Tuesday, November 17, 2015


A couple of years ago my eye doctor diagnosed me with chronic dry eye syndrome. “No problem,” he said. “Just use these eye drops every few hours and you should be good to go.” But there was a complication. I’m physically unable to put drops in my eyes, and I’m alone much of the day.

I attended a writers’ conference. In one of the sessions, participants were asked on several occasions to write short responses to prompts. But there was a complication. I can’t write or type, so I dictate to my computer. How could I dictate to my computer when everyone else was silently writing on paper or typing on their laptops?

Kim won a radio call-in contest – not an uncommon occurrence – for a concert at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire. But there was a complication. The tickets were not for wheelchair accessible seating.

I could go on. Everyone has complications in their lives, but disabled people can’t seem to get away from them. Nothing is simple and straightforward. It takes a positive attitude to avoid saying, “screw it,” and just sitting there and binge watching episodes of Breaking Bad.

With the eye drops situation, I did some research and found an alternative treatment for dry eyes – tear duct plugs. I had them installed yesterday. Maybe they’ll work, and maybe they won’t, but it feels good to give something a try. I advocated for myself, and pushed my doctor, and I may have found a way to overcome this complication.

At the writers’ conference, I asked, “Is there a private area nearby where I could set up my laptop and microphone, and complete these writing assignments by dictating to my computer?” There was. All I needed to do was ask.

After Kim won the concert tickets, she called the Verizon Center. They said they would find us some wheelchair accessible seats when we got there, and they did. We had arrived early to make sure we ironed out this issue, and so we had some time to wander aimlessly around the venue. I was in balance mode in my iBot wheelchair when we went by an indiscriminate door being guarded by two venue employees. One of them took an interest in my iBot, and we made small talk for a few minutes.

“By the way, what’s behind that door?” I asked.

“It’s the VIP box.”

“How do we get in there?”

“You need special tickets.”

“Can we just go in and have a quick peek?”

“Tell you what, I think there’s room for two more people in there. Enjoy the show.”

Not only was our complication eliminated, but because we made friendly chit-chat, we enjoyed a serious upgrade.

Moral of the story: with patience, determination, and imagination, disabled people can overcome many of life’s complications.

One last example: a group of friends wanted to go skiing. There was a complication. I’m in a wheelchair. They did some research, and I could spend the day in the care of a handicapped skiing organization. I had no desire to participate in handicapped skiing. I told my friends I would not be going, but thanks for thinking of me.

Moral of this story: if there are hoops you just don’t want to jump through, if there are complications you simply choose not to overcome, there is no shame in watching a few episodes of Breaking Bad.


  1. Sounds like a good moral to me. Though in my case, it would be more like Outlander ...

  2. In my case it would be more like HGTV. I'm coming back in my next life as a master carpenter!

    1. I wasn't aware that we get to choose. If that's the case, I think I'd like to come back in my next life as a physical or occupational therapist, so I can help disabled people. Or, as the squirrel in my front yard who gets to hang by his tail and eat from my birdfeeder. That looks like fun.

  3. Have you discussed Sjogren's Syndrome with your neurologist? It can cause dry eye syndrome, and it can also cause demyelination.

    1. I have an appointment with him soon. Thanks for the tip.

  4. My mom had Sjogren's and had plugs put in many times. Hope it helps. The drop wind up all over my face!

    1. Kimberly, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, all my helpers have varying degrees of accuracy with the eyedrops!