Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘wheelchair

Go and Watch “Avatar”

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by Treadmarkz

Like I said in the title of this posting, go and watch James Cameron’s new movie, Avatar if you haven’t already. It is not ALL hype. Not all. It is a great movie, with some mind bending scenes, colors, action, etc. Not the most groundbreaking screenplay or overall plot, and there is certainly a lot of non-very-well-veiled anti-war propaganda. But all things considered the movie is great. And it’s not racist, despite what some people are saying. I don’t know how some people jump to that conclusion whenever a movie involves civilizations of a different color (The Na’vi, who are blue). If anything the movie is taking a stand against one of its own characters who considers the Na’vi to be inferior because of their non-European-like culture.

I will try not to spoil anything, but you can see from the preview that a man in a wheelchair, Jake, walks again by becoming one of the Na’vi, right? Well, okay, seeing him become an avatar and walk on two legs for the first time since becoming disabled, and talking about it with my wife on the way home from the movie, it FORCED ME to admit that while I don’t pine away to be able to walk, if I did one day find myself able to, I ADMIT that I would react the same way this man did. By running. And like him, I’d probably keep running for a while.

When I first saw the preview, I thought the movie might have something to do with the Hindu avatars of God (Krishna, Vishnu, etc) because they are always portrayed with blue skin. But it has nothing to do with that, except that in Hinduism, avatars are said to come to help humanity when we need to be reminded why we are here, OR we are being overcome by evil forces, which is just what the character Jake ends up doing for the Na’vi. But they are all blue themselves, so the reference gets lost.

Anyway, go see the movie and let me know what you thought. Or if you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought.

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I Got My First Quickie Today

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by Treadmarkz

I knew that titled would get ya. Anyway, if you don’t know, Quickie is one of the most popular brand names in wheelchairs, and they are rather expensive. In fact, I have found that it is hard to get Medical Assistance to cover one. But I got one. I guess they were feeling generous, as it is nearly Christmas. So I am back in business. Not a second too soon either. One of my wheels was just about ready to come off, and it was just a pile a garbage in general. Anyway I feel healthier already.
I spent last night reminiscing about the 8 years or so that I spent with my old wheelchair, with the song “Two of Us” by the Beatles as a backdrop.

“Two of us riding nowhere spending someone’s hard-earned pay” (Okay my wheelchair always hated that line because it felt like the song was pointing out that the only reason I had it was through Medical Assistance which was funded by tax payers. I reassured my wheelchair by reminding it that I am a tax-payer too.)

“Two of us Sunday driving, not arriving on our way back home”
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”

I am not going to miss my old wheelchair. It will be recycled post haste.

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.

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.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Preview of Episode IV

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by Treadmarkz,

Greetings. After our last trip in time to London in 1948, the time machine was running low on plutonium. But we had plenty of gasoline, enough to get us to Russia, a ghastly place in 1948 whether you were disabled or not, but still it was about 100 times safer for a disabled person than Germany had been just 5-10 years earlier.

And thankfully with the Nuclear Age just having dawned, we were able to find some plutonium. So it’s been a while, but it won’t be long before we will be heading to our next space-time destination, Washington D.C., USA, in the year 1990 as we see firsthand the story behind the passing of the ADA into law. It’s more interesting than you may think! Take a trip with me, there and then, in the next episode of “A Time Machine With Hand Controls. Coming Soon!

In the meantime, check out the previous Time Machine With Hand Controls posts, to see where and when we’ve been.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode III – The Birth of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Wheelchair sports. Adaptive sports. Whatever you call it, participating in it has, in part, enriched the lives of millions of disabled people. And just like so many other 20th century advances made by and for the disabled, it came as a result of thousands and thousands of veterans coming home disabled.

-Hopefully we will be able to make lemonade out of the lemon-tree of a war in which we are currently involved-

All political statements aside, on July 28, 1948 the Stoke Mandeville Games were played, organized by Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England as a rehabilitative exercise for WWII veterans injured in combat. This was not recreation. This was a hospital, and this was part of the patient’s rehab program. This was quite an advancement from WWI when a person who lost a leg in combat was pretty much lucky to survive.

The Games consisted of one event, archery (although wheelchair polo, basketball and table tennis were also encouraged by Guttman at the hospital), and were played by just two teams, eight players per side.

The event spread throughout Britain four the next few years, and then in 1952, the Dutch got involved, and by ’53, teams from Canada to Israel took part, bringing with them a glimmer of what would become a truly international event in years to come.

Guttman became the president of the International Sports Organization for the Disabled. He died in 1980.

The Stoke Mandeville Games obviously branched out to include a much wider spectrum of participants, becoming the Paralympics in 1960. Though the Paralympics now coincides with the Olympics every four years, and has spawned the Winter Paralympics in recent years, the Stoke Mandeville Games are still played annually.

Hell On Wheels: A Wheelchair Anthem

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by Treadmarkz

I have spent a lot of time lately listening to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music, and I realized that the song “Helen Wheels” is not only one of the greatest pieces of block-rocking boogie that Macca ever recorded, but because of the title, with a complete overhaul of the lyrics, the song would make a great anthem for people in wheelchairs such as myself. Then I realized that no song can really cover the wide range of experiences that all people in wheelchairs will relate to.
However, this is my attempt. Take it for what it is worth:

——————–

I said farewell to a doctor from Hell who said I’d never have much of a life

That kind of clown never gets me down when I go home to my sweet wife

My early days now seem like a haze, spent a summer in a body cast

But life is good, and though I’ve never stood, I wanna make this journey last

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

L2 level para, full of metal but I never did think twice

To imagine me as I wished to be and singin’ wouldn’t it be nice

Doin’ fine and I never pine away on what I can not do

“Life ain’t fair” never goes nowhere, and you know it’s up to you

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

I can’t make sense of those who take offense when people say I’m “wheelchair bound”

That’s okay, man, I do it my way and they’ll never hold me down

Been a casualty of all that “woe is me”, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

Life is good, though I’ve never stood I think I’d do it all over again

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way