Follow by Email

Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Poem About 2020... Because What On Earth Was That?!

 

As 2021 begins, rather than subject you to a blow by blow summary post on social media, I offer you this poem about 2020, a year that was a collective "WTF?" In the spirit of "womp womp womp," the poem is accompanied by a photo of the seeds I planted during quarantine that.... grew into thriving sunflowers, a metaphor for our resilience and strength amid the pandemic. Er... just kidding. Most failed to sprout and the ones that did quickly withered and died.

Happy New Year! For the love of God, may this one be better.


New Year’s Eve

 

2020 wasn’t great

In fact, not good at all

For most, the year was just a string

Of bummers big and small

 

We made our vision boards

But they soon came crashing down

Our to do lists were upended 

When corona came to town

 

The brand-new year before us

Didn’t match up with our plans

The universe called out to us

“Shut up and wash your hands!”

 

In March we made some #Goals

Grew plants, baked homemade bread

By May, we barely brushed our teeth

And all the plants were dead

 

Our Pinterest boards

Once full of clever projects

Soon went stale

Our “recipe a day” collections 

Deemed an epic fail

 

Now we Google “what are days?” 

Is time even a thing?

And thank the Lord that Taylor Swift

Still felt like she could sing

 

The news shows are a mess

But the memes just keep improving

Our pets are glued upon our laps

And swear they’re never moving

 

We’ve taught our elders how to Zoom

At least, we’ve bravely tried

We’ve worn our crusty sweatsuits

Watched old TV and cried

 

 

Spent too much time on WebMD

Had acne from our masks

 Felt wildly accomplished for doing basic tasks

 

Refreshed our browsers many times

And realized, with despair

That the same five Apple news alerts 

And emails are still there

 

And somehow, here we sit

Another New Year’s Eve

No platitudes can change the fact

That there’s a lot to grieve

 

But maybe we’ll come through this

With a little more compassion

With fewer judgey comments

On one another’s fashion

 

…I truly think that you look hot

In gray from head to toe

And I still think you’re awesome

If your basil didn't grow

 

If you didn’t do Zoom yoga

Pick up French or learn to skate

If all you did was cry and eat

I still think that you’re great

 

It’s a legendary feat

To make it through the day

Can we all agree that Pinterest 

Is bullshit anyway?

 

One day we’ll look back 

And we won’t think about our hair

Our neighbor Karen’s sourdough

Or pictures in neat squares

 

We’ll remember all the loved ones

Who helped carry us through

All the folks who lent a hand

And all the hearts that grew

 

And all the healthcare heroes

Who gave their very best

Whose brilliant minds and gentle hands

Helped conquer this great test

Here’s to 2021

With better days ahead

We’ve all had our fill

Of existential dread

 

So, let’s make room for joy

Push this shitshow out the door

And think about a future

Full of hugs galore!

 

 

I have a bunch of hugs 

That are sorely overdue

And you can rest assured 

That one is meant for you.

 


Stay safe. Wear a mask. Thank you healthcare workers.

 

 

An egg carton full of dirt, containing seeds that never grew
Image: An egg carton full of dirt, containing seeds that never grew. Next to it is a spray bottle of disinfectant that I almost squirted on them instead of water, which is in the other spray bottle.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Cripples at Christmas cartoons 2020

 It’s that time of year. 2020 was epically weird, painful, and disappointing for so many… hope I can make a few folks laugh with my Cripples at Christmas cartoons 2020 edition.

 Image description below images. Click to enlarge.


When the wheelie said “all I want for Christmas is you,” she was not, in fact asking for another UTI.    Image of a wheelchair user in a Santa hat saying “Well, I guess I’ll be having Figgy pudding with a side of Cephalexin. Fu*k!”

The first day of Christmas

 

When the wheelie said “all I want for Christmas is you,” she was not, in fact asking for another UTI. 

 

Image of a wheelchair user in a Santa hat saying “Well, I guess I’ll be having Figgy pudding with a side of Cephalexin. Fu*k!”




 


The wait for a new powerchair inspired a new rendition of “Last Christmas”   Image of wheelchair user singing “Last Christmas, I ordered my chair… but the vendor insists, it still isn’t there…

The second day of Christmas

 

The wait for a new powerchair inspired a new rendition of “Last Christmas”

 

Image of wheelchair user singing “Last Christmas, I ordered my chair… but the vendor insists, it still isn’t there…



The Misfit Toys in therapy


 

The third day of Christmas

 

With therapy now available on Zoom, the Misfit Toys could finally vent about a lifetime of discrimination.

