Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you I had a wonderful week of competition with other disabled veterans, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d also tell you the driver of the express coach to O’Hare, loaded me aboard the bus, then waved me off when I started to ask how much for the fare.  I’d tell you I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and breezed through security, without the usual hassle that I’ve experienced in the past, as a wheelchair user.  I would also tell you, that while waiting at the gate, the airline lady came over to me, and told me that a gentleman in first class was offering me his seat, if I would like it.  Well . . . yeah!  They were giving me drinks throughout the entire flight, as well as a choice of meals to choose from.  I had a delicious Asian Salad.  I would tell you about my experience, once I reached San Antonio.  I made it from the gate to the shuttle buses if a good amount of time, since I had packed light, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop, and my CPAP machine.  After waiting a considerable length of time, a shuttle with a wheelchair lift finally arrived, but they weren’t going to take me and had to go in and check that out.  He finally decided he could take me.  He opened the back door and let the lift down to the pavement.  I rolled on and he pushed the button.  The front end of the lift started to rise, but the back stubbornly remained on the ground, and the front would go sliding back to the ground.  I got off, he tried the lift again, and it still wouldn’t go up – without me even being on it.  I was afraid I had broken as my humongous large chair probably weighs close to 400 pounds, and that’s without me in it.  He finally got me aboard and we were off.

 Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my best throughout the three events I took part in, one each day of competition.  I played table tennis first, and I did well in the first round, but not as well as during warm-up.  I would tell you that I got pounded to the pavement floor by a competitor, who it turns out just happens to belong to a national table tennis team.  He must practice for hours on end each day.  I didn’t think that was a fair go-around, but I gracefully rolled away, and joined my friends on the sidelines, one of whom had my phone, and took some very good pictures.  I would tell you that my second event was bocce ball.  I made it through the first two rounds, and then lost to the person I had played against, two years earlier, at an exhibition event for bocce ball.  I believe I lost to him then, as well.  Also, I don’t remember seeing any other women playing, but I could be mistaken.  The air rifle event, was really rough on me, physically.  The MS has progressed (probably why they call it “progressive”) and I couldn’t hold the rifle still enough to even see the entire target, much less those tiny little dots I was to aim for.  They got a stand for the air rifle, and one of the volunteers helped to adjust the sight, so that I could actually see the individual dots I was to aim for.  Another volunteer was helping, by putting each pellet in the rifle, and telling me which dot I was to be aiming at for my next shot, and telling me how far off I was with each shot.  I did a poor job hitting those targets, and didn’t even stick around to see what my final score was.  I would also tell you that the trip home wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first flight.  We took off late, arrived late, and I waited about an hour for them to bring my chair to me.  I missed my shuttle bus and was screaming scrambling through O’Hare, trying to find the shuttle bus, and when I took the elevator to garage level – twice.  When I finally got to the ticket counter, the fare was $27, and I had $25 on me.  I ended up giving her the $25 in cash, and putting the remaining $2 on my debit card, as I wasn’t too sure about how much was left in my checking account.  The lift on the next bus was broken.

Image result for CoffeeIf were having coffee, I would tell you that the beginning of October is kind of bittersweet.  My mother passed away, four years ago, on the 1st of October.  I would also tell you that the end of the month not only brings Halloween, but a Halloween birthday as well.  When I was in elementary school, she would bake her famous ‘chocolate drop cookies’ and bring them to my school, so I could share them with my class.  All my teachers wanted the recipe of those cookies.  I  like birthdays, except these last few years, my age is starting to seem surreal, uncertain at times, and higher than it was a year ago.  I would tell you how, throughout the years when I was a kid, my mother would throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party, then we would all pile into the car to go Trick-or-Treating, after it got dark!  Imagine that.  We had to use a car, because we lived way out in the country in upstate New York, and the nearest neighbors were up to several miles away.  I would tell you that I always enjoyed those birthdays, and somewhere deep inside, that child who had wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s, is still buried deep within me, and that part of me, I might never let go of.  I would also tell you to have a great week.

Let’s Go Bowling!

Go Play! – Let’s go bowling!

