all over.

3. Oak trees are coming into leaf all over also. (I should check the cemetery over the road this week, see if we've got any oak there.)

4. Time with family-by-blood (at points 1&2), including Middle Tinycousin having made monkeybread and geeking out with me; and reiterating her desire to make art for me to keep on my walls; and dinner out and and and...

5. ... time with family-by-choice, cf previous locked post + also some stuff not mentioned in there, like "watching an Addams family film with TOL" and "dinner with a more extended subset of the polymer" and "Indelicates squee" and "Elementasquee" (curtailed on my part because I am Being Good and not watching this week's ep til I get home and can do so w/ my housemate).

6. The snake she slyly peeps; my mum's tulips various; and the hedgehog box in the back garden. (Also, the fig is coming along fantastically. Ditto the camellias.)

7. I have packed another round of stuff to go from parental home --> *?!@ House.

8. I am pleasantly sore - Spatzen - especially from 'chairing up a couple of slightly more enthusiastic hills than I normally come across.

9. More progress on the transfer report! It is slow going but it is progress.

10. Baby brother gets back to the country on Wednesday, and I am not yet convinced that Everybody Is Secretly Dead.
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
They are independent, but they are part of you. If you're lucky or dedicated, they're a fantastic - and developing - expression of your personality. Strangers touching your chair is hideously invasive and violating; whereas a partner (with prior negotiated consent) touching your chair casually and carefully - even if it's on the other side of the room from you - can be gloriously intimate and comforting.

It's not all a good mapping, of course - because yes, it can hurt like fuck if you get significantly separated from your chair (esp. forcible separation), but you don't tend to emerge from that particular trial by fire suddenly ~free and independent~. (How much I hate the phrase "independently mobile" used to mean "not employing mobility aids" is a conversation for another day, I think.)

Nonetheless. Something that struck me earlier.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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