Last Monday I wrote about:
The Horse and the Bird.
To answer this week’s question for the:
Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,
I will run through a typical day in my own life and you can judge for yourself what the answer to the following question is.
Q: Are your activities of daily living affected by disability? If you are comfortable, share a little bit of your daily routine.
A: I am not uncomfortable, but I just wouldn’t want to bore any of my kind readers, that’s all.
If you know me or how I do the little things, that fill up my day, then please feel free to read on with another of my many blog posts, such as this one:
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
If you are at all curious how I cook, shop, or clean then please stay and read on …
To me my day is often full of repetitive tasks and common activities, all such as though I wouldn’t imagine anyone would be interested. However, in recent weeks I have spoke to people who have said that for people who can see, it’s the everyday tasks and how they are performed without sight, that are the most wondered about.
How do I brush my teeth? How do I do my laundry? How do I get dressed?
These are the things someone with sight, who can not imagine how they themselves would undertake such things. These are the questions I have received and that are often asked of someone with none.
To me they are simply the things we all must do to be presentable and to function in the world, but I am able to admit when I need help doing them or when having sight would make it easier to be able to perform them.
I wake up and I can not look out the window to check the weather for the day. I have a cat who needs the litter box changed and a dog who must be let out first thing. This gives me another reason to step out my door to check for air temperature, sun or lack-there-of, or if the deck is wet from a night’s rain.
I keep my shampoo and soap in a certain place in my shower and recognize the feel of the bottles by touch. It is, perhaps more necessary, to come up with systems for remembering which bottles are which and where I will be able to find them again the next day.
I use my fingers to squeeze out the toothpaste. I don’t spend hours on my hair or putting on makeup, but who knows how much time I would spend on these things like many girls do, if I could see my face in the mirror.
Mirror Image, a post about how I see myself without actually being able to see myself.
There are App’s for announcing the colours of my clothes, but I have a good memory and know my own outfits by heart by the shape of the neck line or the material the shirt is made of. I have collected tips on fashion from my sister and hope I go out into the world with at least my own acceptable style. I don’t walk out my door with my shirt on inside out or two different colour socks, not much more than anyone else anyway.
I pour my juice with a finger placed on the rim of my glass, stopping when the liquid hits it. With hot coffee this is done with extreme care. I cook my breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the utmost caution and diligence. I am extra nervous of burning myself on the stove, perhaps holding me back from cooking as many foods as some do, but I do not starve. Perhaps cooking is just not my thing. It is not everyone’s thing.
Shopping requires getting to the store, unless ordering from one of those grocery store sites online, often more expensive and somewhat lacking in available choices. This means I utilize my family’s help in getting there. Often families do their grocery shopping together, but when I do it I often feel like I am failing at going for my own independence.
There are customer service employees to be found in every grocery store who are there to help anyone who requests it. They would help me pick up anything I wanted, but I prefer to shop with someone who knows me and the food I enjoy. It makes trying to explain what I am looking for much much easier.
I have labels on my stove and microwave, allowing me to find each button and press the right one. These days burners are flat and difficult to feel, but luckily I still have one of the older stoves. Modern day progress isn’t always for the better.
Sometimes I play “guess what’s in the mystery can/jar” and I may lose. It’s a good thing I enjoy surprises from time to time.
I am extremely comfortable in my own house, where I know where everything is. When in my own house I can forget the uncertainty and unpredictability too often found in the rest of the world.
Of course even I move my own things and forget where I put them. Not having someone else in the house makes it inconveniently difficult to have anyone else to blame when I am at a loss for a particular shirt I wanted to wear or the last can of Diet Coke.
Who moved my…oh wait…yeah, that was me.
I use my tiny bit of remaining vision to sort the darks and lights. Again, my washer is marked with braille or tactile stickers. I have had a surprising lack of laundry disasters, except for one involving bleach and a pile of my sister’s favourite red clothes. Again, I ask her for her pardon on that.
I like to keep my things in the same place and to keep clutter out of my path. This is common sense and safety is important. Anytime I can prevent possible tripping, bruising, or other accidents I do.
Dusting, mopping, sweeping, and vacuuming are easy to put off when I could be reading or writing instead. Washing windows and cleaning bathrooms are not my idea of a good time. I don’t see the dust oftentimes and I already established I do not need a clear window to see what the weather is doing. I am not living in a spotless home and I am sure I have room for improvement. It can be easy to avoid these less than enjoyable chores when you don’t see each speck of dirt and every smudge.
I do love the smell of cleaner and laundry detergent. I like the spray mops and I use my hands in place of my eyes. This allows things to slip by me and a helpful eye never hurts. I like visitors and this keeps me constantly working at working at it, on the off chance that a visitor could come by by surprise.
I make my own bed and I wash my dishes after I eat. I even discover a spot on a plate or pan that an eye may have missed. In that case my sensitive sense of touch works to my advantage.
I don’t need the light on to find the bathroom or to get a drink of water at some ungodly hour of the night. I have survived through the day and I fall asleep knowing I did my best. We all must learn to adapt to new situations and to live in a way that works for us. I am no different.
Of course I am affected, but although I can never quite escape living a life without the benefit of sight, I make it work as best I can for me. When you realize that you can not run from something, you learn to embrace it. It even makes life more interesting at times.
Okay, so you asked for it and this post has ended up being longer than the previous ones. I am happy to answer any other question like it that you might have in the comments.
Is your work or school life affected by disability? Describe some of these challenges.
Until then … Ask away.