Falling in Limbo – Selected Story

Reading time: 4 minutes

It’s not every morning I look in the mirror and wink at myself. I was feeling particularly great. I dressed up more than usual, great contrast to my average engineering outfit of pants and a t-shirt.

While I was living in Appleton, working at Kimberly-Clark, and a co-worker told me about an event going on at the local college. It was a book talk, the type of fireside chat an author might do when promoting a newly published book.

The author was Brad Smith, which sounds like the most average name ever, but he’s the president of Microsoft, which makes him someone that I want to listen to. I take any opportunity to be around people like him or the type of people that go to listen to him.

My colleague ended up not being able to go, so I had to go alone, which was fine because going alone places means that I can do more of my own thing.

I’m the type of person who always likes to have a plan, which can include winging-it and having no plan, but I plan for that. Now I have to plan a bit more because of being in a wheelchair. When I was signing up for this event – free for students – I emailed the event coordinator and mentioned that I’ll be in a wheelchair. She mailed back with instructions on where to park and where to go after.

Something worth highlighting is that this was an event free for students and that I am, but not of this school. I doubt they intended any student who was in the area to be able to attend for free, but while signing up online, it only asked about being a student and didn’t specify where.

I read through the instructions twice, washed behind my ears, and left early. If I’m not early, I’m late. Something can always go wrong, or an opportunity may arise, either way, I’d like to handle both without anxiety driven haste.

After I park, I head over to the building the talk will be at. It’s right next to a main road with a good bit of traffic. This is one of those campuses with building scattered around and mixed in with city streets and random buildings.

I go up to the main door, it opens, and I go in. But then there’s another set of doors right after, and right after that is a set of stairs. Nothing I can’t handle, just a few. I go to open the second door and it’s locked. Alright, so I go out and go around to the other side of the building and find another set of doors. Glass doors, so I can see through them and what I saw was just a bigger set of stairs just a meter after the doors. But I can see that at the top of the stairs and past another set of doors (double doors again) are people that look like helpers for the event.

I look to my right and see a ramp, I follow it with my eyes and discover that it leads to this building.

A benefit of living in America is the ADA, which means that every place has to be accessible. This is a public college, so it definitely has to be accessible, and I’m able to do a lot more than most people, so all I need is a sturdy handrail alongside some stairs and I can manage.

As soon as I make eye contact with the ramp, I see yellow caution tape blocking people from entering. I go over to inspect. The ramp goes up and then turns to the right, I can’t see past it, but from what I can see, the ramp looks fine. Smooth concrete all the way up.

I duck down and go into the danger zone. A lot of times people don’t clean up after themselves, and I reckoned that this was the same as when I drive down the road and see a “work zone ahead” sign, only to find a completed job and no construction.

I go up the ramp and turn right. The smooth concrete comes to an end, and the only thing left is a whales mouth ready to swallow me whole. I analyze it, hoping to think of a way that I could get around, after all, I can do anything.

Alas, I decide to turn around and figure out another way. As I’m coming down the ramp, I get to the caution tape and duck under it, but instead of bending forward, I get a rather silly and have some fun, I lean backward and limbo under the tape. It’s a bit lower than I can bend back because my backrest is too high. In my efforts, I tip myself back too far and then completely.

I made it under the tape, but I also found myself on the ground and out of the wheelchair. This was back when I didn’t wear the seatbelt.

I’m surprised no one from the road honked or even drove up onto the campus to help – a grandma would probably do something like that.

The chair didn’t fly out of reach, but it was on its side. I pulled it near me, grabbed the handrail from the ramp, and lifted myself back into the chair. And then put my seatbelt on.

That was probably the fastest I’ve ever had a fall and recover. I didn’t hesitate, I acted and got back up within a minute, probably faster. The first thing I checked was for any damage to my stunning outfit.

Poop Time Advice for Paraplegics

Reading time: 3 minutes



If you’re in a wheelchair and you have a “bowel program,” which means you go to the bathroom as we all do, then you may have had some sort of routine in or out of rehab.

