PAL

May 4, 2007

My cushion is here!

Filed under: Disability, Health, Hints & Tips, Life, Reviews, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 11:14 pm

roho2Today I got my cushion.  Does this sound familiar?  It should!  Not too long ago I was writing about getting another cushion!  Unfortunatly, it didn’t work out.  I tried the cushion for awhile, but realized that I wouldn’t be able to use it on my new wheelchair because when it was bent a tiny bit a huge wrinkle would form across the whole cushion.  My new wheelchair is going to have an ergonomic seat.  This means that the last 6 inches of the seat will be level with the ground, then the frame bends.  I need a cushion that can sit on the frame and bend at the same angle.  The Roho Quadtro Select cushion will do just that!  Of course it is made of rubber, which isn’t the best when you have a latex allergy like I have, but if I’m really careful I don’t have to actually touch any of the rubber.

I really like this cushion.  There’s a sliding button on the front.  If you push it one way it lets the air circulate throughout the whole cushion, but if you slide it the opposite way the air is trapped in four different sections.  This makes the cushion more stable.  I can’t sit on other Roho cushions because they don’t have this, and they are way too unstable.  With this cushion I can also have more air in the front two sections and less in the back two.  smoothieThis helps with sitting balance, and I can also push more air out of one of the back sections so my pelvis is level when sitting!  It’s great!

I took a break while writing this to watch the movie “Cars“.  I watched most of it with Julian the last time he was here, but I fell asleep and missed a lot of it.  It was good. 

Earlier tonight I decided to try out my new cushion and went to the grocery store to get a few things.  I also stopped to get a strawberry and banana smoothie, but I swear the girl just made me a strawberry one.  I didn’t realize this until I was home.  Sophie had a doggy sundae!  They put a spoonful of vanilla ice cream in a dish with a milk bone stuck in it!  She loves them.  I always have to pick the milk bone out and feed it to her though, because she tries to eat all of the ice cream too.  Tonight she ate a big mouthful of ice cream and had it all over her tongue and was licking her tongue out like crazy!  It was sooo cute!

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My new wheelchair is delayed

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, What were they thinking?!, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 11:11 pm

sadI’ve been counting down the days until my new wheelchair is suppose to arrive!  I’m so excited about it and it will be sooo great having a wheelchair that actually fits me!  I’ll even be able to use both arms at the same time!  Right now I always have to hold myself up with one arm while I use the other one. 

Today I found out that instead of my wheelchair being shipped on May 7th, it’s delayed and wont be shipped until the 14th!  I’ve been waiting since May 2nd and I’m getting really inpatient!  Today within an hour I got two differnt stories from two different people at Sportaid, and I have vowed to never order anything else from them again!  I’d rather spend more money on something and have it ordered and delivered on time without any problems and with even half decent customer service than deal with Sportaid again!

So, hopefully I will have my wheelchair by May 16th.  (It will take a day or two to ship), and everything is ok!  Wish me lots of luck!  (I have a feeling I’m going to need it)! 

On a better note, I should get my Roho Quadtro Select cushion today!  (It is technically today because it’s 1:54am)!  It is rubber, and since I’m allergic to latex I’ll have to be very careful not to actually touch the cushion or any rubber parts, but once the cover is on it should be fine.  I couldn’t sit on the old Roho cushions because they were too unstable, but this cushion has four air compartments so it should work.  (Again, wish me luck)!  I’ll write an update about the cushion when I get it, and with any luck I’ll be writing about my new wheelchair in less than 12 days!

May 1, 2007

Blogging Against Disablism 2007

Filed under: Accessibility, Disability, Health, Hints & Tips, Life, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 11:30 pm

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2007When I read about “Blogging Against Disablism Day” I though it was a great idea and that I would take part in it.

I’ll admit I had to think about the whole “discrimination” thing before I started writing.  My question was “have I been discriminated against since I moved here last December?  I thought about this realized that the little things count too.

