Archive for June 2012
Ashley Hickey, 24, of Florida was arrested for fraudulently using a handicapped parking placard to park in the space. She could do time. What do you think of this? For example, is what she did any different than a person who has a handicap parking placard or plates because a family member is disabled, using the handicap parking space even though that family member is not with them? Clearly Hickey’s is a bigger case of fraud than what I have just described. But no more contrary to the purpose of the handicap parking zone, I should think.
A couple of my most popular pieces on this blog are one about a psychological anomaly which causes one to want to be an amputee, and another piece with tips for guys in wheelchairs to follow to keep their abdominal muscles in shape.
Observing this trend, my mind can’t help but start wandering. Being in a wheelchair, this is my average (uneventful) day: dragging my body around from bed to wheelchair to car, to wheelchair at work, back to car after work, to wheelchair, to sofa, to wheelchair to shower, to wheelchair, to bed. This is a lot of movement which involves tremendous stress on the upper body, which those of you with use of your legs may never have considered. All of this transferring throughout the day goes a long way toward keeping the abdominal muscles reasonably fit. My point is this:
If I were one of the amputee wanna-be people alluded to above, if I were to dispose of my legs, and the extra weight I carry around because of them, I think my abdominal muscles would be in a rough condition after a while. So these “useless” legs have a hidden purpose, all told. I joke about wanting to cut them off sometimes, but a guy in a wheelchair would never really want to be an amputee. My paralyzed legs provide a natural balance for me. Given that the United States is one of the “fattest” countries in the world, I would think there would be more overweight men who would want to be a paraplegic in order to gain the benefits of the built in work out of dragging the legs around.
This is just how my odd mind works. Take it or leave it.
I wouldn’t go scuba diving myself, but I think that knowing the opportunity exists to have the type of experience that Diveheart makes possible is a great thing. It makes me think back to when I was given the opportunity to go downhill skiing in Lake Tahoe. It was the greatest feeling of liberation I’d ever felt in my physical body. And I wish that feeling will manifest in many disabled people through Diveheart. Check it out. I saw a bit about them on TV this morning and I thought about all of you.
For anyone who has been in a wheelchair since birth, as a result of a maturing process, natural adjustment and development of sense of self, there comes a time when the thought that you are “in a wheelchair” does work it’s way to the background of your consciousness. I have never been particularly conscious of my wheelchair. Not since my turbulent teen years, social pressures, dramas and traumas, all that. But I also know that in the past four years, meditation has helped to expedite this personal evolution.
In meditation, one becomes aware of that which lies beyond the thoughts. There comes a time when one can actually see himself observing the thoughts from a separate, neutral corner. As a method of “turning off” the mind, one finds that he is not merely the sum total of his thoughts. And as long as that is true, then he certainly is much more than his body. One finds, eventually that the mind, – and more importantly for the purpose of this blog posting - the body, are tools of the true Self. That being the case, one holds a much healthier opinion of these tools.
Throughout this process, one should see self image improved. Self-image is different from ego. Meditation is a way of neutralizing the ego and its negative influence on our decision-making, thereby freeing Self-image to encourage, enlighten and inform our actions, and enrich our lives.
What could be better for a person who is often defined by those around him by the condition of his body and what it can NOT do?
My Local Subway Restaurant Seems to Have Gone Out of Their Way To Be The Exact Opposite of Wheelchair Accessible
I went to lunch today with my mom, at Subway. I noticed a funny thing there. Every table in the joint was fairly accessible to me and my wheelchair except the one that was marked with a blue and white handicap parking symbol. That table has chairs on each side which can be pulled out but in order to pull a wheelchair in you’d need to wedge yourself in between the table and a divider half-wall. The only way you can get in is at an angle. And that isn’t even the funny part. On the end of the table, there is a little handicap sign on the table. You think okay good, open end for me to pull into. Just below that sign there is a solid metal bar from the table to the floor, blocking entrance of a foot plate. This is the complete antithesis of handicap accessible.
I have called and registered a comment. They are well aware of the problem and are going to speak with the home office. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I am perfectly capable of making my vegetarian subs at home.
The 2012 Paralympic Swimming trials are all set to go from June 14-16 at the Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center in Bismarck, ND. If you are in the area, have 3-6 hours to give and would like to play a part in making this event a success, volunteers are still needed. If you are age 8 and up, please go to www.bisparks.org to find out how you can help. Opportunities in time-keeping, hospitality, and athlete check-in are open.
The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held in London, England from August 29 to September 9. More than 4,000 athletes from 165 countries are scheduled to compete in 19 different areas of athletic prowess.
“Push Girls” debuted last night on Sundance Channel. I thought the show started off good. It’s not your typical study of people in wheelchairs trying to fit into society really. It covers a variety of issues from relationships, and employment that are often struggles for those in chairs. But the chairs become secondary when the series surveys other key issues, such as homosexuality, work stresses, etc. which really drive home the point that these ladies deal with everyday things. There lives are not just “wheelchair, wheelchair, wheelchair, 24/7.
One of the four ladies featured on the show describes how it is talking with clients of her business on the phone, setting up in-person appointments with them, and then the reaction when they see she is in a chair. This is a case-study in and of itself.
Another struggles in her long-term relationship with an able-bodied man who does not think he wants kids, but she knows that she does. I loved how this turned the tables on what one might expect. You know, an able bodied man wanting kids but in a relationship with a woman who may not be able to because of her disability. She is sure of it and wants that experience, and he eventually ends the relationship. But the woman showed herself to be strong in her convictions, ready to end the relationship herself if need be. A poignant moment was her saying (to the camera in a private tell-all moment) that she wasn’t going to be one of those disabled people who stayed in a relationship that wasn’t what she wanted just because she felt like she would never have another chance.
It would be sad for a disabled person to live like that. But I couldn’t help thinking it would also be sad if the perfect person for her happened to be another man in a wheelchair and she just didn’t recognize it.
Another enters a dance competition wherein she is the only contestant who is not standing. It is interesting to see her prepare for this, knowing that all eyes will be on her, knowing that she’s at a distinct disadvantage from the beginning, and knowing that some will see her participation as a novelty. She is not doing it to show off, or stand out. She is doing it because she has always been a dancer, and will always be a dancer, working legs or no working legs. She is not a novelty and she shows it in the competition.
The series speaks volumes about our place in society as disabled people. In every aspect of life, we throw ourselves into it, and participate. My wife and I cannot wait for next week’s episode.