 

Image of a split Zoom window with the spotted plush elephant from the Island of Misfit Toys and a therapist, Dr. Holly Noel. The elephant says “Maybe I don’t need Santa’s validation after all.”


Empowered ugly sweaters


 

The fourth day of Christmas

 

Inspired by the disability empowerment movement, the “ugly sweaters” declared themselves “sweaters deemed ugly by an ignorant society.” 

 

Image of three sweaters with polka dots and wayward stripes. One has just one sleeve. A speech bubble says “Some of us only have one sleeve. Deal with it!”



The large box on the porch was not a romantic Christmas surprise, but instead a huge shipment of catheters.   Image is a box and it has the message “Merry Christmas! Pee on Earth and goodwill to men. Love, 180 Medical.”


 

The fifth day of Christmas

 

The large box on the porch was not a romantic Christmas surprise, but instead a huge shipment of catheters.

 

Image is a box and it has the message “Merry Christmas! Pee on Earth and goodwill to men. Love, 180 Medical.”


Elf on the Floor


 

The sixth day of Christmas

 

After an embarrassing fall from the shelf, the disabled Elf on the Shelf was afraid to use life alert. What if it summoned a rescue squad of high school classmates?

 

Image is a fireplace decorated with stockings. An elf lies on the floor splayed out with a speech bubble reading “I guess I’m Elf on the Floor” now.

 

Santa's shoehorn



The seventh day of Christmas

 

If one more OT told Santa to use a long handled shoehorn in his old age, he would lose his mind.

 

Image is Santa saying “The shoehorn obsession is some bullshit.”


With the holiday party gone virtual, Barbie could no longer use her wheelchair inaccessible dream house as an excuse to exclude the Misfit Toys.   Image is a Zoom window featuring Spotted Elephant, Jelly Gun, Train with Square Wheels, Crying Doll, Socially Awkward Stuffed Animal (camera off), 1990s Token Wheelchair Friend Barbie (Becky), Lion with Wings, and Car with 3 Wheels. The chat box has a message from Becky: “Barbie really thought she was off the hook when they discontinued me for not fitting in her house. And then she has the nerve to befriend that new bitch in the sporty chair who can bump up stairs.”


 

The eighth day of Christmas

 

With the holiday party gone virtual, Barbie could no longer use her wheelchair inaccessible dream house as an excuse to exclude the Misfit Toys.

 

Image is a Zoom window featuring Spotted Elephant, Jelly Gun, Train with Square Wheels, Crying Doll, Socially Awkward Stuffed Animal (camera off), 1990s Token Wheelchair Friend Barbie (Becky), Lion with Wings, and Car with 3 Wheels. The chat box has a message from Becky: “Barbie really thought she was off the hook when they discontinued me for not fitting in her house. And then she has the nerve to befriend that new bitch in the sporty chair who can bump up stairs.”

 

The disabled reindeer hosted their own event alongside the Reindeer Games to vent about their aching bodies.   Image is three reindeer under a banner that says “Reindeer Pains: the event for the rest of us.”    Their respective speech bubbles say “My nerve pain is through the roof!”, “My arthritis gets worse each year!” and “Have you tried smoking mistletoe?”

 


The ninth day of Christmas

 

The disabled reindeer hosted their own event alongside the Reindeer Games to vent about their aching bodies.

 

Image is three reindeer under a banner that says “Reindeer Pains: the event for the rest of us.” 

 

Their respective speech bubbles say “My nerve pain is through the roof!”, “My arthritis gets worse each year!” and “Have you tried smoking mistletoe?”

 

Pandemic Secret Santa



The tenth day of Christmas 

 

The disabled co-worker’s Secret Santa gift of healthcare gloves was no longer mocked amid the pandemic.

 

Image is a Zoom window of a virtual holiday party, featuring a wheelchair using figure and several upright stick figures.

 


With the all-star squad in quarantine, the gimpy reindeer team had its moment to shine…   Image is Santa pulled in a sleigh with reindeer, Gimpy, Achy, Limpy, and Wobbly. Santa says “Am I actually relying on CP spatial skills?”





