Archive for the ‘mental disorders’ 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.
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.
It is a very sad thing to see that your country was the inspiration for one aspect of one of the most horrific acts of “ethnic cleansing” in human history. But it is true. As Anderson Cooper reported tonight on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″, the Nazis took inspiration for their program of forced sterilization of Jews from the United States Government. The U.S. reportedly sterilized many thousands of people who were considered weak or not fit to procreate, including many with various types of what we would today merely call disabilities, but back then they were just defective quasi-humans, apparently. See the full story here.
Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.
And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.
Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.
Since I am starting to re-develop a following here at “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” I’d like to pose a question to kind of get to know the readers a little better. So, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. So here is my question:
How do you think the discontinuing of “No Child Left Behind” in 10 states will affect school age children with learning disabilities?
It has come to my attention that on February 22, HBO will run a film called “Raising Renee”.
The documentary is an account of a woman who elects to care for her developmentally handicapped adult sister. My wife is a care giver for seniors. She can’t tell me everything she does during her day due to confidentiality promised to clients. And though this is not the same thing as caring for an adult with a developmental handicap of course, I do have an idea of how hard this job is.
I will be watching on February 22 and my hope is that it opens up a lot of eyes as to the task we face as a nation in getting some of our most overlooked citizens the care they need. I will try to provide a film review after the program airs.
For those of us with disabilities, it is easy to get down on ourselves for what we don’t have. Abilities, skills, functions. Whatever. If you have recently experienced this feeling of dejection, this observation recently made by my wife is for you.
We were thumbing through a book of “useless facts” when we stumbled upon something that turned out to be quite useful. “Leaches have 32 brains,” it read.
To which my wife blithely replied:
“How come they haven’t taken over the world yet?”
“It just goes to show its not the brains you have, its how you use them.”
“I mean they’ve got thirty two brains and all they’ve figured out how to do is suck.”
All this before I had mustered up the wit for a single observation of my own.
The Life-Altering Reason That “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” is now “Leaving Footprintz Across the Universe”
Those of you who have followed this blog throughout the last year or so may have noticed a marked drop in output over the last few months.
You may also have noticed that I changed the name of this website from “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” to “Leaving Footprintz Across the Universe.” There is a reason for both changes and they are connected. The reason is I have been busy. A lot of bloggers say that when they cut production, but I have been busy doing things that I have never, ever done before! Let me start at the beginning.
I started this blog as a man with spina bifida and I wanted to tell the world a little about my life and what it is like with a disability. Well, back on December 15 I recieved a call from a doctor who was present at the hospital on the day I was born. And he told me something that made me hysterically angry and hysterically blissful at the same time. He is no longer affiliated with the hospital where I was born, so he was able to tell me this:
He told me that I was in fact born a healthy baby, but for reasons he could not explain my parents were told by the doctor that delivered me that I had spina bifida. My parents took me home with the news that I had special needs and would never walk. The power of those spoken words apparently held so much sway that from the very beginning, that even though I was perfectly healthy, I never did use my legs, and I never did learn to walk. Crap, I was even allergic to things that people with spina bifida are supposed to be allergic to. Talc in Latex, chocolate, and bananas.
As time went on, and as doctor after doctor looked at my incorrect charts, I had a lot of unnecessary surgeries. This added new and just-as-erroneous diagnoses and prognoses into the mix, and the untruth became stronger and stronger until there came a time in my adulthood that I thought that I was even more disabled than that. I began thinking that I was “slow” and the very thought, and the act of saying it out loud gave me reason to expect less of myself.
I gave that part of it up a long time ago, but on December 15 of last year, when that doctor told me that I was not in fact born with spina bifida, that I was not in fact paralyzed from the waist down, that I was not physically paralyzed at all, things began to change. I began to feel things in my lower extremeties, to a point where I began to get out of my wheelchair. I recently got a new wheelchair, but I have been using it less and less. I still use it at work, and I use it to go out and get the mail, but because I have used it less I am not very good at it. In fact one day I rolled it over off a step and crashed my chair scratching the wheel badly.
I use it while living my civic life because I haven’t wanted anyone knowing that anything had changed. But I have been getting out a lot, anonymously, out of town, just doing things I have never gotten to do before. It’s okay. But the only person I have told is my wife. Not even my parents, brother or sister know yet. For that I am sorry. But I worried about how I’d be treated having been “healed”. So I just went on living and observing life as a disabled man, but as a non-disabled man. But I think I am ready to move on and let the world know the power of thought and how it has affected my life.
That’s why it’s now “Footprintz” instead of “Treadmarkz” and Happy April Fools Day, by the way.
But seriously. Just think about what I said. Think about all the things we tell ourselves and believe. Just imagine.
My wife and I went to get our taxes done yesterday (I won’t bore you with the sob story that is the result) and I remembered that last year there was a question on the tax form that really bugged me and I wondered if anything had been done about it. The question reads “Are you or your spouse permanently and totally disabled?” Yes gets you a bit of a refund, No doesn’t.
I have spina bifida. I am in fact, permanently disabled. It is my role to play in this life. However I am not totally disabled. I tried again to point out the distinction to the tax preparer and she tried to explain it thusly:
“Well, by totally they just mean that you’re disabled and it is not going to change.” Something like that.
To which I replied “Isn’t that what ‘permanently’ means?” She had no response.
I will be contacting someone. It is not a matter of pride, as you can see I am perfectly willing to admit and accept that I am permanently disabled. But totally would imply…what? I mean the fact that I can type this is evidence that I am not totally disabled. And anyone who cannot type is still FAR from totally disabled. In fact, anyone who is “totally disabled would not be living because total disability would include the function of the person’s heart, correct?