While I was in rehab, I had to poop every morning, and if I wanted to switch to night I could, but it wasn’t easy. After reading my other article about routine, you may start thinking about when you should go to the bathroom.

If you’ve read all the words on this website, you may have read that I used to use a laxative when I was in rehab but then I realized I didn’t need it and I stopped. The unfortunate effect of that laxative was incontinence for the ensuing hours. Because of this, I wasn’t able to swim in rehab. A week after rehab, I fixed that problem and then swam the following summer. However, I still get rather gassy every now and then.

Personally, I always like to shower after I poop – clean up and do a bathroom routine type of thing.

For going to the bathroom, there are two main options. Going to the bathroom in the morning and going at night.

I’ll give you some pros and cons for each, since I’ve done them both.

For yourself, though, consider that your values will play a big role, meaning that what you care about more will determine what you do.

Morning

If you want to go in the morning:

  • You’ll need to wake up early if you go to work
  • You might be gassy or have incontinence during the day
  • If you didn’t finish all the way you may poop yourself mid-day
  • You’ll be getting dressed in new clothes for the day afterward that may get soiled
  • Eating food before will help get things moving, do you eat brekkie? And can you wake up to eat it before the bathroom?
  • Do you live alone? If not, you may have roommates that need to use the bathroom to brush and you can’t really take your sweet time because they have work or class
  • If you go to the gym or stand on leg braces, it might be helpful to do those before
  • Are you tired in the morning and just don’t feel up to it?
  • Do you like to shower in the morning (if you would shower after)

Arvo

It means afternoon.

(Some of these will apply only to college students).

  • Do you stay up late? Maybe you’ll be too tired
  • Do you party? This is effectively the same consequence as pooping before work
    • You may be gassy or have incontinence – not ideal for a party
  • If you do have incontinence, it’s good to go to bed afterward instead of going out during the day. Laying down on your stomach or side will help as well as being at home where you can take care of it
  • Is it better all around for your roommates to do this at night? (if everyone showers in the morning, it might be better to go at night)
  • After a day of eating and activity, it may be easier
  • Do you shower at night? (its easier to poop and shower in the same time slot, and showering after helps stay clean)

Case in point – you may end up trying both the morning and night bathroom routine, but now you have an idea of what to consider as the consequences of each, and there may be more, but this is a great start.


Immediate actionable items: Poop right now. In your pants. Do it, it’s liberating.

Summary: When getting out of rehab and considering your bathroom routine, you get to choose, for the most part, between morning and night. Here I simply give you a few things to consider for the morning and night. Do you party at night? Do you work in the morning?

Overdeliver: If you’re routine gets messed up, you may find yourself pooping at night if you missed it in the morning, if you have a good routine, your body will stick to it or at least be predictable enough so that you know you’ll need to be ready to rush to the bathroom in the arvo should you miss the morning poop. Or just wear a diaper, no shame in that.

Stop Caring What Other People Think About You in a Wheelchair

Reading time: 2 minutes

Seriously.

I don’t have this problem, but I’ve seen it. Here’s something I read everyday, followed by my logic for how I don’t have this issue.

“A [hu]man is about as big as the things that make [them]him angry”

Winston Churchill – Artist, Writer, Orator, former PM of the UK

If you live your life worrying what other people think about you, you’re as good as dead. I do whatever I want, whenever I want, within the confines of my own morals and goals. Some people really care what others think, that can sometimes be important, but not in this case.

You may or may not know, but I’m in college. I go out on campus and out to parties and do anything you’d expect from an average bloke. When I was at a party, people were telling me how cool it is for me to be there – I considered it no big deal. Most people in wheelchairs may shy away from a party for being in a wheelchair. I’ll be trying to ski this winter as well.

Some people in wheelchairs are so self-absorbed that they avoid doing things for the sake of people looking at them and having some thought about it. That’s no way to live.

Consider your last conversation, how did it go? How did you feel? Do you know how the other person felt? or do you remember more of what you said and what you were thinking during the conversation?

