Archive for the ‘health’ Category
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.
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?
As Memorial Day comes and passes again tomorrow, I know I will be hearing a lot of slogans and speeches about supporting our troops. And I whole-heartedly agree. But I get the feeling that a lot of times holidays such as Memorial Day are days meant for sentimentality and not much else. Sure it is a day of remembrance for the fallen. But what about remembering those who gave and lived to tell about it? I know the term “memorial” suggests those who have passed, but it also suggests “remembering.”
We can remember what our troops gave by helping those who came back with disabilities a chance to remain a vital part of our society. There are a lot of programs like Veterans Employment at VA.gov, or militaryvetjobs.com or Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) that are dedicated to helping our soldiers come home with, literally, something to come home to. A job. A purpose. Income. Hope. Please support these and organizations like them.
I know that many are concerned that this is an extension of “Affirmative Action”. I am not a veteran but I am disabled. And I have struggled with obtaining employment in the past. I have said before that I don’t want to get a job just because I am disabled. I want to be qualified. But remember the military qualifies soldiers in a vast array of areas of potential employment. They may come home disoriented by the struggle to cope with their new bodily circumstances, shall we say, but they have been trained to be successful in whatever they do.
Supporting veterans in their search for employment upon arrival back home may be the most patriotic thing one can do.
1. It supports the newly returned soldier.
2. It helps to keep our economy running by keeping jobs filled.
3. It keeps the deficit from rising when injured soldiers come home to a disability check.
4. And, often overlooked, think of how morale will rise among troops who are still on duty overseas, when word gets around that a movement has begun back home, that they don’t have to worry about how they would support their family should they become injured in the line of duty.
I saw my doctor the other day for an infection and we reviewed my history of UTIs. I tend to get them about once a year. He told me that this is actually quite a good track record considering I use intermittent catheters. Most patients in wheelchairs that he sees tend to get them more often than that. I feel like this is unacceptable. Is it really an inevitability or are we doing something wrong? Surely if we wash our hands and use a catheter that has just been taken out of a sealed package there should be little risk of infection. Any thoughts?
Living in the material world, businesses often will not make the necessary changes to make their establishment wheelchair-friendly unless it becomes obvious to the owner that not doing so would mean loss of revenue. Often times it seems that up-front cost of renovations are the foremost concern. Often the prospects of a burgeoning clientele base – namely the disabled community – is not taken into consideration.
But this is not just an American problem. In Britain, the Equality Act 2010 appears to cover the same ground, roughly, as the Americans with Disabilities Act. London, dwelling place of 1.4 million disabled people and destination to large numbers of tourists every year, does not appear to be exempt from the problem of accessibility. British people with disabilities encounter the same every-day aggravations that I do; stores, restaurants and other public areas are not always accessible. I can’t say I am surprised.
I discovered this while discussing the issue with a representative of a British company that designs, builds and installs elevators (platform lifts) for domestic and commercial (even portable!) settings. They have numerous template designs but also specialize in “bespoke” designs, meaning “to the customer’s specifications.
The company, I feel, recognizes that many disabled people’s quality of life could be greatly improved. Inactivity comes from feeling disconnected from the outside world, feeling confined to one’s home. Ability Lifting Solutions is devoted to providing its clientele with a much more flexible quality of life, more options, more freedom. And in the end, that really is the answer, isn’t it?
They work with the customer to “suit your needs and budget” even if all you need is a lift to get you up one step. The work is all very modern, sleep and aesthetically pleasing. Domestic accessibility has come a long way since I was growing up and at my parents’ house we had a mechanical device in a closet renovated into an elevator shaft.
Ability Lifting Solutions’ Web site does not discuss pricing outright, but it does have a “Get a Quote” link. Surely with this company around there is a convenient, affordable way for companies to do as the Equality Act 2010 says. Surely it is worth a look if you are a business owner or a disabled resident in the U.K. or mainland Europe. Even if you are not, it is still worth a look to see how their product stacks up against what is available where you live.
Below is a link to a story about LaKay Roberts, a child with cerebral palsy who is physically able to use a walker. But her school is trying to ban her from using it, citing concerns that she will fall in the hall and get hurt. I am in a wheelchair but when I was in school, I was able to strap in to a full body brace and use a walker. And I fell occasionally. But that was the worst that happened. Because you know what I did after I fell? I got up. When I was in school and I had my daily physical therapy session which included my “walking” in my braces and walker/crutches, I had a therapist or teacher or classmate who walked with me. Are you telling me this school can’t afford to give that much to this child so that she might have the opportunity to develop a certain degree of independence. Independence does not come easy. It requires that we first depend on another. That we have someone to lean on, someone to help us up when we fall. Because as we strive for independence, it will inevitably happen. We fall. But we get back up. And when we do, we are that much closer to freedom.
Here is the link to which I am referring. Let me know what you think.
Tomorrow, being that it will be about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit out, will be my first time in 2012 climbing Bandel Hill. I work at the top of the hill, and I like to have my bus drop me off at the bottom and then I push in my chair to the top. It is just a shade under a mile and it is a fairly smooth bike path all the way. There doesn’t tend to be a lot of other traffic on the path. So not only do I get a good workout, but I get a lot of time to myself to reflect, introspect, observe my consciousness. It is a good 25 minutes or so that I can spend saying my mantra, getting myself ready for work. I will be working days for a while so I will have the opportunity to take this path periodically this spring. It is good for the body and what I am now calling the Final Frontier, the Great Within.
I encourage anyone who is in a chair, who is physically able and independent, to challenge yourself to do things like this. You will find out about yourself in more ways than one.
This ought to raise the ire of apologists for both sides of the political scene, but I don’t really intend it as such. Though I am sure it will become a big issue during this election season, I think this is the result of a problem that has been stewing over the course of the last three administrations, if not longer. The problem? Intermittent Catheters have been deemed not to be “medically necessary” and therefore not covered by UCare. Many people on Medical Assistance have recently been moved over to UCare or a similar program.
I have to be very blunt, I fail to see how something so basic as emptying the bladder has been deemed not necessary. Its kind of like how insulin is covered for diabetics but the syringes necessary to inject it are not covered.
Has anybody faced either of these problems or anything similar? What have you done to solve it?
Just stopping in to drop a couple of links to my other blog. Normally I would keep the two blogs separate because of the wide gulf in subject matter. But these two posts, while related to my spiritual life, also have a lot to do with disabilities. So you may be interested. Have a look: