Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for February 2012

Enough Outta Me, Let’s Have Some Discussion: No Child Left Behind

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by Treadmarkz

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?

Sometimes You Need Not Look Beyond Your (Extended) Family

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by Treadmarkz

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.

HBO Film To Shed Light On the Needs of Developmentally Handicapped Adults

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by Treadmarkz

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.

Getting So Much Better All The Time…

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by Treadmarkz

Well winter is almost over and I managed to avoid getting too out of shape. I think the best thing I did for myself was basically storing up for the winter by doing laps around my block every day during the summer and fall. I was like a squirrel storing a backlog of acorns. Winter is not by any means over, but I think it is getting close. We haven’t had much of a winter anyway, so I’ve been able to get out there occasionally lately. Can’t wait until I am out there every day. It is great cardio workout, but not only that but when I come in, I am not tired. No, no…In fact I often find myself energized after “doing my laps”. Which leads to weightlifting, yoga, crunches, and swimming once the pool opens. My fear was falling off the wagon over the winter and letting myself go. By the Grace, we had a short winter so I am going to be able to pick up where I left off, and add to my fitness storehouse. My hope is that I will only be in better and better shape as I head on into my mid-thirties. For those of you who are disabled I hope you will do so with me. We have enough going against us, in general. We need to take care of ourselves. I became a vegetarian two years ago and the biggest concern amongst people who love me was that I would lose strength by lack of protein. But there have only been a couple of other times in my life (pre-vegetarian) when was this energetic. And this time I have my wife who is much more enthusiastic about fitness than I am. And its only getting better.