Letters: May 2014

Return is Ongoing
Reading Jessica Harthcock’s story [“The High Costs of Walking,” March 2014] was totally amazing. We are also from Indiana and my son Fred goes to Next Steps in Chicago. He was diagnosed as an incomplete quad.  Return is still ongoing even though it has been eight years. He is now 47. His commitment to walk has kept us all involved to see this happen. I tried to contact Jessica through her website but for some reason cannot connect. Would like to let her know how amazing she is to share her story!
Helen Kralovansky
Hebron, Indiana

Time to Reduce Costs
It’s time to reduce the costs, so everyone with a spinal cord injury can benefit. The benefits are immense. I used crutches for years, now a powerchair. Fifty-three years with an SCI makes me understand the need for benefits for all.
James Monroe
Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Bound” to Chair?
Recently a local talk radio station posted a story on their web page using that term [“wheelchair bound”] to describe the person the story was about [“Say What? Wheelchair Advocate Writes ‘Wheelchair Bound’ in HuffPo,” March 14 blog by Bob Vogel]. This term annoys me so much that I posted a reply to the reporter asking them to stop using the term and provided the correct alternatives.

However, I once did a casual survey a few years ago of disabled members of an online support website and bulletin board, and the majority of the replies did not have an issue with this term.

Early in my injury I was told repeatedly that I would walk again. That was, only with the use of a cumbersome and awkward leg brace and a walker. After weeks of physical therapy with the brace, I took it home and began using it by myself. I used it for one or two days and then tossed it in the back of my closet. “Walking” in this manner wasn’t walking at all. I didn’t feel safe. I couldn’t do anything around my house or carry anything and it was slow. I made the decision that was right for me and decided that a wheelchair gave me more freedom and confidence than the doctors’ and physical therapists’ version of walking. They understood and accepted my decision, but my family members didn’t, and they gave me a hard time for a while about it.

I am not bound or tied to my wheelchair. I have gotten out of my wheelchair and ridden jet skis, gone trail riding on horseback and toured the California coast on a motorcycle. Many other wheelchair users have accomplished greater adventures than that, and I am always inspired by their strength and courage to challenge themselves.
Holly Bercik
Via newmobility.com

Wheelchair Enabled
“Wheelchair bound” always sounds to me like I’m sitting in my chair with ropes tying me down so I can’t go anywhere. My doctor and I had a discussion last week about the term because of insurance papers he had to fill out (after 21 years in a chair, why?). He used “wheelchair bound” and since we are pretty close, I said I’m not wheelchair bound, call me wheelchair enabled or wheelchair user. He said he hadn’t thought about it that way, but in the future he would remember. Trouble is, he mostly deals with patients over 75 years old. Not me. I’m much younger, sorta.
Cindy McLeroy
Via newmobility.com

Kudos to Mike Ervin
I have been getting NEW MOBILITY magazine for about six months now, even though I’ve been a paraplegic for 23 years, and I just have to say I absolutely love it! I wish I had been getting it the whole time. It’s full of very helpful information, but most importantly, I feel more empowered with every issue I get. I especially enjoy the funny, edgy pieces by Mike Ervin [“Not Crippled Enough?” February 2014]. Please tell him to keep up the great work.
Kathy Riepenhoff
Summerfield, North Carolina

Bravo, Wheelchair Models
I’m so happy Miss Wheelchair New York 2012 [Danielle Sheypuk] is getting so much attention for her appearance during New York Fashion Week [“First Wheelchair User Model at New York Fashion,” Feb. 14 2014 blog by Tiffiny Carlson]. However, to truly analyze the importance of her presence at NYFW, we must keep in mind that the first Roll Models donned the stage at NYFW February 2007. There were four models who wore designer clothing and wheelchair accessories by Nicole Miller, Zang Toi, Kimora Simmons and others.
Stephanie Thomas
Via Facebook

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