Roll right up and come right in, ladies and gents, we’ve got big shots galore this month. We’ve got eye-popping movie stars and Eye-talian rock stars, world-class athletes and cold-facts activists. We’ve got the only openly quadriplegic recovering alcoholic conservative political candidate in captivity, and the second largest sporting event on earth. We’ve got Fonzi, Dangling and Squirt, and Jerry Lewis to boot.
No celebration would be complete without a word from the guest of honor. Here is an excerpt from a speech, the 25th annual John Young Lecture–The Conquest of the Ordinary: Sermonettes from a Second Life–given by Barry Corbet at Craig Hospital on June 1, 2001. Picture this. It’s five in the morning. Your attendant hasn’t […]
In the beginning was the wheelchair. It had a hard wicker or board seat, and maybe a towel to soak up our incontinence while we waited for progressive conditions, pressure sores or failing kidneys to abbreviate our lives. I’m guessing now, but the rubber donut probably came next, then foam and the BBD, the first […]
After all the discussion, suicide remains a personal matter. Individuals, not organizations, commit suicide. We shouldn’t moralize or psychologize after the fact.
In 1993 Phil Simmons was teaching at a small Midwestern college. He was 35 years old, married, on the fast track to tenure and deferring his lifelong spiritual quest to meet the demands of the academic life. It was what college professors do. That year also brought him a diagnosis of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. […]
You get out of rehab, and you’re a flash on wheels. But you’re no fool–you know that pressure sores can become a problem so you use the best cushions money can buy and you do your weight shifts religiously. Ten or 20 years later, you’ve got your first sore. You nurse it. You spend a […]
The parks have always been my very own playgrounds. Growing up in British Columbia, I escaped childhood to the provincial parks, playing in Garibaldi, working in Manning. My parents exposed me to many of them, and they made sure I knew they were special. But from the age of 13, I had certain knowledge that […]
What happens late at night in smoke-filled basement rooms and requires you to entertain drunk or hostile crowds and tell them things you’d never tell your mother? Stand-up comedy, of course. Now what if you have to be lifted onto the stage, in full view of the people you want to entertain? What if you’ve […]
Craig Hospital, in Englewood, Colo., is a spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility, so there’s nothing unusual about seeing people using wheelchairs around the neighborhood. But on this early evening, their meanderings take on a discernible pattern. Wheelers, many with helpers pushing, are crossing the streets, lining the sidewalks. The movement is away from the bright-hot […]
I first met Lorenzo through his 1984 book, The Cripple Liberation Front Marching Band Blues. It was lyrical and angry as hell and not at all fit for polite society. I loved it. Meeting him in the flesh was quite different. It was in 1991, in the small town in Oaxaca where he spends his […]