The eleventh day of Christmas

 

With the all-star squad in quarantine, the gimpy reindeer team had its moment to shine…

 

Image is Santa pulled in a sleigh with reindeer, Gimpy, Achy, Limpy, and Wobbly. Santa says “Am I actually relying on CP spatial skills?”


The overpriced adapted toy stirred some jealousy among the other gifts beneath the tree.   Three wrapped gifts, two labeled “toy” and one labeled “fancy $100 adapted toy” sit beneath a tree. A speech bubble above one toy box says “She really thinks she’s hot shit.”


 

The twelfth day of Christmas

 

The overpriced adapted toy stirred some jealousy among the other gifts beneath the tree.

 

Three wrapped gifts, two labeled “toy” and one labeled “fancy $100 adapted toy” sit beneath a tree. A speech bubble above one toy box says “She really thinks she’s hot shit.”

 

 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

As a Disabled Woman and a Healthcare Consumer, I Beg You to Vote

 Today, September 22, 2020 is National Voter Registration Day. The upcoming election on November 3, 2020 is really important for many reasons, especially for me as a disabled voter. It can be tempting to feel like there is no purpose in voting or like it is impossible to change “the system.” But now is not the time for hopelessness—you matter, as does your right to vote, an opportunity for which our ancestors were willing to give their lives. 

 

As I cast my ballot this fall, healthcare will be at the forefront of my mind. 

 

This election will affect the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expanded access to home and community- based services for people with disabilities like me through a provision called the Community First Choice Option (CFCO). CFCO is a dense piece of policy but in summary, it makes it easier for states to offer assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, and eating by prohibiting wait lists and requiring that eligibility criteria be the same for all diagnosis groups. The federal government gives more money to CFCO compliant states—in turn, these states have increased funding to keep folks like me out of nursing homes. 

 

The ACA also expands Medicaid in participating states to non-disabled adults, many of whom have impairments, but still don’t meet the requirements to get Medicaid through government benefits like SSI. The Medicaid expansion also helps non-disabled low-income adults whose jobs don’t provide insurance, those between jobs, and non-disabled adults who may not have access to employer coverage for other reasons (think people who stay home to care for a medically complex family member).

 

Finally, if you have been able to stay on parental insurance through age 26, you can thank the ACA. The fate of these policies could be on the line very soon—this is just one reason I vote!

 

Anyone who has read my work knows I am passionate about Medicaid advocacy. It doesn’t make me a lot of friends at parties (shocking, I know!), but my constant babble about Medicaid is warranted. For people with disabilities who need personal care assistance (hi! It’s me!) and for the increasing number of elders in need, Medicaid is a lifeline. Medicaid is the payer for long-term care expenses, which out of pocket would cost more than the average annual salary. 

 

Three years ago, when I appeared in a video about Medicaid, internet trolls literally told me I deserved to die if I couldn’t pay for an aide. Others said if they were in a wheelchair, they would take a lethal injection and that knowing the expense of my disability, my parents should have aborted me. The truth that people think this way shook me to my core. But I would appear in the video again and bear the wounds inflicted by those comments again—because Medicaid matters that much to me and because this fight is bigger than my personal needs.

 

In addition to long term care, did you know that Medicaid provides funding for some special education services?  

 

Among Medicaid eligible students, Medicaid provides funding for support services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, and nursing. Some districts use this funding to provide school nurses, which outrageously are not required! In total, Medicaid allocates about 4 billion dollars for special education services. 

 

Clearly, there are dozens of issues in this election, but healthcare hits the closest to home for me. My point is that this election is about more than just a president. When you vote, you make choices about the future of a myriad of programs that affect real lives. And when you don’t vote, I hear that you don’t care. That really hurts.

 

To find more information about voting in your state, including mail-in ballots due to COVID-19, check out this helpful guide: Rock the Vote! Voter Guide

 

The polling place doesn’t have an accessible voting machine!

 

The accessible door is locked!

 

The poll worker is trying to pressure you not to use the accessible machine!

 

The poll worker condescendingly suggests that your mom just push the buttons for you!

 

If you’re having an accessibility issue, what should you do?

 

Know your rights: https://www.usa.gov/disability-rights - item-212487

 

Contact your local board of elections as soon as possible to report the problem: https://www.usa.gov/election-office

 

Some states offer early voting, which is especially helpful to disabled voters who rely on services like paratransit. You can find out here if you can vote early: https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/

 

There is so much at stake on November 3! If not for yourself, participate for me and for millions of Americans for whom these issues are not abstract. 

