It’s been a little while! I have a lot to say about recent events, so get ready for a lot of thoughts…
With great excitement and gratitude, I would like to announce that I attended my best friend’s wedding! I missed a very close friend’s wedding in 2017, and I was so concerned it would become a pattern where I missed all my friend’s weddings. Seemingly not the case, thank DOG!!
It was beautiful, amazing, emotional, heartwarming, exciting, exhausting, and more. I had a lot of fun with a lot of loved ones. I also saw so many dogs!
There were a lot of challenging aspects to the trip. The drive, the gravel road approach, the walking distances, parts of the accommodations, general vibrations, sitting, standing, speaking, and even the general intensity of feelings involved throughout! The most important thing is regardless of difficulty, I was able to do everything I wanted to. I met all of my goals. I did my makeup, walked to another cabin before the ceremony, walked in the ceremony, stood for the ceremony, walked back to my cabin, sat “normally” for the reception, did my speech, socialized “normally” during the reception, and socialized further after! There were many points where I was acting fine and wasn’t necessarily fine. Miraculously, and wonderfully I persevered through every one of those moments. I am very happy and proud.
The wedding was held at Nipika Mountain Resort, a beautiful spot ~15 km shy of Radium Hot Springs, B.C., and 12 km down a gravel road. We stayed in their “accessible” cabin, the Tegart. The resort is an eco-resort, and they are completely off the grid with some massive solar panels sitting on one end of the site. I love the way solar panels look, never mind their efficiency. There were mice issues around the property, which was rough for me due to my insane fear of them. There were mice in the cabin, and they kept me up at night because I was anxious as hell listening to them run around. That was not the greatest. Some aspects of the cabin were not as accessible as they thought, and I made sure to let them know how to improve in the future. Luckily, I was not using a wheelchair or a walker that weekend so most of the issues I noted did not affect me. This is what I wrote to Nipika in regards to accessibility:
“…wanted to let you know that the cabin is not as accessible as you may think. I didn’t have to use a wheelchair this weekend thankfully, if I had there would have been some significant barriers. The large lip on the cabin door, the height of the toilet, the parking for the cabin, the angle of the ramp, and the condition of the ramp were of particular concern. May I suggest that you rework your description of the cabin online, and alert any of your disabled guests to these barriers. For an independent wheelchair user, these barriers could be detrimental and ruin a vacation. Please feel free to contact me if you want more details on how full accessibility could be achieved.”
Nipika responded saying they would “…definitely make the adjustments to the ramp and the front door…” and I believe they will. The staff were great all weekend, and came to ask me twice if I needed a ride to the reception site, although I declined. I opted for my dad to drive me in our truck, so I could take myself back whenever I wanted and not have to wait around for a driver or feel weird about it.
Accessibility is something that I didn’t think about until it affected me. It’s selfish, but true. I’ve written about this before, you can check out Ramblings of a Former Ableist if you like. I used to wheel around my grandparents occasionally when they were older, and maybe my dad out of surgery once but true accessibility was something I had the privilege to ignore. Now when I go to places and notice these things, I like to give feedback. Some places are just trying to meet the bare minimum so they don’t get sued, and some places are just unaware those barriers exist. I have also ranted about the differences between accessibility requirements and functional accessibility before, check out Phoenix Wheelie Adventure/ Accessibility Rant if you want to explore that topic.
I mentioned before how many times during the weekend I acted fine when I really wasn’t. For me, acting is an important part of interacting with people. Let me explain. I’m never really comfortable, I just try to get to the lowest level of discomfort possible. If the way someone is talking or gesturing starts to add on pain or anxiety, I try my hardest to work through it. It can be hard for people to understand why my face is all scrunched up like they told the wrong kind of lewd joke. Trying to explain what is going on is also difficult and tedious at times, even though nine times out of ten I bite the bullet and use precious energy to educate. I end up doing a lot of acting when I’m out in the wild. A lot of this acting is for other people, but a lot of it is for me as well. All my dance teachers would say “fake it until you make it” so I suppose I took that to heart. Acting allows me to feel like I’m closer to my old normal. When I’m socializing especially.
We carpooled out with some very dear friends, my parents, and my sister. That itself was a fun adventure, and it was really cool to have them both on the trip. Since none of us had one vehicle we could all fit in, we took two. Apparently one of them was not as road worthy as we thought, and it was definitely making some weird noises by the end. Our mechanic implied some sort of belt could have seized…oops. Everything was fine, though!
(Wedding dog photo by Jessica Byrne. You can check out her website, or find her on Instagram!)
The weekend after the wedding we had a small party for my friend Dylan, who died this year. It was a sweet little thing. I barbecued a bunch of chicken, and everyone brought sides for a great meal. We also burned a school chair-desk combo in our fire pit. That felt appropriate. I have never been good at getting pictures of friends, food, and events. Luckily my sister was around to remind me, so enjoy these pictures of the chair being burned. I miss Dylan, and I hope that he’s at peace wherever he’s floating around at.
We used to have some pretty wild parties at the house. Maybe one day we can have one again and really destroy the home again in Dylan’s honour. 🙂
I also entered into my 5th year of life with CRPS. I try not to get as hung up on anniversaries as much as I used to, but that’s my logical brain speaking. My emotional brain has different ideas. Yes, I’ve made quite a bit of progress but CRPS still has a significant hold on my life. I still have disturbing dreams nightly. I still struggle with many aspects of trying to live as “normal” of a life as possible. Pain still controls what I do. I always remind myself to be grateful for all the progress I’ve made, but I still feel trapped in my body. Every day when waking up, I feel like the tin man dipped in fire. Sometimes it’s more like coals at the end of the night’s fire, and other times it’s like an insane roaring gas explosion. Function is a better indicator of progress than pain levels, but pain levels influence function so that is a fun relationship I do my best to manage.
Recovering from all of these things has been an ongoing process. The last two days, I have found myself unable to stand without shattering pain in my thigh and knee specifically. Everything I’ve done has been worth it, but there has been more crying than normal the last little while.
There are also some people in my life who have been struggling with their entrance into chronic pain. This honestly scares me. Nobody deserves to live in pain when it’s not a needed physiological response, unfortunately chronic pain doesn’t give a shit about that idea/ mindset. I hope all these people I care for are able to find a resolution, or at the very least treatments that allow for an acceptable quality of life. I just want everyone to be happy, and to enjoy things in life.
My sweet little terror of a dog, Molly, also turned 10! Molly is a very sensitive girl, and her mood changes pretty quickly and often. What can I say, dogs are like their owners…I love her dearly even though her barking has tortured me (and many others) at times over the years. During the garage sale my family just spontaneously had, Molly was super sweet and made many people’s day. Molly also got ice cream for her birthday. Sweet, sensitive girl.
That’s my big summer report so far! Lots of fun, and movement. Now to recover properly…
2 thoughts on “Celebration and Movement!”
Pictures are worth a thousand words and you look beautiful!
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Thank you so much! 🙂