What am I, anyway?


What Am I, Anyway?

I’ve spent many years looking for the right vehicle with which I could
share my post-stroke experience and with my now, 18 hard earned
years’ worth of hand on expertise. A year or so after the stroke I
went back to school briefly at San Francisco State U. to, not
inconsequentially, prove to myself that my stroke traumatized brain
could emerge from it’s curious mushiness to still follow an intellectual
pursuit and to earn a certificate in Rehabilitation Engineering
Technology. My brain did engage, rather a bit more slowly and better
in some ways than others, but I completed the program. I absolutely
knew I now had what I needed to reach anybody and everybody who
was in need of assistance figuring out how to do whatever it was they
wanted to do. I launched Reabletech, a small business aimed at
creating special needs solutions wherever solutions were needed.
Alas, I couldn’t give it away. We survivors seem to a stubborn lot
when it comes to our pride. ”I’m not about to a tell anyone I can’t
figure out how to do something I used to do without thinking…” or, “I
can’t do that anymore”…(whatever that happens to be in a particular
individual’s post trauma life)…I don’t care what anyone says.” Sound
familiar? Congratulations if not! Unfortunately, Reabletech never
made it further than the many Reabletech informational brochures
that were dumped into the trash…but call me…

Next up, by1handarts.com. It’s still out there, but it is mostly an
abandoned site now. Not only was I certain people would flock to
the site to buy my art, all of which had been or would be created with
one hand, I knew it would be, for me and everyone I helped through
the website, what Reabletech never was. No brochures went in the
trash, there were none to be tossed, but there could just as well have
been a dumpster full. By1handarts didn’t even limp along as fast as I
do when I’m tired. That is equivalent to almost not moving at all.

All the while I was re-abling myself in the kitchen, finding tools,
repurposing and redesigning tools to work for me. I was cooking for
family and friends with the proverbial one hand tied behind my back. I
got better and better at it and realized, with unabashed astonishment
quickly followed by duh…that reorienting myself in the kitchen was an
invaluable component of my longterm rehabilitation replete with
ultimate transferability to other aspects of my functionally one-handed
ever after. And then the aha moment, I can share this with other
people and maybe even inspire and motivate people who walk in the
same shoes with the same AFO as I do. I talked it up in what I
thought were all the right places to all the right people, my PTs and
OTs and other Ts and Drs until finally someone, thank you Deb, heard
me. Last November I was invited to present my very first one-handed
cooking demonstration, or as I have come to view them, cooking as
rehab. presentations. And there it is in black and white, looking back
at my calendar since November I have been privileged to give several
more demonstrations to various groups and now have 3 more
demonstrations and a motivational talk scheduled over the next few
months. So what am I? This morning I realized with delight and pride
I’m a motivational cook!