Coronavirus | When Does The Cycle End?

I wasn’t going to talk about this. I didn’t want to be another echo in a steady line of chatter, but I have realized two things about this Coronavirus madness. If this panedemic has taught us anything, it is that we truly are as human beings are only concerned about ourselves and the cliche phrase “history repeats itself” rings true to our new reality.

Before I get too far, I should mention that I hardly watch the news. Honestly, I don’t have to, social media is doing its best that it is plastered in every newsfeed, tweet, and vlog. I understand the panic and worry over your financials; I may be a disabled, but I’m not an idiot! I feel for every person who is sick in the hospital forced away from their families and the ones who are upset about the fact that everything is being cancelled.

For the past two days, I have been going through our DVR watching documentaries that I had piled up for a number of weeks. The two I want to talk to you were broadcast on PBS and a part of it’s American Experience program.

The first was about the outbreak of Influenza in 1918-19. I knew from the time it started it was an older episode because of the quality of color on the screen. It was talking to people who were infected or had members of their own family and possibly friends that were diagnosed with it and died.

It featured a lot of elderly people talk about their childhoods before and after the sickness creped into their cities and towns. What really pulled me in was when the narrator explained that it didn’t start with children and their weak immune systems. Instead it was the soldiers in the army camps that were being taken out first. You have to remember that at the time, World War I was going on and the need for young and healthy men were desperately needed to help fight the cause overseas.

Unfortunately, the war wasn’t the only killing machine out there. When Influenza appeared in the spring of 1918, there is a possibility that 500 million people worldwide came down with the deadly virus. Once the war was over, the men who came home were “healthy” to the naked eye but the disease lingered in their bodies to spread into their families and friends who were happy as clams to have their loved one back. All of a sudden the happiness was shattered when more and more people were being knocked down by the symptoms of the virus. The world was put on pause, and businesses and whole families were put on lockdown.

At this time, radio was the only way people could have contact with the outside. There was no TV for young children who were either bored or sick in their beds. They got by with doing chores, schoolwork, and played with their siblings in their rooms. To me, it is a surprise the stock market didn’t crash when the virus showed up because nobody would go anywhere. They were too afraid to!

Even though mainstream medicine was popular in the homes of American people, some could be superstitious and say that God was punishing them for their sins. Satan was there to claim every single person affected with the influenza. However, like with most sicknesses, as quickly as it came in, it disappeared! It had ended just in time as World War I was over and soldiers stationed in Europe were allowed to return to their homes again. Everyone was back to their old selves like nothing ever happened.

coronavirus news on screen
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The next morning I woke up, had breakfast and started watching my second documentary, this time it was about polio. Since this epidemic happened in the 1950’s, the talk about it was discussed a little bit more compared to the influenza outbreak. I heard it through both sides of my grandparents when I was younger. I never heard much talk about it while I was a teen and honestly neither one were discussed in school. You would hear someone talk about a fraction of what happened and that was pretty much it.

So, when I saw American Experience was going to re-air the episode about polio or infantile paralysis I knew it would keep me entertained for the lack of a better word.

Where the influenza had been affecting anyone from the ages to 20 to under 50, polio began to infect children the most. Adults were also struck with it too, such as future President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR for short. He was the one that everyone talked about in my family. I think it was to possibly show me that at one time we had a disabled President.

Anyways, the program was focused more on the relationship with FDR and his friend Basil O’Connor. He was put in charge of running the President’s fund and resort for more research done on polio. As influenza came and went fairly quickly, polio dragged on and on, infecting as many people as it could at various ages. Polio was known for headaches, dizziness, and eventually the loss of movement, which explains the technical term ‘infantile paralysis’.

If you have ever watched the episode of The Waltons, where their mother becomes diagnosed with polio. In the beginning you see this strong young woman become affected by a dark shadow one day. She could no longer control her arms or legs. She could no longer go outside by herself because it made her unable to walk or do anything by herself. This was common to everyone who had it. They could be permanent paralyzed and at the mercy of their families for support. Although for Mrs. Walton regained the usage of her body at the end of the show.

After Basil O’Connor met Jonas Salk, he began to look into the science behind this nasty curse. In 1953, it was announced that Dr. Salk had discovered the source of the problem and gave treatment on a number of people to test it. A year later it was said that the vaccine had worked and they moved to have it be given to everyone in America. Forty-four years later, it was said that polio had became extinct

Yet here we are again, in our own crisis, dealing with a brand new illness with really no end in sight.

