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.
My Local Subway Restaurant Seems to Have Gone Out of Their Way To Be The Exact Opposite of Wheelchair Accessible
I went to lunch today with my mom, at Subway. I noticed a funny thing there. Every table in the joint was fairly accessible to me and my wheelchair except the one that was marked with a blue and white handicap parking symbol. That table has chairs on each side which can be pulled out but in order to pull a wheelchair in you’d need to wedge yourself in between the table and a divider half-wall. The only way you can get in is at an angle. And that isn’t even the funny part. On the end of the table, there is a little handicap sign on the table. You think okay good, open end for me to pull into. Just below that sign there is a solid metal bar from the table to the floor, blocking entrance of a foot plate. This is the complete antithesis of handicap accessible.
I have called and registered a comment. They are well aware of the problem and are going to speak with the home office. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I am perfectly capable of making my vegetarian subs at home.
The 2012 Paralympic Swimming trials are all set to go from June 14-16 at the Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center in Bismarck, ND. If you are in the area, have 3-6 hours to give and would like to play a part in making this event a success, volunteers are still needed. If you are age 8 and up, please go to www.bisparks.org to find out how you can help. Opportunities in time-keeping, hospitality, and athlete check-in are open.
The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held in London, England from August 29 to September 9. More than 4,000 athletes from 165 countries are scheduled to compete in 19 different areas of athletic prowess.
“Push Girls” debuted last night on Sundance Channel. I thought the show started off good. It’s not your typical study of people in wheelchairs trying to fit into society really. It covers a variety of issues from relationships, and employment that are often struggles for those in chairs. But the chairs become secondary when the series surveys other key issues, such as homosexuality, work stresses, etc. which really drive home the point that these ladies deal with everyday things. There lives are not just “wheelchair, wheelchair, wheelchair, 24/7.
One of the four ladies featured on the show describes how it is talking with clients of her business on the phone, setting up in-person appointments with them, and then the reaction when they see she is in a chair. This is a case-study in and of itself.
Another struggles in her long-term relationship with an able-bodied man who does not think he wants kids, but she knows that she does. I loved how this turned the tables on what one might expect. You know, an able bodied man wanting kids but in a relationship with a woman who may not be able to because of her disability. She is sure of it and wants that experience, and he eventually ends the relationship. But the woman showed herself to be strong in her convictions, ready to end the relationship herself if need be. A poignant moment was her saying (to the camera in a private tell-all moment) that she wasn’t going to be one of those disabled people who stayed in a relationship that wasn’t what she wanted just because she felt like she would never have another chance.
It would be sad for a disabled person to live like that. But I couldn’t help thinking it would also be sad if the perfect person for her happened to be another man in a wheelchair and she just didn’t recognize it.
Another enters a dance competition wherein she is the only contestant who is not standing. It is interesting to see her prepare for this, knowing that all eyes will be on her, knowing that she’s at a distinct disadvantage from the beginning, and knowing that some will see her participation as a novelty. She is not doing it to show off, or stand out. She is doing it because she has always been a dancer, and will always be a dancer, working legs or no working legs. She is not a novelty and she shows it in the competition.
The series speaks volumes about our place in society as disabled people. In every aspect of life, we throw ourselves into it, and participate. My wife and I cannot wait for next week’s episode.
As Memorial Day comes and passes again tomorrow, I know I will be hearing a lot of slogans and speeches about supporting our troops. And I whole-heartedly agree. But I get the feeling that a lot of times holidays such as Memorial Day are days meant for sentimentality and not much else. Sure it is a day of remembrance for the fallen. But what about remembering those who gave and lived to tell about it? I know the term “memorial” suggests those who have passed, but it also suggests “remembering.”
We can remember what our troops gave by helping those who came back with disabilities a chance to remain a vital part of our society. There are a lot of programs like Veterans Employment at VA.gov, or militaryvetjobs.com or Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) that are dedicated to helping our soldiers come home with, literally, something to come home to. A job. A purpose. Income. Hope. Please support these and organizations like them.
I know that many are concerned that this is an extension of “Affirmative Action”. I am not a veteran but I am disabled. And I have struggled with obtaining employment in the past. I have said before that I don’t want to get a job just because I am disabled. I want to be qualified. But remember the military qualifies soldiers in a vast array of areas of potential employment. They may come home disoriented by the struggle to cope with their new bodily circumstances, shall we say, but they have been trained to be successful in whatever they do.
Supporting veterans in their search for employment upon arrival back home may be the most patriotic thing one can do.
1. It supports the newly returned soldier.
2. It helps to keep our economy running by keeping jobs filled.
3. It keeps the deficit from rising when injured soldiers come home to a disability check.
4. And, often overlooked, think of how morale will rise among troops who are still on duty overseas, when word gets around that a movement has begun back home, that they don’t have to worry about how they would support their family should they become injured in the line of duty.
Just dropping by to add a link to the story of Shawn Beam, who recently, as my title strongly suggests, became the only known person in a wheelchair to ever bowl a perfect game. My first reaction was “So what? he’s got arms, hasn’t he?” But then the part of me that is a history major kicked in and realized that this was a “first” and as such, deserved the press coverage.
Check it out:
Just dropping by to note a series on premiering on June 4th on Sundance Channel called “Push Girls”. It is a series which will follow four paraplegic women in the Hollywood area. The series intends to show how these ladies can be ambitious, outspoken, dynamic, and…believe it or not…sexy even! See the link above for more information on the premise of the series.