Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Taken from my website "How to be Disabled In America" http://www.skcllc.net/

The blizzard of 2010 is all over the news with airports closed, roads blocked, streets flooded and electricity out. Whenever catastrophes like this happen my first thought is "What about the disabled?" I'm more fortunate than many in that I have a local man who comes over and shovels me out for a small charge. But I'm very aware that I'm left at his mercy. I pace from window to window while I wait for him to arrive, looking out to see if he's started yet. There's no getting to my van with all that snow in the waY. I start speaking to myself saying "When can I get out? When can I get out?" I run through my mind to be sure I've got enough supplies for a few days. No matter what the season I try to make sure I've got extra groceries and staples like paper towels and canned food in the house. I live in terror of being stuck in the house and running out of something I really need, like oxygen. I recently discovered a food delivery service called Peapod (http://www.peapod.com). I order my groceries online, pick the best delivery time and they show up at my door a day or two later. Again, I always order extra this or that so if I'm stuck because of weather or health, there are always some basics in the house. I think alot about people who don't have my options. How do they cope? Screaming might not help but it does relieve the tension. Just remember your neighbors might misunderstand. If you're reading this do you have any techniques or ideas that you use to cope with bad weather as a disabled person? Write to me at skemp@skcllc.net with the subject line "What About the Disabled?" and let me know. By the way, rain when you're wheel chair bound sucks.too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


From my webpage: http://www.skcllc.net/ - How to Be Disabled In America

Edgy is one of those words like pornography. I don't know how to define it but I know it when I see it. It's my intention to make this website "edgy." I'm a cranky, pissed off disabled person. I don't consider becoming disabled to have been a life-enlightening moment. Frankly, I'd rather have the ability to walk freely back. When people tell me "I'm an inspiration because of how well I manage this change in my life" I want to tell then to stop by my house around 3AM and see how well I'm handling things then. There's a whole lot to be angry about (don't even get me started on the Americans with Disabilities Act) but to let you know that I'm not entirely dark and cranky (even though I'm an African-American) I wanted to share two of my favorite videos with you. Every day the local college track team runs past my house. Watching them run is like watching gazelles running across the savannah-heartbreakingly beautiful, all the more for knowing I'll never run like that again. When I told a friend how sad I was feeling she sent me a video called "Where the Hell Is Matt Dancing-2008." Matt travels around the world getting various cultures to dance with him. It gets me smiling and crying at the same time. My other favorite video is also a dance one. I'm a sucker for people willing to make themselves look foolish in the name of having a good time and showing friends they love them. Its called "Wedding Dancers." This is as bright and sunny as I get at 1AM on a Wednesday morning. As I write and send more information you'll probably find yourself wondering "what happened to that semi-happy disabled woman?"

Monday, December 13, 2010


I take something in the vicinity of 37 pills a day, half of which are pain killers. This many pain killers makes me positively narcoleptic unless my mind is fully engaged. In other words I can drive safely when I get home and sit for more than 10 minutes I fall dead asleep. I almost drowned in plate of mashed potatoes when I was in the hospital.  So one of my doctors the newest drug for narcoleptics - Neurvigil.  She checked  me out on a low dosage and  then upped it big time. I got the prescription filled, didn't pay attention to the time and popped one at noon. Now here I am at 3AM wide awake and CLEANING THE REFRIGERATOR!!!  That's when you know you're over the edge. I took everything out and put it on the floor and washed all the shelves. The frig looks great and I've still got energy to burn.  I'm actually thinking of vacuuming the living room.

When I was in my twenties I worked way too many part time jobs, some at night.  I used to buy speed from a woman I worked with. I would write her a CHECK and then on the memo line write "speed." Arghhh... Someone must have been watching over me because its a miracle I didn't get busted.

Another story - in my twenties I bounced a check and then forgot about it. Months later a sheriff's deputy came to my apartment to arrest me for the check unless I covered it immediately.  I was terrified with visions of being dragged off to jail so blurted out "Will you take a check?"  He laughed so hard he had to step outside to catch his breath then gave me til the end of the week to get the cash. Believe it or not years later we became good friends when he ran for office. I helped him with his campaign . Each time we meet we say will you take a check?

I love having this much energy. I rarely get out of bed before noon because the pills and the illnesses knock me out. I've learned to make appointments for after 2PM and do as much as I can on the Internet. If you've never heard of Peapod check it out. You order groceries on line and then deliver them to your house.  Yet another great thing the Internet has done for the disabled.

Which reminds me - I'm completely changing my website to provide disabled information from the perspective of someone that can't be Elizabeth Edwards.  In other words we can't all keep a stiff upper lip and serve to reflect nothing but the positive in times of serious illness. I'm trying to get up the courage to write the piece but I thought out of respect I'd wait a week or two after her funeral.  I'll let you know when the web page goes up.