Posted on May 6, 2008 · Posted in Brain Injury

Yesterday, a former client of mine, began this two part series on how to use the internet to help connect with those who were willing to assist her in accommodating her disability. Today, she addresses the question she ended yesterday’s blog with:

What do I do so that my friends and neighbors don’t begin to dread getting emails from me? What can I do to make them fun, interesting and maybe even enjoyable?

A thought came to me the day before a neighbor came over to help me clean up one of my flowerbeds. This particular flowerbed had been overrun with mint. I love mint, but the flowerbed is too far away for me to easily access it. Last year, I started a container garden to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. This year, I decided to expand by adding herbs and vegetables in some containers.

Since I was going to plant some of this mint in containers, I thought maybe some of my friends and neighbors might like to do the same. As we pulled up the mint, I cut them into individual plants which could be planted. My neighbor helped me take pictures of the process showing how to plant mint into a container.

Now I had something I could offer to my friends and neighbors. In addition to my “How to Plant Mint in a Container,” I also put together a few mint recipes. I sent out an email providing information, recipes, and the offer of mint plants to either plant or use in recipes. Last year, I took pictures of my container garden, including the caterpillar nursery filled with parsley, dill, and yes, even little caterpillars.

Hopefully, by doing things like this, I’m hoping that people want to spend time with me because I’m still interesting, not because they pity me. It’s been a fascinating challenge, and so far, this seems to be working. Some tell me they enjoy seeing my pictures and hearing about my experiments.

When I told one of my friends that I wanted to try growing pole beans on bamboo poles lashed together in a teepee fashion, she told me to let her know when I wanted to do it. Her 2 sons who are boy scouts learned how to lash things together and would be happy to practice how well they can use their skills in a practical application. In fact, she told me they have a saying with regards to the art of lashing: “If your frap is crap, your lash will be trash.” (Now I have something else interesting to learn….what the heck is a frap??? I’m not even sure I’ve spelled it correctly.)

My psychiatrist thinks I have come upon a great idea that may benefit not only people with handicaps, but also the elderly and others who need assistance and feel socially isolated. I know I am lucky to have retained many strengths from which to build upon. I know others might not feel as capable. But perhaps there are family members or friends who can initiate or facilitate these kinds of ideas, so that their loved one and the caretaker both have a larger support system. These are services which are greatly needed, but seldom provided. So, for now, we have to learn to think out of the box.

Cindy from Cinci

One of the strengths that Cindy has maintained, is an immense creative capacity and the ability to express herself on the challenges she faces in daily life. And she spells a lot better than I do. 🙂

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447