Posts Tagged ‘disabled’
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.
In a recent post I made reference to “support groups” amongst people with any given disability, and how I hardly ever met anyone with my disability, spina bifida. Interestingly, I have been fortunate to make connections with some really interesting people this year already, including a cousin of mine who I did not know I had until a few years ago. Even since learning of his existence, I haven’t seen much of him because he lives in another state. I added him to my Facebook friends list and occasionally commented on his posts, but really didn’t get to know him. But then recently I was flipping through some pictures of him on his page, and I found one which showed clearly that he was in a wheelchair. I did not know him to be in a wheelchair, and nobody ever told me anything had happened to him. So I asked him. And he told me he, like me, has spina bifida at the L-2 level.
Naturally this shocked me that he had spina bifida. Why hadn’t anyone in my family told me this? It would have been nice to know that I had another person to talk to about it. Turns out he himself did not know he had spina bifida until he was 21 when he started having medical problems. He’s had his ups and downs and has had times when he could still walk with braces, but he does use a wheelchair.
We both had doctors who told us (or in my case a doctor who told my parents) that our case would be much worse than it turned out to be. It is encouraging, and horrifying at the same time when you see how wrong doctors can be. But they’re only human. One doctor said my life would not be worth living, and a doctor told my cousin that he’d be paralyzed from the waist down by now but his paralysis is really just large areas of numbness in his bottom half.
Ever since finding this out about him, it has been great exchanging war stories – how we both struggled with math just as the doctors said we would (though I think I was much more hopeless in this category than he was). But mostly we have discussed medical problems. Songs of our scars, ghosts of operations past. And he told me that he will be having an operation in the future which will put him in his wheelchair for several months. I let him know about how I “did my time” when I was in a body cast or had a broken leg at different times as a teenager. Made some suggestions on how to make the time go by and avoid letting your spirit hit the bottom of the barrel.
As I wrote LONG ago in this blog, many people (including John Mellencamp) have spina bifida but can walk. But I never knew of a case where someone did not know they had the disorder until adulthood. It’s been nice hearing about yet another of the various experiences people have had with spina bifida, and I have been happy to be able to give my cousin advice. I look forward to continuing our correspondence because I am sure we both have something to offer each other.
I posted last night that I am pursuing Hatha Yoga, so I wanted to follow up on that. I do not intend to research the subject and provide a list of good sites or DVDs I have seen on the subject because anyone interested, you can find that for yourself. I intend to advise by experience only, as that is all that is important.
I have already stumbled upon something very simple yet extremely valuable. I have been working with two very basic yoga poses which we in wheelchairs can use in order to tighten those abs. Try these out and see how effective they are. I was amazed.
1. Sitting up as straight as possible, without consciously arching your back too much, extend both arms straight out in front of you, palms down. Bend one hand up, fingertips reaching for the sky. Bend the other hand downward. Fully extending your harms, press the upward hand forward against the downward hand, each hand resisting each other. Remember to keep the back straight. Don’t rest on your back rest. You don’t need to do this for very long. The very act of trying to keep sitting up straight will work out those abs.
2. Classic yoga pose, but very effective: Behind your head, place your left palm on your right shoulder. Then place your right palm on the left elbow. Again sit up as straight as possible, no leaning on the backrest. This one may be a little harder to keep your balance but go for it! Then when both arms are in place, press the back of your head in the cradle you’ve formed. Again do not arch the back. just press the head back, and before long you will start to feel the abs stretching. Do this for as long as you can tolerate.
Okay that’s good for now.
Go for it!
I love politically correct language. It’s funny. It’s irrational. I could go on all day but let me get to my point.
A lot of people in wheelchairs, for example like to refer to themselves as “disabled”. In this country some people feel it is more appropriate to qualify that as “Disabled-American”.
For a while I was getting a kick out of referring to myself as a Cripple in conversation with Walkies. I no longer get the same thrill out of that. No, what I have done, see, is I have begun peppering in the phrase “Crippled-American” into my everyday interactions with Walkies. Try it. It really screws with people’s minds. They don’t know how to react. It’s hilarious.
For me, being in a wheelchair, sometimes it really is great to have a non-disabled person rebuke me for my actions if they are out of line, rather than just assuming that I am mentally challenged and let me off the hook. Let me give you an example from yesterday:
The office building at my apartment complex is under construction and has temporarily relocated downstairs. For weeks there have been signs up saying “Sorry about the inconvenience”. The mailboxes have remained accessible on the main floor throughout the construction.Yesterday however, I went there and the sign said “Office will be closed today sorry about the inconvenience.” I wondered if this sign meant the main floor or the relocated downstairs office. But when I checked the door to the main floor, even though there was construction going on in the back, it was not locked, so I thought OK it’s open, and went in and got my mail. As I was leaving, one of the workers approached me, and in a real gruff, aggressive voice said “Is there not a sign on the door that said “Do Not Enter”? As I attempted to answer, he interrupted me, with “Huh? Didn’t you see it? I’ll bet you did, didn’t you?”
