Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘wheelchair technology

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.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode VII: Mars, 2008. What the…!

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by Treadmarkz

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of NASA, I’d like to tell a story of a recent travel of the Time Machine with Hand Controls. You see, I am working with the space-time continuum here, and sometimes things just get a little screwed up. Sometimes the time machine with hand controls gets shot through space and not through time.

Which is how I recently ended up on Mars.

I don’t know if you know this but there are just as many disabled people on Mars as there are here. Only, I was able to ascertain (again, through my vast knowledge of the Martian language) that the governments throughout the planet are so focused on space travel, so focused on studying earth that they have in no way spent any time focusing on building a civilization. That’s why we’ve never seen any evidence of it on photos of Mars’ surface. And along with that, the governments of Mars have also neglected developing technology for the disabled to improve accessibility.

Except for the hoverchairs.

Yes, that’s right, using the same technology they’ve used to build their nifty “UFOs” as we call them, they’ve found a way to avoid any debates over wheelchair ramps etc. But its all just showing off because like I said, they haven’t built up a concrete jungle like we have so I think they are counting their chickens before they’ve hatched a little bit with these hoverchairs. Although I can see how they’d be nice to avoid the rocky terrain on the surface of Mars.

I think they may have went too far with the chairs’ built-in commodes which have a hatch that releases the contents into space. But hey, they probably got that idea from NASA. And it solves the problem of accessible bathrooms. No need for an ADA here.

Except for the issue of equal treatment in the workplace. No problem there either. Everyone on Mars is required to work for their space program. They are serious about finally being able to prove once and for all that there is life on Earth!

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode II – The Vietnam War

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by Treadmarkz

After the Vietnam War, almost 200,000 people came back home with a variety of debilitating war injuries and disabilities. They were amputees, they were blinded by flying shrapnel, they were deaf from unprotected ears during bombings, they were paraplegic, they were quadriplegic and they were mentally disabled from the stresses and horrors of the war.

But they came home.

With them, came a long list of socioeconomic issues that the country had not been confronted with since the down days of the Depression.

The Disabled American Veterans of the World War, established in 1920 had helped the 200,000 injured and disabled survivors of WWI. Of this number, those that suffered a permanent disability experienced the same troubles, joblessness, homelessness, alcoholism, etc. But many of them ended up in a mental institution or a home for the disabled, because their was no real other way to help them.

But for the vets of the Vietnam War, they came home without much in the way of benefits. Much less than their WWII counterparts received. Much of the social activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s can be attributed to the living conditions of the veterans. The first Vet Centers were not established until 1979. It took that long for veterans of WWII and any remaining disabled survivor of WWI, who were experiencing much of the same trouble that the Vietnam vets were, to get help.

Alcohol and drug use among veterans were rampant. These problems led to homelessness. I think we’ve all seen what has become somewhat of a stereotype, a man in a wheelchair on a street corner with the sign scribbled in permanent black marker on a piece of flattened cardboard box: “Disabled Veteran, Please Help” or something to that effect, with a bucket in his lap for any spare change he may receive from a generous passerby. This started after the Vietnam War. Before that, people in wheelchairs were rarely seen in public.

Terrible as their situation was, it took the story of the disabled from being buried in the back section to a big bold headline on the front page. For it was in the 1970s when legislation began to work its way through that made employment opportunities more accessible to the disabled, leading in part to the ADA, improvements in wheelchair technology and wheelchair athletic associations. It had to be so.

Thousands of the prospective young workforce, a workforce that once made this country thrive, were maimed, and therefore inactive. There had to be a way to get these people back into the world as the productive members of society that we are today. Because the country was in a major recession by the latter part of the seventies. In fact you might say that the many disabled who came back from the Vietnam War, needing employment contributed to the push-button workforce that is so prominent today. The Jetsons called it in 1962! It’s not push-button finger but carpal tunnel syndrome that we of the desk job suffer from in this modern age.