Bowling is a sport I’ve enjoyed for some time.  But as things usually do, life gets busy and some things fall to the wayside, as in my case.

I started bowling once a year – from a wheelchair, and that is a challenge.  You don’t get as much power behind the ball when you’re sitting still.  But I took this on again, and I went bowling at an alley called Fat Cat.

My total score was 191  for three games – total.  Oh, that and some very sore muscles in my shoulder and back.  You can see me in motion here:

Anxiety

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this past week was too easy, and this coming week is going to be too difficult.  This past week, I didn’t have a care in the world.  I had no appointments to worry about, no transportation arrangements to be made, I didn’t even have to leave the building.  I’d tell you I had a great time, sitting outside in the beautiful September weather.  The only thing I needed to do was get a haircut, which I finally did on Friday.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this coming week is going to be busier.  I have to make all the final arrangements for transportation from my little corner of SE Wisconsin, to San Antonio, where it is still blazing hot.  But I have to wear jeans and sometimes even a long-sleeved shirt, because I have to spend each entire day in an air-conditioned building, that feels like the back of your local butcher’s freezer.  I wonder if we have a local butcher….  I’d tell you that I will be doing a variety of different adaptive sports for disabled veterans.  I’d tell you that I am going to be shooting an air rifle at a target that is ten miles meters away, and I can’t ever get the sights on the rifle lined up with the tiny ten dots that I’m supposed to be shooting at.  Then I will be playing table tennis, which is one of my favorites.  The last event I will be doing is Bocce Ball, which I first played in San Antonio, two years ago.  I have played since, and my skills are improving with every event I attend.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my anxiety level is rising towards the roof with every breath I take.  I would also tell you that I made a mistake on my airline reservation, and they so kindly charged me an extra $200 for that little.  I would also tell you that I learned a lesson about airline reservations, and that is to wait until I have all the schedule information.  I found it was entirely wrong both going and coming back.  To change the reservation again,  the freaking airline so kindly charged me another extra $200, so now I’ve paid just about enough to fly there and back – twice!  Maybe next year I’ll stay home for that event, and try going somewhere else where it isn’t quite as hot.  Maybe the Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado, where I can learn how to ski?

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a great, if tiring week.  I spent Tuesday thru Thursday in Chicago, for the Valor Games Midwest.  This is an adaptive sports event for veterans and active duty personnel who are physically disabled, or blind, or have PTSD, which I can tell you is very disabling, or traumatic brain injury.  I signed up for the field event throwing the discus and hand cycling only, as I didn’t want to trigger the MS due to the extra fatigue I might experience.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was so worried about making travel connections, I google-mapped my route from the bus that took me to another bus that took me to a train Image result for Trainthat took me to a bus that took me to Soldier Field, in Chicago.  My travel and connections all went well.  The discus throw earned me a Gold medal Gold Medal
and the hand cycling earned me a silver medal, IMAG0017which was so unexpected that I had to wait for my chair to power up so that I could roll up the second place ramp, to receive the silver medal.

I would tell you that when I saw the pictures of myself on that podium, I felt much older, because of how grey my hair has become.  But after a bit, I realized that color of my hair didn’t necessarily match the age of my body, or my abilities.  I was also inspired to do some strengthening of my upper body, and continue to compete in these, and other adaptive sports for disabled persons, veteran or not.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have a quiet week ahead, with only one appointment.  I hope she doesn’t end the session early because she is ill again.  I would tell you that having BPD causes me to feel as though I’m being abandoned when she cancels an appointment, that I take it as though she does it on purpose, because she knows that it’s a day on which I have an appointment with her, and it has happened several times.  This, among other thought patterns, is something that I am now aware of what the truth is, and that I just have to convince the little me it doesn’t have anything to do with me.  I would also tell you that I have inappropriate emotional responses, that these are exaggerated and that I have a negativity in myself that causes low self-worth, negativity, and inadequacy, especially when problem solving.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that you are part of the new world I have let happen, in my blogosphere, people that I didn’t even know, read the thoughts and reactions and behaviors I have experienced and still do to some extent, and opened myself up to the comments and support of these people, and that I now feel as though I’ve known you all for the four-plus years that this blog has been my outlet.  You help me to believe in myself, that I can accomplish great things, in my writing and also in the things I try to do, even if the thought of it scares me or seems impossible.  The impossible is becoming possible, and I thank you all for your help.

