Rest in the Frenzy

Waterfalls in a winter park inside Sheraton Centre hotel

Living with brain injury is a never-ending journey of tuning up the brain in the mornings; going to medical appointments to heal the brain, relieve pain, increase mobility; running the gauntlet of public transit that declares itself accessible and is not; navigating sidewalks filled with snow or garbage bins or patio fences that leave a tiny strip next to a busy road for walking; progressive Torontonians who park on the sidewalk or use the sidewalk as part of their parking pad, forcing you onto the road where the madly driven cars are; a city whose staff admits accessibility and indigenous issues are low priority, if thought about, across departments; a city whose politicians talk as if the staff are wrong in that regard but are not; associations that admit they can do better and I’m still waiting for that, whether for Accessible Pedestrian Signals that work in the face of people, snow, muscle weakness or advocating for health care that restores brains; politicians that keep increasing TTC (public transit) fares that are already way beyond affordability and then wag a finger to pay up when the system resists efforts to pay — when you can find the money (I admire the woman who stomped on the streetcar and barked at the driver she wasn’t paying because no money to); a city that declares VisionZero and then its 311 ignores situations and road design that contravene safety and Mayor’s declared design changes for repaired roads; a provincial government that cuts community care for brain injury due to lack of funds and throwing up their hands at lifelong care so cheaper to not provide at all while continuing to spend more tax dollars on administration; a federal government that oversees the province threatening to cut psychotherapy for people like me and does nothing to protect our health care; physicians who don’t understand brain injury and inform you that they can’t learn about it because they have a life, you’re the only one they know with one (that’s because they’re ignorant to the reality of how many live with it hidden), they don’t read, don’t learn, not going to innovate, will follow the pack and not lead it even the ones working at teaching hospitals; people telling me my experience with the TTC and city is suspect and/or I’m just being negative because they haven’t opened their eyes to what’s outside their health-filled experience; family who demand you do things you physically, cognitively, emotionally can’t do if you want to see them or agree with everything they say about you and not debate them on issues if they’re going to like you; friends who compare their health problems to yours and demand you consider them worse off (it’s not a fucking competition, people, we do better when we don’t compare); people with six-figure incomes declaring themselves poorer than you below the poverty line so you’re just gonna have to wait for what they owe you or take a back seat to others’ needs so you remind yourself you have food and a roof so you’re okay; using your devices to sleep and remembering to use them and which sessions to use when things get bad; and a body and brain that just do whatever the fuck they want whenever despite your best efforts and usually when you’re feeling good.

So I, like anyone, really need places of rest, places with views of peace and harmony. And this is one place I stumbled upon. Near a Starbucks, of course. Inside a hotel downtown.

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