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Archive for the ‘how to’ Category

One Disability That is Almost Wiped Off The Planet!

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Below I will leave a link to a story about a great effort of the Rotary International and the Gates Foundation to finally make polio a thing of the past. Yes polio has been, for the most part, a non-issue in U.S. for decades, but there are still people here living with its disabling after-effects, and there are still just four countries where it is still newly afflicting people, thankfully now in minimal numbers.

Before you write this off as another lost cause, Here is a chance to read a story with stats on specifically how much progress is being made. This is impressive when you compare it to, for example, the standstill we seem to be at with AIDS in Africa.

If the link expires, please contact a nearby Rotary or the (Bill) Gates Foundation for further information.

If you are like me and you have a disability, you likely feel empathetic toward anyone who has a disability which is more difficult to bear than your own. Whether you have a disability, know someone who does, or are just randomly coming across this story, I urge you to read the story and pitch in to the effort and tell a friend.

The only way we can get rid of terrible things like polio is by showing love, and choosing to help those who are afflicted, whom we don’t know, have never met, and probably never will.

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How To Adapt Your Home/Mind To Your Disability

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by Treadmarkz

A couple of nights ago one of my employees pulled me aside because she said she had to talk to me about something, “un-work-related.” Employees often come to me and my fellow supervisors with personal problems especially if they relate to that person’s inability to make their scheduled shifts for the week, so I didn’t think anything of it. When we went into my office she asked me if I could make any recommendations on adapting a house for a friend who was recently paralyzed in a car accident.

Should be easy, right? I’ve got spina bifida AND my father is a carpenter. I deal with finding different ways to do things all the time that other people take for granted right? Well, as it turns out, I am the one that takes everything for granted because I have apparently become so complacent in the way I live my life that I could come up with no advice other than to make sure the sinks have room for a wheelchair to pull under. Because I was searching my own memory bank for adaptations in the usual household setup that I have personally found useful, I found myself buying some time by pontificating on the importance of making the guy feel like nothing has changed, like you still have the same relationship as you did before. I felt shallow for only being able to think of that, and I promised the girl I would look into it myself and see what I could come up with.

I have just gotten so used to finding ways to do things or just dealing with the fact of life that things are not always going to be made easy for me. Aside from the obvious, that is – access to the house itself, doorways wide enough to get through, making sure things can be reached from a wheelchair. I mean, life should not be a constant struggle, of course.

My wife often asks me why I don’t make calls to see if I can’t get certain things changed or adjusted so it is easier for me to use, or why I don’t invent things to make life easier for myself and people like me. The reason, I think is because I’d rather continue to live my life like I have been (as similarly as possible to the way everyone around me is living theirs) than try to change it. Even if certain aspects of it suck a little bit from time to time.

The truth is that I don’t see a lot of websites that are specific to this problem. Not that you can easily find by Googling the expected phrases like “adapting your home for a disabled person”. Should be a large market for this developing as we are in war time and we have thousands of injured veterans coming home, and back to their family life. People around me will probably say “Well now that you’ve seen the need for one, why don’t you start a website that has that type of information in it?”

I wanted to try to find the information my co-worker asked about because I do have great sympathy for anyone who loses their physical abilities mid-life. Especially in the case of the person my co-worker was talking about, who, by no fault of his own, was paralyzed probably for life.

I have thought about it though, and I have come to the conclusion that my advice was the best I could give. I have lived with many roommates and now with my wife, and based on the good experiences I have had with all of the people I have lived with, I can honestly say that I would rather live in a place that was not extremely accessible with people who treated me like I was able to do anything they were, than live in a Paraplegic’s Paradise with every accommodation made, with people who in one way or another made you feel like a less able person. As a disabled adult, I can attest that the people around you have a huge psychological impact on how you conduct yourself.

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.

How To Get Paralympics Coverage On Your Computer, In Color and In Motion

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by Treadmarkz

I have often heard disabled people deplore the lack of televised coverage of the Paralympics (and by the way, WordPress, Paralympics is a word even if your program underlines it in red when I type it). Even though the Paralympics are every bit as competitive and spirited as the Olympics, and share the same venues as the Olympic games, and the event was advertised on the cups at McDonald’s, the biggest fast food chain in the universe…and yet we do not have comprehensive coverage on network television. Evidently they are watching it in Australia on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), which goes to show how lacking things are in the States, comparatively, in terms of being progressive and all-inclusive.