If We Were Having Coffee

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it has been a long week.  I have not been able to go anywhere, due to the heat and humidity.  Fortunately, I didn’t have any appointments to go to during the week.  I’d tell you that I have a fascinating (at least to me) idea for a new blog I’d like to start, as well as some changes to the looks (Not the content!) of this blog.  I’d tell you I spent a tremendous amount of time, playing Sudoku online, as I play that to try the repair some of the deficits in cognitive ability due to nerve damage on my brain from MS, by stimulating new nerves to take the place of the damaged nerves, with new ones (not sure that has helped).

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee,  I’d tell you that I spent Friday baking goodies for us to eat with our coffee.  I’d tell you I made a delicious carrot cake with cream cheese icing, and molasses cookies (because they are my all-time favorite, after chocolate),  but the cookies were burned because I forgot to set the timer on these newfangled stoves they put in here.  The weather here has turned a bit cool after the storms went through, and I had to put on jeans for the first time all summer.  The air conditioner is off and the cat is enjoying the open window.  Unfortunately, my flowers in the window boxes on the sills did not fare well due to me or the weather (I’d rather blame the weather).  I may have to try something different next year.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have an exciting week ahead.  I will be going to Chicago for three days, for the 2016 Valor Games Midwest.  These games have been adapted for veterans with many different types of disabilities, ranging from Archery to Tandem Cycling (for the ones who cannot see), as well as Field events, Indoor Rowing, and some exhibition sports that we can try out, and see if it is something we would like to pursue.  I’d tell you that since I’m either sitting, or in bed for the night, I don’t get much exercise, except when I use my manual chair when someone gives me a ride somewhere.  So I play adaptive sports in the summer, both for the competition, the wish to push myself a little further, to meet up with old friends, or just cheer for our teammates.  I’d tell you I went to Salt Lake City the end of June, into July, and that I won a bronze medal in 9-ball, a silver medal in bowling, and a gold medal for the Power Slalom, which is just a fancy way to say an obstacle course for power wheelchair.  I’d tell you that I don’t do it for the medals, but for the competition with friends I’ve met over the years, conversations by the pool that can last half the night, and the opportunity to travel all over the US.  I’ve been to events from the western part to the state to the eastern part, and I have yet to visit a city I haven’t liked, except for maybe the heat.  I’d also tell you that in September I’m going to San Antonio for the Valor Games Southwest.  This will be my third year going, but this year is the first year that I’ve had to pay for everything myself.  I was charged an extra $200 for my flight, because I changed my departure day to return home, from Friday to Thursday.  Then I turned out I had the return flight scheduled on the correct day the first day, but my departure from home was a day early.  So I cancelled the reservation entirely (BIG mistake) and applied for a refund for the entire trip.  I then made a new reservation, on the correct days, but was later informed that I would not be receiving a refund at all from the first reservation.  Any ideas how I can do that??  I would also tell you that I won’t be posting much this week, due to my travels.  And I would tell you to have a great week!

Wheelchairs And Sports

This YouTube video is of the 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, in Salt Lake City, in which I took part.  I thought I would share it so you all can see a bit of the types of events I, as well as all the friends I have made over the last 9 years, take part in the course of a week.  Enjoy!

Share Your World #31

What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in.  And what Country do you live in?
I live in a mid-sized city, which is a change from ‘Hicksville, upstate NY’, where I grew up.  From the first city on to the present, I have always liked the bustle of being in the middle of a city.  But I would have to say that my favorite part is where the city lies along the coast of Lake Michigan, especially when there is no one nearby.

I live in the United States.

Would you rather wear clown shoes every day or a clown wig every day?
I would have to say the shoes. I always kick them off as soon as possible anyway.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?
Over. If it’s under, I never seem to be able to find the end of the roll.

