Archive for the ‘quadriplegic’ Category
In my office we have a lot of hallway corners, and I have already started to develop the reputation for coming around a corner too fast and almost making impact with a co-worker. Now, granted, when this happens, the other party is likely just as much at fault for going too fast. But there is always that insecurity as the guy in the wheelchair, that people are going to start saying “Hey, slow down there Speedy Gonzalez!” or something else similar to that. I don’t want to be “that guy” and I write this blog posting in the hopes that I will internalize this, and become more mindful in the hallways. At the same time it is something not to be taken too seriously, I know. So I try to remember it could happen to anyone. But when it happens a few times, I start to think I am becoming “That guy” in the office in the wheelchair. Speedy Gonzalez. Aargh!!! I really dislike that reputation. But I am the only one who can change it.
I’ve written on this subject before and posted my own version of “Mission Accomplished” by writing about my victory, blah blah blah. So I am just posting to say that my building’s managers are finally today putting in the ramp at the office that I have talked about throughout the last few years. They are really doing it. I can hear the construction workers. I will be able to use it tomorrow. Let this be a lesson to you. Whining always leads to victory! lol No, that is not the lesson. There isn’t one.
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.
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.
Just dropping by to note a series on premiering on June 4th on Sundance Channel called “Push Girls”. It is a series which will follow four paraplegic women in the Hollywood area. The series intends to show how these ladies can be ambitious, outspoken, dynamic, and…believe it or not…sexy even! See the link above for more information on the premise of the series.
Before I tell this story, I think that though it probably goes without saying, it would be prudent of me to note that not everybody with a disability has a sense of humor about it. So if you are a walkie and you know someone disabled, my advice would be just to really know your friend, don’t go thinking that anything goes. I’ve already told you about some of the things I personally don’t like, on this blog.
At work I sit next to a guy who I have only known for about a month but we’ve gotten to know each other well, and he is already well aware that I don’t really have boundaries when it comes to jokes about my disability. Or so he thought!
He’d made some jokes throughout the night about it tonight, and I joked back. At the end of the night as we were leaving, he made another crack, and in a moment of inspiration, I turned to him and I said “that’s not funny.”
He said “It isn’t?”, still smiling at his cleverness, and assuming I was joking.
I said “No. I mean I have a sense of humor, but come on, grow up.”
His face went dark, and he said “Seriously?” I said “Yes, seriously.”
“I’m sorry, bad joke,” he said, trying desperately to back-track. ” Did I cross the line?”
Now, I don’t consider myself a cruel person. As such, I could only let this go on for so long. I cracked. And so did he.
“I can’t believe I fell for that!” he groaned. I assured him that I didn’t think he really believed me anyway, because I’d already made it so clear that nothing was sacred when it came to the disability. And the way he’d said “Seriously”, he looked like he thought he’d just been zapped into another dimension.
Anyway, I love it when my night at work ends on a high note like that.