People, myself included, will listen for a little bit and then get distracted on what they think and are going to respond with.

It takes a considerable amount of time to gain meditative qualities of being present in the moment and being able to listen. So, if you said something silly, remember that you’re probably the only one who remembers – other people are too busy remembering the silly thing that they said!

The only perspective you truly experience is your own, for your entire life. So, without constant work, you’ll think about yourself a lot. It’s why being an good listener is hard, because people always focus on themselves rather than what that person is saying, or it’s their interpretation of what the person is saying and then thinking of a response.

If you’re in a wheelchair and do even a trivial amount day-to-day, people will think you’re awesome for it. I get praise for things wildly underrated as well as things that I would actually expect it for. But people always think it’s badass.

The truth is, there are many people in wheelchairs who have just given up on life. Although I accept my situation, I don’t actually accept it long term and I don’t accept the negatives. I’m using it as a launch pad into the next successful platform of my life. There are countless opportunities, especially today with skiing as an availability.

You wont ever know what people think, and you’re likely to be wrong if you guessed. Don’t guess and don’t care. Do what you want, and if you look a bit silly when you transfer into a kayak or need help getting into a helicopter, just own it – I did.

Throughout my life, I’ve seen many people trip right in front of me.
Publicly losing balance is one of the most embarrassing lay events to happen, and I don’t even really remember witnessing the events, I remember my perspective and feeling bad both for the person and for internally laughing, but I don’t actually remember the person. I wouldn’t recognize them if they kissed me (got up close).

Overall, most people will admire you. Even if they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to imagine they do.

And one more time for the cheap seats,

A man is about as big as the things that make him angry

Winston Churchill – Artist, Writer, Orator, former PM of the UK

Immediate actionable items: Stop caring what others think of you while doing things. Take a look at the “over deliver” section for my personal brainstorm of things to do TODAY.

Summary: people are thinking of themselves just as much as you are, and if you give it some conscious observation, you think about yourself a lot. Do whatever you want and holding back for the consideration of your ego is a waste of an amazing life.

Overdeliver:  Practice doing silly things and not caring what others think or do daring things. Go ski, bike, do a weird transfer, have a friend carry you along the beach, have a grandparent push you around town. Whatever you do, just don’t mind other’s opinions.

Paraplegic Gear/Tools of the Month: Baby Calves

Reading time: 2 minutes

I’ve talked before on how important it is to stretch, not explicitly, but sprinkled throughout other posts, such as How to Reduce Muscle Spasms for Paraplegics

If you took my advice, you came to the same heuristic conclusion – it matters. Stretching matters.

After not stretching for a while, or doing it wrong for a while (it’s possible), my legs will be much more tense, harder to move especially in the morning, though it does build up my muscles and tone.

Every morning as part of my routine, I stretch. I read while I do it because I like to be efficient. If I want to stretch throughout the day, it’s not as convenient because I’d either have to get on my bed or down to a yoga mat and I typically have full days.

Here’s what I’ve got for you. I discovered this while I was in post-rehab. Once I got back to college after staying in Shirley Ryan Ability Center, I went to see a physical therapist for the next few months.

BraceAbility Sleeping Stretch Boot (you don’t have to sleep to use it)

This is good for stretching calves, in fact that’s all it’s good for.
But maybe you can get creative.

I use it in two ways – stretching in the morning and stretching throughout the day.

The great thing about this is that you can be in a wheelchair, put this on, and stretch your calves (one at a time unless you buy two).

or

In the morning when I stretch my hamstrings, I have one leg out and my other leg’s ankle is resting just above the knee. It keeps my leg straight when I lean forward to stretch, but then my toes will point like in ballet or gymnastics.

I can either grab my foot and pull it back – a calf stretch that gets a bit tiring, keeps me from flipping pages, and then my hand smells like foot – or I place my foot in this (without strapping it down) and that keeps my foot upright.