What do you do to make a living or during the day?  If you are retired what mostly occupies your day? Or if you are a student what are you studying?
I do not work due to disability, yet I do have a set schedule, for most days. The alarm goes off. The cat gets up, I get up. I take my first round of meds and feed the cat. An hour later, the second alarm goes off, and I take the rest of my morning meds, make the coffee and have breakfast. Then I move from my power chair to my recliner, after I’ve gotten dressed, turn on the computer, and spend most all day and evening, first going through all the email, reading my batch of blogs that I follow, and then I turn to my favorite Sudoku website, and that’s pretty much all I do for the rest of the day and the evening. Though lately, I’ve become inspired to get out of the recliner and go to the gym, and try to strengthen my upper body, so that I can take part in some adaptive sports for wheelchair users, which would be more of a challenge (Haven’t made it to the gym yet, and I got back from a week of games in Salt Lake City a month ago today.) My next round of events is in three weeks, in Chicago, and I need to build up my strength and endurance for the coming events there. Then my life goes back to recliner mode until near the end of September, when I go to San Antonio, TX for three days of events there, but nothing strenuous due to the heat and humidity there.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I think this may sound a little strange, but I’m grateful for Mother Nature last week, when she put on some mighty fine fireworks (thunder and lightning), which I love dearly, as long as it’s not one of those where the wind is bending the trees over, and the rain is moving sideways rather than  down. Those are a little scary. But I’m grateful to be here, able to watch, and listen and listen to a heavy downpour of water.

In the week coming up, I’m looking forward to an entire week with absolutely, not one single appointment for the entire week. When this happens, I can vegetate relax in the shade, without any pressures to go somewhere except for the grocery store.

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Cee’s Share Your World is a weekly feature and all are welcome to play along.

What’s going on in your world?

Trying Something Different

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The pictures above show the many ways that I get involved in adaptive sports. Three weeks ago, I was in Salt Lake City, putting forth all the effort I could, doing my best at my selected events, and awakening a desire in myself to do more.

More means starting up again at the gym. I need to work to build my upper body up so I have the strength to excel at future attempts at adaptive sports. I am looking at rock climbing, bowling, wheelchair basketball, bocce ball, and anything else I might like to get into.

I need to build strength and endurance. An initial session with a personal trainer, will give me the knowledge for the machines that I can use to achieve this objective. I also need to take my sports chair to the mall, and build my endurance in that way.

But this ambition doesn’t stop there. I was invited once to take part in a week of training and a go at the Nationals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go, but I wish to continue.

For the last few years I have just spent all my time in my recliner, playing games on my computer, and losing the muscle mass that I used to have. I want to get out of this chair, be active, and do the best I can do.

Pain And Determination

I have been here in Salt Lake City, Utah, since Sunday afternoon.  When you are in the sun during the day, it is like sitting in an oven (not that I’ve ever actually sat in an oven).  But yesterday morning was cloudy, and there was a little breeze.  I wasn’t doing anything until 1pm, so I went sight-seeing (and looking for a drug store).  It was really nice and I took a lot of pictures.  You can check some of them out on my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/vanbenschotenk.  Here is a good sample of what I’ve seen and done since Monday morning.

 

During the past four days, I have pushed myself to compete in four events during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games here.  I have bowled Silver medal), ran the motorized slalom (an obstacle course for power chairs – gold medal), played 9-ball with two other women, both of whom I already knew (bronze medal), and played Boccia Ball (no medals, just had fun… I was winning until the last round, when my opponent pulled ahead with a final score of 4-3).

But it’s not about those medals!  It’s about grit and determination, friends and fun, and great competition.  Having MS, I suffer from fatigue most of the time and it’s with a lot of effort that I go out and compete like this.  And I don’t only do it here.  I also take part in the Valor Games (for veterans with all disabilities), in Chicago and San Antonio, where I push myself a lot more to succeed.

Now I am looking at participating in new events through other types of games all over the country.  I also have set a goal to go back to the gym on a regular basis, participate in adaptive sporting clinics, and get myself out of that recliner, where I normally spend most of my time.

I want to get stronger, and more active, pushing through the pain and fatigue and succeeding in doing the most I can do and not give in to this disease (MS).

That will take pushing myself to do more, all that I can do, with determination and grit.  I will not give up!