I scheduled a doctor's appointment for April 20th. On April 15th I had a stroke. When it happened, my dad was on his way home from the hospital. He had had cataract surgery. I was completely paralyzed on my right side.
I went to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee then transferred to Rush hospital in Chicago where I stayed for an additional two weeks. Eventually I went to a nursing home called Our Lady Of Victory where I was confined to a bed until I was strong enough to sit in a chair. I went to physical and occupational therapy in a wheelchair where I worked very hard. Over time I went from using a wheelchair, to a walker, then a support cane and ultimately a white cane.
People with disabilities, no matter whether they work, or what positions they hold in companies, often are great managers. Why? Because...we have to manage finding different ways of doing things when we’re unable to. Metaphorically, you can throw us into the deep end of the pool, and more likely than not, will be able to swim because we’ve always had to, since we’ve so rarely known anything other than deep water.
Within minutes I have eight hands simultaneously checking my back for rashes, sticking ports in my arm and checking my vitals. They ask me for consent in using a breathing tube (luckily, wasn't used), then in one quick action a nurse tells me to take a deep breath and an epi pen is jammed into my upper thigh. In an instant, an IV of steroids and Benadryl begin to rush into my veins and I feel like Frankenstein reborn.
Being a part of a community of others with disabilities has always been a huge benefit to me since there seems to be an instant empathy and understanding between us, since we either all have disabilities, or we are allies of those with disabilities. Our untold story, I believe, is huge and complex because it encompasses the history of the disability rights movement that so many people outside of it don’t know.
I started learning how to knit and crochet on September 13, 2013 at Blind Service Association.
I really enjoy it very much. I heard about it through one of the instructors at the Guild for the Blind and another lady. I was always interested in learning the craft because my mom and great aunts also knit and crochet.
Over the past year I think we have seen some amazing accomplishments achieved by women. As a woman I encourage and applaud every facet of a women's progression in our world. With that being said, women's health is also very important to me.
There is no place to turn.
I am up against a brick wall; A raging lion is about ready to come out of his cage and eat me up.
My body feels like a truck just ran over it.
My mind is racing like a time bomb that is ready to go off.
I am running like a bull charging out of the pasture.
I was very fortunate to stumble upon my very good friend, Nancy... we were in a classroom with other children who had similar disabilities as we did. Nancy had a heart defect along with a learning disability, and I was, and still am, visually impaired as well as having a hearing disability. Our friendship developed helping and supporting each other during school days. For example, when we went down the hall for different activities, she would guide me safely to and from our destination, and I would counsel her when she needed advice.
I love getting the chance to examine and start conversations about art in any capacity, and thanks to a history of working with the differently abled community (and theater companies that focus on stories by/for the differently abled), I enjoy putting a spotlight on shows that explore their stories.
On a Saturday morning in May, the Bottom Line Yoga Studio, deep in the heart of the sleepy weekend loop was buzzing with activity, and the smell of fresh baked treats you wouldn’t normally associate with deep breathing and meditation. What emerged from the studio were tables full of delicious cookies and cakes that also happened to be witty and poignant without saying a word. This was Brit M. Ashe and Andrea Wichman’s (and several Chicago bakers) first foray into an international community of cooks and artists devoted to the cause of raising awareness of mental illness: The Depressed Cake Shop.