Sometimes I wonder if I'm as famous for my wheelchair and disabilities as I am for my discoveries - Stephen Hawking
My husband is a paraplegic. He's also a great father, a loving spouse and an occasional marathoner. He gets around independently in a manual wheelchair. He has what is known as a T4/5 complete injury, but that's not something most people need to know. The main thing they need to know is he can do almost anything. He may not do it the same way you do, but he does it nonetheless.
An online acquaintance of mine recently used the term "wheelchair bound," a phrase all too frequently used, but scorned by the disabled community. I explained to her not only the fact that it wasn't politically correct, but that there are plenty of people with disabilities who are far from bound to their chairs. (We know quadriplegics who sky dive.) All this brought to mind the many amazing things that have been said to my husband during his almost 30 years in a chair. All things you most definitely should not say if you happen to encounter someone in a wheelchair. To wit:
"You're a Mets fan. Maybe that's why you're in a wheelchair."
OK, so the Mets have had a rough time of it the last few years, but must wearing a cap with the orange NY logo make you a target? This was actually said to my husband while waiting for a bus on the Upper West Side. His response was stunned silence. I mean how does one reply to a comment like that?
And speaking of buses, when my husband rides one in New York City, a seat bench is flipped up to make room for his wheelchair. On one occasion a woman of very ample size was asked to surrender her seat by the bus operator. Unhappy about being inconvenienced, she looked at him and said with disdain,
"You know, you're taking up three seats."
Unable to pass up such an irresistible straight line, he replied, "You're not doing so bad yourself."
Then there was the elderly woman in the supermarket who wagged her finger at him and offered this gem,
"That's what you get for going skiing!"
Sigh. Really, lady?
Or the woman in the drugstore, frail and using a cane, who asked my husband if she could reach anything for him from the shelf. "No," he said, "I'm fine."
"Neither one of us is fine," she replied. Gee, thanks.
As his wife, I'm not immune to it either. I've described a wedding we went to and had a colleague ask, "Oh, he can go out??" Or the time a co-worker (who had met my husband many times) and I were riding a bus that had stopped to pick up a wheelchair passenger. "Damn," he said, "I always get the wheelchair buses." I looked him squarely in the eye and said, "So do I." That was an awkward trip.
I could go on and on about the things you should not say. Most of it is really common sense. That online acquaintance who thought the term "wheelchair bound" was appropriate went on to ask, "Well, then what should I call him?"
I have an idea. How about Stephen?
Source: Cory Zacker, What Not to Say to Someone in a Wheelchair, HuffPost, September 2, 2012.
Paraplegics walking again is not as far-fetched as you think!
A powered exoskeletal suit is giving paraplegics a new lease on life, allowing them to walk on their own - even up stairs. The ReWalk is the latest example of a developing technology that might one day make wheelchairs a thing of the past for spinal cord injury patients.
Ekso Bionics builds robotic exoskeletons that can help paraplegics leave their wheelchairs. All CEO Eythor Bender has to do is create a market for a product that no one knew they wanted.
After his world fell apart at 16, he rebuilt it, year after year, and now he is a fortress.
With #ellaneedswheels, a mother took on the insurance company that wouldn’t cover her mysteriously paralyzed child.
Patients regain voluntary movement in legs even years after their initial injuries.
Parker Hannifin pushes into medical devices, but can it get FDA, insurers to back its invention?
I could go on and on about the things you should not say. Most of it is really common sense.
Ekso Bionics uses the power of smart exoskeleton technology machines to empower people. Our therapeutic devices can help stroke patients during rehabilitation learn to walk again and provide those with spinal cord injuries the chance to stand and walk.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) to stand upright, walk, turn, and climb and descend stairs*. ReWalk is the first exoskeleton to receive FDA clearance for personal and rehabilitation use in the United States.
The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation, Inc. (SPF) is the only organization in the Americas dedicated to finding a cure for Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS). We are a not-for-profit voluntary organization.
How I Roll is a unique approach to informing, educating, and entertaining people about living life confined to a wheelchair. The site is an informational resource for green (new) paraplegics.
At 25 ,this South African female was told that she could never walk again; now she opens up about her journeys thus far,hoping to assist those struggling to deal with the disabilities of their loved ones, newbies in the disability community and society at large.
Having been afflicted with Paraplegia in April of 2006, this is a venue for me to catalog, vent and share my experiences with the affliction and the Ontario Canada health system.
Life is different with a disability, some things take more planning, some take more time. Not that you can't do everything - travel, marry, cook.... but adjustments are made. This blog talks about all those adjustments, and special activities that most people don't know about, as well as some of the fun life brings.
Welcome! I’m Priscilla. I am mom to 3 boys and wife to Charlie.
I blog about my every day ordinary life on wheels so I can show the world that life doesn't have to stop just because it was turned upside down!
Paraplegia results when an injury to the spinal cord is below the first thoracic spinal nerve. This results in the loss of feeling and movement, to some degree, of the legs. Paraplegics can experience anything from impairment of leg movement to complete loss of leg movement all the way up to the chest. Paraplegics are able to move their arms and hands.