One of the things that I mentioned in a previous post was the fact that
because of my own personal physical limitations, I have to take life at
a slower pace than most folks. This is not something that I see as a
limitation on my lifestyle. In fact it is something that I see as a
positive benefit that many people actually miss out on altogether.
Apart from the times when I go whizzing off down the sidewalk at a
sometimes crazy velocity on my motorized
scooter just to get some excitement into my day, I usually get to
where I'm going and then stop to take some time to enjoy what it is I
went there for. Like the local park, this is one of my greatest
enjoyments that I have in my day. The changing seasons make it a really
great place to visit at any time of the year, as long as it's not
raining, of course. But we have plenty of sunny days so I get to visit
there two or three times a week most of the time. In Fall, the amazing
colors of the leaves on the trees just before they drop to the ground is
a spectacle that I imagine all those fast paced people scurrying around
don't even see.
I also like to watch other people in the park, in addition to all the
scurrying people. There are some folks that do take it slower, but most
of those are elderly and have no further need of scurrying! There are
sometimes kids playing too and they are enjoying their time before they
grow up and find themselves having to emulate their parents in their
scurrying lives. But I sometimes really hope that those kids grow up
with a different mindset to their time challenged parents. Maybe they'll
have a different view on taking life at the right pace and actually
getting some enjoyment of their surroundings without being slaves to the
clock on the wall of their offices.
Dreams are something that can be really explored by people like me who
do take life slower. It's probably because we can see things from a
vantage point that many do not have and it's from here that I can see a
wonderful world with so much to enjoy. Yet so few people actually have
the time to enjoy what is all around them. What a crazy way to live your
One of the things that makes life a little more interesting is being
able to get out of the house and trundle off down the road in the
motorized scooter I have parked in the garage. Its a little piece of
total freedom that brings with it a taste of fresh air and a different
view from the four walls of the interior of whatever room I find myself
parked in inside the house for most of the time.
The scooter is about as cool as it can be, with an electric motor that I
recharge overnight that has a lot more power in it than most people
think. That baby can get up some really decent speed which surprises
some people who are not expecting a manic paraplegic to come careening
along the sidewalk at considerably more than a mere walking pace! But
that's just part of the fun of owning one of these cool mobility
scooters. It allows me to go visit some friends when I want and I
can also get to the local mall and buy my own stuff without having to
ask someone to get things for me. This is a little piece of freedom that
is so important to me.
Sure, most people won't see the importance here, but when you don't have
the capability of just walking out the front door when the mood takes
you, it is a pretty big deal. There are plenty places to go visit on a
sunny day, like simple things I enjoy such as going to the local park
and parking up to watch the ducks swim in the small lake, or just taking
in the smell of fresh cut grass. In some ways, I feel sorry for folks
who spend their lives rushing about here and there without ever having
time to stop and take in what I can.
So you see there are some advantages to having to take life at a slower
pace whether it is enforced by physical limitations or not. You only get
to realize this when you do slow down and take a look at everyone else
flying past without giving you or much of anything else for that matter
a second look. That's a shame, because there is so much to life that is
there for enjoying and if you're too busy to see it, then you're missing
out on a big part of what you were put on this planet in your perfect
bodies to see and to experience.
Of course, not all of my life is taken at such a slow pace. At least not
the part when I get on my scooter and crank the throttle all the way to
the end stop...
The numbers of people who take a vacation in an RV to enjoy the freedom
of the open road is quite staggering when you think about it. After all,
what could be better than getting away from the humdrum of day to day
life in your own mobile motorhome that you can drive to just about
anywhere in the country that you want, if you have the time of course.
That's a great idea for able bodied folks, but what about those confined
to a wheelchair or with special needs? Well, a physical disability need
not bar anyone from having an RV vacation if they want, because there
are specially adapted and customized handicapped
RVs available for hire or for sale that are fully wheelchair
accessible and available to anyone who wants to take a vacation in an
RV. You can enjoy the freedom of taking yourself off to wherever you
decide and stop over wherever you want without having to hunt around for
The benefits of enjoying this kind of freedom are many, especially if
you like the idea of getting away but not being restricted on where you
can go by a vacation company or by the availability of rooms in hotels
or motels along the way. You can literally pull up anywhere that's safe
enough to do so and get a good night's sleep in the safety and comfort
of a fully equipped mobile home away from home.