This could also be good for nighttime use, though it could bruise or create pressure sores, so be cautious on how you wear it into the night. Wear it for a few hours and see what your foot looks like after and then make an executive decision.


Immediate actionable items: The only one I have is to buy this if you want to effectively stretch your calves. In fact, just stretch. Right now.

Summary: A calf stretcher boot.

Overdeliver:  If you want to stretch even more or stand up, you can get Knee-Ankle-Foot-Orthopedics (KAFOs), which are leg braces (what I’m wearing in the picture). I use them to stretch and stand – usually while studying, writing, or reading. Just don’t fall.

My Greatest Regret from Rehab

Reading time: 3 minutes

I created this website and my YouTube (which has admittedly been neglected) to help others. After creating my Instagram and documenting my journey, inspiring people, and any other impact I had, I decided that I could do more.

This website is made with people in rehab in my mind. Specifically, my past self since I know myself the most. When I think of topics to write about, I look to my life, my past and present and imagine what I wish I knew sooner or did differently. Though I love how I turned out and if given the chance, I wouldn’t change anything. But if someone sends you this or you find me somehow, and you’re in rehab, then hopefully you have the chance to speed up the process.

This is something I wish someone told me, and maybe someone did, I wish I heeded that advice. Read. Learn. Grow. I had been for a long time, but I really stepped it up once I started my first internship. So far, in 2020 at the time of writing, I have read more books this year than I have collectively beforehand. Probably about once a week or close to it.

When I was in rehab, it was four weeks, my mom stayed with me the entire time. I had my speaker with me playing music the entire time. It was quite hard for me to go without music. In retrospect, it probably kept me sane because I didn’t have much quiet time or downtime to get existential or depressed about my situation. And now, I just don’t because I’m past the time for that to happen. I like the non-stop, stuck-on-go lifestyle. No breaks, or very few, just constant growth, powered by curiosity and hunger.

And now that you have some insight, and if you’re in rehab (which means you definitely have downtime), I advise you to read. Audible – audio books – is my favorite, especially useful if you can’t move your arms. I listen at 1.6x speed, sometimes I read along if I have the book, and because it’s audio, I can do it while doing other things.

If you’re not a book person, why not podcasts? Documentaries? Join clubs and online meetings?

If you’re in rehab, you can use this time to get ahead, get interested in something new. Anything from mindfulness to HVAC systems to culinary arts to law.

If you have no control neck down and no major brain hindrances, then your mind and voice are very important and, especially today, you can really do anything. If you wanted to go into politics, you just need to hear, think, and talk.
You could become a programmer and use your voice to type code. Stephen Hawking was a great physicist and I believe he used only his cheek or something like that to control a computer to convey his thoughts and move. Imagine that, having a phenomenal and brilliant mind such as Stephen Hawking and having a communication obstacle. He still did it though, and the world is better for it.

Even in my childhood, I wish I had read more instead of play Minecraft. Though I actually didn’t play video games much at all and I still did other great things, A book every 2 months would’ve been good.

Get a kindle, you can read and listen together. Get Audible, which is what I use. They just released a feature where, if you’re an audible gold member, you have a huge selection of books that are included for free. My library went from 38 to 112.

Rehab, for me at least, was a break from life. It was a free month as I see it. I didn’t have school, I didn’t have work, I didn’t have any of the stress of daily life.

I woke up, I recovered, I worked hard, I was challenged (something I love), all my food was made and delivered, I was surrounded by lovely people who cared about me, I wrote, I met new people to come back home to, and I learned a lot about myself and the world.

It’s been non-stop ever since – going back to school, having an internship, a week later going to Australia, and now back to school where I am now.


Immediate actionable items: Well, get an audible account or kindle or kindle account or something like that. How much do you value investing in yourself and your growth? Or buy some books.

Summary: In rehab, my greatest regret was not doing more learning while I had the opportunity. I did do a lot and I wouldn’t change it, but I wish I fit it in somehow. Podcasts, books, online courses, etc.

