Letters October 2012

Great Information
I am just terrifically impressed with the information in this article! [“The Paralympics Come Full Circle,” August 2012]. I would love to see the Paralympics on television. I have never seen them. While watching the 2012 Olympic swimming, I asked my husband why the swimmers only have a bell to start. If there were a deaf swimmer, they should have a light that flashes with the bell. Could a disabled person, e.g. blind or deaf, be allowed to participate in the regular Olympics? If not, why not?
Charity B. Gourley
Santa Barbara, California

London Welcomes All
A superb article on the growth of the Paralympics. Here in the UK we look forward to welcoming the world’s Paralympians, and we hope it turns out to be an experience for all to remember fondly and cherish.
Peter Hickman
Coventry, Great Britain

Sleep Numbers?
We have been looking at a Sleep Number queen bed and have been told they work well for pressure sores [“Sleep Tight: Pressure-Free and Adaptive Beds,” August 2012]. Do you know anything about these beds?
Marlene Godsey
Stockton, California

EDITOR: To the best of our knowledge, while a Sleep Number bed may be comfortable and convenient, it has no special feature that protects against getting pressure sores.

Appalled by Bias
I am appalled by the lack of insight in Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s blog, “The Imperative to be Abled: The Rewalk Exoskeleton” [Crip Buzz, August 2012], especially for someone who is an activist for disability rights. Everyone is entitled to an opinion; however, when you misrepresent your personal grievance as a non-biased opinion, this is wrong and irresponsible. Cohen-Rottenberg has set back public awareness of people with disabilities into the Dark Ages. There is nothing wrong for someone who has a disability to challenge life and create awareness that they can overcome anything, even with a disability. Do you not think the Paralympians at the London Games didn’t ache with pain during their grueling training to go to the international games and bring public awareness of their accomplishments?

I sense Cohen-Rottenberg is opposed to new technology that will change the wheelchair [lifestyle]. There is no “public shaming of people with disabilities” when using the exoskeleton to achieve something purposeful in life. In fact, it brings positive public awareness that a tetraplegic engineer (inventor of ReWalk) decided to use technology to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities instead of making weapons and other materialistic items for money. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to use both exoskeleton devices (ReWalk and Ekso) for clinical research for close to a year now. Everyone who participated, including myself, has [experienced] incredible improvements in our quality of life and health — even regaining lost functions. I suggest that Cohen-Rottenberg should do her homework first before making erroneous and thoughtless comments against a technology that will change the lives of people with disabilities and public perceptions.
Robert Woo
New York, New York

ADA Doomed?
Is the ADA really doing what it promised 22 years ago? Is it relevant, or could we do better? “Reasonable accommodation” and “undue hardship” — are they undermining our rights? The ADA has been maligned, so why not try to improve upon it? My fear is the ADA is going to go down — it’s being cut to pieces slowly.
Marquita Doohan
Hawkinsville, Georgia

Need Adapted Jeans
I loved your information [“Dressed for Sitting,” February 2010], although none of it worked for my friend’s situation. She has MS and has to wear leg braces, and has limited use of one arm. It takes her forever to change clothes, which is annoying to her. Do you know of a place that may have jeans that have some kind of enclosure that you could open, slip the leg and brace into, and then close the material around the braces, while still looking nice? She hates having to give up her jeans and thinks wide legs are her only possibility.   Gina Losh
Elkins, West Virginia

Lyrica Info Surprising
I’ve been taking Lyrica for about a year and a half [“FDA Approves Lyrica for Neuropathic Pain,” September 2012 News], and yes, you feel the dizziness and drowsiness that you mentioned during the first days, but once your metabolism gets used to it, everything is OK.

I’m a little bit surprised to read that it can increase the risk of suicidal behavior. My doctor never told me about that.
Juana Gutierrez
Madero City, Mexico

Taxis are No Solution
There is a big problem with getting access to participate within our society, but I do not believe requiring taxis to be wheelchair accessible is the answer. Manual versus power chairs is part of the issue — if you use a manual chair, you generally can transfer on your own to the seat of a sedan used as a taxi. The chair can be folded by the driver and placed in the trunk. A power chair does not have this luxury and larger vehicles are needed. However, to limit an individual’s ability to participate in everyday functions by requiring 24-hour notice [Paratransit] is BS. [In effect] what is being stated [by NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission] is: “The disabled will be allowed out of their homes only after making arrangements a day ahead of time. They are not to experience last minute plans with visitors, or any other activities one may wish to enjoy that one just discovered.  They are to be subjected to limited participation, as was once done to slaves, and after slavery, prior to gaining recognition as individuals having the same status or rights as others within our society!”
Charles Bean
Eureka, California

Smoother Ride Soon?
Thanks for your humorous article [“Dream Chair,” August 2012 Bully Pulpit]. I would like to add another wrinkle to the shortcomings of wheelchairs, and that is the failure by the wheelchair industry to equip chairs with either springs or some sort of suspension system. As you surely know from your own experience, sitting in a wheelchair and going over an unexpected pebble can be a tooth-and-brain chattering experience. The worst are uneven cement plates on sidewalks! Do you think the industry will ever come up with a solution to make it a smoother ride?
Karl O. Koch
Souderton, Pennsylvania

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