The specially adapted RVs have all the necessary refinements to make it
easy for a person with disabilities to use. They come with a wheelchair
lift for getting in and out, wider than usual aisles so that you can get
a wheelchair along them without scraping your knuckles and wider access
to the back bedroom. On top of that, there is a bathroom area with all
the necessary grip rails and supports every bit as functional as a
regular handicap bathroom. They sure beat trying to get in and out of a
motel room with a narrow door and having to put up with struggling to
use only regular bathroom facilities!
Getting away from home for a on-the-road vacation in a customized RV for
people with disabilities is a great idea and one that many people are
taking advantage of right now. You can join them by checking out the
yellow pages or Google to find your nearest local RV dealership or
rental that has a handicap adapted vehicle for use.
Something I notice a lot when I'm out and about on the street are people
in wheelchairs that are pretty overweight. Now, before I get started in
where I'm going with this article, I just want to say that I totally
understand how and why that can happen. For many people with physical
handicaps, there really isn't much that can be done about it. But for
many more, there is and that's what I want to get on with here.
I know that it can seem like one of the hardest things to do, but
getting some daily exercise when you're confined mostly to a wheelchair
to get around is something you have to try and do. There are some good
upper body exercises you can do as long as you have the use of your arms
and I use light dumbbells and a routine that I've done for ages that
keeps everything mobile and pretty strong. That means I have the upper
body strength to wheel myself around most places and that in itself is a
progressive benefit from doing the exercises. Propelling yourself in the
chair is self-perpetuating exercise and the more you do it the more you
can do it.
What this means is that I keep a pretty stable physical weight and I
know some of my friends do likewise. Eating right is another really
important part of it. Just because I can't walk doesn't mean I have to
be self pitying about it and comfort eat every slice of pie and cream
cake I come across! Same goes for easy meals. I never eat any of that
crap that comes in a box from the store. I quit eating fast food
hamburgers and fries and all that stuff years ago because it's poison to
your system and makes you fat!
Another one of my spontaneous weight
loss tips here is if you drink cans of soda, then stop it! Don't
even drink diet soda cause you think its okay because there are
artificial sweeteners and other stuff in that stuff that is far worse
than the sugar in the regular cans. Don't get me started in the "dangers
of aspartame" (google that phrase and see what you get!). Suffice it to
say it will still indirectly make you gain weight. The best course of
action is to quit soda altogether and that includes sports drinks,
flavored drinks and juices with any additives in. Drink plain water
instead or if you must have that fizz, then go for sparkling.
If you can get some regular physiotherapy on your legs that's good, or
get some all body massage cause it works wonders! I don't pretend to
have all the answers for everyone cause that just doesn't exist in one
guy's head, or probably not in a lecture room full of brains. But I know
what works for me and that much I can impart to whoever reads this. You
can either take notice or ignore it. It's a free country, after all!
One of the main problems of getting about in a wheelchair is coming up
against a flight of steps or a stairway where there is no alternative
means of ascending to the level those steps lead to. This is alleviated
by the installation of a wheelchair stair lift in those places where it
is possible to do so and there are no possibilities for fitting an
elevator for the purpose. So this article takes a look at using these
great accessibility devices for wheelchair users.
Their use is pretty simple by design because they need to be easily used
by anyone in a wheelchair who is unaided. Making them difficult would
just bar many from using them, so they were made easy so just about
anyone can figure them out in no time at all and be riding up or down
the stairs in comfort ad safety without nay trouble at all. But if you
were wondering what these handicap lifts are all about and how to use
them, then here is a quick primer.
They operate along the stairs on a rail that is fixed either to the
stair risers themselves or the wall side for stability and strength.