Overdeliver:  If you get an Amazon prime account, and go on the kindle app or on the page, you’ll see some books that are included for prime members and some of them come with an audio that will go to your audible account.
In fact, with Amazon Prime, there are so many benefits and free features, such as music and streaming, that it’s very worth it. I love companies like Tesla or Amazon that overdeliver.

Why Hygiene is Important for Paraplegics

Reading time: 2 minutes

Well. The title says it all.

Hygiene is important. And there isn’t an excuse.

Have you ever talked to someone with mule breath, they smell a hockey locker room minus the body spray, maybe their teeth are ripe and yellow.

Not the greatest image for me to put in your head. Whatever type of person you thought of, you likely didn’t have high regard. What if I told you they were the CEO of a Fortune 10 company? That might change a lot of presumptions, but you’d think they would shower and brush in tiny little circles.

It’s a fact, and it won’t be changing anytime soon, that people judge within the first few seconds of meeting people. It starts with the shoes, actually. But it might begin with the breath so bad that it touches your bones.

Bad hygiene is ever more so bad if you’re in a wheelchair. There are already some negative stigmas, none that I know of but I’m sure there are some, so being a stinky person won’t make people want to help you more.

Another thing that people do, aside from judge you based on appearance, is to judge you based on history.

I’ve met some really awesome people, and when I meet someone else with the same name or some similarities, I’m more apt to like them.

The same goes for the opposite. If you’re in a wheelchair and have certain negative connotations, then when that person meets me, they will already have a pre-conceptualized stigma.

This is good to know because if you’re outside and someone says something mean to you (never happened to me, but I know it has happened to others), you know that it’s not actually you and that it’s likely just that someone in a wheelchair was mean to them or did something to give them a reason, whether logical or not, to dislike all people in wheelchairs.

This issue, the one above, has happened all over history, mostly with race, heritage, or culture.

There are not many excuses for having bad hygiene. There are reasons, such as a literal inability to keep good hygiene, but you’d have to at least try a few times, and with help if necessary, to deem it unfeasible.

If you can’t move your arms, then it’s possible that you have someone to help you with certain things, they could likely help you with hygiene as well – smelling good and looking good.

The point is that it feels good to feel healthy. When you dress up well, shower, brush, and put on deodorant, it’ll make for a good first impression and have you feeling alive. When I start to get gross from camping for a few nights, I don’t feel as energetic or charming as I typically do.


Immediate actionable items: Clean up. Get a routine or start doing something now.

Summary: Good hygiene is important for you and others. To make a good impression, to have others want to help you and not think lowly of you. And to make yourself feel good.

Overdeliver:  If the times are dire, you can always get some wet wipes and clean yourself off that way. Or a sponge bath.

Why Pants Matter for Paraplegics

Reading time: 3 minutes

You may not have thought that you would need to give much of any thought to the pants you buy, but here I am writing about it because there is some thought, more than style, that paraplegics should have when buying pants.

Here’s the thing, and this will we fairly quick, it comes down to just a few things, personal sensibility, potential effect, and style.

What we’re looking at in pants, and actually socks and shoes as well, are the seams and high contact points. If you’ve ever worn tight clothes or taken a nap and had your face on some wrinkles in the pillow sheet, then you’ll know the effect of seams and other things such as back pockets.

When you sit down practically the entire day in a pair of corduroys, you may find later that night to have stripes all along your legs where they were touching the seat.

That may be okay for a few times or for certain cases, but in general, those in wheelchairs should have a keen eye for the construct of pants in order to avoid anything uneven.

The main reason is that this could cause a pressure sore. When I wear socks, they’re compression socks, and they leave marks, so I have to either adjust them throughout the day or make sure to take them off early in the day. I’ll talk more about socks later. Be aware of creases in your pants and avoid letting them bunch up beneath you.

Depending on your level of sensitivity, you may find through experience that certain pants are uncomfortable. I have enough feeling that I can tell when my cushion needs to be blown up, deflated, or the pressure needs to be distributed differently. Along with that, I can tell if my pants are the right or wrong kind.

