doctrine: mobility

Chronic Illness PSA - Mobility Edition

Something able bodied people often struggle to understand/dont know is that chronic illness varies - it varies from person to person, but it also varies from day to day, hour to hour, even minute to minute.

I can be standing unassisted or moving around ok one minute and be on the floor or needing immediate assistance to remain standing or be completely unable to move without assistance the next. This is not an exaggeration. These are things that happen to me - that happen to people with chronic illnesses.

People have difficulty understanding that - that I can walk around the shops unassisted one day, and need a cane just to get out of bed later that same day. 

Changing mobility devices day to day does not neccessarily mean I have gotten sicker if I am using a wheelchair when yesterday I used a cane, and if I am moving unassisted when yesterday I was bedbound, it does not mean I am cured. It doesnt mean I was faking or exaggerating. It means I am experiencing a different combination of symptoms.

Mobility Devices examples

Mobility devices vary - the obvious ones that most people would think of and recognise are:

- Scooters

- Wheelchairs 

- Walkers

- Canes

- Crutches

- Handrails


Then there are some less obvious devices that people might not immediately think of but do actually assist in mobility, such as:

- Braces

- Strapping Tape

- Service Dogs

- Custom Orthotics


And then there are the really not obvious ones - things we use to assist with mobility though that may not be their intended purpose

- Shopping Carts (Leaning on them)

- Friends/ Carers

- Walls (Shoutout to Walls)


Social Response to Mobility Devices

All of these mobility devices are valid. What combination of these we use (if any) can change at any time. That does not make us fakers, or lazy, or exaggerating, and when we dont need to use them, IT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE CURED.

Starting to use mobility devices needs to be normalised, especially for young people. I hear so many say they would have started using (insert device that has really helped them) so much sooner if I hadnt been worried about the stigma/not being ‘sick enough’/being afraid of how they will look etc.

Dont be afraid to accessorise your mobility device. Matching your cane to your outfit does not make your mobility needs or device any less valid. Your cane works just as well whether it is bright pink or dark brown. There is this weird idea that if your mobility device looks cool to match your aesthetic, you must be faking, or not really need it.  Your life does not end or stop because you are using a mobility device - why should your style/aesthetic die?. 


Feelings about mobility devices

It is important for people to be comfortable with their mobility devices. That means

- Physical comfort - having a device that fits and is right and safe for you

- Mental comfort - Feeling good about using your device, feeling comfortable with it.  This can be hard - people stare, they make comments, especially if you are a young person.

When I first started using a cane, I felt shame, I was scared to use it, especially around family - (Still am). I find myself overly cautious of each step, trying to make sure my cane doesnt make a noise - and that is shame over being visibly disabled. Around new doctors I do this too, as if I need to be quieter about being disabled.

This is because of ableism. Because we are taught that to be disabled is to be worth less and we should be ashamed of it.


Perks of mobility devices

Wheelchair:

- Always have somewhere to sit

- When your friends push you really fast and you feel like you are in a trashy teen movie.

- You can do fun things with your friends that you probably couldnt do without the chair

- Can wear whatever shoes you want.


Canes/Crutches

- Can be used to whack ableist arseholes (dont really plz, no violence)

- If you have a service dog, they are good to block people from patting your dog

- Collect them all - co-ordinate with your outfit

- Visible symbol of your disability means a much needed seat on the bus and not feeling like people are judging you wondering why a seemingly healthy young person needs to use the lift (elevator). 

- Nunchucks (collapsible canes)

- Dressing up, getting your fanciest cane, and feeling dapper af.


Walkers

- Best of both worlds - sitting AND standing.

- Somewhere to put your food tray

- Adding signs or fairy lights for events


General

- Pimping out your device

- Having fun shopping for mobility devices that match your needs AND aesthetic

- Being able to do things that you couldnt without the devices

- Making friends with old ladies (chronically ill people probably know what im talking about)


In Conclusion:

Now this is important

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ASHAMED OF BEING DISABLED. 

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ASHAMED OF USING A MOBILITY DEVICE

In fact, you should be damn proud, because going around in society with a visible representation of your chronic illness is damn hard (because people are dicks sometimes) - and to overcome that and do what is best for you is incredible.

So pimp your ride, put glitter on your cane. 

I promise, you look awesome.


TLDR:

Mobility needs vary constantly - so what device (if any) a person uses can change too. That doesnt make their need less valid, it does mean they are suddenly cured, and using a mobilty device is not something to be ashamed of. And yes it is totally ok to bedazzle your mobility device. 