 

Naming America’s injustices and demanding positive change does not mean you hate your country. It means you love her so much that you call on her to grow and you believe in her potential to become better. Most importantly, it means you love her enough to help her do so.

 

VOTE.




**For old times sake, here's 2017 me talking about Medicaid. Come at me, trolls... I'm stronger than you.**


Kathleen Downes- Medicaid interview for Mic

Thursday, July 9, 2020

What I'm Thinking About This Disability Pride Month

During this Disability Pride Month, I have spent many quiet hours thinking about what disability pride means to me. I wish I had a perfectly neat, simple, eloquent answer, but I don’t… because I don’t think disability is a neat, simple experience.

I used to feel pressured to hide the painful parts of my disabled existence, for fear that the non-disabled world would only see those painful experiences and assume that being disabled was full-stop miserable. But I’ve learned to acknowledge those painful, messy parts of my living in this body, because they are real and we as a community do ourselves a great disservice when we push away our pain. 

So, here goes. I am 27 years old and my body hurts every single day without exception. Cerebral palsy is literally in my bones. I imagine there’s some wacky calculation, like dog years (OK, I’m kidding!) to figure out the true age of my hips, which seem like they moved to the retirement community for chronically achy joints long ago. I carry both the physical scars of multiple surgeries and the invisible scars ground into the deepest parts of me by ableism.

I can still see seventh grade me, the little girl in the red wheelchair who hid in the elevator before school rather than get stepped around, stepped over, or awkwardly placed at the only accessible lunch table that was otherwise used for detention.

I can see the nurse’s aide, who when asked to help me to an inaccessible hospital bathroom replied that “this floor is for people who walk.”

I can see my middle school self, refusing to drink anything in the hopes that I could get home without peeing. My refusal was mostly about avoiding an abusive caregiver, but also about the fact that finding an accessible bathroom that fit a real powerchair, not an imaginary stick wheelchair, was basically impossible.

I can see that high school girl who felt invisible when she wasn’t invited to hang out with a non-disabled schoolmate after sixth grade until college.

And with me always is the reality of our collective disabled grief. Too many of my disabled friends, comrades, and community members have died, and while they leave behind incredible legacies, the brutal hurt of losing them from medical complications, from disease progression, or from the failure of care systems never ever fades. 

Nor does the hurt of wrestling with the strange contradiction that sometimes the same disability that bonded us, that helped create a wildly beautiful human being also snatched that person from me too soon.

All I know is that when non-disabled society marks their deaths by imagining them springing up from their wheelchairs and walking in the afterlife, I want to scream that they were perfect as they were. 

There’s the constant fear that the long-term care system will fail me, that the patchwork “system” society has cobbled together to support us will no longer be enough and I will be taken from my community to an institution where I cannot make my own choices. 

There’s the guilt in knowing that the above scenario is already the truth for too many people just like me.

So, where’s the pride in this? Being disabled sounds pretty hard. Well, it is. But we don’t talk enough about joy. The joy that’s specific to being disabled, the joy I wouldn’t know had I been given another reality. 

To my disability, here are some of the things I love about you.

I love the community you gave me, the way I can spot a fellow wheelchair user and connect us in seconds, usually with fewer than six degrees of separation. My mom and I have a tongue-in-cheek (but only kind of!) routine where we see another wheelie in which we say, “OK, do we know them? Camp, PT, or doctor’s office…we must!” It’s a stereotype that we all know each other, but the secret’s out, we kind of do!

I love the way you’ve taught me to embrace interdependence. You helped me realize early on that independence is the biggest lie ever told. We all need each other in some way and when the rest of the world can understand that, we will heal some of society’s most broken parts.

I love the way you’ve taught me to call bullshit when a well-meaning person declares that they “don’t see me as disabled.” Because anyone who doesn’t see me as disabled flat out doesn’t see me. 

I love that you’ve given me the privilege of laughing with “crip siblings” who lovingly accept my CP squeals and occasional accidental kicks when I’m very excited…the same people who make my tighter hand fly around wildly when I have a burst of emotion.

I love the way you’ve helped me to know God. No, not in the corny “disabled children are special angels of Jesus just for existing” way. The God you’ve revealed to me is a hodge- podge God, too big to fit neatly into a strict set of religious rules. A loving God who already calls this disabled body glorified. A God who builds ramps to Heaven.

