Thursday, 30 April 2015

The best of customers.

I have the best facebook followers.

I turn to them when I hit a wall in my design work.

Not long ago I was working on a stickman advert to go in a magazine. But the space given is only 67mm by 45mm.

Smaller than a business card.

teeny tiny.

So I managed to come up with this:

I knew it wasn't 'right' yet, but I'd hit a brick wall, So I put it on facebook.

And we made progress...







See? I told you my facebook people are fabulous.

They have helped out with almost every single design - many of which were instigated by customers and facebook followers!

I can't thank you guys enough!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Perhaps a little fatigued.

Yesterday I tried to make a cup of tea:


Yep. I may have been a little fatigued.

You wouldn't believe the effort that went into that realisation! :D

And no. It's not like 'tired'. It's a whole HEAP more than tired, as a friend said on facebook:
"This dysautonomia/chronic disease fatigue is absolutely nothing like 'I had a busy day' or 'I am struggling to get enough sleep' fatigue. This is 'the air is too heavy' fatigue. It is 'my brain cells are sweating with effort' fatigue. It is 'divert auxiliary power to life support' fatigue."
When I'm fatigued simply 'living and breathing' is taking up everything I have - anything else (conversing, thinking, following instructions, moving unnecessarily) is so exhausting it makes me feel sick. Or becomes simply impossible.

So if I'm having a fatigued day, please be patient. Resting it out and pacing my activities to ones that I can cope with are key - just getting up and doing stuff when I'm like this isn't helpful and makes getting back to normal take even longer.


This keyring card was inspired by seeing the difference between what I call 'fatigued' and what others understand by it. And seeing that this misunderstanding isn't limited to me, but exists across almost the entire population of people with fatigue-inducing medical conditions or treatments - from Lupus to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, from autonomic dysfunction to chemotherapy side effects.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mission X8 Freedom #2

I don't believe it!

Can this really be true?

I am actually getting an Extreme X8!

Yes, the off-road 4x4 wheelchair which I test drove up Whittenham Clumps 2 years ago. Much of the intervening time was spent thinking "...when I have my X8...." so when the financial possibility opened up, I took it. I'll be paying it off for years and years, but I reckon it'll be worth it! (Although I managed to wangle a discount based on the fact that I'd blog about it, and my blog is read by people with mobility problems :D)

On Thursday Richard arrived (from the UK stockist AllTerrainWheelchairs) I had the joy of deciding what features I want - options for powered leg elevation, seat risers and recliners different joystick and arm rest options - all sorts.

My choices were simplified when I discovered that with the removable back option and a portable ramp this chair will fit in the back of my Ford Fusion! (I'll blog a bit about transporting options another day) This still has  a manual recline function - so I can lie down to manage my POTS when I'm half way up a muddy mountain.

I also opted for
  • the powered 'tilt in space' - so if going down a steep bit, I can tilt the seat so it is level with the ground. 
  • the seat riser - so I can be 6 ft tall, talk to peoples faces, and see over walls and fences.
  • removable armrests.
  • Green paint - because it just seemed right. 
It has headlights, tail lights and indicators - I can go exploring in the dark.

I drove the chair through the fairly narrow side gate and round to where I will be building a storage shed for it, and also managed to drive it through my flat (it's built for outside - but it coped. And with a bit more driving skill, my skirting boards won't loose any more paint).  (I'll blog a bit more about storage another day too)

I'll have to wait 4-6 weeks while it is built and shipped from Australia. But it will be worth it.

This afternoon my Mum is coming round and we are planning a holiday in Derbyshire (probably) - to somewhere as rural as possible and with excellent walks/cycle routes.

I still can't believe it is happening!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Autism Awareness Month?

Apparently April is Austism Awareness Month.

I have mixed feelings about awareness months. Sometimes they can accidentally veer into pity. Or the media gets hold of a sensational story about an extreme or unique case and parades it as typical of whatever condition is being talked about. Meaning that proper understanding actually isn't improved.

Having said that, the more people who understand it, the better.

But I prefer the term used by The Thinking Persons Guide To Autism - 'Autism Acceptance Month' - because acceptance is the vital part.

I don't have autism (although I know lots of people on the autistic spectrum) so I'm not going to write about what it means to be autistic, because there are many others who do a much better job than I can, such as:
The Thinking Persons Guide To Autism
and
Aukids

But I do know is that people with autism are all very different from each other. Different personalities, different interests - but with some shared traits. Basically like the rest of the human race: We are all different, but we also share some similarities. All of us, in our own ways, are differently normal.

And just as I want people to respect my personal boundaries (no-one leans on my wheelchair, OK?!) so do people with autism. And for this simple reason I've tried to learn a bit about where these boundaries might be. They aren't the same or everyone, but if I know some common ones then at least if I meet someone with that boundary I can do a better job of accepting and respecting it.

The foundation of my keyring cards is 'ways to clearly and positively show my personal limit in a situation that won't cause me more stress', so I suppose it isn't surprising that it wasn't long before people were asking for designs relating to common autistic traits.

So here's to acceptance.

To Autism Acceptance Month.

And to celebrate I've dropped the prices of the individual keyring cards listed under 'Autistic Spectrum' in my shop for the duration of April.

 


If you aren't on the autistic spectrum, I'd strongly suggest taking a look at the cards - because reading through them you may find some of the things that people with autism really need you to know in a situation, but which we as people are often not very good at hearing!