For instance, there is a mall close by called “Lenox Square”  The first time we went there we parked in the parking deck, got out of the car and tried to find an exit.  The only one we could find had stairs going up one level.  There was disabled parking in this area, but no way for anyone who had to use the spaces to get out!  We thought about going out the way the cars came in, but we couldn’t do that either.  The sidewalk didn’t have a curb cut.  We had to get back in the car and find somewhere else to park.  The next time we went to this mall we thought to make it easier we would take the train.  We got to the mall entrance, went down a long hill, and as we got to the bottom noticed that there is no way to get off the narrow sidewalk!  There was a curb cut, but there was a huge post with a gate attached for the parking lot.  It clocked off the sidewalk completely, leaving barely enough room for someone to squeeze by if they were walking.  The curb was about 6 inches high and went dirrectly into the busy entrance!  If Julian wasn’t with me I would be trapped there, not being able to get back up the hill.  He had to lift me down the curb, which was pretty dangerous, we had to stay in the street for about 200 feet before we could get on the sidewalk in front of the mall.  Is this just “ignorance” or is it “discrimination”?

Before moving here I lived in Canada.  I use to take buses quite a bit.  These were low floor buses, where the driver pushed a button the bus leaned and then a ramp came out.  The wheelchair user got onto the bus, the driver flipped up a seat and secured the wheelchair.  This whole process took about 2 or 3 minutes.  A lot of the drivers would either speed past the bus stop, or claim that the ramp was broken!  Once I explained to them that there was a loop on the side of the ramp so it could be operated manually, the ramp would always “magically” start working!  The drivers just didn’t want to have to go through the process of lifting the seat and securing 3 or 4 straps.

Not only am I a wheelchair user, but I’m also blind and have a guide dog.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told I’m either not allowed into a building, restaurant, store, or other place of buisness because of my guide dog!  (This is totally against the law)!  I’ve even been told at a Chinese restaurant once that I had to tie her up on the street while I ate there!  (Which I didn’t of course)! 

When searching for a job some years ago I went to so many interviews.  I would either get rushed through the interview knowing that I wouldn’t be hired because they were treating me like a 5 yr old, or in some cases they would see me, tell me that the poisition was filled and take the next person waiting in for an interview!  Of course there was no way of actually “proving” this, so I’d just have to continue my search and hope for the best.

I try my best to change people’s attitudes, but sometimes this is not a very easy task.  People assume that if you can’t walk and can’t see you can’t have a life.  The way I think about this problem is if I can change one person’s attitude towards people who are disabled I have changed many peoples attitudes towards us.  If I change the way one person views us then they will hopefully pass that onto their children, and their children will pass it on to their children and so on.  We can only hope, but until then I just try to take attitudes and the discrimination I get as they come and try to change things where I can. 

I just wish people would realize that a person who happens to have a disability is still a person, and that one day they could be in that same situation!

April 28, 2007

The swimming pool is open!

Filed under: Atlanta, Disability, Health, Life, US, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 8:48 pm

poolI found out yesterday that the building’s swimming pool is open again!  Yay!  I use to love swimming, but I’m not sure if I can anymore.  When Julian comes back I’ll find out.  I’m not sure if I cna actually lift my head out of the water to breathe (which wouldn’t be good at all), but I guess I would be able to float, and I can move my arms so I suppose I could swim. 

I’m hoping I can because it gets so hot here!  I heard on th news that this summer we can expect some days to go up to 100°F (37.78°C)!  When you can’t sweat below your shoulders you don’t tolerate heat very well at all!  I’m really not looking forward to the heat this summer.

You may notice the stairs in the photo, there is another way to get to the pool.  There is a gate on that level, but you have to go back through the building and down a floor to get to it.  The stairs lead to the sun deck where there is a tennis court, bbq, lounge chairs, a gazebo and things.  Here is a photo of that part. 

sun deck

I would like to try playing tennis too.  I did a bit when I was younger.  We found some tennis balls with bells in them at Petsmart, but I’m not sure how well they would work.  I think a beeping tennis ball would be better.  We were also looking at tennis rackets at Sports Authority.  We found a couple that I might be able to use if I attached them to my hand.  This reminds me I should go down to the games room and play some pool.  I’ve lived here for five months so far and I haven’t been down there since before we moved in!

