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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

Wheelchairs Anonymous

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by Treadmarkz

I went the other day to pick out my new wheelchair, and to fill out the paperwork for the wheelchair dealer to send in to the State of Minnesota so I could get my request approved by Medical Assistance, and two things stuck out, for me.

First thing: I had to get a prescription for my wheelchair. Why? I am clearly disabled and in need of an alternative method of locomotion. My legs won’t cut it. Why do I need proof that I need a chair? Are there people who are abusing wheelchairs? Are people overdosing on wheelchairs? Is there some illegal underground trafficking of wheelchairs that I don’t know about? Well, okay, with this one, if more people lose their social security, and MA and all that, this may happen. But as far as I know, this has not become an issue.

And secondly, when I was filling out the paperwork, I was asked my Social Security # and my MA card’s number, of course, and my address and phone number so they could contact me, of course. But then, out of the blue, Question #5 read, verbatim: “What is your role in society?” I thought “What the bloody hell?” I didn’t know where to start. But I knew what they were getting at. Again they don’t want to be giving away wheelchairs to just any bum off the street! You never know what the hell they’ll do with ’em! So I told them about my job where I am in a hectic office environment where I put on a lot of miles, not to mention the fact that I have a life and occasionally I, imagine this, go places!

But I didn’t need that. It’s National Disabled Employment Awareness Month for cryin’ out loud, and they want to know why I need a functional wheelchair? They don’t ask walkies that question when they buy a pair of shoes, do they? Nope. Just us.

Going Wheelchair Shopping

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by Treadmarkz

Some time this week I am going shopping for a new chair. I got my prescription from my doctor. The chair I am in is definitely not fit to last another winter. I used and abused it this summer. I think all of that running around, along with the pressure of my job, have given me high blood pressure. Not really high, but higher than normal. I found that out when I had my appointments. Weird. I just wanted to get a prescription for a new chair and I found that out.

By the way, the doctor barely looked at me and started writing out the prescription for the chair, so I don’t know why I had to spend the time.

Rethinking the ReWalk

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by Treadmarkz

I have been giving it a lot of thought, and though the ReWalk is still in its developmental stage as far as I am concerned, it does press me to consider what would be the one thing that would make me really, really wish that I could walk.

As my wife and I were driving through the countryside on our way home from my parents’ house today, I think I hit on the answer. The only reason I would ever really want to walk would be to be able to walk with my wife through the hills around my home town in the fall. The colors of course are beautiful (in fact sometimes the combination of colors can feel like something unearthly) and the hills are filled with endless mystery that is uncovered for the most part when the leaves begin to fall. But you can never quite uncover the mysteries of life unless you get right up close and personal with the things around you.

There is so much natural history I am missing. I know there is a ton of man-made history that I am missing out on by not being able to get into historic sites, but I’ve commented on that before.

Well, we can’t just make God, or the gods if you please, answerable to the Americans with Disabilities Act and all of a sudden have the hills, mountains, streams and valleys accessible to people in wheelchairs, now, can we? As I think that the point of this posting is to tell people with disabilities not to let any part of life pass you by because of your disability, for now, I may have to look into some off-road wheelchair options.

My Wheelchair Is My Car…and Yeah, I Beat the Hell Out of It

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by Treadmarkz

       Well, ladies and gentlemen, after years and years with this old piece of metal, plastic and upholstery, I am finally going to get a new wheelchair. Well, let’s not be hasty, actually. On October 3 I am going to see my doctor to see if I can get a prescription for a new wheelchair. I am hoping that:

       1. the fact that my current chair has no working breaks

       2. the upholstery on the backrest is worn out and exposed metal is touching my shoulder blades

       3. one of my tires is worn away to what’s under the rubber in one small area

       4. one of my tires is separating from the wheel in a small area

       5. my front casters wobble

       6. the shaft in which my caster is mounted is supposed to be capped by I lost that cap a long time ago, and haven’t found anything that will stay on it, and in the winter it gets wet and rusty in there and sometimes the caster does not turn properly

       7. several spokes are loose or bent on both wheels

               and

       8. it’s filthy

         will be sufficient reasons to warrant a new chair. I was told last year by Medical Assistance that the chair would have to be unfixable in order to get a new chair. In other words it couldn’t just be something that could simply be replaced. I told them that would leave me without a chair if it was unfixable, but these reasons combined should add up to a situation where it would be easier just to start fresh with a new chair.

         I am looking for something that is sporty but not too much so. I am not really an “athlete” but I am active. I do wear out the tires. I want something lightweight and easily trasportable since my wife and I have a Ford Taurus. The one I have has removable wheels and the backrest folds down, and I think I’d like to stick with something like that.

         Any suggestions?

         Wish me luck.

I Am Being Haunted By My Own Blog

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by Treadmarkz

I like to keep an eye on the stats for my blog, which postings are hot, am I going to have a bigger month than last month, etc. And when I see a posting from long long ago getting hot again, and its not because of a Stumble on StumbleUpon, it’s nice to see. But this has got me scared.

I had a posting earlier in the year when I was trying REALLY hard to just quit drinking soda altogether. I was doing really well too. I went almost a quarter of a year cold turkey. So I wrote up a story about the benefits one could gain from avoiding carbonated beverages, especially the disabled. All of a sudden this posting has come back with a vengeance, and I don’t know why, but I think it is trying to tell me something, so I have set myself an ultimatum. Quit drinking soda again. And I have given myself a cutoff date: October 15. Not to be self-righteous, but just because I know that all of the reasons I mentioned in that posting were very good reasons to quit. I will keep you posted.

PS: The earlier posting can be found below by it’s working title, “Soda Jerk.”

