Sunday, July 31, 2011

beach day

I went to the beach today with my family. The beach was designed with access for the disabled in mind. Sectioned ramps leading down to the sand, tents positioned regularly to provide shade, a marked swimming area at the edge of the ocean with plenty of lifeguards on duty. There were lots of families there. Folks caring for and helping each other. It made me think. Sometimes you can't expect the bright miracle, the obvious victory over tragedy and hardship. The paralyzed man writing a novel using only a tongue switch. The woman who defeats cancer and chemo to maintain her usual hectic pace and professional career. Sometimes the miracle is quieter. You see it in the man who overcomes embarrassment and perseveres in stumbling through his slurred words when meeting someone who will never know the articulate man he used to be. The child who shrieks with joy as she clumsily scoops up handfuls of sand and sea water, barely noticing the woman who supports her weight and guides her movements. The family playing in the ocean together, all disabilities temporarily masked. The mother who decides to stay for children who will never know the choice that she made.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Stupid is:

  1. Missing an initial evaluation for physical therapy.
  2. Thinking that evaluation was in July, not June.
  3. Calling in July to check on the date and time for said evaluation, only to be informed that it was supposed to be a month ago.
  4. Making a new appointment for said evaluation, then finding out the prescription for it needs to be renewed.
  5. Calling primary care physician to get prescription renewed.
  6. Finding out primary care physician is on vacation for two weeks.
  7. Putting the office assistants through several hours of searching files, fax records, and computer notes for the original prescription in order to have the on-call doctor renew it.
  8. Not being able to pull that together before the rescheduled evaluation today.
  9. Missing said evaluation for the second time.
  10. Receiving a call from the physical therapy office informing me that the reason my primary care office couldn't find the original prescription is because it came from my rheumatologist.
  11. Oh, and the prescription wasn't necessary for the evaluation, only for any physical therapy following the evaluation.
  12. Now needing to call my rheumatologist to renew the prescription in order to schedule a physical therapy evaluation for the THIRD time.

Point One. Knowing that the prescription wasn't necessary for today's appointment would have been helpful BEFORE missing the appointment because I was under the impression that I needed the prescription in order to have insurance cover the evaluation.

Point Two. Fibro Fog. It's not just for breakfast, kiddies. You can enjoy Fibro Fog all day long!

Monday, July 18, 2011

fashion tips for the wheelchair aficionado

No No's

  • Long skirts. Your carefree gauzy maxi dress that comes down to your ankles and beyond, creating length and an aesthetically pleasing silhouette even while sitting down, won't look so carefree when it tangles around the wheels of your wheelchair.
  • Ditto wide-legged pants.
  • Short skirts. That flirty above-the-knee skirt that demonstrates a daring and fun-filled personality will demonstrate FAR more when you're in a wheelchair.
  • Form-fitting button-up shirts. This primarily applies to the more busty among us, and only if you're wheeling yourself. The motion of reaching back over and over to propel the wheels tempts the Button Gods (specifically the subsects known as the Thread Gods and Gap Gods) far too much.

Fashion Do's

  • Tea-length skirts and capris that hit mid-calf. Likewise tailored pants and longer shorts. Take advantage of that length of leg between knee and ankle. You'll avoid the embarrassment of your bare skin sticking to your wheelchair in hot weather and the pitfalls of wrapping your clothing around your front wheels.
  • Double-layered skirts, such as EcoQuette or Enwrapture Vintage, where you can tuck the bottom layer down to avoid a Marilyn Monroe moment but still preserve the look of a skirt with the top layer.
  • Fabulous shoes. This is where wheelchair accessorizing can get really fun. Those high heels and platform shoes that hurt like hell after 20 minutes on your feet? The ones that pose a real risk of injury? The flimsy shoes with the gorgeous beading that won't stand up to more than a block of walking? Go for it. You're sitting down. Rock the shoes and have a blast.
  • Layered shirts. You don't have the advantage of a full-length silhouette when stuck in a wheelchair. Create a sense of length in the torso by layering shirts and playing with hem and neck shape.

Any more tips from the trenches? Let me know!

Friday, July 8, 2011

the wheelchair training manual for parents

Those innocuous little ramps I used to jog up are damn steep when you're propelling your entire body weight plus 20-odd pounds of wheelchair up them.

The shiny metal rail is lovely for keeping your hands clean, as opposed to propelling yourself using the wheel itself. However, that shiny metal rail gets very slippery in the rain.

A five-year-old pushing a wheelchair can get you over small door sills and bumps in the sidewalk. A six-year-old pushing a wheelchair can send you out in the street in front of a semi lickety split.

In a group containing three or more children, it's best to have a timeshare plan arranged ahead of time for who gets to push the wheelchair when.

Foot rests are nice and all, but when your wheelchair decides to start drifting to the left with every push on the rail, it's really handy to have your feet available to correct your course.

Bicycle-type pegs on the back of a wheelchair would be awesome for carrying small children who don't want to walk any more.

Friday, July 1, 2011