Monday, 6 March 2017

Sometimes Life is Hard to Swallow - Guest Blogging

Not a lot of people know the word Dysphagia.

The dictionary defines dysphagia as difficulty or discomfort swallowing as the symptom of a disease or condition. Dysphagia is perhaps the largest reason preventing the adequate nourishment of many people and can be life threatening.

I do some voluntary admin for Dysphagia Matters who aim to raise awareness of this and offer training courses to combat this.

They are launching their new blog 'Dysphagia Chronicles' to coincide with European Swallowing Awareness Day and I am their first guest blogger!

Please follow this link and have a read: Dysphagia Chronicles

also contact emma@dysphagiamatters.com for more information if you are interested in being a guest blogger.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Quality of Life


My close friends will know that I have had issues with my Care recently and I have had to have my number of agency calls and my care budget significantly increased.  This is no one’s fault and indeed, would have inevitably happened anyway.

However, it left me with two things.  A sense of not being in control of my life or anything at all (an extreme fear of mine!) and having to directly and openly assess what my quality of life is and what I need to maintain it at the level I want.

Quality of life (QOL) is the standard of health, comfort and happiness experienced by an individual.  This can be measured using many factors including physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, the environment, religion.  Social services produce an annual care plan to not only ensure that my basic physical needs are met, they also ask many questions in an attempt to quantify and record my QOL in accordance with their own agenda and using their own general criteria.

I am not going to say that this is wrong, I think this is a good way to begin assessing an individual.  A great starting point in figuring out someone’s needs and what must happen for that person to be happy.
My problem has been that my social services assessed QOL and my opinion of my QOL do not match.  Although general indicators can help point procedures in the correct direction, every person is an individual and must ultimately be treated as such.

So, what makes me happy? (not in order of importance though family and friends do come first!)

·         Family

·         Friends

·         Watching films (bring on the Hanx challenge!)

·         Reading (my Goodreads challenge)

·         Cross stitching

·         Dillon and Lily (tortoises)

·         Making my own decisions

·         Having a choice

·         Watching The Walking Dead

Though some people might relate to some of the items on my list, this list is personal to me.  I also have to take into account my actual abilities.

I feel that my care plan should have the ultimate goal of helping me achieve a satisfactory, if not perfect, QOL (as well as the basic needs part obvs!).
I am quite lucky because even though it was stressful dealing with all the red tape and filling in stupid forms and at one point being completely stubborn, I was listened too and despite the changes in my routine I can now continue doing the things I want, when I want to (sort of)!!

I guess the moral of this story is there is only one person who knows how to make you happy.  That person is you.
Don’t ever be afraid to argue for the things that are important to you.

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Fair Chance at Tickets - Guest Blogging

Have my talents as a blogger finally been recognised?

No probably not because most of the time I just wing it and type out whatever's in my head. However, someone actually liked the way that I write and I wrote a special blog piece for them.

Check it out, I am a guest blogger for Attitude is Everything:

Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Hanx Movie Challenge


Great thinkers since the dawn of time have been wondering what the meaning of life is; why are we here? What is our purpose?

I have long since come to terms with the fact that I don’t know the answers to these questions and indeed never will.  If I have the people I love in my life I need very little else (with the clear exception of food, water, shelter, carers, hoists, wheelchairs, electricity, medication etc. etc.!!)

I think that one of the issues that I struggle with the most is purpose, especially since my disability made me unable to continue working five years ago.
Life is gift and although the tree of life hit me repeatedly with the manky stick, I adamantly refuse to believe that my life is purposeless and that I cannot contribute positively to my families lives, my friends lives and to society.

I try to be a good family member (even if it’s just showing Mum the correct button on the remote for the billionth time).  I try to be a good friend (sometimes most of the time I talk too much, sorry Lucy, sorry James).  I try to contribute to society by doing voluntary work and promoting knowledge sharing and awareness online through my blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

However… (here’s the fun part!!) …

I REALLY enjoy setting myself challenge and tasks and aiming to successfully complete them.  They are challenges that probably seem pretty pointless to anyone other than myself but they give me a larger sense of connection and purpose.  Purpose is important.

