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Posts Tagged ‘quadriplegic

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.

A Ghost From Oscars Past

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by Treadmarkz

Last night, I watched the Oscars with my wife. Though there were some good movies nominated, I saw Hillary Swank at one point during the show and it reminded me of 2004, when her film “Million-Dollar Baby” won best picture. I saw that one in the theatre with my wife, and though I don’t really remember my full reaction, I do remember hating the ending.

Let me give you a little background, or skip this paragraph if you’ve seen it. It is about a boxer (Swank) who takes the female ranks by storm, earning a title match. During that match, she is viciously attacked and sustains a broken neck, and is paralyzed from the neck down. The rest of the movie involves her struggle to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer a fully-functional physical being, even though she had made her living with physical activity. When her family comes to take control of her fortune, she realizes that this is the only reason they showed up, so she decides that she has nothing to live for and asks her trainer and close confident (Clint Eastwood) to “end her suffering.” He struggles with this but does fulfill her wish by administering a lethal overdose.
This is very long-story-short, but the film raised a lot of eyebrows in the disabled community in ’04. When we went to see it, I honestly had no idea that this character was going to become disabled. I don’t remember anything about that in the previews. Its often said the movie was marketed as a “Rocky in a sports bra” but with a political agenda.

I am disabled, but I always have been. And as I said in an earlier posting, I can’t begin to imagine what it would feel like to lose those capabilities while you are at your physical peak of youth. And I have heard people say “If I ever became disabled, I’d kill myself.” But I have always had a hard time believing that, if it actually happened, they would still feel the same and kill themselves. I am sure it would cross anyone’s mind, in the situation Swank’s character was in, but Swank’s character seemed optomistic and driven during her boxing days. And it seemed as though she was being shown ways she could make the very best out of the cards she’d been dealt, just before “the end.”

So, first, while admitting that I have not experienced what Swank’s character did, I don’t think this movie reflects reality. I have a friend who was an athlete and stage actress, and a very social person until she was paralyzed from the neck down when she was 16. Since then, she has always been very positive, and she took the “social” part of herself and used it to make the world a better, more hopeful place for people in her situation, by going on a speaking tour about her experience.
Second, does this movie, and the death wish of Swank’s character suggest a low value on life itself? Her limbs didn’t work, and I understand that this would deny a person the freedom they’d enjoyed all their life, but she could still dream, and share her dreams and work with people to make them a reality. She could teach people based on her experiences. And she could still love and be loved (her trainer loved her like a daughter).
In short, I hated this movie.
Just kidding, it presents an argument from one point of view. It’s not mine, but I can appreciate its merits. As a disabled person, though, I hate to see anyone thinking that the loss of limbs is the loss of life, and I don’t like the movie for depicting that attitude so bleakly.

Brian Sterner Deputy Turns Herself In

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by Treadmarkz

The officer who was seen on tape earlier this week tipping quadriplegic Brian Sterner out of his wheelchair onto the floor while booking him, turned herself in today. But one question remains for all of you who insist on comparing this case to Rodney King and the ensuing O.J. Simpson (wow, second time I’ve mentioned his name today) fallout. Sterner was not hit, so will they acquit?
Charlotte Marshall-Jones gave herself up, at the same station where the controversial survaillance tape was recorded, the same station where she is currently a suspended employee awaiting further decision. Though Marshall-Jones is now out on bail, it cost her $3,500 and she was slapped with a felony abuse charge.

She was booked without incident, you’ll all be happy to know.

Written by treadmarkz

February 16, 2008 at 11:06 PM

Disabled Rodney King? Come on, people…

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by Treadmarkz

By now, you’ve probably all seen the video of Brian Sterner, a quadriplegic being dumped from his wheelchair by police officers and doing a faceplant on the floor. If you check the blogs, some are making Sterner out to be some sort of Rodney King in reverse, given his race and the race of the officers involved. I can see the parallels: white on black, black on white, and both King and Sterner were reportedly stopped for fleeing police (Sterner had a warrant out stemming from an incident in October).

But is the issue race or even Sterner’s disability? Or maybe is it the lack of real accountability in the American justice system? Wow that was a huge cliche, but think about it: No report was ever filed by the police officers involved or those who witnessed it. The only reason the story got out is because the surveillance tape got out after Sterner went to a local reporter last week. And those cameras aren’t there to protect the “criminals”, they are there to protect the police officers. And I can’t help but be angry regardless of whether Sterner is guilty of anything. Not only because he and I are both disabled, but because he is just another victim of another power trip by those “in charge.” Nobody on the tape seems to be all that concerned when Sterner was first dumped. They reportedly did not believe or understand that he was actually disabled. I guess it took them a while to realize that Sterner really wasn’t going to get up, then they rush to his aid in droves.

Four officers involved have been suspended, and I have made no plans to participate in a riot.

Written by treadmarkz

February 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM