Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

I Just Don’t Care About Oscar Pistorius…Well, Now I Do, But It’s Too Late.

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by Treadmarkz

I blogged about Oscar Pistorius’ bid to enter the Olympics (not the Paralympics) in 2008. If you don’t know who I am talking about he is a runner who has both lower legs amputated but has been fitted with a pair of “blades” which have been found to mimic a set of human feet in such a way that they do not give him an unfair advantage. This was not the case in 2008 if I remember correctly, but anyway, he was in for 2012. I did not even know about it until the Olympics already started this year. Anyway, I have not been able to muster up the level of interest it takes for me to blog about a subject even though it is admittedly a big turn of events. Now that the Olympics are almost over, I can say, well done, Oscar. It is progress. It muddies the waters between the land of the able and the land of the horrible, mangled creatures they call “disabled.”. So I am happy about that. I just don’t care too much. Come to think of it, I don’t really care that the Paralympics are starting, and I think I mentioned why, in 2008. There are categories that allow pretty much anyone to get into the Paralympics as long as you have a chipped tooth or got your foot run over by a bicycle when you were six or something. Seriously the categories are quite inclusive. Look it up. The Paralympics, it seems, are less specialized than the Olympics. So it is quite exclusive company Pistorius was in when he made it into the Olympics this year.

Hmm..maybe it really was a bigger deal than I thought. See that is what blogging does for me. It allows me to take an issue, and talk it out until I’ve come full circle, back where, I started, but with a new outlook.

Diveheart Making Experience of a Lifetime Possible for Disabled

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by Treadmarkz

I wouldn’t go scuba diving myself, but I think that knowing the opportunity exists to have the type of experience that Diveheart makes possible is a great thing. It makes me think back to when I was given the opportunity to go downhill skiing in Lake Tahoe. It was the greatest feeling of liberation I’d ever felt in my physical body. And I wish that feeling will manifest in many disabled people through Diveheart. Check it out. I saw a bit about them on TV this morning and I thought about all of you.

 

 

Why Donations to the Spina Bifida Association Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Will Be Particularly Fruitful

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by Treadmarkz

The World Congress on Spina Bifida Research met on March 14, and attendees vowed to match all donations to the Spina Bifida Association between May 13 and June 17. Everything you donate during that time will be doubled.

More inspiring information on what was done at this historic meeting can be found at:

http://www.kintera.org/cms.asp?id=3092139&campaign_id=148258&tr=y&enString=x

Ability Lifting Solutions Committed To Improving Quality of Life and Freedom for the Disabled

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by Treadmarkz

Living in the material world, businesses often will not make the necessary changes to make their establishment wheelchair-friendly unless it becomes obvious to the owner that not doing so would mean loss of revenue. Often times it seems that up-front cost of renovations are the foremost concern. Often the prospects of a burgeoning clientele base – namely the disabled community – is not taken into consideration.

But this is not just an American problem. In Britain, the Equality Act 2010 appears to cover the same ground, roughly, as the Americans with Disabilities Act. London, dwelling place of 1.4 million disabled people and destination to large numbers of tourists every year, does not appear to be exempt from the problem of accessibility. British people with disabilities encounter the same every-day aggravations that I do; stores, restaurants and other public areas are not always accessible. I can’t say I am surprised.

I discovered this while discussing the issue with a representative of a British company that designs, builds and installs elevators (platform lifts) for domestic and commercial (even portable!) settings. They have numerous template designs but also specialize in “bespoke” designs, meaning “to the customer’s specifications.

The company, I feel, recognizes that many disabled people’s quality of life could be greatly improved. Inactivity comes from feeling disconnected from the outside world, feeling confined to one’s home. Ability Lifting Solutions is devoted to providing its clientele with a much more flexible quality of life, more options, more freedom. And in the end, that really is the answer, isn’t it?

They work with the customer to “suit your needs and budget” even if all you need is a lift to get you up one step. The work is all very modern, sleep and aesthetically pleasing. Domestic accessibility has come a long way since I was growing up and at my parents’ house we had a mechanical device in a closet renovated into an elevator shaft.

Ability Lifting Solutions’ Web site does not discuss pricing outright, but it does have a “Get a Quote” link. Surely with this company around there is a convenient, affordable way for companies to do as the Equality Act 2010 says. Surely it is worth a look if you are a business owner or a disabled resident in the U.K. or mainland Europe. Even if you are not, it is still worth a look to see how their product stacks up against what is available where you live.

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.

Why I Am Offended By Leap Year (A Satire)

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by Treadmarkz

Every four years the Earth has an extra day inserted into the calendar so that it has time to catch up and make it around the sun before December 31. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some kind of special treatment.  Sounds like some of the special education programs I went through so I had more time to sit and think so I could get my math homework done.
You think Mars gets an extra day on its 687 day calendar every four years just so it can catch up? No. I bet it stays on its course, pays attention, and gets the task finished on time. It knows that its orbit is different from that of other planets, and yet it follows through.
This kind of lax attitude is exactly why the beings on other planets have the technology to visit, study and examine us and we’ve barely got a space program.
Nay! I say down with Leap Year. And while we’re at it I’m glad Pluto was stripped of its title as a planet. It was not qualified. Our solar system should never hire planets just to fill a quota to meet the laws on fair hiring practices.

 

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.

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.