Words, words, and words, with a poetry chaser

I have logical and philosophical objections to certain words used to describe me or what I do. I don’t expect anyone to change the way they speak, but feel free to entertain yourself by mulling two ideas and reading one egregious rhyme (think Lewis Carroll meets either Timothy Leary or Tom Lehrer, I’m not sure which.)

Word 1: Disabled

Hah! I am extremely able, thank yeeew. With both hands behind my back and my head held under water, I am still able. I’m able to add 2 and 2, for instance, or quote that wonderful bit from Twelfth Night that starts, “I’d build me a willow cabin at your gate, and wait upon my soul within the house …” Mind you, if you’re holding me underwater, it would be hard to check that, but I can still do it, I assure you.

I am handicapped. Like a runty little horse that has to have 30 pounds of lead stuffed into its saddle before it gets into the race. Like a golfer who’s being scored by a drunk with a broken calculator. I have exactly the same tasks to accomplish as anyone else in the race or on the course, but I have some added burdens that make it rather harder to succeed.

Word 2: Recovery

Why should I want to re-cover? Of all the covers that have been ripped off, I can’t say I think all that many need to go back on. I love all this fresh air. I love the lack of artifice. I love the inward freedom of having so much stuffing removed.

I don’t need recovering. Appropriate padding, yes; portable cushions, yes please, by all means. But upholstery is just one big refuge for dust mites and dander, metaphorical and otherwise.

I aim to heal. Healing from any profound physical or mental insult (and CRPS is certainly both!) does not mean going back to what or who or how I was before, it means finding a new way forward. There is no way back, and if there were, I have no reason (given how things played out) to think that returning there would be good for my health!

No, it’s forward for me: man the lifeboats, or woman them of course, but I’ll head for new horizons rather than try to wade back through the hideous swamp I sometimes think I’m climbing out of.

The Rhyme: “Re-cover and Heel — an overstretched metaphor”

Before you read further, let it be clearly understood that I love dogs, I have always loved dogs, and I’m old enough to use the word “bitch” in its traditional sense of female dog. In this case, an upholstered one…

The brocade bitch took a turn for the worse
and bit off the toe of a shoe.
The shoe kicked back with a bitter laugh
And said, “That the worst you can do?”

Upholstery torn, the bitch barked out,
“You’re badly in need of a nurse!”
The shoe stomped off and hollered back,
You’ll soon be in need of a hearse!”

So the bitch went home to patch things up
While the shoe sought places new.
She’s jacquard now, otherwise fine;
He’s Prada, Gucci, and Diesel too.

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I have logical and philosophical objections to certain words used to describe me or what I do. I don’t expect anyone to change the way they speak, but I do sweetly invite you to be aware of the way you think about these things that, I hope, affect your own life as little as possible.

Disabled.

Hah! I am extremely able. With both hands behind my back and my head held under water, I am still able. I am able to add 2 and 2, for instance, or quote that wonderful bit from Twelfth Night that starts, “I’d build me a willow cabin at your gate, and wait upon my soul within the house …” Mind you, if you’re holding me underwater, it would be hard to check that, but I can do it, I assure you.

I am _handicapped_. Like a runty little horse that has to have 10 pounds of lead stuffed into its saddle before it gets into that race. Like a golfer who’s in a game judged by a dyslexic with a nonfunctional calculator. I have exactly the same tasks to accomplish as anyone else in the race or on the course, but I have some additional burdens that make it quite a bit harder to succeed.

Recovery.

Why should I want to recover? Of all the covers that have been ripped off, I can’t say I think all that many need to go back on. I love all this fresh air. I love the lack of artifice. I love the inward freedom of having so much stuffing removed. I don’t need recovering. Appropriate padding, yes; portable cushions, by all means. But upholstery is just one big refuge for metaphorical dust mites and dander.

I aim to _heal._ Healing from any profound physical or mental insult (and CRPS is certainly both!) does not mean going back to what or who or how I was before, it means finding a new way forward. There is no way back, and if there were, I have no reason (given how things played out) to think that returning there would be good for my health! No, it’s forward for me: man the lifeboats, or woman them of course, but I’ll head for new horizons rather than wade back through the hideous swamp I sometimes think I’m climbing out of.

Share this article:

I have logical and philosophical objections to certain words used to describe me or what I do. I don’t expect anyone to change the way they speak, but I do sweetly invite you to be aware of the way you think about these things that, I hope, affect your own life as little as possible.

Disabled.

Hah! I am extremely able. With both hands behind my back and my head held under water, I am still able. I am able to add 2 and 2, for instance, or quote that wonderful bit from Twelfth Night that starts, “I’d build me a willow cabin at your gate, and wait upon my soul within the house …” Mind you, if you’re holding me underwater, it would be hard to check that, but I can do it, I assure you.

I am _handicapped_. Like a runty little horse that has to have 10 pounds of lead stuffed into its saddle before it gets into that race. Like a golfer who’s in a game judged by a dyslexic with a nonfunctional calculator. I have exactly the same tasks to accomplish as anyone else in the race or on the course, but I have some additional burdens that make it quite a bit harder to succeed.

Recovery.

Why should I want to recover? Of all the covers that have been ripped off, I can’t say I think all that many need to go back on. I love all this fresh air. I love the lack of artifice. I love the inward freedom of having so much stuffing removed. I don’t need recovering. Appropriate padding, yes; portable cushions, by all means. But upholstery is just one big refuge for metaphorical dust mites and dander.

I aim to _heal._ Healing from any profound physical or mental insult (and CRPS is certainly both!) does not mean going back to what or who or how I was before, it means finding a new way forward. There is no way back, and if there were, I have no reason (given how things played out) to think that returning there would be good for my health! No, it’s forward for me: man the lifeboats, or woman them of course, but I’ll head for new horizons rather than wade back through the hideous swamp I sometimes think I’m climbing out of.

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Radiant

We got the first rain since the reactors melted down in Japan. Weather systems being what they are — global, persistent, and efficient vectors — I took that rather seriously: scrubbed the deck to reduce absorption capacity, reconstructed the cockpit cover to keep the rain off, shoved fuel and spare cushions into the hard storage area, cleaned up belowdecks so I could stand being indoors for a couple days. Also stocked up on miso and tasty seaweed treats, to protect my thyroid — damn, they’re good.

In the absence of a Geiger counter… One of the really fun things about radiation is that — like fiberglass dust — we have no good way of assessing our exposure until it’s much too late to change it. As a nurse and as a DIY boat-owner, I figure it’s reasonable to protect myself as best I can, then hope for the best.

Tech note on seaweed/thyroid remark: the natural iodine in seaweed and miso loads up your thyroid gland’s iodine receptors. This leaves no room for radioactive iodine — carried in rainwater, for instance — to glom onto you. It’s exactly the same mechanism as the benign iodine in radiation pills. The dosage is more precise with the pills, but the taste of the seaweed treats is rather better.

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