I hope that when people think of me they will call to mind my disabled joy and not just my struggles.

I accepted long ago that some people will always think less of me because I am disabled.

 But I do not have to think less of myself. 

I am human and I do not love myself perfectly in every moment of the day. But still, the love is there, thriving inside of me in a society determined to make me hate myself. 

That is what I’m proud of today, this month, and every day I am alive. That the joy of being disabled exists in me, alongside and wrapped together with the painful parts of living in a body deemed disposable.

That joy is mine and no one can have it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In This Time of Quarantine, We Are Finding New Ways to End Social Isolation. When We Beat COVID-19, The Fight to End Social Isolation Must Continue

In these #Quarantimes, since the outbreak of COVID-19, I have been thinking a lot about the harms of social isolation. Since long before the outbreak, the consequences of isolation have been well-documented. Social isolation has been linked to health problems from depression to heart disease[1]. About 20% of U.S. adults report feeling isolated on a regular basis[2]. One of the Grand Challenges of Social Work is to eradicate social isolation

The quarantine represents an especially intense version of isolation and we cannot downplay that fact, but some degree of separation from society is sadly, business as usual for too many people. For disabled folks and others living on the margins of society, social isolation is an ever-present reality. In other words, feeling left out and left behind, for us, is nothing new. A report by the organization Scope found 85% of disabled adults report feeling lonely[3]

As a person with cerebral palsy, I can certainly relate. 

Rigid care schedules make spontaneous meetups nearly impossible. Public transit is still off-limits for many wheelchair users faced with access barriers as well as for those with spatial and processing impairments that make trains and buses disorienting. For people who can’t go out without assistance, opportunities to leave the home may be restricted to the few hours of care covered by Medicaid. By the time routine tasks are completed, there may be no time in the shift left to go anywhere. Too many disabled people can’t find affordable, accessible housing and are literally trapped in inaccessible homes. The income restrictions placed on disabled recipients of benefit payments and Medicaid leave little extra cash for any “fun” social outings. We are old pros at self-entertaining and our non-disabled peers ought to take note.

I am well-aware of my privilege within the disabled community. As a white, cisgender, straight woman with a stay-at-home parent who has devoted herself to making sure I’m part of the community, I am very fortunate. My father earns enough money to give us a comfortable life. I live in a safe, accessible house. I have an accessible van that I can use if someone drives it. 

And still, social isolation weighs heavily on my spirit.

Beginning in junior high, as my peers became able to go out without assistance, I got left behind. I don’t believe there was any malice, but rather a sense of being inconvenienced, as other kids (and other adults, for the matter) had little interest in seeking accessible spaces to hang out or in navigating my care needs. Most of my high school and junior high friends were others with disabilities who attended different schools, and the peak of socialization for me was my coveted session at summer camp and Friday night phone calls with friends in other schools about whose bus had the most notable screw up. 

I was “lucky” that very few people outwardly bullied me in those days, but there was something nearly as horrible about feeling like I wasn’t even there. Often, remote socialization tools, like the phone and the now memorialized AIM chatroom, sustained me and reminded me who I am on days when I felt invisible.

Now, at age 27, I still consider isolation to be the most difficult part of my disability. Too many people still can’t be bothered to get to know me. Grown adults, even those in social justice circles, frequently don’t seek accessible spaces or don’t invite me rather than make accommodations for my care needs. 

I don’t expect everyone to create perfect disability access on the first shot, but I wish more folks would make a real effort. I can count on one hand the number of others’ homes I am able to visit because most homes are not built to be accessible and the government offers no financial support or incentives to make them so. 

Paratransit is a notoriously good way to miss an event, mass transit in my area is largely inaccessible, and traveling is not logistically or financially possible at times because I must travel with a personal care assistant. I was very fortunate to live away at my university through a unique support program, but even there, the societal barriers that lend themselves to isolation were numerous. 

Since I’ve moved back home, four surgeries in an 18- month period have caused me to joke to friends that I’m becoming a houseplant, climbing towards the light and occasionally sipping water. When it’s tough to get out and the world keeps moving around you, it’s amazing how quickly the texts dwindle, the calls stop, and you start to feel like a vague afterthought to some people. That said, the people who continually check in, send silly GIFs, and make a point to include me in their day mean more to me than they can possibly fathom. 

