This is the second time I’ve posted this (sorry to those of you who are getting another email!). I am attempting to learn how to blog using my new tablet. I haven’t mastered the WordPress app, so this post accidentally went up earlier this morning before I had finished it. Now that I’ve completed it, I’m sharing again. It may not look the way I want it to, but I will keep practicing. I plan to devote many hours to writing this week and I will be much better come Friday. Here’s the post, as I intended it to read:
I am on vacation this week. This is the first time in fifteen years I have taken a week off without anything planned. For years my only vacation involved taking a week during the summer to volunteer at the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant. While I enjoyed my Ms. Wheelchair adventures, these weeks were not restorative vacations. I have taken vacation weeks off to play tour guide to visitors from Australia and while full of fun, these weeks were spent on the go. I have an amazing vacation planned for next year which will be exciting but not restful. I have difficulty making concessions for my disability, but the reality is my body has been begging for a break for months and I am finally giving in.
My sister Caroline has graciously opened her house to me and I am spending the next seven days in my hometown with family and friends. Her house, which we jokingly call “the inn on the hill,” was purposely designed and built to be accessible. Caroline and Paul, her husband, wanted me to have a place to stay when I visited my hometown. My parents’ house, while visitable, is not accessible. When Caroline and Paul began to draw up plans for their current house, they included features such as a ramp, elevated toilets, a roll in shower on the ground floor, lever handle sets on doors, wider doorways and pedastal sinks. Although Caroline and Paul don’t need these accommodations themselves, they have built a house which will suit their needs for the rest of their lives if they choose to age in place.
Caroline acts as my personal assistant when I stay with her, which means this vacation is not just a break from my paid job but is also a much needed vacation from my role as the CEO of me. That is how I describe my job as manager of my own personal care needs. Using a Consumer Directed model means my life is a business and as the CEO of me, I am responsible for for personnel. I recruit, train, manage, and supervise my staff. Every day. All year. For the rest of my life. Without a break.
Except when I come to Caroline’s house. Here, I don’t have to worry about how I will get out of bed if someone calls in sick. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I can have an extra cup of tea because I know she will be available to help me go to the bathroom at any time. Sure, she has a life and a job and is not at my beck and call every moment of the day. But while I am here I don’t have to make contingency plans for what to do in case one of my workers can’t make her scheduled shift.
As I’ve written before, until you rely on another person for your basic needs you probably never think about how much coordination is required to complete your daily routine. I’m not complaining about this responsibility. I am grateful to live in a state which permits me to control my life. I get to chose who comes into my house, who helps me shower, who makes my meals and who has to help me get my underwear in the right place when I get dressed. But even though I enjoy being the CEO of me – I am appreciative of the gift of a few days off. Even CEO’s need a vacation, right?
So this week I will get rest, or at least as much rest as can be obtained in the midst of two dogs, a puppy and two cats. I will read, write and crochet in front of Caroline and Paul’s fireplace. I will play with my new toys and maybe even sample some new blog layouts and designs. My regular staff will get a week of vacation from me which they probably need too.
When I return home next week, the CEO in me will be ready to resume control. For this week though, she’s out of office.