By the way, if the Chinese government did not want disabled people in their country to be spectators at the Olympics, how the Hell are they coping with the Paralympics, what with all the cripples now swarming into Beijing? How can China justify fielding teams themselves?

But I digress…

While I still haven’t found any thorough coverage of the events on TV, I have found a site where you can watch 8 hours of coverage every day of this year’s Paralympiad. (That’s a word too, WordPress). Check it out by clicking HERE. The 2008 Games are already in full swing starting September 6th. You’ve got your ticket!

How To Run a Smear Campaign on Your Blog While Cutting Out the Self-Deprecating Nonsense

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by Treadmarkz

“Mindless nonsense”

“a blog about nothing”

“rambling, incoherent fluff”

“pointless yammering”

We’ve all seen them. They are taking over the blogosphere. Self-deprecating blogs written by bloggers who attempt to set themselves apart from the pack by insisting, right out in the open, in the title of their blog that they have nothing to say.

Unfortunately I think the whole mad cycle begins with WordPress itself. If you are a WordPress blogger you will remember that when you started your blog, before you gave it a proper title, the subtitle read “Just Another WordPress Weblog”, something like that. Some people have chosen to keep that sub-heading. Generic, lifeless, non-committal. Bloggers may start their blog with high hopes of putting on display their original opinions, concepts, and points of view, only to quickly find that they are just one of millions. And it quickly turns them negative. Why?

I mean, sure, we aren’t necessarily aspiring toward professional journalism here, but at least the goal should be credibility. Or at least to have a concrete point. This is not to say that these people actually are without a point or lack “something to say”. But these titles do not help convey that. Not at all.

God knows I am as self-defacing as the next guy in my everyday dealings with family, friends, etc. But this… I’ll give you an even better example. I saw a blog posting one time with the title “Don’t Even Bother Reading This.” You know what I did? I didn’t read it.

It reminds me of the “negative campaigns” that U.S. Presidential candidates are often accused of running against each other. Only in this case, bloggers are using these smear tactics against themselves. If you are going to do it, I say why not do it to smear your competition? To bring into question the credibility of a blogger who runs a blog similar to yours?

For example, on this blog, I usually discuss a wide variety of disabilities, usually focusing on issues regarding those of us in wheelchairs. So, suppose I decided to run my smear campaign against “Disabilities Blog X”. In that case, I might say “Disabilities Blog X: They haven’t got a leg to stand on.”

It would take something much better than that, I am sure, but you get the idea. And, no, that slogan would not be self-deprecating just because I am in a wheelchair myself. I am merely using what I know about my competition and spinning it to my advantage.

How about “Disabilities Blog Y: At Least It’s Not Mindless Rambling Rubbish Like Disabilities Blog X.”

Well now that I’ve shown you the way, stop smearing yourselves, and get out there in the blogosphere and play to win! And, you know, don’t go making any enemies, for God’s sake, but set yourself apart from the rest

How To Deal with Walkies and Their Strange Ideas About “Wheelchair Humor”

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by Treadmarkz

A couple of weeks ago I took a roll down to my favorite rib joint (I like their fish), to get a take out order. I had almost made it home, I was in the parking lot actually, when a truck stopped behind me, and the guy inside stuck his head out the window and yelled “Hey man, you wanna race?”

I looked in the bed of the truck to see if he had a wheelchair. No wheelchair. This was a walkie I was dealing with here!

Now, ever since I started this blog and started reading what other people in wheelchairs have had to say about the weird, uncomfortable comments they get from people, I had been looking forward to a situation like this, so I could come up with something great to say back.

But I had nothing. I just said “Uh…no” and laughed and rolled away. I spent the night angry with myself. I brood over stuff like that.

I thought what I should have said is “No, I don’t have an engine.” You know. Point out the obvious advantage he had and how pointless it would be to race. Fake an absence of a sense of humor. Today I rolled down to that same rib joint to get myself another fish sandwich and in that same parking lot on the way home, another guy stopped his truck, stuck his head out his window and said “Wanna race?!”

Keeping in mind the obvious advantage he had over me in a race, I thought, let’s see if we can’t even the playing field here a bit. I stopped and turned and said “You wanna arm-wrestle?”

He rolled up his window and drove away.

“Check, please!”

Now, the important thing to remember, is, I think anyway, that nobody does this with the goal of being a jerk. They just don’t know that a lot of us in chairs think it’s a little embarrassing, and some feel it’s flat out offensive. But it’s important that we let them know.

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.