Friday, May 20, 2011

Self-Care is a B*tch

I never thought too much about self care before I went to college.  Sure, some aspects of self care were more difficult for me, but I had been completely independent in all my self-care activities since my mid teens.  Surely self care wouldn't be difficult for me in college, after all, I took care of myself every day.  I didn't need a personal assistant like some of my friends, I could do everything on my own.  Taking care of myself in college would be a breeze; in fact, I barely thought about it before I left.

Oh how wrong I was.  Sure, at home, I did everything major myself - showering, dressing, etc., sometimes with the help of some adaptive equipment, like a shower chair or my awesome three headed toothbrush.  But I completely didn't take into account the little things, or how the college environment differs from the home environment.

At home, the farthest I had to carry a plate was about five feet to the kitchen, and it was usually an empty plate at the end of a meal, and not a full plate at the beginning of a meal.  In college, I had to navigate a crowded dining hall while carrying a full plate of food and usually a drink.  If the dining hall was particularly packed, it could take me up to fifteen, twenty minutes to find a seat, and that's after my wrists started screaming in pain.  The back dining room was often open for students on crowded days, but I had to navigate a long hallway while carrying my food in order to get there.  That's not to mention that's after I usually stood in a long line for food, while my back, knees, feet, and ankles all ached in tandem.

.....And people wonder why I like to take my scooter to the dining hall a lot.

It's the little things that really get me.  My first semester, I got sick.  Nothing serious, just a bad cold.  I went to the health center and they gave me a bottle of cough syrup.  Stupid me didn't think to check if it was a child proof cap or not til I got back to my room.  I spent over a half hour trying to open the damn cap before I had to go somewhere.  I spent the next two hours hacking my lungs out during a play performance because I couldn't open the cough syrup!  I eventually got it open only for a majority of it to spray all over.  It literally looked like a massacre had occurred in my bathroom.

I didn't think taking care of myself would be hard in college.  It turns out it kind of was. I didn't realize how accustomed I was to having my parents do things for me. I have now finished my freshman year and have learned a lot about taking care of myself. I am definitely a more independent person now. I look forward to carrying that knowledge into the rest of my college career as well as the rest of my life.

Please note that this post is for the May disability blog carnival.  Happy blogging everyone!


Anonymous said...

Great blog post Cara! I never really tought about the issue of self-care either for students on campus until I read this post. Now I can understand better the struggles that self-care can present on a college campus. I personally was diagnosed with a reproductive health disorder about a semester into my freshman year. Self-care can be very hard for me when it comes to affording my GYN appointments and medicines. Getting rides to the pharmacy or hospital if I need a medication refill or I encounter a complication also present a problem as I am visually impaired and do not drive. In some ways, I also feel that learning self-care skills really helps us grow up and understand what it will be like when we get into the "real world." But, although we have to learn it, self-care is still a b*tch.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. I became disabled soon after college, so I didn't have this issue, but I well remember the dining hall situations you describe, and I shudder to think trying to deal with that now!

Also, when I saw triple-headed toothbrush I thought, "Wow! Must check that out!" Because I've used one for my service dogs for years, and I'm often unable to brush my own teeth, and it never occurred to me that they make one for PEOPLE.

So, I clicked on the link. Guess what? Same brush! LOL Now I'm wondering, is this a dog toothbrush that some smart person realized could be useful for PWDs, or is an assistive aid that some smart pet supplier realized would be great for dogs?

I'm going to get one for myself. My dog's is kind of, um, gross.