For me, and probably for you, even if you don’t have feeling, I aim for smoother pants, with either no back pockets or back pockets that are in the pants (like chinos) and not attached to the back like they are for jeans. Even chinos have a button, so I’ll always aim for pants with no back pockets. It is possible to take off the button if it really bothers you and you really like the pants.

I was inspired to write about this when I wore a pair of corduroys and felt terribly uncomfortable all day because of both the lines and the external back pocket.

Most pants have the main stitching on the sides, but if for some reason the seams are in the center of the thigh on both sides, I advise avoiding those.

One last thing to think of is how you wear the pants. My waist is rather small, about a 27 or 26 maybe, and I used to have monstrous legs, which gave me issues with pants, but now my problem is finding pants that won’t fall down when I readjust or do a transfer. If the waistband is elastic, then I’m usually fine, but if not, then I have a belt.

What you should be careful of, especially if you don’t have much sensitivity, is when you have your pants on tight, they will likely be tight around the booty and make things uncomfortable. Because pants are mostly designed for walking and standing, they typically come down a bit in the back when people sit. This is how the unfortunate event of buttcracks showing happens. And if you look at a belt of anyone who wears one for a while, the belt tends to curve in the middle from when the pants move down when people sit.

So, because you’re sitting, don’t have the pants too tight such that they cause issues when sitting.

Recap. When buying pants, look at the areas between you and the chair, avoid extrusions and beck pockets, make sure the seams aren’t huge or in a bad place, and don’t wear a belt too tight that causes them to hike up. Elastic waistbands are nice.

And now that you know some things to avoid in pants, what should we look for?

Well, I like pants that have front pockets that zip shut, usually found in athletic pants, its useful because it keeps things from falling out like they might otherwise. The side pockets are easier to access than the ones that have the opening parallel with the waistband.

It’s good to have at least two pairs of athletic pants and dressier pants. Another thing to look at in athletic pants is how warm they are for the winter, sometimes I’ll layer my lululemon joggers under my pants since it gets rather cold where I live. If you find yourself in an outdoor situation, maybe look into buying water repellent or waterproof pants.

You’ll see a post soon of the best pants I found.


Immediate actionable items: If you’re in a wheelchair, check which pants of yours are likely to not be good for you and update your selection to be better for you and your body. If you’re not in a wheelchair, you’re probably fine.

Summary: Pants can cause issues if you’re in a wheelchair because you sit down a lot. When buying pants or choosing which pair to wear today, there are things to consider that filter out certain pants and bring new ones to your closet.

Overdeliver:  When it comes to pants, or shorts, having them too stretchy can be an issue. If you’ve seen the youtube video where I show you how to put on pants, you’ll see how it could be problematic because if they’re too stretchy they wouldn’t pull on as easily and would just stretch.

Why Routine Is Important for Paraplegics

Reading time: 5 minutes

When I was in rehab after my surgery, it was in-house. I proudly stayed at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago, which is not where chai tea was invented, but they do have yoga at Millennium Park.

I had my own room and accrued a lot more than I suspected. I basically moved in. I was also sent heaps of socks and hats from lovely fans on Instagram. I was there for four weeks, but it felt a lot longer, yet it’s now been over a year since I left rehab.

While I was at Shirley Ryan – rehab for short – I was put into a routine. Now, there are many books about habits and routines and how important they are, which is the foundation this article will be built on, but we’ll be talking about what it means to have a routine for someone in a wheelchair, and the importance of it.

The routine I was put into was on many levels. I had my personal routines that I held myself to, such as brushing my teeth at night, writing about my day every night, doing schoolwork because I started my next semmy at school, and reading.

The routines from rehab were going to the bathroom, throughout the day and at night, and in the beginning, I was woken up at 4am to go to the bathroom but that stopped soon. I had to drink water throughout the day – helping me heal – and I ate at the same times. I got to choose my meals, but I eventually found the ones I liked the most and stuck with those.

