Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

The Paralympics Are Not Wheelchair Accessible?

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So did you hear the one about the woman in the wheelchair in the crowd at the paralympics. Its not a joke. She was told she could not sit with her family. Apparently the people in charge are planning the event did not plan for disabled people sitting with walkies? Click here to read the entire story.  I don’t even want to get into it. It just defies logic, and I don’t do well with that.

Wheelchair Innovation From the Perspective of a Walkie

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by Treadmarkz

For my 200th post on this blog I want to tell you about my brother. I talked about him long ago on this blog, how when we were kids he, though not disabled himself, taught me how to pop wheelies on my chair, and he rigged my wheelchair with systematically placed life preservers, and installed a ramp at the end of the dock whereby he would go flying off the end of the dock into the Mississippi River. Yes…in my wheelchair. I never did it of course.
Ever the innovator in wheelchair technology I just wanted to note that in the course of a 15 minute conversation this weekend, he pointed out no fewer than four improvements he could envision being made to my Quickie. Not sure how many of them he felt confident in his own ability to install. At least one. I will not discuss what they are until we see where this goes. Never know. Quickie may want to put us to work. Suffice to say they would make recreation in a wheelchair much more mobile and convenient in various ways.

What is Santorum REALLY Saying About His Feelings Toward Disabled Children?

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by Treadmarkz

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.

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.

It’s Not What You Got, It’s How You Use It.

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By Treadmarkz

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?”

and

“It just goes to show its not the brains you have, its how you use them.”

and finally

“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.

Treadmarkz To Be Published by the “Legitimate” Press!

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by Treadmarkz

Yep, it’s official, Treadmarkz will be in hard copy for the first time ever when one of my stories appears in New Mobility magazine’s June issue. Reserve your copy now! I will be published under the name Forrest Dailey. It is a story which demonstrates that we are all much more alike in our experiences than we think we are.

Furious Male Liberal Defends Sarah Palin AND Her Baby

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by Treadmarkz

I am not a fan of Sarah Palin’s political views overall, but ever since her introduction as McCain’s running mate at the RNC, she has been taking a lot of crap because she had her baby son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, at the convention. Because of this, I can no longer remain silent on the issue. A few things are being said in the media about her little guy’s appearance on the National Stage that are really getting me steamed.

1. That having him at the convention was a political stunt to demonstrate how “pro-life” she is. Just because 80% of women who find out their unborn baby has Down Syndrome have an abortion according to this story does not mean that keeping your baby makes you any more of a saint than anyone else. After all, it is your baby we are talking about, not an everyday inconvenience that one chooses how to dispose of. I think Palin had her baby at the convention because he is a part of her family and she was introducing herself, and her family, to the country. Case closed.

2. By making the above into such a big time news story, the media made it seem as though not having an abortion in a similar situation would be noteworthy, somehow. Following through with a pregnancy which you know will result in a child with a disability is not a pro-life thing, it’s not a Christian thing, it’s not a Republican or Conservative thing. It is about love, and we all have that in us somewhere. Even us God damned baby killer pagan liberal Democrats!

3. One doctor went so far as to express concern that Palin’s example will lead other expectant mothers NOT to abort when the expected child is found to have a disability! What the Hell? Look, I have spina bifida, I know what a handful my disability was as a child, but there is always HELP one can gain through doctors (if they know what they are talking about), family members, the community, etcetera. And this is not even an issue of taking away people’s CHOICE. It is an issue of giving a baby with a disadvantage a CHANCE.

This doctor is worried that the mothers of fetuses with Down Syndrome will not be prepared to take care of the child. Well, I doubt very much that my own mother grew up training all her life to have a baby with spina bifida. Mothers who have children with disabilities find ways to cope with the circumstances they are given, and they do so out of love, the greatest power in the world. The greatest human quality. And Sarah Palin is a human being.

All of the negative attitudes toward Palin having this baby will reinforce the misconception that having a child with a disability is beyond the average human being. It encourages abortion of “imperfect” children. I am not going to get into the pro-life/choice argument because it’s a dead end as far as I can see. I am just using my own life experience here. I am pro-chance, my friends. Making her out to be either a saint or simply irresponsible will only serve the point of view that the chance to life should not be given so freely.

And quite frankly these attitudes have me really concerned coming from fellow liberals. Do they realize they are reinforcing every stereotype that conservatives have toward them and hold to be so repugnant? No wonder Barack Obama is losing so many supporters, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with this.

Is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton About a Disabled Man and an Able-Bodied Woman?

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by Treadmarkz,

Here’s a weird one.

I was flipping through http://www.songfacts.com and I came across “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Songfacts is a site where fans can submit “facts” or, mostly opinions actually, and a lot of misinformation, about any song you can think of. Under “Wonderful Tonight” I found an entry from someone putting forth the theory that “Wonderful Tonight” (one of the greatest love songs of all time, next to “Layla” also by Clapton) was written about a man in a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend/wife. Let’s analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis:

“We go to a party/Everyone turns to see/this beautiful lady/walking around with me” – If the stress and focus is on the word “walking” it could suggest that the person she is with is not, himself, walking. But that is really suspending disbelief, so let’s move on.

“I give her the car keys/she puts me to bed” – This is about a man who is unable to drive. Not able to at all or just as a result of intoxication or fatigue? More and more disabled people are driving, but in the 1970s when this song was recorded, this may not have been so. And the second line may have something to do with a woman physically lifting the man from his wheelchair into bed.

That’s about all I see backing up the aforementioned claim. But the overall theme of the song is a man who is desperately in love with his woman, who “just doesn’t realize how much” he loves her. I am married to a woman who is not “disabled” in the usual sense of the word (She told me herself that she believes that everyone is disabled to some degree), so I can identify with that feeling, the desperation to tell that person how much their unconditional love means to you. However, I would hope that anyone in love has felt it that strongly.

And so, upon deep reflection on this matter, I think that “Wonderful Tonight” is just a regular, boring, good ol’ fashioned walkie love song. Case closed. I have spoken. Turn out the lights. Don’t let the door hit ya.

Olive Riley, World’s Oldest Blogger Dies

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by Treadmarkz

I can’t imagine still writing this blog 80 years from now. But then again that is a very large part of my blog, life’s little experiences, which 80 years onward, I am sure I will have gained much. What am I talking about? I am talking about Olive Riley of Australia, who died last week. Known as the “Worlds Oldest Blogger”, she’d just started blogging a year or two ago, but she packed in over a century’s worth of wisdom into that time. Check her blog out here. It begins with a Rest In Peace message addressed to Olive, written by her friends and family, but after that you will see over seventy postings from Riley herself.