It sounds like the 36,000 pictures are causing the problem. Photo files are generally fairly big, so they will take some time to 'load' on the desktop. After make sure the photos are still in iPhoto, I would try deleting them from the desktop. If you do this from your desktop in the Finder sidebar, you can hold down the shift key while selecting the photos so you can delete more than one picture at a time.
I hope this helps. I'm sorry you are disabled - I'm house-bound also, so to some extent I can sympathize.