Skip to main content


Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:57 PM PDT

Drive, I said

by Jane in Maine

“And no driving.”

I knew the doctor was going to tell Dad this. I had arranged with him ahead of time for it to happen, knowing that Dad would be more likely to trust his cardiologist than his daughter on this.  It still hit hard.

It was the right thing to do. Dad, then 80, had totaled two cars in three years, fortunately without injuring anyone else, and his heart was tricky, causing him to nod off without warning. But it was the start of an avalanche. Because he couldn’t drive, Dad had to sell his home of 35 years, move into a retirement community in a new city, accept new limits on his independence – and accept his child as a caregiver.

He didn’t go down without a fight. After he moved and recovered from pacemaker surgery, he spent more than a year trying to get his license back. After the second time he flunked the driving test, the inspector called me in and advised me not to bring him back.

I get it, both sides of it. I get why it was a bad idea for him to drive. And as a person with a disability, I get how important driving is, both practically and symbolically.

Behind the wheel of the car, I’m not disabled – I have the same abilities and responsibilities as anyone else on the road. The bagel-shop worker who serves me at the drive-through doesn’t need to know what a struggle it would be for me to go into the shop and order at the counter. It’s equalizing and empowering, in a world where many normal activities leave me feeling conspicuous and incapable.

The car is also a means to help others, in a phase of my life where I too am learning to accept help more often. (Dad is not the only stubborn independent one in the family.) I feel good about being able to drive one friend to the doctor, lend a car to another when hers breaks down, and be there to take my dad where he needs to go.

I’m following with interest the technological innovations that are going on around wheelchairs and driving. One of these days I may well end up in a wheelchair, and right now if I wanted to drive from a chair, I’d need to buy a converted van or SUV – not great for city driving, fuel efficiency or cost.

What are your experiences with driving and disability?

Discuss

The good news is that she outscored Rand Paul by even more. This is one of the reasons I support Hillary: She can win.

Discuss
Dad at his 65th high school reunion.
I always kind of thought of Dad as indestructible.  Good thing, too – my mom died in my teens and Dad stepped up and raised a couple of daughters on his own.

My first encounter with a less-than-able dad came 25 or so years ago, when he had a normal prostate operation. I was in college then, and came home for a few days to help him recover.

I remember sitting by his hospital bed after the surgery. “NO SEX FOR A MONTH!” the doctor bellowed – I’m guessing maybe urologists aren’t chosen for their social skills? I cringed in horror, not just at the violation of his privacy – the state of my dad’s nethers was audible from down the hall, I’m sure – but because I was very young and had not yet encountered the idea that my dad was physically vulnerable.

Time and disability have caught up with both of us. I have a hereditary condition (lipedema) that becomes disabling at perimenopause. Dad has had a couple of heart attacks. Now, at 48 and 84, we travel with our walkers (or we would if Dad would use his).

Continue Reading

Mon May 13, 2013 at 04:07 AM PDT

As grassroots as it gets

by Jane in Maine

There is no official Hillary Clinton campaign organization. Ms. Clinton has not yet indicated whether she wants to be president. Lots of people hate her, for reasons that may or may not make any sense.

And yet. Nearly 150,000 people have signed on to the Ready for Hillary Super PAC's Facebook group. Sixteen thousand of them have ordered the bumper sticker. Current events are widely discussed in terms of their effect on her chances. Clearly I'm not the only one who wants this to happen or thinks it will.

I don't know how normal grassroots movements get started. All I know is this: I posted something on Facebook, trying to explain to a friend why this matters to me. And then I thought, I need to do more.

So I did. I bought MaineforHillary.com, set up a starter Web site, invited other Hillary fans to share their stories, started Kossacks for Hillary, wrote this diary. (All in the last two hours.)

Let's see where it goes, shall we?

Poll

Would you support Hillary Clinton for president in 2016?

60%12 votes
15%3 votes
15%3 votes
10%2 votes

| 20 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss
Chester, Vt., August 1969. From left: My grandmother, Margaret Fuller Foster; great-grandmother Alma Haseltine Fuller, whom everyone called "Gram"; me; and my mom, Jo Foster Washburn.
When my mom was in her 40s, I remember her saying something like, “Now I understand why my mother was the way she was.” At the time, I (then a young teen) thought she was talking about the challenge of child-rearing and the normal aches and pains of getting older.

Much later, I learned that I have a hereditary condition called lipedema. Among other things, it gets worse at perimenopause, and causes pain and mobility issues. I am reasonably certain my mother had it, and it’s more than likely her mother did too.

And now I’m 48. And I understand more about why my mother was the way she was.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
Continue Reading
“What if you end up in a wheelchair?”

I’ve mentioned this sentence before. It was uttered nearly five years ago, by my then-husband, in a counselor’s office as I made a last-ditch effort to save our marriage.

He knew I had a hereditary condition, that it was likely to progress, that even then I was starting to experience pain on walking or standing. I couldn’t promise him I would not end up in a wheelchair -- indeed, I probably will. But if you even have to ask the question, well ...

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
Continue Reading
The tiny band of adventurers was weary and footsore after crossing a vast wasteland. It had been fairly easy to bluff the zombie army into letting us through, and the guardian of the magic sword had been surprisingly friendly even though we had come to steal it. Now all that remained was to kill the dragon. I hurled my axe towards its head…

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
Continue Reading

Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:59 AM PST

My Favorite Ted Kennedy Interview

by Jane in Maine

Bill's Cheers and Jeers yesterday noted the birthday of Ted Kennedy. I grew up as a constituent of Ted's, so tended to take him for granted. Chappaquiddick happened when I was 2. My mom, as a mother of daughters, was not a fan of Ted's. So I didn't really understand until later in life how much Ted did for causes I favor. (Although he was wrong about Cape Wind.)

My Republican father once got an invitation to a $500-a-plate dinner "to meet Ted Kennedy." Dad is not given to outbursts of passion but he did rip up at this and exclaimed that he wouldn't go in the back yard to meet Ted Kennedy if Ted gave HIM $500.

But anyway. This is my favorite Ted Kennedy interview, published while I was working at the Globe (in an obscure Internet capacity).

Discuss

Some friends and I were conversing about Ted Nugent yesterday and how loathsome he is, and one of them, a Wisconsinite, suggested he be invited to their Capitol instead -- after all, he could bring his guns! Someone else pointed out that if he went there, he might be banned from singing.

Which led another friend to posit the immortal question in the headline, and two more to suggest and create the image above. And, well, I can't resist a challenge. Lyrics below the orange squiggle.

Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site