PSA for anyone who doesn't use a mobility aid

Pavements are not designed with mobility aids in mind. It’s not even as simply as lowered curbs - it’s also about gnarly bits in the middle of the pavement, and about finding the bit of (lowered or not) curb where you can actually get on, and about avoiding the boneshakers that just increase your pain levels.

I see it a fair bit that people refuse to get out of my way, or are simply unaware that the bit of pavement they’re on is the bit that actually has a lowered curb. I see people parking in front of lowered curbs. I even see kind souls trying to get out of my way and unwittingly blocking my only viable path.

Just look down. When you see us, look at the road surface and try to imagine where you’d like to be if your feet were wheels. Okay? And then don’t be there.

It’s not a big thing. It’s okay that you never realised. But it would take the onus off of us to ask you to get out of the way - which is nerve-wracking for those of us with anxiety, and potentially dangerous when we end up unable to just get onto the pavement after crossing the road.

It’d be a lovely low-key way to be an ally.

Cool? Cool.

2

via [x]

[Coffee Spoonie tweeted: “LOL @ wheelchair-bound. Wheelchair-bound is not a thing. You know what I’m bound to when my legs don’t work? My bed. In my room. I go NOWHERE. You know what doesn’t have wheels? What doesn’t let me leave my room? What doesn’t let me go out into public to interact with humans? A bed. the thing that holds PWD back is not their mobility assistance device. It’s their disability. Stop it w/ that silly ‘wheelchair-bound’ shit. Non-Disabled folx think that ambulatory wheelchair users are giving up when they use a WC. They don’t care when we’re stuck in bed all day tho.

Disabled person: I’m tired of always being inside. I’m gonna get a wheelchair so I can go back into the world! […] Abled: DON’T GIVE UP LIKE THAT”]

Computer scientist Karen Liu creates tech to help people get up the stairs more easily

  • Karen Liu, a computer scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, worries stairs could become a real issue for her 70-year-old mother.
  • So when Liu heard about an exoskeleton that stores energy to make walking easier, she wondered if there was a way to do it for stairs.
  • She wanted to design something inside the steps themselves, rather than a device someone would have to put on their body.
  • Liu enlisted two engineering colleagues and set to work creating a prototype, which they describe in a paper published Wednesday in PLoS ONE. They designed a system of springs and magnetic locks that holds a movable stair tread. Read more (7/12/17)

follow @the-future-now

Getting your first wheelchair (for chronic illness)

What people think it’s like: Well golly gee, I’ve just given up! There’s no point in trying anymore. I’m one step away from death and I will never walk on my own two feet again. Goodbye, cruel world. This is the end of walking. The end of happiness. I’m too young for this, but I just can’t be bothered trying anymore.

What it’s actually like: Holy shit I’m gonna go to the mall for the first time in 6 months and then I’m going to go stroll around my neighborhood like I used to! I can’t believe I didn’t leave my house for 3 weeks straight, but that’s all changing now! OMG, since I didn’t have to use all my spoons walking around the grocery store I can actually go up the stairs and sleep in my actual bed instead of the couch! Maybe I’ll apply for a full time job…

Legit Tip #183

or - “Writing Characters with Mobility Impairments”

There’s a lot to be considered when writing a character with any kind of disability. One of the challenging things for a writer is writing a character of impaired mobility - i.e., a character who uses a wheelchair, a walker, canes or crutches in their daily life to get around. 

Whether this character is the POV character, a side character or even just a character who appears briefly in the narrative, it’s easy to be insensitive. And that’s not the fault of most writers. It’s just the fact that most people haven’t lived with a disability like this - heck, many people haven’t been around people (especially younger people) with impaired mobility for a lengthy amount of time. 

Even for those that have, it might be difficult to figure out how to properly write these characters too, especially when so much of narration is centered on characters w/o these disabilities. 

Disclaimer: For the record, I don’t have a disability related to mobility. But I HAVE had many good friends who’ve used wheelchairs and/or crutches in their daily lives (and for a short time dated a man who used a wheelchair). I’m not saying that makes me an expert, but I hope it gives me some insight and sensitivity. 

How do they Move?

One of the first things that a writer may wonder about when writing a character with a mobility impairment is how to go about the “problem” of writing movement. I’ll urge you to remember two things. 