I also had some vitamins and medication that I took regularly. I had my blood drawn a few times, but not enough to count as a routine.

Each day in the morning I would be given my schedule for the day, it would say when and with who I have a physio session or some event. I requested the maximum amount of physio and whenever another person in rehab had to cancel a session, I was the first one called up to the plate and I aim for the stands.

Routine is specifically important for people in wheelchairs, paraplegic, quadriplegic, or anything else, because we have to know ourselves a lot more than the next person over.

If a certain food presages, we really need to know. We need to eat the healthiest foods for our bodies to heal as much as it can.

Athletes, the extreme and best, will typically do this. They have a diet they follow – the food and liquid intake and timing-  which leads them to have a bathroom routine. They will have a time for bed and waking up. They will structure their day around that because their body (depending on what athlete I guess) is their most important part and is everything for their sport.

When bodybuilder cut down for competitions, something I’ve done many times, every gram and ounce of food and water is measured and it’s all for the body to react to predictably.

If you eat a certain brekkie that’s both healthy and eaten at a certain time, you will know that you’re contributing to your health and a predictably timed poop, that is if you do the same for all your meals and drinks.

If you go to the gym, which also may contribute to pooping, then going at the same time will help with body predictability.

Why is this body predictability actually useful? Having a routine is useful when you have it and when you break it.

When I had my routine, which was built within four weeks, I was peeing at 4am, or at the least, right before bed and then again early morning.

When I left rehab and went home, I knew nothing about how effective and embedded my routine had become.

On my first night home, or one of the nights early on, I woke up peeing in the bed. A good thing to know that my bladder won’t explode, but a bad thing that I had my then-girlfriend and two foam mattress toppers with me.

If I were aware of my routine, I’d know exactly when my body would want, rather, need to go to the bathroom.

If you’re able to get a routine, and it’s very likely you can, then you’ll know when your body needs to pee or anything like that and it will help with structuring your day. If you have a routine to poop every other day, then you can plan a one-night camping trip on the night you don’t poop. Having routines like the examples above enable you to be certain (to a degree) about what your body will do, also, because you may know that you poop at 7:26pm, you can get in tune with your body and listen for any signs. In the event that you do something danger zone and fall out of the routine, you’ll then know the language of your body and the signs for when you need to poop.

I was with a good friend of mine sailing on lake Michigan, we went to a restaurant after for some drinks and I told him that I was going to need to use his bathroom as soon as we got back to his place.

A few seconds later and I realized that there was no such time.

I excused myself by saying, I’m gonna have to shit here man, and headed to the bathroom. I went into the stall, yanked my pants down, got over the toilet, and dropped the kids off at the pool. I got my pants back on, which is fairly easy, but hard enough that sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just went around without them, I did put them on though and then went back to the table.

Only about 9 minutes, maybe less, had passed. Most of it was the pants coming on and off.

If you don’t know how to listen to your body, you should probably wear a diaper. I wear them sometimes. Usually at a party where I may not be able to go to the bathroom or maybe I run out of catheters from peeing so much, or on an airplane where getting to the bathroom isn’t really a possibility, or if I’m ill, or if all my underwear is dirty and I need something to wear.

Having a routine is important and I made my case.

Here’s the take-out version.

If you have a routine, you’ll know when you’ve broken it and can prepare, you can also follow your routine and structure your day around it and without surprises.

When you do break your routine, which will happen if you are doing lots of cool things or something unexpected happens, be prepared for your routine not to break. If you know you’ll be busy at 12:29pm and that’s when you pee, then wear a diaper or find a way to pee within a few minutes of that time, because your body will do it.


Immediate actionable items: Figure out what you can put into a routine. Diet? Exercise time? Bathroom? Sleep? Anything.