My previous self-created challenges include:

1.       Learning how to ‘loom’ some complex designs even though my hand function is severely reduced – I loom in a slightly different manner and vastly slower than most but with good results.

2.       Everything I have stitched, designed, glued, weaved, needle-felted and hooked has been a challenge due to the degeneration of my condition. See some results here.

3.       The Goodreads book challenge (link).  This time I completed my challenge of reading 30 books in one year, only just though. (35 next year??).

Well the true purpose of this blog is to tell you about my new challenge to myself and it is an awesome one because it combines my love of movies, my OCD list making and my love for a fantastic actor.  Tom Hanks.
I recently saw ‘Sully’ and loved it.  Chesley Sullenberger is a true hero and only Tom Hanks can do justice to his life saving actions.

It got me thinking about how I feel I have grown up watching Tom Hanks on screen and have loved everything he does…Splash, Big, Joe versus the Volcano, Forrest Gump, The Burbs, The Da Vinci Code, Saving Private Ryan, Captain Phillips, Toy Story…

It wasn’t until I looked up his film list that I realised that I have almost literally grown up watching his movies as his film debut was 1980, the year of my birth.

 So, without further ado ladies and gentleman may I present to you, my own creation, my:

HANX MOVIE CHALLENGE

Challenge tasks:

1.       Create a list of all Hanx films. Only including those where he is credited as an actor (including tv movies – more challenging to get but aim high!!), not including production only or tv series’.

2.     Collect ALL the movies on the list on DVD, no time limit (may take a while!) All movies must be in DVD format and legally obtained (obvs!) and can be second hand (most will probably come from searching charity shops).

3.       When task 2 has been completed then have a major Hanxathon by spending days watching every movie in sequential order as per year released.

4.       Continue adding to the Hanx collection every time a new movie is released fitting task 1 criteria.

 My task 1 list:

FILM
YEAR
CHARACTER NAME
He Knows You're Alone
1980
Elliot
Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie)
1982
Robbie Wheeling
Splash
1984
Allen Bauer
Batchelor Party
1984
Rick Gassko
The Man with One Red Shoe
1985
Richard
Volunteers
1985
Lawrence Bourne III
The Money Pit
1986
Walter Fielding
Nothing in Common
1986
David Basner
Every time We Say Goodbye
1986
David
Dragnet
1987
Streebek
Big
1988
Josh
Punchline
1988
Steven Gold
The Burbs
1989
Ray Peterson
Turner and Hooch
1989
Scott Turner
Joe Versus the Volcano
1990
Joe
The Bonfire of the Vanities
1990
Sherman McCoy
A League of their Own
1992
Jimmy Dugan
Sleepless in Seattle
1993
Sam Baldwin
Philadelphia
1993
Andrew Beckett
Forrest Gump
1994
Forrest Gump
Vault of Horror I (TV Movie)
1994
 
Apollo 13
1995
Jim Lovall
Toy Story
1995
Woody
That Thing You Do!
1996
Mr White
Saving Private Ryan
1998
Captain Miller
You've Got Mail
1998
Joe Fox
Toy Story 2
1999
Woody
The Green Mile
1999
Paul Edgecomb
Cast Away
2000
Chuck Nolan
Road to Perdition
2002
Michael Sullivan
Catch Me If You Can
2002
Carl Hanratty
The Ladykillers
2004
Professor G. H. Dorr
The Terminal
2004
Viktor Navorski
Elvis Has Left the Building
2004
Mailbox Elvis
The Polar Express
2004
Various
The Da Vinci Code
2006
Robert Langdon
Charlie Wilsons War
2007
Charlie Wilson
The Great Buck Howard
2008
Mr Gable
Angels and Demons
2009
Robert Langdon
Toy Story 3
2010
Woody
Larry Crowne
2011
Larry Crowne
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
2011
Thomas Schell
Cloud Atlas
2012
Various
Captain Phillips
2013
Capt. Richard Phillips
Saving Mr Banks
2013
Walt Disney
Bridge of Spies
2015
James B. Donovan
Ithaca
2015
Mr Macauley
A Hologram for the King
2016
Alan
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson
2016
Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger
Inferno
2016
Robert Langdon
The Circle
2017
Bailey
Toy Story 4
2019
Woody