Disability confidential. Informing. Empowering. Agitating.
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.

Most Recent Life After Paralysis Blog Posts

Homeless wheelchair user
To be paralyzed or otherwise disabled in America is to be largely invisible, at least in public life. Characters or actors with disabilities rarely show up on TV.The appearance of such a character is a cause for celebration, which underscores its novelty. There are barely any disabled newscasters, sportscasters, late night hosts, or other media ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Feb 24, 2016 2:18 PM EST
Oldest living paraplegic
If you are like me and ruminate about death now and then, here's my advice – don't read actuary tables. When it comes to the average life expectancy of a paraplegic, they lie. Or maybe their statistical universe dates back to people paralyzed in the Spanish-American War. In any case, they paint a picture that strikes me at completely contrary to the ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Feb 2, 2016 2:14 PM EST
Change
     Of all the problems facing someone who is paralyzed – physical, emotional, and social – I think that social perceptions, and self-perceptions, are the thorniest. At least in my cases, physical problems are largely reduced to skin breakage and infection. In your case it may be neuropathic pain or vascular complications or persistent UTI’s or ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Jan 27, 2016 3:41 PM EST
Happy New Year2016
     Why do some people do well, even flourish, after experiencing a major trauma like paralysis while others allow it to linger and darken their lives for years after? A friend once suggested that there might be a genetic propensity to bounce back in some of us – a recovery gene – that’s lacking in others. This is akin to saying some people ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Jan 4, 2016 4:40 PM EST
Nemesis
(NOTE: This is the second part of a two-part blog on problem wounds. As they say on TV…previously on "My Nemesis," I recounted my early years battling the most prevalent form of skin-based infection, cellulitis, and ways to combat it. In Part Two, I describe even more pernicious consequences of letting bacteria into your body via ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Dec 9, 2015 1:52 PM EST
Sick in bed
NOTE: This is a two-part blog on my own worst enemies as a paralytic – wounds and infections. I'm a slow learner or maybe my old, pre-paralysis habits die hard, but it has taken me a goodly part of my nineteen years as a T-10/12 para to get my arms around the infernal problem of skin wounds and their consequences. Which means: I have had a lot of wounds of all ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Nov 30, 2015 3:16 PM EST
2015 Media Access Awards
Creating and sustaining an awards show from scratch isn't easy. Don't try it at home. The Media Access Awards is the entertainment industry's only showcase for creators who help push the rock down the road by inventing characters and using actors with disabilities. In 2009, these awards were dead in the water. Created by Norman Lear ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Nov 5, 2015 4:08 PM EST
Wheelchair user entering building
Many moons ago, I had what is known as a development deal with Universal Television where my job was to sit around and come up with brilliant sitcom ideas to pitch to the networks. I had a ballsy, take-no-prisoners secretary named Janet (pronounced the French way, “Janee”) who would chide me every time I complained that no one was calling me ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Oct 26, 2015 1:39 PM EDT
Emmy Award
Did you watch the Emmys a few weeks back? Did you enjoy them? Andy Samberg is not a professional TV award-show host a la Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg, but he was pretty darn good, right? It was a big, breakthrough night for two groups of perennial outsiders – black women and transgenders. And no doubt a great night for actress Laverne Cox of "Orange ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Sep 28, 2015 1:59 PM EDT
Basketball Guy
If I were to tell you that today we are going to talk about health and nutrition, my guess that your eyes would roll back, meaning, “Oh, God, not again…” or your eyes would glaze over, meaning, “Oh, God, not again….”  If you work to stay healthy, you probably are tired of being told to do what you already do, ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Sep 21, 2015 2:13 PM EDT
Being Happy
Every anniversary of the ADA, amidst all hoopla about the gains in public accommodations and transportation that have been made, there is the grim recitation of the brutal facts about the real status of the people with disabilities.  As one magazine put it, we are "poor, jobless, and. bored." According to an NPR report, people with ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Aug 5, 2015 3:30 PM EDT
ADA