April 11, 2007

Sportaid does it again!

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, Reviews, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 3:40 pm

backrestHow did my day go today?  Well, I woke up early to a rainy day and waited until Julian called.  We talked for awhile and while he was at the gym I checked my email, watched some tv and checked on the UPS site to track one of the packages I was expecting to receive today while I waited for him to call me back.

Just before 1pm the package was delievered and I went downstairs to get it.  This package was the backrest from Southwest Medical they told me I would get yesterday.  After asking for a tracking number for it yesterday, they sent it to me and it said it was being delievered today.  I was also expecting a cushion and backrest supporst from Sportaid, but they too hadn’t given me a tracking number and after emailing the girl we have been trying to deal with all supportalong, some other girl emailed me back this morning and said that she wasn’t in today and didn’t even give me a tracking number!

So I went downstairs, hoping against all odds that Sportaid didn’t mess things up yet again and actually got the cushion sent to me.  I was suppose to have it 12 days ago!  Sure enough there were two boxes.  The concierge offered to carry the boxes to my apt. for me, but I could manage them myself.  I also met a new guy that had just moved into the building. 

Once I got the boxes into my apt. and opened them I realized that the backrest was the exact one we ordered.  (Thank you Southwest Medical!), but Sportaid had managed to leave off part of the cushion, and they only sent one backrest support!  We had ordered a pair of supports from their website and paid for a pair!  They had ordered 1 support, 1 support pad, and one kit to attach the pair to the backrest!  This is what Sportaid had ordered from Varilite!  Who orders a support for one side with a new backrest?! 

cushionSo now we have to try to get the missing part of the cushion, which is free, but will most likely be charged shipping, and we will have to re-order the supports and hope to God that they actually send them out the fastest way this time like they should have in the beginning!  Hopefully this time in less than the 12 days it took them last time!

April 10, 2007

Still no backrest!

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, Reviews, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 4:05 pm

backrestWhy did I think that the backrest we ordered from Southwest Medical would actually arrive on time?!  I was suppose to get the backrest for my new wheelchair delivered by UPS today.  I went downstairs 3 times so far today to check to see if it had arrived yet. 

I found out that the UPS truck had in fact dropped off a package for someone else, but my package never did come!  Of course, if I had a tracking number for it, I could have went on their website and checked to see where it was, but Southwest Medical don’t believe in giving their customers tracking numbers!  I guess this explains why.  After all why would they give the person who bought something from them a tracking number when the item isn’t going to come on time?! 

Who would have thought that ordering a wheelchair would be so stressful and irritating?!  So far we went through the nightmare of ordering from Sportaid and having to deal with the inconfidence of the person we had to deal with there.  We’ve had parts of emails totally ignored time and time again.  Our questions weren’t answered, or were very delayed in being answered at all.  There was a problem with ordering the wheelchair with a credit card that wasn’t from the US (even though we’ve ordered using a UK credit card form them numerous times)!  The only way we even found out the new chair hadn’t been ordered was because Julian asked if it had been ordered!  They waited 10 days and didn’t even let us know there was a problem!  Even though they knew my chair is literally falling apart every day!  (Of course we are talking about the same people who sent me a pack of latex gloves after knowing I’m allergic to latex and they could have killed me!) 

 After telling them we needed the cushion first and it was really important because I have a pressure sore they sent me what was suppose to be my Spinergy wheels, backrest supports and cushion.  When I opened the box up it was only my wheels!  After having to go through the horrible process of trying to get more information from them through email, we were informed that the cushion and supports would be coming a week later and that if she had known I neede dit so badily she could have had it shipped sooner!  In that same email when I read back through the older messages she was told on at least 3 seperate occasions that I did have a pressure sore that was getting worse from my old cushion and desperately needed the new one sent asap! 