Summary: Routines are important for you to know about your body and have certainty. With a good routine, you’ll be certain for when you’ll have to pee if you have a routine of drinking water or anything else. You’ll learn how your body reacts and learn your language. If you break your routine, you’ll

Overdeliver:  When you have a diet and exercise routine, you’ll be able to diagnose illness a lot better. There have more occurrences than I’d like of me having a bad reaction to food. Mainly the act of it going through me without much of any digestion, and sometimes regurgitation. But I was able to factor out the food in my routine and consider anything that I’ve added to my diet and stop eating it and see if my illness ends.

Scat

Paraplegic Gear/Tools of the Month: Car Cushion

Reading time: a few

Your wheelchair seat is made for long term seating, hopefully.

Other seats are not. That’s the issue.

What to do?

Specifically, what to do in a car?

I’ve done extensive research and found a good seat at a good price. It makes any drive a lot more bearable.

This is the answer.

SUNFICON Inflatable Air Seat Cushions

I don’t recommend the color black, it’ll be hot in your car in the summer. Mine is grey.


Immediate actionable items: Buy this, or something similar for a seat in your car.

Summary: A cushion for your car.

Overdeliver:  This can double as a cushion for dire times, or on other seats that aren’t cushioned.

Cautionary Summer Heat for Paraplegics

Reading time: 2.5 minutes

In the summer, the sun is a scorcher and we all know that. If you don’t live somewhere where the heat gets cranked up, then this is just a little bit of knowledge for you. If you live anywhere that the sun cooks, this is important, especially if you haven’t experienced a summer in a wheelchair.

I was in Australia during their summer and right now I’m in the US and having almost equally hot days. I was laying out on my pool deck getting sun kissed and I had my chair over my face. I had my phone hanging up under my seat playing an audiobook and I was in relax mode.

I also had a towel on the deck under my legs as well as a patio chair cushion under my hips – the towel so that my feet wouldn’t be on the hot ground and the cushion so that I would be comfortable. In moving the chair from where it was to cover my face, the towel that I had on it fell off and I didn’t know. I had brought a white towel with me to set on my chair to keep it from getting too hot.

Likely, your chair, seat, and backrest are all black. Mine are. It keeps it from looking dirty, sure. Under the sun is no place for a chair that absorbs heat. Especially for someone who might not have feeling, getting burned by sitting on a hot seat or backrest, or burning your feet on a hot metal footplate is among the top three worst things you could have happen.

I have gotten burned before. It was my footplate, hot metal and the skin on my big toe clashed, and the heat won.

When I got up after listening to a few chapters of my audiobook, I realized the white towel that I had placed on the wheelchair had fallen off. I realized too late that the towel had fallen off and saw that my seat, which is both black and air inflated, was looking juiced up. I immediately open the airflow otherwise it would’ve popped. That has happened to me before as well, my chair popped a hole after the heat. Luckily I still have the seat under warranty and that was only like four or five months after rehab.

Even while I’m in the wheelchair, any part that isn’t covered by me will get hot and I then have to be careful not to touch it. When I go outside in the heat, even if my chair never saw the light of sun, the heat still inflates it.

This is my experience and the lessons are these, when your wheelchair is in the sun, cover it up or put something on it before you go to sit in it, otherwise a burn may ensue. Pay attention to the footplate and the heat of it, maybe even paint it white or silver (mine is black). When in the heat or going through any temperature change, understand that your air inflated seat will change pressure and you’ll need to be keen on observing the change and adjust accordingly.


Immediate actionable items: Check the heat of things with the back of your hand or inside of your wrist where the temperature sensitivity is rather acute and judge for yourself whether or not it’s safe to touch, sit, or anything else. Maybe even buy some lighter color items to lay over your wheelchair seat or backrest, etc.

Summary: Instead of you learning from experience that warm weather makes an air inflated seat pop or that it can make parts of a wheelchair so hot you burn yourself, you can learn that here and take the lessons with you all the same.

Overdeliver:  If you’re in a wheelchair and your backrest is a dark color and has any level of cushioning (mine has too much), then it can be both hot and cause you to sweat. Find or buy a white dry fit shirt or cloth to put over the backrest to mitigate the effects of heat.