As you are no doubt aware, things are heating up for the 25 th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26. There is the ADA Legacy Tour Bus touring around America, a traveling exhibit promoting all things disability. I think it's in Wisconsin this week. Or if you are the Los Angeles area, there is a big ADA 25 celebration in the Dodger ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Jul 10, 2015 4:17 PM EDT
Falling
I fell the week before last, and it scared the bejesus out of me. I was sitting on the edge of a swimming pool, drying out, when suddenly my upper torso fell straight back and hit the limestone pavement behind it with a thud. My neck jerked back, but only grazed the pavement. My back hit squarely with nothing to break the fall. I was stunned but maintained ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Jun 22, 2015 4:35 PM EDT
wcd
I have only been in this paralysis business for just short of twenty years, but I -- and people much smarter -- have come to believe that the most effective way to help others in the same predicament is through personal stories. I'm sure there are many other valid approaches -- prayer, meditation, medication, therapy -- but what I walk away with and ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis May 28, 2015 2:01 PM EDT
Project Implicit
The catch phrase of the day – heck, maybe the catch phrase of the year – is “ implicit bias .” All of a sudden, the media is swamped with stories about implicit, or unconscious, bias. Implicit bias is just what it says – someone who shows a bias or somehow discriminates against a person of a different sex, race, religion or such without being conscious ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Apr 29, 2015 1:02 PM EDT
David Radcliff
Sometimes Facebook is not just a colossal waste of brain cells. It can be downright thought provoking. A friend and colleague, David Radcliff, a real Facebookian and in his off-line hours, a talented young screenwriter and journalist, posted an illuminating FB entry the other day about disability. David has CP and is very astute about what many young ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Apr 15, 2015 4:21 PM EDT
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
My lovely wife turned seventy last weekend and I have six months to go until that fateful day, but I like to get the jump on things so I'm already acting seventy. What does that mean? I'm still working on that answer, but it doesn't seem that my paralysis plays any bigger a role in my aging than it did when I was fifty or sixty. Sure, I can't ... more...
Posted by Community Admin on Life After Paralysis Mar 30, 2015 4:06 PM EDT
Stephen Hawking
If you watched the Oscars the other night -- a relatively few people did, ratings-wise – then you probably noticed a couple of things. One, seven out of the eight “Best Picture” nominees were small films virtually unknown to the audience watching the show. Only one, “American Sniper,” could be called a popular movie and it ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Mar 3, 2015 1:45 PM EST
People Silohoutte
The great divide, the gaping chasm, between the disabled and the non-disabled in this country is work. Post-ADA, so many of the problems people with disabilities face are due to hoary old stereotypes and continual isolation from mainstream Americans. Much of the fear or discomfort that non-disabled people feel toward people like you and me is caused ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Feb 18, 2015 11:25 AM EST
I am the chair of the Writers with Disabilities Committee at the Writers Guild of America West and our job is to get TV and film producers to hire more disabled writers and at the same time include more characters/actors in their shows and films. To this end we recently produced a PSA to make that point. It's called "Look Around" and is one ... more...
Posted by ARucker on Life After Paralysis Feb 5, 2015 7:00 PM EST

Recent Comments

My injury happened when I was three years old. I was on the handle bars of a bicycle with my brother when a drunk driver racing through the neighborhood hit us. I was thrown through the air, witnesses said 75 feet. Through the years the doctors told my mother that I wouldn't live past a certain age. They did this 3 times. After that they stopped trying to predict...
About the goosebumps and sweating below your fracture... I have T-12 complete and I still get both of those. My Dr said its odd and don't know how but it happens. Quite alot to be honest. Do you know what this could be?
It's feels so good to see such people living their life so actively. They are truly an inspiration. And thanks to technology for making their life easier there are so many products available in market like power chairs, wheelchairs, pride scooters etc. to help them live actively. While exploring internet I found a few sites like http://www.spinlife.co...
Karen,
I really enjoyed your story. I'd like to converse with you if you'd like. I've been in a chair for 38 years now and it's nice to find someone with longevity in a chair. Take care, Edye
I really enjoyed reading this, it is very well written!