  1. Don’t overthink it. 
  2. But do think about it. 

What I mean by that is this. If you spend all of your time focusing on details like this and you put that into your writing, it’s going to be very obvious to the reader that you’ve done so - and that’s a problem. For example - 

Caleb wheeled his way to the front counter and stared up at the barista, clumsily digging for his wallet. “Uh, just a white chocolate mocha, please,” he said as he pulled out his credit card.

“That’ll be three fifty,” she said with a short smile. Caleb reached over to the card machine. Then he hurried to wheel himself back out of line, careful to avoid…etc.

Okay, so. That’s all well and good if the actual subject is about the difficulty people with mobility issues face on a day to day basis I guess. But you don’t want to FILL your story with writing like that. If he’s grabbing a coffee on his lunch break and thinking about the cute girl who smiled at him, how about instead -

”Next!” Caleb snapped out of his thoughts - the image of the girl from earlier still fresh in his mind - and moved to the front counter, looking up at the barista. 

“Hey - uh - just a white chocolate mocha, please,” he said as he dug for his wallet. The barista smiled at him as she tapped his order into the register. And sure, she was cute. But it only made him think of Minami again and he felt his cheeks heating up as he pulled out his credit card and clumsily reached for the card machine.

Just remember that you SHOULD think about it and showcase it when it IS important. There will be times when your character may struggle. Just don’t make every moment a struggle. Disability doesn’t have to be nor should it be a tragedy in fiction. 

How Do You Write Interactions?

Right. So with that out of the way, how do you write good interactions between characters with mobility impairments and your other characters? Well, a lot of that depends on the “character” of your character, of course. But there are some things that you should keep in mind.

For example, it’s polite for a person interacting with a person in a wheelchair to not bend down like the person in a wheelchair is a child. Because - you know - they’re not a child. 

Another thing to remember is that for a person who uses a wheelchair, crutches, prosthetic, etc., that object is a part of their personal space and it is VERY rude to touch/lean on/otherwise interact with the item without their permission. If a character uses a wheelchair, don’t have another character hop into their wheelchair for a joyride UNLESS they are very close and/or have the wheelchair user’s permission. 

Above all, it’s a good idea for you to just do research on the type of mobility impairment your character has and the type of etiquette that’s appropriate given the circumstances! Remember that things might be different given different mobility aids, prosthetics, etc.

On Romance

I feel it necessary to make this final point. When writing characters with mobility issues, especially those in wheelchairs, it’s NOBODY’S BUSINESS whether or not they can “do the deed” and I highly suggest you avoid putting these conversations in your story altogether. ESPECIALLY IF THE DISABLED CHARACTER ISN’T INVOLVED IN THE CONVERSATION. 

Why have I seen this so often? It’s baffling! And it’s nobody’s business but those involved in the relationship. 

book-fanatic  asked:

Do moderate spinal deformities or disorders qualify a person for a service dog? My MC has a spinal disease that limits her mobility and makes it hard for her to get up or down, climb stairs, or reach for things she's dropped or set down. How would a service dog assist her with these problems if she were to have one? And could you direct me to a post, if you have one, on the process of getting a service dog that the handler doesn't actually train for themselves?

My instinct is to say yes. The legal definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 is (paraphrased) “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities… include but not limited to caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working” and the requirement for a service dog is that the dog is trained in one or more tasks that directly relate to the disability.

In this case, the major tasks I see as being relevant are:

Brace & balance / brace & mobility work: The dog is trained to brace against a hard push or pressure so their handler can stand up, get into a wheelchair, or maintain their balance. The dog might also be trained to do things like drag a wheelchair, cane, or walker to their handler.

Keep in mind, for mobility work like this, both the dog and handler need to be trained. The dog needs to know how to brace in preparation for a hard push and the handler needs to learn where NOT to apply pressure on the dog’s body to prevent injury.

Picking stuff up: This one’s pretty self-evident, so I’ll include a rather adorable picture of Chance the diabetes alert chihuahua picking up a little bag with his human’s blood sugar testing gear.

I’m including this pic in part because it’s adorable (Chance is VERY proud he can pick stuff up and he enthusiastically will find this bag, keys, his leash – whatever) but in part because it demonstrates that even tiny dogs can do retrieves. When his handler isn’t sitting on a collapsed Goodwill couch that’s barely a foot off the ground, he’ll leap up into her lap to give her whatever he’s retrieving.

