February has always been a rough month for me. Being cold actually hurts and it’s exhausting. My hands and feet are always cold in February unless I’m in bed or wrapped up in an electric blanket on the couch. But, you can’t stay horizontal all day or nothing will get done so it’s up and at ‘em.
We had to put our beloved dog, Val, down early in the month.
It was one of the most difficult things Ron and I have had to do during our 30 years together. Val had been with us for 14 years. He was part of our little family and we loved him dearly. When he went he was blind, deaf, and had a bad skin condition. His quality of life was severely curtailed and he slept all day and night, only rousing to eat as often as possible and roam about the house a bit bouncing off walls while he looked for me. We loved him, he loved us and it has been hard without him. I still tear up when I think about him or look at his picture. A little cedar box containing his ashes sits on our bookshelf and in the spring I’ll put them in the garden where he used to chase squirrels.
I finished an online course on Visitability through the University of Buffalo.
The concept includes:
– An entrance without a step or threshold that is on an accessible path of travel from the street, sidewalk or driveway. An accessible path of travel has no steps, is at least 36 in. wide and is not steeper than 1:20 (5% grade) for walkways or 1:12 for ramps.
– Throughout the ground floor, doorways designed to provide 32 inches clear space and hallways that have at least 36 in. of clear width.
– Basic access to a half bath or full bath on the ground floor. As defined here, basic access simply denotes sufficient depth within the bathroom for a wheelchair to enter, and for its user to close the door behind it. Basic access to a full bath is preferable to a half bath, but is not required.
– Electrical switches and outlets not lower than 18 inches to center, nor higher than 48 inches to center. (This element is included in some, but not all visitability initiatives.)
and, some people add lever handles on doors. Lever handles are easier for everyone. A room on the main floor that can easily be converted into a bedroom is also a plus.
Habitat for Humanity Niagara and the Niagara Centre for Independent Living are interested in furthering the concept in Niagara.
Alison Langley of the Niagara Falls Review wrote a really good article on my AccessibleNiagara.com website and my Access is more than an Open Door DVD. You can read it at: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?archive=true&e=2960279
That article lead to several more Niagara pages being created on other accessible travel sites in New Zealand and the U.K.
I also attended a day long workshop on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Customer Service Standards and wrote a column for the paper on it that will be published next Saturday. Because I cannot get off a normal toilet I had to come home during the lunch break. This is what stops me from doing a great many things. Don’t know the answer but I’ll likely sort something out. No use of my legs, no push, and extremely weak hands mean I cannot pull myself up using grab bars. No finger strength means I cannot pull up my slacks even if I sit on the side of my scooter and use a urinal. It’s a delicate, frustrating situation that causes social isolation.
Sister and I took in an orchid repotting
workshop at a local greenhouse where we met Don Davis and his gorgeous parrot, Luna.
The publisher of the newspaper where I worked from 1959-60 and then 1970 to 1982 died at 61 of cancer. Henry Burgoyne was someone I’ll never forget. He was in line for the job of publisher of the paper after his grandfather and father. I first met him when he was only 11 and still in short pants. We worked municipal night election results together in The Standard editorial room in 1959. He loved fast cars and having fun but, most importantly, he was a boss for whom you wanted to do your best. He grew up with us all looking on and I like him a great deal.
Mother is going downhill and we’ve been told she’s lost 10 pounds in the last month. I personally think it’s her way of shutting down whether she’s totally aware of it or not. Not eating is something she can control in a world where everything else is controlled for her. She’ll be 96 in about a month. I’ve written her obituary.
Funding for a big job is due to come through, one way or another, in a week or so and I’m in discussions for even more funding for another huge project I want to do before I’m unable to do anything.
I still haven’t learned to use Dragon Dictate properly. Still typing with the knuckles of my little fingers. Somehow the words come more easily typing my fingers …er knuckles, than they do on my tongue. I was at a meeting last week and said a few things that simply didn’t come out the way they should have. I think much more clearly on the screen.
Snow, snow, snow. We’ve been dumped on several times this month and the world is often softened and quieted by tons of the white stuff.
So, off we go into March. The snow will soon melt away, the ditches and rivers will run high and the sun will shine a little more often; another Canadian January and February behind us.