Monday, 10 April 2017

Meltdowns vs coping

I had a busy day. Originally: it included a liver ultrasound, talk therapy and training for work, in that order.

Work training was removed from the schedule with a target date in mind, but nothing definite.

The liver ultrasound became an abdominal ultrasound, including being positioned on both my spastic and dominant sides. Don't get me wrong, the technician did a very good job and had good "bedside manner" but the last liver test results have still not made it into my electronic "chart" for me to read. I chose to believe they will show I have nothing to worry about.

Nonetheless, I was in pain from spasticity and fasting. I ate breakfast too fast and Sonja drove me to my therapy session, which I had mistakenly scheduled an hour later.

Fresh from an ultrasound, therefore, I sat in the waiting room. Gallows humor aside, the literal last thing I needed was a family including multiple children. You can guess what happened next.

Thus my therapist found her usually attentive patient in the waiting room with his hood up and head down basically doing everything but saying "la la la" to himself.

In short, I had a semi-public meltdown. My therapist is very good and she did her job but I just wanted to vent and to give general credit to everyone at Sanford Health.

Side bar: Sonja and I went to Old Navy for some shopping and one of the sales assistants paused to say "I love the beads on your glasses."

That made my day. FYI, those beads are a glasses retainer from South Africa ( Gauteng, I think) and I am deliberately wearing it/them to provide color in my field of vision when my mood is uneven and my wardrobe fairly plain.

Stay calm,


Friday, 7 April 2017


I had a job interview not long back for a position with the archaically named Communication Service for the Deaf, their local branch here is also thankfully known as Minnesota Relay. Their main business is the provision of relay services to allow Deaf people or people with speech disabilities to access services. That business comes through a contract with Sprint, who in turn have deals with 32 separate states of the USA.

I believe those stats are right. Anyway, the main purpose of this post is to shine a light on life with a neurological condition rooted in brain damage, and being required to do a timed typing test in order to qualify for the job.

For the record, it took me three attempts and some adjustment of the keyboard position, seating position and testing method. All of these are things which cannot, fairly obviously, be conducted after the room has been adjusted by an occupational health specialist.

I'll ask about that when training begins because I DID get the job.

However, when I first sat down - and despite breathing exercises, my hands were shaking horrendously and so my natural inclination towards quality rather than speed kicks in.

Ataxia is a feature of some types of Cerebral Palsy wherein movements become jerky and unpredictable. What the previous post I made would refer to as the "Anxiety schema", also triggers increased spasticity (non typing arm, but still not fun in a job interview)

In the spoken element of the interview, neither spasticity nor ataxia were present so apparently it was the perfect #spoonie storm.

I type with three fingers on one hand, an entirely self-taught strategy which probably also amplified this problem. In decades of typing, including timed exams, I've never had that combination before.

After training, I'll let you know if I learned anything I can use in this job going forward.

Peace and love,


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Schemas/lifetraps and Larkin/infertility

My therapist introduced me to the idea of schemas, which the originators renamed "lifetraps" for a book. Essentially learned behaviours developed throughout childhood.

Their book is here

It also reminded me of this:

This Be The Verse - Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

The copyright of all Larkin's works is held by MacMillan, who by a massive co-incidence also employed a close relative of mine. Anyway, the link to their site is here, since the Philip Larkin Society permissions page leads to a dead link at Faber & Faber.

It was originally published in an April 1971 edition of New Humanist, the journal of the Rationalist Association, the latest edition of which is led by a piece entitled: Community and tradition don’t have to be set against migration, change and difference. Read that here

Peace and love,