History will continue to repeat itself over and over, to show us what we need to see again. When each sickness rolled into town, people seemed to be kind and stayed at home. They followed quarantine rules and religiously practiced social distancing, so to not affect anybody else with the virus. So, as we keep modern day Americans, Italians, English, etc keep gathering together for fun, we are only making everything worse.

I know you’re bored. I live at home, and rarely get to go out when the air is clear. It’s been over two weeks since I have seen my sister, brother-in-law and little nephew. Yes, I have seen and talked to them on FaceTime, but I love being face-to-face with people. So I ask you to please do everything you can to help eradicate this new virus, so we can go back to our normal lives and forget about it just like our ancestors did before us.

Thank you!

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | W : Wheelchairs

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It is extremely difficult for me to talk about wheelchairs. Last year, the big contervesory was about the death of Stephan Hawking was announced, an artist made this beautiful drawing of him coming out of his wheelchair and basically walking up to heaven. As a disabled woman, I was very conflicted with this, but it wasn’t for the picture per se. It was because I felt like I had to choose between what I’ve always been taught and agreeing with the rest of the disability community.

The big deal wasn’t necessarily about the drawing itself, it was more about how a disabled person relies on their wheelchair to do things, like simple tasks around the house and/or getting out and having drinks with friends. However, everything just exploded into this chaotic thing that I really did not want to be part of at that time. Honestly, I still didn’t want to talk about it again on here, but I am on the letter “W” and there wasn’t anything else I could talk about other than this.

So, I’ll just say that my wheelchair doesn’t give me freedom. There it’s out and I can separate myself from the crap I’ve been feeling all this time.

I do think it allows me to do tasks better but I still feel stuck whenever I am in it. I really feel I am limited in both varieties of wheelchairs, as I’m either too short or too bulky! I have yet to find the perfect fit. Maybe this is what regular woman deal with picking out new heels! The second point I would like to get across is, it’s also all about your state of mind. I think after so long, you adapt to every different setting, and wheelchairs are a part of this too. You might get to do new or lose some beloved challenges while figuring out your surroundings.

Again, I have conflicting feelings about my freedom. I know I can never get away from my limitations. I say this not a sad note though, I like being able to test them anyways. I think this is really healthy! My family might not always agree with that statement, but you know. Honestly I would lastly like to say, I will believe what I want to. I have been doing pretty good on several other subjects throughout the years, I can add this onto the never ending list too! Even if that means keeping it in for a year and a half until I can find a clean way to discuss it on here, that’s what I’ll do.

If you’re in a wheelchair, whether that is full or part time, what are your thoughts on your freedom to be able do all the things you want to do? 

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | U : Unconditional Love + Support

One thing that is equally important to a disabled person’s life is having unconditional love and support from their family and friends. I have always had a large group of people in my corner and as blessed as I am with all of this love, I also know that there are others like me who don’t have anybody there for them.

I have been very lucky to have loving parents that believed in me, even as a baby! They are the ones that stopped the doctors at Riley’s, when I was a few months old, to operate on me to make me look ‘normal’ when there was a small chance it wouldn’t help me. They just let me figure things out on my own. Even if that meant, I used my feet for everything and was a wheelchair bound for the rest of my life. I have never given my parents much credit to this decision because it was a risk not knowing how this little girl would be able to do things for herself. Thankfully, I did learn things on my own or with some help from other family members/physical therapists.

I wasn’t aware of how other young teens or adults with various disabilities lived without this kind of love, until I was a senior in high school.

I wish the emotions I was experiencing had sunk in as I feel like it would have helped me understand loads what everyone in my family was trying to relay to me about their worries of me living on a college campus. Now I get why they were so concerned and agree that I was not ready for that kind of commitment. However, when my mom started working at a nursing home that had residents with various levels of mental disabilities, and the stories of some of them being left at the door with trash bags full of clothes and other stuff, really broke my heart!

I do understand that some people cannot handle some traits that certain people produce but you don’t give up on your family like that. A friend of mine has a daughter who is autistic. I have never met her, but have been around other children with autism in the past. So, I am familiar with their quirks and I give kudos to the parents out there dealing with a child like this, but I’ve heard of autistic kids being left behind or being killed because the families just cannot deal with them anymore. Those are always the worst to see online, but when you feel like you’re at your wits end, what is really your next step?

So, I have a questions to my fellow disabled readers out there, did you have a good support behind you growing up? Or were you basically left to be your own hero? If you said “yes” to that, how do begin to trust others that they’re not going to abandon you at the end?