As a disabled person, “virtual” connection is a lifeline. Facetime, snail mail, social media, and texting are the meat of my ability to be with others. This is especially true given that many of my friends are scattered around the state and the country, a large percentage of them also struggling to get out because of care schedules, finances, or failing health. Other than the glaringly obvious fact that everything is closed and we are all worried about the virus, my interactions with my friends are largely the same amid the pandemic.

The difference? 

Right now, people in mainstream society are collectively, actively looking for ways to break isolation. 

Facetime, texting, Snapchat filters that make me snort, and phone calls are suddenly the stars of everyone’s show. If anything positive is coming of this, it is that society is finally embracing more than one definition of togetherness… and making joyful, wonderful, much needed outlets for people who can’t leave their homes. I’m wondering what those who called my insistence on a virtual conference option in grad school “distracting” and “a lower quality form of engagement” are thinking now. 

Do they realize that their dismissal of virtual interaction was rooted in ableism, classism, and privilege?

Think of the distance forms of connection made mainstream, made precious, in a matter of days.

I have seen virtual concerts.

Classes are popping up to learn a new skill online.

Broadway shows are being streamed.

People are checking in “just because.”

Cheesy and beautiful mass sing -a-longs are happening.

We are finding new, inclusive ways to say “I love you” to our fellow human beings.

And I, a person who is regularly stuck in the house, can see quite plainly how many social and entertainment options are available to those facing isolation when each and every one of us makes a genuine effort to create them. 

I have ways to hang out with people that I have begged and prayed for on my loneliest days.

Why did it take a pandemic?


The point of this discussion is not to ask for your pity or set up an Olympics of who has it the worst. Nor is it to judge anyone who has overlooked people isolated on a regular basis.

Instead, it is to beg you to keep the innovation coming. When the pandemic ends, when we come out glorious survivors who have lived and loved in new ways, don’t stop fighting to bring people together.

Make virtual hangouts a regular option. Call on corporations to improve delivery services. Keep those online concerts, classes, and Facetime visits coming. Normalize virtual connection and give those tools to those who most need them the most. Check on your people.  In these challenging times, we are coming together in new, meaningful ways to make sure everyone, everywhere knows that they are not alone.

When we beat COVID-19, that doesn’t have to change.



[1] National Institute on Aging (2019). Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks on 18 March 2020.

[2] DiJulio, B, Hamel, L. and Brodle M. (2018). Loneliness and social isolation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan: An international survey. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/report-section/loneliness-and-social-isolation-in-the-united-states-the-united-kingdom-and-japan-an-international-survey-introduction/ on 18 March 2020


[3] Bedei, C. (2019).How I deal with loneliness when my disability stops me from leaving the house. Retrieved from Refinery 29 at https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/loneliness-chronic-illness on 18 March 2020.


Snapchat photo of me with a silly stretched out face and a caption that says "Meet My Work From Home Co-Worker

Image: Snapchat photo of me with a silly stretched out face and a caption that says "Meet My Work From Home Co-Worker"

Friday, December 13, 2019

Cripples at Christmas Cartoons 2019


The Cripples at Christmas collection 2019! I hope you enjoy and share with your friends. An image description is below each image



Day 1: The wheelies asked NORAD to spend their resources tracking missing paratransit buses instead of Santa
 
A letter says “Dear Santa, We know you’re coming but we can’t say the same about paratransit. Thus, we’ve asked NORAD to track them instead. Sincerely, Every Disabled Person Ever   *NORAD= North American Aerospace Defense Command; they are the creators of a classic Santa tracker website
 A letter says “Dear Santa, We know you’re coming but we can’t say the same about paratransit. Thus, we’ve asked NORAD to track them instead. Sincerely, Every Disabled Person Ever

*NORAD= North American Aerospace Defense Command; they are the creators of a classic Santa tracker website




Day 2: Unlike the Christmas commercial in which a woman finds a new car waiting outside, the wheelie looked out the window to find a behemoth shipment of catheters

A wheelchair user stick figure looks out the window by a Christmas tree and sees a large box with a bow from Coloplast, a catheter supplier. She says “OK, well, they put a bow on it at least.”


 A wheelchair user stick figure looks out the window by a Christmas tree and sees a large box with a bow from Coloplast, a catheter supplier. She says “OK, well, they put a bow on it at least.”



