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 sticker, 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.?

Related:

May 10, 2018

Boo-Boos, Helichrysum Essential Oil and Epsom Salts

Boo-boos – we all get them. Big ones and small ones. Nor are our four-legged friends immune from them! I first witnessed the miracle of Helichrysum essential oil when I used it on the hematoma in Holly’s ear. Imagine half a ping pong ball in your ear. No wonder poor Holly was constantly shaking her head.

HollyEar

The vet told us that it would take a couple of months before the blood in the hematoma would be reabsorbed and her ear would return to normal.

I didn’t want her to suffer that long, though. I had learned about the wonders of Helichrysum essential oil from an aromatherapist. I wanted a superior product, so I ordered some Helichrysum from Purify Skin Therapy. It worked like magic! Within a week of daily applications of a few diluted drops, Holly’s ear had almost returned to normal. I was sold!

Last week, I stumbled on a step. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything, but I did hurt myself in several places. I had bad bruising and swelling in my left ring finger, as well my left ankle and toes.

finger

When I awoke the next morning, I was concerned that I would have to get my rings cut off as my finger looked like a sausage. Not a breakfast one, neither, but more like a Bratwurst. (Yes, a wee bit of exaggeration!) Then, I remembered that I had some Helichrysum essential oil. I prepared a dilution and applied it to my finger and foot. By the evening, my finger had returned to an almost normal size, even though it was still bruised. My toes and ankle are taking longer, especially since they weren’t in great shape to begin with. In addition to using Helichrysum essential oil, I’ve been soaking in Epsom salts, which has helped to reduce the pain. Oh, that magnesium! By the way, it is not uncommon for RA patients to be deficient in magnesium.

Note to self: If I ever injure my ring finger again, remember to remove my rings while the removin’ is still good!

 

About essential oils:

You want a trusted source. You pay more for this precious oil. A good quality (and effective) Helichrysum oil is very expensive, but when you learn about the harvest, you’ll understand why.

Helichrysum

Holly Draper, who owns Purify Skin Therapy, is a certified clinical aromatherapist. She cares about her products and she cares about you! If you have questions, she’ll take the time to answer them. (Like whether it is safe to use her Peppermint oil in baking? “Yes, experiment with it, ours is ingestible, being USDA certified organic. But use only very small amounts. It’s really strong.”)

Besides Helichrysum essential oil and epsom salts, what else do you have in your first aid kit?

In my next post, learn about the one trick I taught Holly that every dog should know in case of a medical emergency.

 

Related posts:

April 19, 2018

#550 – Pastry Blender to Potato Masher

PastryBlenderPotatoMasher (1)

If you have compromised hand and wrist function, kitchen chores, like mashing potatoes, can be a challenge. Good tools are essential, as is finding creative uses for the items you already have.

I have a pointy-ended potato masher (see bottom image, on the right), which doubles as a torture device. I had to press down on the end of the handle to apply enough pressure to mash those spuds. While I was getting the job done, I was also gouging my palm. (A mixer or food processor works, but sometimes I don’t feel like hauling out or dirtying those items.)

I was delighted when I found a pastry blender with a handle that is ergonomically-suited to me. It allows me to keep my wrist in a neutral position while I mash, mash, mash those potatoes. My mother-in-law blesses me each time she uses the one I gave to her. My sister-in-law used it at Christmas and she raved about it. Guess what she’s getting as a gift? Shhh, don’t tell her!

If you’re new to stocking a kitchen, or are new to RA, I’d suggest that you select a potato masher, or a pastry blender, with a handle that is horizontal. If you can’t find one, at least choose a potato masher that has a rounded tip on the handle. (See bottom image, left side.)

More creative uses for things you already have:

 

April 9, 2018

What Happened When I Became a Spoonie

IMG_5688

If you spend any time on-line reading about the effects of what it means to have rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll like come across the term “spoonie,” which refers to “The Spoon Theory.”

In a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue is significant. The pain and suffering caused by doing something most people take for granted, such as getting dressed, can be exhausting when you are gripped in a flare.

Christine Miserandino came up with The Spoon Theory to explain to a friend how her chronic illness impacted her energy levels. Imagine that you are allotted a finite number of spoons in a day, and each action (showering, dressing, making breakfast, etc.)  subtracts a spoon. You could conceivably have no spoons left by early afternoon, dependent upon your disease activity.

Last August, I ruminated about all the times I was so exhausted that I had nothing left for those I cared about. I often dragged myself into school, teaching a full-day, going home to prepare a meal, eat, do some prep work, then into bed by 9 pm. Only to repeat it all over again. There are those times when I did more than I should do. I grew up on a farm, after all: make hay while the sun shines, dontchaknow! My philosophy was that if I felt good, I should do things. Lots of things. Only that would often backfire, leaving me exhausted and sore the next day.  I am much better at managing my energy, now. Yes, there’s wisdom in aging!

Anyway, back to August, when I began to think like a spoonie. I am a spoonie. Spoonies have finite energy. And so on and on it went, thinking about what it felt like to be a spoonie. Until I realized that the more I took on this identity, the more tired I became. By identifying with it, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I began to believe it. The more I believed it, the more true it became.

Without any disrespect to Christine and the other spoonies, this is one word that I will not claim for myself. Instead, I will continue to do what I need to do to be as well as possible. When I’m exhausted, I’m exhausted. Period. I don’t need an additional label to box me in, especially one that ends up making me feel worse.

A chronic illness is challenging. That’s why I am diligent about employing a number of strategies to help me move through life. “Spoonieism” just won’t be one of them.

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