November 6, 2018

#555 – Medical Intake Forms

IntakeFormID-100249052

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Whenever I see a new health practitioner, I ask that the medical intake form be emailed to me so that I can print it off and complete it at home.

I do this for three reasons:

  1. I have a fairly detailed medical history and it’s easier to refer to my notes at home.
  2. Dependent on the length of time it takes to complete the form, ulnar deviation makes it difficult to write for any length of time.
  3. I do my utmost to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for my appointments. However, sometimes traffic, or some other unforeseen event, intervenes. If I’m running late (*quelle horreur!), I’ll at least have completed the intake form so that I’m ready to be whisked into the appointment. (Yes, it’s wishful thinking that all appointments start at the designated time.)

People who have a chronic illness such as RA, tend to have a very extensive health history. As a matter of course, the patient should be given the option of completing the form prior to the appointment. We have the technology, so let’s make use of it.

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October 22, 2018

#554 – Making the Best of a Freezer Purchase

freezer

Why, oh why did I choose to buy a chest freezer? It would have been a better idea to spend a little more money and get an upright version. Anyone with a chest freezer is familiar with the nose dive that is required to get things out of its icy depths.

I’ve found a trick that makes it easier to get what you need from your freezer.

I separate food into plastic shopping bags. Chicken goes in one. Frozen beans/chickpeas go into another bag. Frozen fish, veggies, berries, left-overs, etc., each get their own bag. When I need something, I haul out the bags, versus each individual item. It’s certainly a lot quicker and I don’t have to leave freezer open as long. The other benefit is that if your RA fingers aren’t as nimble as you’d like, you’re able to push your hands through the handles and support the bag on your forearm, saving wear and tear on your fingers.

At least now my freezer doesn’t leave me in the cold!

September 25, 2018

#553 – Swimming Through Life with RA

MariannaPaulsonShallowEnd340

 

What an honour it is to be featured on the Arthritis.ca’s Flourish – Helping You Move Through Life with Arthritis section.

See: A Mentor Among Us.

 

Challenges are a part of life, whether they be emotional, mental or physical. Sometimes all you can do is tread water and hope that some rogue wave doesn’t pull you under. Other times, you swim to distant shores, if not always easily, but with practised determination.

Swimming has been a constant for me. Little did I know that all those years I spent in the pool, prior to being diagnosed with RA at 20, would become the thing that keeps me mobile and fit. It brings me joy and allows me to move easily when my land-lubber self doesn’t always do so.

Granted, because of surgeries and the way my body has changed because of RA, I have had to modify how I do things. For example, I no longer do bilateral breathing when I swim front crawl because of my fused C-1 and C-2 joints. So, instead I use a snorkel. While I can still use my arms in the breast stroke, whip kick is ill-advised with my hip replacements and wonky ankle. Speaking of hands, I often use hand paddles which not only provide resistance, but also protect my fingers. Admittedly, it took some work to reconcile myself with the fact that I can no longer execute my swimming strokes as well as I once did. I’ve had to learn to adapt as the years flow by, which incidentally, is a strategy I use to help me age well. I do the best I can for each given day.

Just as certain as there is an ebb and flow to the tides, I will continue to swim my way through life with RA.

I have RA, it doesn’t have me!

Will I see you in the pool?

Si vous voulez lire la truduction en français, le voilà: Une mentore pour nous guider.

September 18, 2018

Disabled Canadians: Discrimination at the Gas Pumps?

HandicapParkGasPump

After seeing this sign at a Shell Station in Washington state, I wondered if disabled Canadians were being discriminated against at the gas pumps. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that assistance is available at self-serve gas stations. There is no such legislation in Canada.

Well-Kept Secret?

I just discovered that if you have a handicapped parking placard, it is possible to get help at the gas pumps at the following companies:

It’s a well-kept secret, though. I have never seen any signage that offers this kind of help, have you? As it stands now, I have to use a wrench to open my gas cap. I’d rather not get started on the frustrating problem I encounter with the credit card slot! Obviously, those slots are designed for the nimble-fingered!

Full-Serve at a Cost

After all these decades of driving, there have been many times when I considered going to the full-service pumps, where gas costs more per litre than at the self-serve pumps. However, if you live in Port Coquitlam, B.C. or Richmond, B.C., full-serve is the only option available. Wouldn’t it be great to turn back the clock when every service stations offered service? Without a policy in place, pain at the pumps becomes a little sharper. Let me know if you are aware of accessibility services at the gas companies that are not mentioned here.

The Cost of a Disability

A disability is expensive, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. Why do Canadians with disabilities have to take another physical and financial hit that could be quashed by legislation similar to The Americans with Disabilities Act, which the posted sign clearly reiterates:

Vehicle refueling services will be provided upon request at self-service prices to motorists with disabilities. If the vehicle displays an official state or locally issued disabled motorist plate or placard.

Refueling services will not be provided when there is only one employee on duty.

To obtain refueling services, honk your car horn twice and an employee on duty will pump your gasoline for you. If one is available, you may use the intercom for this purpose.

If you are pumping your own gasoline and the card reader is inaccessible to you, the employee on duty will remotely turn on the pump for you when you lift the nozzle, raise the lever, and select the desired grade of gasoline. After you have pumped your gasoline, please enter the facility and pay the employee on duty.

This facility also provides assistance in obtaining goods for purchase for our customers with disabilities. If you require this assistance, please ask the employee on duty.

I have questions with no answers:

  • It appears that gas companies are self-regulated in terms of offering assistance to those with disabilities. Why is there no such legislation in Canada?
  • Where do the organizations who support people with disabilities stand on this issue?
  • Has there been any sort of Canadian government lobbying to address this lack of support?
  • Are you aware of any other communities that offer full-service like those found in Port Coquitlam and Richmond, B.C.?

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