Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resolutionarily speaking

Linking with Our World Tuesday

 Photo by Daniel J. Cook for Parks Canada

But first, the answers to my little quiz about endangered animals in Jasper National Park.
Yamini got them all right. How is that possible, Yam? I know you have lived in Scotland, Australia, and India...but you know western North American wildlife? Really? You amaze me, my dear friend.
Yes, the first photo was of a mama Grizzly and her cub. No one wants to get in between those two bears. (Or any two bears, actually.)
Then came the wolverine, pictured above— pound for pound one of the fiercest fighters on the planet.
Photo: Donald M. Jones for Parks Canada
Then came a pretty white-tailed deer followed by, yes, the woodland caribou seen here.

And my dear but not Canadian friend Yam got all the answers.
I'm going to have to give up the quiz biz.

So it's back to the recently-dawned year, and I've given some consideration to the making of resolutions in this new year. I'm only a few days late in the doing of it, and have succeeded in confusing my foolish, elderly self about which of my character defects require resolution in 2017.

I do know that, here at home, where I live with Lindy and Lindy's daddy, I do resolve to be more cheerful.

Some people may find it hard to believe, but I remember when I was still living in BC, someone accused me of being "too damn cheerful." I thought it was hilarious.
I was no longer young at that time, and nor was I healthy, but I still loved living, and was grateful to be able to do it.

Now, fast forward 15 or 20 years, and some of the thrill has gone out of fighting chronic illnesses.
I'm still grateful, and sometimes still surprised, that I was able, after years of struggling, to thwart osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis: two worthy, nasty foes. I'm glad to be without them. When I walk out in winter (I'm living in Alberta now) I'm still not a fan of falling, but I no longer have to worry about my bones shattering if I slip on icy ground.
Nor do I now need to have my blood monitored because I'd been losing so much of it for so many years.
Today, in 2017, I'm still thrilled that those two plagues: osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis, are gone, and I hope never to experience either of them again, but there still remains that third enemy...which many medical practitioners, and pretty much all government pension departments, refused to recognize when it first hit me in the 1980s: Fibromyalgia.
The word fibromyalgia means musculoskeletal pain everywhere in the body... all the parts, sometimes one or two at a time, and often all of them together...yes, sometimes seriously a pain in the butt.
I laud all other women and men who fought to get fibromyalgia recognized as a very real, very debilitating, often disabling illness. I applaud them, and I thank them, as well.
In the 1980s, backed by the late, great International Typographical Union, I managed to plead the existence of my fibromyalgia before a judge. I'm glad I was able, also with the union's help, to fight the loss of my job to this awful illness. Recognition of fibromyalgia was immediately extended to other members of the union as well. Gotta love that ITU. Some union members, fighting disabilities and knowing what I'd achieved, phoned to thank me.
Thus I was, in turn, able to be a small part of the great fight to have fibromyalgia recognized by Canada's federal government disability pension department.

Having, some time earlier, been forced to sell my house in order to live on the proceeds, I finally had—on the basis of three disabilities—a federal pension income on which to live. To that end, pardon the pun, I had had to prove ulcerative colitis and osteoporosis, as well as fibromyalgia, on my list of disabilities before the feds would agree I was actually ill.
Total: three illnesses, each devastating in one way or another.

At the time, my federal Member of Parliament in White Rock/South Surrey, BC, was one of my former college profs: Benno Friesen. We had mutual friends, and took the opportunity to visit whenever we met. Benno, too, was instrumental in my fight for a federal disability pension, offering me whatever facilities his local office could provide.

For my pension, and more, I am forever grateful to the men and women of the the old ITU. I am still receiving a small a pension from the union, too, because continuation of the pension was considered non-negotiable when that grand old union dissolved due to technological change. Remaining ITU printers are now members of the Communications Workers of America.

I do digress. I started off with quiz results, continued with resolutions for the new year, and wound up being grateful for my pensions.
However, I now have my list of things for which I will try to be thankful in 2017. Bring it on, world. I'm ready (I think) to do battle again.


Jenn Jilks said...

Wow. You've been through a lot!

I loathe quizzes and awards. Awards only come if you can convince people to vote you in. I loathe awards for people who are simply doing their jobs, too!
I am grateful for my pension, too. Not big, since I graduated pregnant, and didn't teach much.
I am trying, each day, to enjoy what I have!

Jenn Jilks said...

So, do you have permission to use their photos, Kay? Just asking. Just because you credit them, doesn't mean you can use them!

Mara said...

Way to go on helping to change how people see an illness. The thing is: often people don't see you are not feeling good. Your head is on straight, you have all your arms and legs, nothing is bleeding, no cast, no wheelchair and then they just assume that you must be fine. When in reality the pain underneath might be absolutely debilitating.

Ending with the quiz results. I think it is safe to say I didn't win any prices there...

colleen said...

I only recognize the dog. I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for several decades. I manage okay but it has limited my life.

Lady Fi said...

Wow- fighting off two devastating diseases is amazing! So glad you are feeling ready to do battle again.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Thank God for unions and what they did for us and I am so sorry for our kids and probably the world forever more that they won't know these benefits.

What did you take to combat osteoporosis Kay?

I want you to know that I did read your column on the Noam Chomsky interview above; did not comment, because I just can't other than to say thank you. Life as we know it is over.

giorno26 ¸¸.•*¨*•. said...

Spero sempre meglio per la tua salute Kay !!!
Kiss Myriam