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Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them.
Comments are welcome!
The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
(Find out more about the contributors at www.ChristopherReeve.org/contributors.)
Category: See all Michael Collins Category
It often starts out innocently enough, with a simple oversight. Something unexpected happens, perhaps something we have always dreaded, and it is impossible to correct the situation or deal with it effectively at the time. Managing our fears in such times of crisis is important, so that a bad situation doesn't get completely out of control. Read More
Will it never end? Another airline has (once again) mishandled the power wheelchair belonging to a friend of ours and damaged it so badly that it required extensive repairs. What is wrong with these large corporations that they cannot teach their employees who handle our expensive, fragile and vital mobility equipment how to do so without damaging or destroying it? Read More
As I explained in my previous blog, the titles of the blogs in this two-part series refer to the act of flipping something upside down. Thanks to some childhood experiments with real turtles, the phrase "turning turtle" has since had a clear meaning to me and my friends. While most turtles appear able to flip themselves back upright, many of us who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices do not have that ability. That is why it is extremely important to remain upright and stay securely seated at all times. Read More
See all Michael Collins
, Independent Living
, Adaptive Sports
, Emergency Preparedness
Those who follow my blogs know that I am very free in expressing opinions and spreading the word about different issues involving health and paralysis. However, there are situations where that is not possible. One of those is when writing about Cancer, as I have never been diagnosed with that disease and any information I relayed to my readers would be secondhand at best. However, a good friend of mine from Virginia, Sheri Denkensohn, has had Cancer and is very proactive in her efforts to get medical offices and hospitals equipped with accessible diagnostic devices for those of us who use wheelchairs. Read More
One of the more important lessons when I was learning to drive a car was that it was important to keep the rubber side down. Since "keeping the rubber side down" is also important for those of us who use wheelchairs, I still keep that phrase in the back of my mind. Read More
Resolve: (noun) firm determination to do something. (online dictionary)
My idea of what comprises a hero has evolved throughout my life. At first, with the advent of television and movie attendance, my heroes appeared in black and white with names like Flash Gordon, Tarzan, the Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Superman and Sky King. Early comic books brought more than color to the world of heroes, as Superman, the Green Lantern, Batman and others fought the bad guys, and never seemed to lose. Read More
Karma: the Buddhist belief that whatever you do comes back to you, e.g. If you do something good, something good will happen to you, and vice versa. (Urban Dictionary)
My karma level has been a little down lately, as a continuing series of little things has been going wrong. Medicare
and my supplementary insurance provider continue to deny payment for medical items I need, despite my repeated appeals, and the constant rain showers make me very aware that my roof and gutters are about due for replacement. Read More
Outdoor recreation has been an important part of my life that has been severely restricted since my spinal cord injury in 1988. Early in that period, there were few outdoor areas that had any type of trails that would accommodate a power wheelchair. My attempts to accompany friends on excursions into the redwoods or even a short jaunt onto a beach or a 'hike' into the desert or forests usually resulted in me being stuck in the sand or hung up on a rock or tree root. Read More
See all Michael Collins
, Civil Rights
, Independent Living
, Quality of Life
, Outdoor Recreation
There was a time, shortly after I finished my initial rehab and was released from the hospital, that I thought it might be possible to recover my pre-injury strength and stamina so that I might compete in athletic endeavors again. Even though such competitions would be done from a wheelchair this time around, I was (relatively) young and healthy enough to assume that anything was possible if I put my mind to it. Unfortunately, my mind did not do a great job of sharing that message with my body. Read More
Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, so you should ignore any advice I dispense.
Human nature results in difficulty talking about certain subjects, even with family and friends. We love to talk about sex, but only as long as that subject involves other people. We also skirt the subject, and details, surrounding something most of us do every day, or at least on a regular basis: cleanse the waste from our body through a process of elimination. That time can be spent planning ahead for the day, catching up on the news, or just relaxing in relative peace and quiet. Read More
Many people view those of us who are paralyzed as a class of individuals who take from society, rather than giving back. We rely on public and private insurance to cover the costs of our medically-related expenses, are often unemployed, and can have difficulty getting out and about on a regular basis due to a lack of reliable transportation. I contend that they are wrong, very wrong, and that we are, instead, viable contributors to the economy through our purchases that are not covered by whatever insurance we have available to us. Read More
What is wrong with the media in this world? Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
, advocates have been beseeching the media and the general public to use appropriate language whenever describing people with disabilities. It is very irritating when almost any article referring to disability or wheelchairs reverts back to the outmoded language of decades ago. It is even more irritating when that language originates from people with disabilities or the organizations that serve us. Read More
Once in awhile there is an issue that is so troubling that it just won't go away. This was known as "having a burr under your saddle" when I was growing up, due partly to the fact that I was raised in farm country. The burr that is causing trouble for me today is an issue of fairness, as people who require access to rental vehicles with wheelchair lifts or ramps when they are traveling struggle to find reasonably priced options without going to a lot of trouble. I wrote about this in a June blog
and outlined the approach I planned to take with the major car rental companies. Read More
At the risk of sounding like a wimp when compared to those who endure record-breaking heat
in the Southwest, the 95° heat that set a record in the Seattle area this past weekend extended into what turned out to be a bad Sunday night for me. I watched an outside sporting event on Sunday afternoon, avoiding direct sunlight, since I wanted to avoid overheating. Our summers are just too short to stay inside when the weather is nice. The long-term exposure to heat, even in the shade, had a subtle effect on me and I was still too warm when bedtime arrived. However, I've read my own columns about how to deal with the heat, have given trainings regarding the FEMA
advice about heat emergencies, and figured that I was ready to deal with the impact of too much heat. Read More
The need for emergency preparedness has become an important part of our way of life, and is especially important for people living with paralysis or other chronic health conditions. Reminders to put together household emergency preparedness kits show up in mailings from local utility companies and through all types of media sponsored by emergency response agencies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) all the way down to the local fire department. Those reminders are especially common during the period leading up to a major approaching storm or immediately after crises caused by tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, or wildfires. Information about how to assemble emergency preparedness kits and be prepared if evacuation becomes necessary is readily available on the Internet for anyone seeking such information. Read More