There is a platform that rests in a vertical position when it's not
being used so everyone who can walk okay can use the stairs. When a
wheelchair user needs to use the lift, they simply power it up with a
simple button and the platform swings down to a horizontal position so
you can just roll on. There is generally some kind of locking mechanism
that stops the wheelchair from moving when it's in place. You then just
move a lever to go up or down and ride the stairs until you get top the
other end. The locking mechanism is released and you simply roll off.
Some models will power themselves off after the ride is over and the
platform will automatically swing back to its vertical position once the
wheelchair is safely off, Others have to be powered off manually but
these are more usually found in homes rather than in public areas, where
the automatic models are more suited. If the platform is at the other
end of the stairs when you want to use it, when you hit the power up
button, from where you are, it knows it has to come down (or up) to meet
you before the platform swings down into its riding position.
That's about the long and the short of it of how these handicapped
wheelchair lifts work and how a wheelchair user can user them easily,
wherever they are. Hope this helps!
One of the great joys of traveling is getting to see places you haven't
seen before and for most folks, that is a great pleasure to be taken
whenever you have the time and ability. But when you are confined to a
wheelchair, things take on a different aspect altogether. More planning
needs to be done, especially if you're planning to go anywhere long
distance by plane, or even if you are traveling on a train or bus, you
need to get things prepared beforehand to save on all the hassles when
the time comes to go.
One essential item that I can't do without when I travel is my very
portable, lightweight folding wheelchair. It has a load of advantages
over my static framed chair for traveling, although there are some
disadvantages and the reason why I simply don't just use it all the time.
The advantages are the things that make traveling when you are a person
with disabilities more enjoyable, at least that is as far as it is
possible when, you know, its not as straight forward as it is for able
bodied folks. But the main thing is that be being a folding frame, the
chair folds up into an almost flat package that is easy to store on a
plane or other means of transport where space is at a premium. Being
lightweight, it lends itself to being picked up and carried by airline
staff without them breaking their backs over a heavy framed chair. It
gets you some nice smiles and you know they appreciate your
thoughtfulness at coming in one!
On top of that, they are lighter than usual so are easy to push around
unaided in necessary, or they make for a happier helper who has to push
you! So these lightweight wheelchairs sound absolutely perfect and so
far you'd wonder why anyone would bother with heavy, rigid framed
wheelchairs any more?
Well, there is a downside and that's the lack of good padding. To cut
down on weight and to make the chair fold away really as small as it can
be, the padding is pretty spartan, which is okay if you only need to use
the chair to get from the taxi to the airport, from the check-in to the
departure lounge and then from there onto the plane etc. But for
anything longer, you backside will start to go numb, not to mention your
back and your arms from resting on very thinly padded armrests.
So there is always a sacrifice to be made someplace and I guess comfort
has to go for the sake of portability. But I can cope with that for all
the benefits of these lightweight
wheelchairs just as long as I can sit in a comfy chair in between
moving around and I get to have a nice hot bath at the end of the
Welcome to a very special and specialized blog aptly named Living
Disabled, since its main intention is to provide regular posts on what
it's really like living with a physical disability.
My name is David and in my case, it means spending most of my time in a
wheelchair. I'll be writing on my experiences as they happen. I have
good days and bad, so I won't be writing all the time, so if it gets a
little sporadic from time to time, that's just me having some bad days!
This is really just an intro post on the blog and pretty well sums up
what I intend to do here. I'll be looking at life in general from my
point of view. I'll be looking at some of the mobility aids I use and
those I would like to use. I'll be checking out some of the
accessibility issues that surround folks with disabilities like myself
and mabe try and talk with some to get their angle too. It'll play out
as it plays out, I guess so may not follow any regular topic or logical
progression. It'll pretty much build into a collection of random posts
on topics surrounding the way I and many others like me live our lives,
the hurdles and obstacles we have to surmount and the happy times too.
Hope you get something out of it, if only some motivational support
cause its not really doom and gloom here. In fact mostly its upbeat and
life is pretty good as it can be, if you get what I mean.