Treadmarkz’s Paralympic Delusions of Grandeur

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by Treadmarkz,

I’ve been away from my blog for a little while. I’d like to say that the reason is that I am training for the paralympics, but alas, I have just been whiling away the dog days of summer. My wife works days and I work afternoon-night. So I find things to do, and I have put on a lot of miles doing it. It usually revolves around going to get lunch or snacks or drinks. I may not be training for the paralympics, but I know I’ve put on at least 28 miles in the last several weeks, the equivalent of a good old fashioned Olympic marathon.

So you’re probably thinking “What do you want, a medal?” and my answer is…well…yes.

How To Get Six-Pack Abs in a Wheelchair. Is it Possible?

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by Treadmarkz

When people meet me for the first time, they often make note of, or complement me on, the strong, muscular upper body that I have built up over the years pushing myself around in a chair. But what most of those people probably don’t realize is that my belly looks like an irregularly shaped loaf of bread. I guess that’s why it’s called the “bread box”.

But you hear it all the time in the media, gotta get a six-pack, wish I had a six-pack like that guy, I’m working out so by summer I’ll have a six-pack so I can go to the beach and pick up chicks. Whatever. There are superficial reasons, but it would be a nice feeling to have a nice, trim, sculpted healthy body.
In a wheelchair, it is easy to build up the muscle in the upper arms, shoulders and chest, but the abdomen? Most of the people I have ever known in wheelchairs have had a bit of a jelly belly. I used to say that would never happen to me. But it’s starting. Depending on your level of paralysis you may never achieve that six-pack, but I am sure at least you can have a flatter, more solid stomach if you work at it.

Let’s look at the ways that a person in a wheelchair can shed the jelly and sculpt that belly. Because you can push yourself around all day long and it will not make a bit of difference in your abdomen.

First thing is diet, obviously, but most people don’t like to hear that, and I am not an expert so I won’t waste the time with preaching something that I can’t for the life of me, practice. So that’s out the window right off the bat.

And the problem I have with writing this is that there are many different levels of paralysis, but for many paraplegics, and especially for quadriplegics, no matter what you do, you cannot get those ab muscles working. But I have seen some guys in chairs that partake in some pretty grueling physical activities, like skiing, sailing (which is a hell of a lot more physically demanding than it looks, I am told) and racing. All of these things demand balance, which requires you to use your abs, and yet that belly is such a struggle for a lot of us.

But regardless of your level, as long as you have good use of your arms, the best workout you can give yourself in that area, that I have ever had, is definitely swimming…there it is…swimming…the meaning of life! Put yourself on a regiment, a program, and stick with it, and you’ll be telling that gut to hit the bricks in no time. I remember those days. It was about 12 years ago, but I remember it.

Paul McCartney Launches Major Fund-raising Campaign Being For the Benefit of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Paul McCartney has launched a fund-raising campaign for the Paralympics worth 2 Million Pounds, which will extend beyond the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to the former Beatle’s website. This may be partly because London will host the Paralympics in 2012, but I think Paul has shown himself to be an advocate of the disabled with his tireless work regarding the removal of active land mines. Read the full story, here.

Wheelchairin’ in the Bike Lane

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by Treadmarkz

It strikes me as really dumb that it is illegal for people on bicycles to ride on the sidewalk. They are required to ride down on the street in the “bike lane”. Right next to where the traffic is zooming by! Two-ton chunks of metal are hurtling by at 40-60 miles per hour and these people on bikes can’t go on the sidewalk, because why? Because pedestrians might get hurt if they are hit by a bicycle? I think this is the idea behind the law. But hey, I am in a wheelchair and I can speed down the sidewalk pretty darn fast if I choose to. I don’t choose to, being a civilized man. And I think that, like me, a person on a bicycle can probably manage to control his/her speed if he/she sees pedestrians approaching on the sidewalk.
Should I take my wheelchair in the bike lane? Is it technically legal for me to take the sidewalk in my wheelchair? If it is okay, is it only because the wheelchair is my primary means of getting around, and a bicycle is a recreational vehicle? If so, then what if I took one of those hand-cycles out on the sidewalk? It’s a recreational vehicle. But yet, as a disabled person, it would still be my only means of getting around at the time, so they’d have to let me go on the sidewalk right?
Doesn’t make any sense. Are we willing to put some people more at risk than others of being hit by a car? Is this discrimination based on the person’s level of ability? I mean hey, I’m the one in the wheelchair here, I am the one getting special treatment, whose life is not being endangered, so far be it from me to complain, but I am looking out for everyone here.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode III – The Birth of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Wheelchair sports. Adaptive sports. Whatever you call it, participating in it has, in part, enriched the lives of millions of disabled people. And just like so many other 20th century advances made by and for the disabled, it came as a result of thousands and thousands of veterans coming home disabled.

-Hopefully we will be able to make lemonade out of the lemon-tree of a war in which we are currently involved-

All political statements aside, on July 28, 1948 the Stoke Mandeville Games were played, organized by Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England as a rehabilitative exercise for WWII veterans injured in combat. This was not recreation. This was a hospital, and this was part of the patient’s rehab program. This was quite an advancement from WWI when a person who lost a leg in combat was pretty much lucky to survive.

The Games consisted of one event, archery (although wheelchair polo, basketball and table tennis were also encouraged by Guttman at the hospital), and were played by just two teams, eight players per side.

The event spread throughout Britain four the next few years, and then in 1952, the Dutch got involved, and by ’53, teams from Canada to Israel took part, bringing with them a glimmer of what would become a truly international event in years to come.

Guttman became the president of the International Sports Organization for the Disabled. He died in 1980.

The Stoke Mandeville Games obviously branched out to include a much wider spectrum of participants, becoming the Paralympics in 1960. Though the Paralympics now coincides with the Olympics every four years, and has spawned the Winter Paralympics in recent years, the Stoke Mandeville Games are still played annually.