Southwest Medical on the other hand hasn’t been that hard to deal with, but they don’t believe in giving their customers tracking numbers.  I got my castors a day early, so I guess to make up for it they are sending my backrest a day late!  It’s so annoying!  Medical supply companies seem to have the attitude that they “allow” you to get around so you have to bow down and worship the ground they walk on, because you can’t!  Well that’s why Peachtree Active Living is going to go in a totally different dirrection!  We are going to actually “listen” to the customer and try to “help” them!  Imagine that!

April 7, 2007

Wheelchair update

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 12:56 pm

lightupI thought I’d write a bit of an update to let everyone know what is happening in  reguards to my new wheelchair.  I don’t have it yet, but it has been ordered, and is in production as I write this! 

On Thursday, April 5th I recieved my new casters.  They are 3″ micro lighted casters a lot like I have now.  They light up with red, blue, green and yellow lights when they move.  I find these to be very useful because they light up the space under and around the front of my chair so Sophie can see exactly where my front wheels are at night and how close my back wheels are to the edge of the sidewalk etc.

I also got my new Spinergy LX wheels.  I decided on 25″ wheels this time instead of 24″.  They are the same as my old wheels (red spokes, red tires, and foam coated pushrims.  The only difference is the tires are Kenda, and not Primo.  I think Kenda tires will be better though, because they have a different thread and are used to play sports like tennis and basketball. 

I’m suppose to get my backrest on Tuesday, April 10th, and my backrest supports and cushion on Wednesday, April 11th.  Then hopefully I will have my new wheelchair by April 29th!  Hopefully a lot sooner!  I’ll let you know when I know a shipping date for it for sure!  Wish me luck on getting it really soon!

April 2, 2007

Who are the real “victims” who “suffer” here?

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, What were they thinking?!, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 7:52 am

attitude

I was reading a newspaper article a few minutes ago that talked about a guy who has spina bifida.  He was described as “a victim of spina bifida”.

I looked up the defination of “victim” on dictionary.com.  This is what it said:

Victim 

n.  

  1. One who is harmed or killed by another: a victim of a mugging.
  2. A living creature slain and offered as a sacrifice during a religious rite.
  3. One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition: victims of war.
  4. A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking: You are a victim of your own scheming.
  5. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of: the victim of a cruel hoax.

How exactly was he a “victim” here?  He wasn’t harmed by another person (it ws a birth defect).  He clearly wasn’t sacrificed as he is still alive.  It wasn’t an injury he suffered as a result of a voluntary undertaking.  I guess they were talking about being harmed or made to suffer from a circumstance or condition. 

Is he really a “victim” because he was born the way he was?  Because he uses a wheelchair to get around?  Will he automatically be a “victim” his whole life?  If you asked him to describe himself would he describe himself as a victim?  I highly doubt it!  Then why is the press labeling him that way?  Do they think because he uses a wheelchair he can’t possibly lead a happy and realitivly “normal” life?

I personally can’t stand being labeled in negative ways such as this!  I hear it all the time.  He was a “victim” of [insert disease/condition here].  She “suffers” from [insert condition here].  In fact the term “suffers from” was also used in the same newspaper article to describe this poor unfortunate guy who is unable to walk and therefore can’t possible lead a happy life.  How could he in his “condition”?

People with disabilities can and do lead “normal” and happy lives.  We have jobs, go shopping, raise families, and do everything able bodied people do.  We might do it a little differently, but we get the job done!  The people who really are the “victims” who “suffer” here are the extremely close minded individuals who label people who are disabled with these terms!

