How Do You Get Pikachu on a Bus? You Pokemon! It’s #PokemonGo

Are you aged between 29 – 39? Do you have a smartphone? If the answer to both of these is yes, then thank you for taking the time to read this instead of playing.

Sorry? Did you just ask what am I playing??! Although not officially released in the UK yet, I’m playing a bizarre online augmented reality game called Pokemon Go!

Remember this little dude?

Now, imagine that you had a pokeball only it was your phone… and then you saw a version of Google maps that helped you locate your Pokemon…. and when you found one you saw it augmented over an image (using your phone camera) of where you actually are. And there you have it – the 90s teenager version of Ingress. Same premise, cuter graphics, more addictive because you’re collecting cute stuff. 

The clever idea behind these augmented reality apps is that they encourage slothernly “teenagers” to walk & explore the local area (devs, the kids aren’t playing. Hello from the over 30s club). And it’s working. My Facebook feed is full of friends posting about going out walking just to capture more pixels… but what if you can’t?

I saw a number of tweets on launch day suggesting that the app is ableist as it encourages you to walk. I don’t wholly buy into that, but I am looking at ways that I can play without the walking bit…

1. Get out on wheels

Fair play to those who are walking, but some of us need a bit more help with mobility. As an alternative, I tested out playing whilst in the back of my work taxi on my way home. I captured a few, but drove past the training posts waaaay to quickly to use them (no. I didn’t ask to stop – I have a shred of dignity left). Potentially we could also start exploring with me in my wheelchair. This is a limited option locally as my ability to self propel on any camber or incline is crappy at best & the local pavements are so poorly maintained and cause enough jolting to take me out for days after a few minutes. (I did invite our local councillor to come for a walk with me… as yet no response). There are places however, with reasonably flat pavements without the cracks & dodgy drop curbs that we could explore.

2. Stick to places I go anyway

This sort of defeats the object. I would then be restricted to collecting at home (actually, not bad), at work (whooaah unprofessional), and at the “gym” (by gym, I mean pool where I bob about until the indignity of using the ducking stool has worn off, then sit in the warm bubbles massaging my back).

Oh, and Tesco. Maybe I’ll find a raikou in the knickers!

3. Invent an Accessible Life hack

Part of losing my mobility has been channelling all of my creativity into finding alternative ways to just do shit anyway. 

Can’t type – shout at ipad. Can’t stand – sit & be louder. Can’t swim – strap float to chest and paddle like a broken turtle. Can’t walk – get wheels. Can’t run– wheelchair racing. You get the idea…

So, what about combining “trips out” for the kids with collecting? We make it a family game. We drive somewhere, I collect what I can, then challenge the kids to collect as many as they can…. the only down side to this being trusting the kids with my phone 🤔.

Ultimately, I’ve been waiting for this game for more moons than I cared to admit to. And OMFG I want the wearble! Just look at it! Loooooooook!

So after all the hype, I refuse to adult over this. I’m bloody well going to play. Even if I have to find a solution to this walking crap. I need to – I have a feeling they’ll be some “friendly  competition” at EGX this year 🕹🖲🎮

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#spoonie #blogs about #chronicillness (hashtag city)

See that? That’s my final spoon flying into the distance. Off it goes along with my ability to appear like I’m coping.

A year ago, I said I’d be happy if I made it to Christmas with my job and life in general in tact. I pushed for medical help & I’m the end paid for it as it was not forthcoming locally.

At Christmas, I was determined to make it to the end of the year (academic, so July. I know, us teachers even mess with the calendar). Since then, the liquid food is almost gone & I’ve gained most of the weight I lost (meh, would’ve preferred not to, but health over flubber). By my own criteria in two weeks I will have won. Made it to the end. Two short weeks currently feels like a lifetime & I’m not wholly sure I’m going to get there.

Let me tell you about EDS fatigue. I’m writing this whilst I clock watch because in 15 minutes I can take more painkillers. I’m exhausted, but every time I lay my head down I’m jolted awake by the pain in my legs & shoulder… & neck. I have a migraine brewing at the base of my neck & pushing against my eyeballs. 13 minutes.

I took on too much this week (normal teaching + new form induction for year 8 + year 5 taster day + parents evening). Tomorrow is Friday, but also sports day #2. I’d sent a concerned email to PE about my ability to trek across the field and through trees in potential rain to the athletics in my powerchair, but was assured that the field was totally accessible and the weather would be “hot and sunny”. Actually, it was chilly and drizzly and whilst the powerchair did make it slowly this was not without having my bones shaken out of place to a point where I took oramorph at school for the first time in several months. I have to do this again tomorrow. The fear of adding to current pain levels combined with zero spoons = no sleep and rising anxiety levels.7 minutes.

The question should be asked at this point, why don’t you just put the blog down and get some sleep?

Well, here’s the thing about fatigue and EDS. Imagine you got up at 4am (bleary & a bit confused). Now stand up holding cans of beans in each  hand – raise your arms & keep them there… how long? Well, all day. Gravity isn’t working in our favour – where connective tissue fails, simple lifting of your own arm can be exhausting and eventually painful.

Now you have another tin strapped to the back of your head – tilt your head back and look at the sky. Same thing – All. Day. Spines are there to keep us upright. Unless the connective tissues are lax meaning that sitting up straight, or holding your head up is akin to doing situps all day. I wobble between focused controlled posture & slumpy withered flower.

Finally, get home and drink three cups of coffee before bed because your autonomic system is wrecked and thinks it is bloody hilarious to release a shit tonne of adrenalin into your system as you try to rest. Couple this with overnight hives due to mast cells chucking out histamine in reaction to the drugs that keep you from becoming one of the zombies from 28 days later through sheer pain levels, and EVERYTHING IS JUST PEACHY.

So yeah, when I grit my teeth and sing song “good morning! Yes I’m fine thank you. Nearly there!” at you in the morning, I’m doing it to hide the rocking quietly whilst I do mental battle of “I can’t do this anymore…” with the “yes we can!” chant missing in action. 

Times up. The cavalry has arrived.