The obvious problem, though, is that Chance is like eight inches tall and his handler won’t always be sitting. But even when he picks stuff up off the floor and stands on his hind legs, he makes it easier for his handler to take it from him, rather than her having to bend all the way over or possibly drop to her knees to get something that’s fallen under a couch or table.

Bring stuff to their handler: Some service dogs will carry medication or medical devices (asthma inhaler, blood sugar testing kits, etc.) in their vests so their handlers have it whenever they leave the house. Other service dogs will be trained to open cupboards or even the fridge and retrieve medication or drinks (water bottles, please, and not beer!) so their handler can swallow pills.

Pushing buttons & flipping switches: Service dogs, especially tall ones, can be trained to turn lights on and off, ring doorbells, or even use emergency phones like this one.


As for organizations that provide training, I’m going to refer you to Canine Companions for Independence and Guide Dogs for the Blind as examples of reputable organizations that provide service dogs to handlers in need. (I know your character isn’t blind, but you can use GDB’s processes as another example of placement.)

Generally this requires an application, a home visit (so the organization can verify the dog will live in a safe environment), time spent on a waiting list, and time spent with trainers so the handler learns how to care for the dog, the laws and how to handle access challenges, and how to work with the dog in the real world.

(Tagging @fundaypuppy2k15 who may have more insight on this process.)

Keep in mind, there are incredibly disreputable “organizations” that are selling half-trained or even untrained so-called service dogs to people for tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not saying that every organization that charges a fee is disreputable – training a service dog can be VERY expensive – but…

And one more thing to consider: a service miniature horse might be a good candidate for this sort of work.

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Pre-ride Dynamic Stretches for riders

Generally tacking up the horse will get your heart going, but these are great for stretching off the horse. All of these are less than 4 minutes, and you definitely don’t have to do all of them!

Trunk Rotation (0s): Strength in the trunk is one of the best ways to keep from collapsing the hip, especially in lateral movements, so it’s good to warm up that area :)

Arm Circles (16s): Great for warming up the shoulders and loosening up the joint to get those shoulders back

Leg Swings (41s):  Warming up the hip joint and stretching down the front of the quad, all important for your length of leg

Leg Crossovers (1m18s): Again warming up that whole hip area and also switching on the glutes in the abduction phase

Leg Side Kicks (1m53s):  Again warming up the hit joint and trying to get a bit of power involved too. They combine the actions of Closing The Gate (below) and your crossovers, but is a tad harder.

Close the Gate (2m22s): This is a hip opening exercise :)

Lunges with Trunk Rotation (2m52s): This does a bit of everything, you get some hip and quad stretch in the lowest phase of the lunge, balance practise, muscle use and warmup and then your trunk rotation too.

If I had to narrow it down to four, if you’re first starting I would go with your Trunk Rotation, Arm Circles, Leg Swings and Closing the Gate. If you’re more advanced then I would say your normal Trunk Rotation because it’s so physical, Arm Swings, Leg Side Kicks and your Lunge with Trunk Rotation. 

These all work post-exercise to distribute lactic acid and make you less sore for the next day, too!

Hope this is helpful :) 

catsfeminismandatla  asked:

I have a Wiccan/Pagan (not sure which one yet) character who is in a manual wheelchair. What are some ways that rituals/circles/esbats/sabbats could be adjusted to accomadate her? Also, do you know of any resources to learn about Native traditions in Wicca/Paganism? (She's Native American - Shawnee to be exact)

First, I would like to address something I’ve been grappling with for several weeks at this point. I love that you are writing a Native American character, and that you wish to make her a witch, however, it is important not to confuse a spiritual/religious path with witchcraft as a practice, especially when it comes to indigenous traditions. I found these resources,

https://www.ohio.edu/southern/folknography/upload/Our-Grandmother.pdf

http://www.native-languages.org/shawnee.htm

 on Shawnee spirituality which I hope helps you and points you towards more resources.

Your character could follow the spirituality of the Shawnee and be a witch, but these things don’t have to intersect. If you want them to I highly suggest asking someone who is a part of Shawnee tradition about what that combination may look like if she utilizes her witchcraft with her spirituality.

Beyond that I’m not comfortable advising on Shawnee spirituality. I can answer more specific witchcraft questions.

As to her accommodating her mobility concerns, there are many things that can be done to address any potential conflicts.