A-Z Disability Challenge | S : Sexaulity

WARNING: This mentions mature sexual content. If you are not comfortable in reading about this, I highly suggest you click the “x” button on the top right. This is an educational but personal post that I will NOT apologize for, it is very important for others with disabilities. Please respect what I have to say, and enjoy. Thank you!

Oh boy!

I think talking about disability and sex are very taboo topics. I should know considering it took my mom and I a fairly long time to even start having discussions about it. When it came to my sister, I feel like it wasn’t that bad and yes, I was there for the majority of that talk. For me though, I knew what sex was (I always have), but there were things that I couldn’t get my head around. Ha ha! Blondie was roughly 15 or 16 years old when she received the talk whereas I was 19 or 21! I feel like at that those ages, you should be somewhat of a pro when it comes to knowing things and of course having sex!

One of things that Arthrogryposis has basically taken away from me, is my ability to pleasure myself. I can’t mastrubate like other women. I have asked questions about this to a group of women who also have my condition and they’ve been helping me figure out alternatives. I also don’t think I’ve had a proper orgasm, but as I have been told, it takes a lot to get that far apparently! If you have a disability and worry about your lack of sexual experience, you know what I’m talking about, because you feel like you’re missing out on something that everyone is doing. You just feel lost in your own body and you don’t really know how to resolve this issue as a whole.

Honestly, I am afraid of having sex. As much as it excites me, because let’s be real here I watch porn and read erotica novels, and I response in the right ways, it’s the physicality that terrifies me I guess! I mean, I can barely get through a couple of seconds when I have to put vaginal cream inside my vagina, because you have to use a syringe and it makes me feel really uncomfortable – half it is because a parent has to do, mostly it’s my mom! This might be the other reason why I am semi okay with never been on a date! I’ve never had to really think about what happens afterwards; once I cross that line, how am I going to feel? I know it’ll hurt, but how much?

Last week, I watched Nikki Glaser’s Netflix comedy special Bangin‘ and oh my gosh, it was freaking hilarious! I am usually not a fan of sexual humor but the whole thing was funny! It was also shocking that she was talking about things that I have been thinking about for years! She starts off discussing blow jobs and I’ll tell you, I will NOT do that for as long as I live! What is funny though is that, it was the first sexual thing I ever knew about even before realizing it was a real thing! I still have no idea how I figured it out too. That’s still a mystery to us!

This has probably been the most freeing post out of all the other letter challenges! The reason why I felt like I needed to write about it, is because I know I am not the only one who feel like this! I think it takes a lot of guts to speak up about your sex life, and I just wanted to break out a little more because I am usually very reserved in my posts but I thought it was time to loosen up a bit.

How old were you when you received the sex talk with your parents? Now what about you had sex for the first time? Have you felt like you’ve been left out of the party of what everybody in your age group is doing in their lives?

A-Z Disability Challenge | R : The “R” Word

When it comes to society, words can be popular among the different generations. In the 1960-70’s, the thing was “groovy” at least, I think it was! I’m basing this off what I saw on Scooby-Doo! Currently the word that everybody uses is “bougie” which I still haven’t learned how to use or figured out what it even means! This isn’t the first time this has happened so don’t feel so bad for me.

Usually the “in” words are innocent like this, but some are not. What everybody doesn’t understand is that there is a medical term that is running around causing havoc among the disability community. Something tells me that may already know what it is, but for those who don’t, it the “r” word. Retard in all forms.

It is sad reality when a word like this has the power to degrade so many people at one time without anyone’s knowledge. This is one of the issues of today’s society is that it’s become so popular that these young kids probably don’t even know what it actually means, much less care about it anyways! The adults are even worse, because sometimes it’s like a cuss word they say on a daily basis and can’t stop themselves from saying it. However, these reasons are even good excuses for anyone that has some sort of disability.

I wasn’t too familiar of the meaning or the history of it when I first started to notice it around. I’m not for sure how I found out about it, that memory has been stripped away, but I remember the impact was big, because I am a huge advocate to erase it from the public.

For a time, both my mom and sister said the word a lot. My mom is a nurse, so it was used to describe a few of her patients, whereas my sister was a teenager and it would just fly out of her mouth left and right. The fact that I was able to be enough inspiration (there’s another word I hate!) to get them to stop using it for good. My sister has even been telling other people around the two of us to not say it either and sometimes we get good response, so that’s a positive sign!

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll ever go away completely. It’ll still show up on films and the medical world will probably still continue to use it, but hopefully with this post maybe you’ll understand that even though something is in that you have to follow suit. You don’t. There are tons of others that can take its place. You can be popular in another crowd, and even respect people like me with not speaking about it again. Do you think you can do this?