Day 3: When he had to take Access-A-Ride to Whoville, a very late Grinch had to settle for stealing Easter…
The Grinch stands near an Access-A-Ride bus and says “This has been really anti-climactic.”
The Grinch stands near an Access-A-Ride bus and says “This has been really anti-climactic.”


Day 4: The “Aging with CP” grab bag was full of gifts nobody asked for…

Three wheelie stick figures have speech bubbles. One says “I got arthritis in the grab bag!” The others say “I got scoliosis!” and “Hip dysplasia! I was hoping for a Starbucks card or at least a crappy box of candy! *CP= cerebral palsy
Three wheelie stick figures have speech bubbles. One says “I got arthritis in the grab bag!” The others say “I got scoliosis!” and “Hip dysplasia! I was hoping for a Starbucks card or at least a crappy box of candy!

*CP= cerebral palsy





Day 5: The chronic pain Christmas carolers serenaded the town with their hit song “Ow Christmas Tree.” 


Lyrics are surrounded by music notes, “Ow Christmas tree, ow Christmas tree, how achy are your branches!” A nearby wheelie says, “This song is a real pick me up!”
Lyrics are surrounded by music notes, “Ow Christmas tree, ow Christmas tree, how achy are your branches!” A nearby wheelie says, “This song is a real pick me up!” 



Day 6: After taking a course in Disability Studies, the Misfit Toys realized they didn’t need to be rescued by Santa.

A train with square wheels says “The social model really rocked my world.” A spotted elephant remarks “Go ahead Santa! I already have plans for Christmas.” He holds a sign reading “Misfit and Proud!”

A train with square wheels says “The social model really rocked my world.” A spotted elephant remarks “Go ahead Santa! I already have plans for Christmas.” He holds a sign reading “Misfit and Proud!”



Day 7: And for another year, they argued. Were they Santa’s Elves or Santa’s People with Elfism?

An ambulatory elf wearing a hat stands in a group of similarly dressed figures, both ambulatory and wheeling. A wheeling elf sighs “Oh boy. Here we go again!”
An ambulatory elf wearing a hat stands in a group of similarly dressed figures, both ambulatory and wheeling. A wheeling elf sighs “Oh boy. Here we go again!”


Day 8: The durable medical equipment shop piece for the magical mantelpiece Christmas village didn’t sell as well as we’d hoped

A wheelchair user stick figure says “Come on! Nothing says Christmas like waiting for a backordered chair part.” They sit by a fireplace with stockings hung
A wheelchair user stick figure says “Come on! Nothing says Christmas like waiting for a backordered chair part.” They sit by a fireplace with stockings hung


Day 9: Eager to find a more inclusive name for the annual secret Santa exchange, the wheelies settled quickly on Gimpy Gifter

A wheelchair user stick figure in a Santa hat holds a present. Another says excitedly “It really captures our essence! I don’t know why we waited so long to change the name.”
A wheelchair user stick figure in a Santa hat holds a present. Another says excitedly “It really captures our essence! I don’t know why we waited so long to change the name.”


Day 10: The gingerbread man was left with a massive leg length discrepancy after the family dog bit off part of his leg…

One gingerbread person says “Ouch dude, we were supposed to be decorative.” A gingerbread man with a shortened leg replies “Oh well, I can get a shoe lift!”

 One gingerbread person says “Ouch dude, we were supposed to be decorative.” A gingerbread man with a shortened leg replies “Oh well, I can get a shoe lift!” A nearby chubby dog says “Yum.”

Day 11: 
Eager to get better health insurance, the Elf on the Shelf quit his job with Santa and began a new position surveilling SSI recipients

 Two wheelchair user stick figures sit by a fireplace. A nosy Elf on the Shelf says “You made 5 cents! I’m telling!”

 Two wheelchair user stick figures sit by a fireplace. A nosy Elf on the Shelf says “You made 5 cents! I’m telling!”

Day 12: No one knew how to blow a New Year’s resolution quite like paratransit

A split image of 2 paratransit buses. One says “New Year’s Eve 2019” with the declaration I will be on time in the New Year. The other says “New Year’s Day 2020” with the heading Late
A split image of 2 paratransit buses. One says “New Year’s Eve 2019” with the declaration I will be on time in the New Year. The other says “New Year’s Day 2020” with the heading Late