April 1, 2007

The problem with physical examinations

Filed under: Accessibility, Disability, Health, Hints & Tips, Life, Making things accessible, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 2:37 am

examSomething came to my attention about a month ago that I hadn’t thought about before.  I was at the Doctor’s office, talking to her during an apointment and she mentioned having an exam done in the next three months.  Now, for all of the females out there, you probably know the dreded “exam” I’m talking about, and that in order for it to be possible you have to “hop up” onto an examination table much like the one pictured to the left.  This is not a problem for anyone who can walk.  There is usually some kind of step stool either attached to the table itself, or sitting on the floor in the office.

For anyone who can’t walk this presents a huge problem!  Unless someone can physically lift you up onto the exam table, there is no way to get up there.  It’s so tall, that transfering is impossible. 

In bigger hospitals there are “lift teams”, whose jobs are to lift people.  If I go to the hiospital the nurses would call the lift team and have them come lift me onto the stretcher, x-ray table etc.  This involves one of the guys standing behind my chair and slipping his arms under mine, and another guy standing in front of me holding me under my knees.  However if I go to a clinic, there is no “lift team”, and because of the height of the table and the fact that if my body straightens up when I’m in the horizontal position I tend to get really dizzy and pass out because my blood pressure drops so fast this just isn’t possible.

There are companies that make accessible examination tables that lower to a height that is more accessible for everyone.  A wheelchair user can transfer onto it before it is raised up, or a person with joint problems etc. can sit on it without having to use the step stool.  This option would make the whole process easier for everyone, but because they cost more, not very many places have them.

Here’s a question that there can be a lot of debate over:  If a female wheelchair user can’t physically get onto the exam table and she is on birth control what happens?  There are two options here.  The first is that the Doctor refuses to let her stay on birth control because she can’t get her regular pap smear, so she is either going to have to stop having sex altogether, or start planning a family.  The other option is for the Doctor to let her continue birth control without the annual exam.  If the wheelchair user knows the consequences of this, I believe it should be her choice, but sadly it’s usually the Doctor who is taking the wheelchair user’s life in their hands and making the decision for them.  No exam, no birth control!

March 27, 2007

Trying to deal with Invacare

Filed under: Disability, Health, Life, Reviews, What were they thinking?!, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 8:16 pm

invacare

This logo really should say: “Invacare Yes, you can.  If we let you!”

Julian called Invacare today to order the new chair.  From what he told me the guy he spoke to had the attitude of “We allow you to get around your apt. and go out, so you have to bow down and worship us!” 

He said he “wouldn’t suggest” having a loop built onto the front of the frame of my chair so I can hook Sophie’s leash onto it instead of having to wind a leash around the frame.  Julian exlained that she is my guide dog and that I’ve had a leash wound around the frame of my chair for years now with no “incidents”.

The guy continued to say he “wouldn’t suggest” it because I could get pulled out of the chair!  (Um…. no!  What could pull me out is if I have to attach the leash to my body because they wont put a loop on the chair!)

Julian also asked if there was any way to get a rush put on the chair because mine is literally falling apart and it’s past the point of being dangerous.  He even said he’d pay extra, but the guy wouldn’t even consider thinking about it or asking someone higher up.  After all he was only one of the people who answered the phones.  He was totally rude and inconsiderate.  He even went as far as to get a bit nasty with Julian when Julian said he would get someone else to attach a loop to the chair if they didn’t.  He informed Julian that that would void the frame warrenty and that they are special because they work with titanium!  Well guess what!  They are not the “only” people who can do things with titanium!

When Julian mentioned going and getting a racing chair from Quickie instead the guy told him he shoudl go ahead and do that!  Don’t they even want our buisness?!  If I get a chair from them that I like I will continue getting chairs from them form now on.  Also if I get a racing chair form them and I like it I will continue getting racing chairs from them.  Once I get to the point where I’m up to the professional level I will need a new chair every year!  Do they not want that buisness?!  Also I would buy all of the parts needed for these chairs from them!

He also got an attitude when Julian said I was blind and Sophie was my guide dog and that I wanted to buy a racing chair!  So tomorrow, we will try again!  Wish us luck in finding someone “sensible” and who hasn’t got their head so far up their butt they don’t know night form day!

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