He then pointed to the floor which had just been cemented or something, and was still drying. I apologized repeatedly but I told the man, quite reasonably I thought, that the sign did not, in fact, say “Do Not Enter”, and again tried to explain that I thought it referred to the office as it was current downstairs location.
Now, I don’t really think I deserved this type of rebuke from this man, as his sign clearly should have stated “Do Not Enter” or at LEAST “Wet Floor”. And I don’t understand why the door wasn’t blocked off in some way if not locked. I don’t think I got the chastising I got BECAUSE of my disability. In fact, it was great that he would go off on me, never taking my disability into consideration.
I forgive him because I understand they’d probably worked on that floor for a while only to have me come along and muck it up. Though I did not destroy it by any means, I should have questioned the signs further, I suppose.
I received this video by email the other day (Thanks Mom) and it is a perfect example of why the spirit is much more important than the body that we are born into.
The video is of a man born with no arms or legs but a good reminder to anyone who’s ever said “I can’t” before. He is also an example to the world on how to be untouchable in your determination to persevere.
Give it a look HERE
I have been asked my one of my loyal and faithful readers a question about “when to help, and when to not help a disabled person.”
The answer is much simpler than it may seem at first glance.
When in doubt, always ask. Never “don’t” offer to help. Would you do that to a fellow human who is not disabled? No, if you had a reason to suspect they need help, you’d ask them if they need help right? Same principle applies if the person is in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled.
We just want common courtesy but without assumptions being made. The assumption is made when one insists on doing something for us, completely leaping over the idea of helping us do it for ourselves or even asking if we need help to begin with.
If someone is in a wheelchair, and you ask them if they need help, and they get defensive, it is only because they are either extremely stubborn or extremely sensitive about their disability. I know at least someone in a wheelchair will disagree with that statement, but I am in a wheelchair, I have lived it, and like it or not, it is true.
Well, unfortunately the appalling case of Brian Sterner did not teach us anything about how to treat each other, especially those who need their fellow man most to look after them.
Click HERE to read the story of Ed Rivera, a man with cerebral palsy, who has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, who was left on a bus in freezing temperatures over night. What’s worse, the driver admitted to knowing that she was leaving him there! Now who’s got the mental capacity of a two-year-old?
But hey, she left him there so she would not be late for church. Hmm. You know, this reminds me of something I recently read in a book about meditation. In a chapter which focused on religious meditation, the author discussed the relation between faith/prayer and good works/deeds. I forget the wording exactly but the point was that if one is deeply engrossed in meditating on God, and during this meditation he is disturbed by the sound of a fellow man in need of help, he stops the meditation and helps the man.
Just a little tip for the bus driver.
I knew that titled would get ya. Anyway, if you don’t know, Quickie is one of the most popular brand names in wheelchairs, and they are rather expensive. In fact, I have found that it is hard to get Medical Assistance to cover one. But I got one. I guess they were feeling generous, as it is nearly Christmas. So I am back in business. Not a second too soon either. One of my wheels was just about ready to come off, and it was just a pile a garbage in general. Anyway I feel healthier already.
I spent last night reminiscing about the 8 years or so that I spent with my old wheelchair, with the song “Two of Us” by the Beatles as a backdrop.
“Two of us riding nowhere spending someone’s hard-earned pay” (Okay my wheelchair always hated that line because it felt like the song was pointing out that the only reason I had it was through Medical Assistance which was funded by tax payers. I reassured my wheelchair by reminding it that I am a tax-payer too.)
“Two of us Sunday driving, not arriving on our way back home”
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”
I am not going to miss my old wheelchair. It will be recycled post haste.
I love this ad that Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is running. The theme is “Pity. It’s 100% Curable.” I think the ad hits the subject from the right angle.
I love it because I went to Gillette myself as a very young child with spina bifida and it was at that stage in my life when it was most crucial that I found out for myself that yes I had a disability and no there was no changing it, and that the only thing that needed adjusting was the way I saw myself and the way I worked with what I had. Of course I did not think of it in those words exactly, when I was five. But you get the idea.
And this ad works on more than one level really. It addresses the pity that the disabled child might feel for himself, and it also speaks to the fact that once that child cures his self-pity, he can start showing the world around him that there is absolutely no reason to pity him, nor is there, in fact, any room or time for pity. He’s got a life to start living.