  • If she is practicing witchcraft with others and they want to host ritual outside the organizers would have to consider nature access. There are many places and parks that would be available to her with ease, but the deep dark of the forest may not be an option so rituals are more likely to be held in semi-public spaces.
  • Tables, counters, or altars should be built/displayed with her reach in mind.
  • If dance or motion are a part of the practice then the choreographer needs to be mindful of finding alternative motions for her that would elicit the same energy as the other dancers.
  • If she takes any medications these need to be kept in mind if her practice involves the consumption of herbs/potions as they could interact poorly with what she already takes.
  • If she has a coven or regular group that meets in a specific space the space would need to have doorways that could accommodate her wheelchair, and access for wheelchairs like ramps/elevators/single floor layout as well as restroom access.

-Bruxa Guerreira

I also want to add that indigenous religions are by definition not pagan or Wiccan. “Paganism” is a pretty huge umbrella with a lot of religions under it, but regardless of what definition you choose to use, indigenous religions are explicitly excluded, either due to a “non-continuous” clause or one of “and members of the religion self-identify as pagans.” Wicca is a specific religion under that umbrella, with its own set of religious practices and laws beyond just “ooh witchcraft.” Native American traditions in Wiccan and paganism do not exist. 

Cultural appropriation of indigenous religions is a massive issue within pagan, Wiccan, and witchcraft circles, and while I recognize that’s not your intent here, it’s something to be aware of while writing a Native American character in these communities.

-Mod T

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This is how I roll

(Photo by my wife Dani, modified by me using the GIMP)

Four days post-op now, and I’m starting to feel more like my normal self.  After some pretty scary experiences on crutches and painful but safer hopping about with a walker, I have a new best mechanical friend.

With this, I can let both legs (just not the bad foot) support my body weight and scoot myself around the house at close to a normal walking pace.  It doesn’t exactly turn on a dime, but it’s light enough to easily lift the front and swivel to get around a tight corner.  The basket lets me carry essentials (like that folding cane) without tying up my hands, and the brakes lock for easy mount/dismount or if I want to stand in one place, like at the kitchen counter.  Also, when I sit down, I can elevate the bad foot by setting it on the seat with the wheels locked.

And yeah, sometimes, when I’m on the vinyl floor, I just push with my right foot, let it roll, and think, “Wheeeeeeeeeee!!”  :^)

I am no longer an able-bodied person, and I am tired of the looks I get when I happen to get out of a taxi and stand to get into my wheelchair. I am tired of the judgement I feel when I’m using a stick or crutches. Can I manage a short distance? Some days yeah I can hobble around the corner to my Mom’s soon to be ex-residence without an aid, others I need it, sometimes I settle for a supportive arm from the guy I call Dad, and on the worst days I’m wheeled up there. And it’s not just from random people, doctors are equally as guilty.

“Oh it’ll pass” “You’re too young for anything to be wrong” “Why are you using a chair?” Because I happen to need one, genius. Or they insinuate that you’re over exaggerating your pain, somehow seeming to momentarily forget the number of babies and youngsters in hospitals everywhere with life-threatening illnesses, or the ones that already passed on because of them.

Yes I’m disabled, yes I’ve learned that pushing myself too much never ends well, and yes I honestly suck at keeping plans. I’m not trying to make any excuses, just being real with the world. I am sorry to the friends/family that I let down by breaking plans (past and future), but I’m too tired to feel guilty when I have to send “I’m sorry but..” texts. You think I want this life? Please, it’s an existence at best. I exist while you live, feel free to live some for me.

Sometimes you are 90 before you know it. Isn’t my walker sexy?? 🙇🏻😂♿

In most people’s minds, a mobility aid is a wheelchair, a mobility scooter or a guide dog – but our survey confirms that many people also use bicycles.

In fact, the majority of disabled cyclists (69% of our survey group) find cycling easier than walking and many use their cycle as a mobility aid. Cycling reduces strain on the joints, aids balance and alleviates breathing difficulties – but cycles are not legally recognised in the same way as wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

A Sad Truth About Dreams

You know how most people have dreams of flying through the air?

I have the same sorts of dreams, about running. I dream of having the wind whip through my hair as my legs carry me through the grass, through the forest, across the pavement. My lungs don’t scream in pain, my knees don’t hurt, my ankles don’t roll, I don’t pass out, and my legs don’t collapse. My body is strong and it carries me wherever I want to go, as fast as I want to go.

Do any other spoonies dream about the same thing?