What’s your best DIY accessible fix?Jul 27 07:11
Facing hurdles is like breathing air when you’re disabled. Nearly every second of everyday you face them. Naturally, you get pretty deft at overcoming them. I’ll fantasize I’m a version of MacGyver as I figure out how to pick up cans using a grocery bag, or use a broom to get my reacher out from under my bed. Woo green beans success! Humans are built for finding solutions, which means yes, people with disabilities pretty much rule at it.
When I was first injured, one of the first things I found a work-a-round for was putting on mascara. I found my mouth was the next best thing to a working hand. So I began holding the tube in my mouth as I use the wand on my eyelashes. And perhaps the most obvious barrier when you can’t walk: Steps. So many curbs w/o curbcuts in this world, so many staircases…ug. You always have to be aware of your surroundings, where you’re going. No wonder the stair climbing wheelchairs was invented (and then sadly taken off the market). We’re always on: What’s next to overcome?
The recent news story about Dmitry Bibikow, a paraplegic from Russia, has truly gone above and beyond what I’ve ever figured out. I once knew a paraplegic in Texas who built a lift system for his home, but this 5th floor contraption is insane. Dmitry created an exterior lift system outside of his 5th floor apartment because like most buildings in Russia, it was not wheelchair accessible. He waited 5 years for the promised elevator to arrive, which of course never came (grumble Russia grumble). One can only handle waiting for so long (read more about Dmitry's lift system here).
Imagine not being able to leave your own home by your own volition? I know as I write this there are millions of people with disabilities around the globe who are stuck in their homes. Even here in the US this is a widespread problem. Making accessible homes isn’t cheap. And accidents, ie. disability, happens. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. But waiting for a ray of hope to come? How long would you wait?
Dmitry got sick of waiting. And got it done, MacGyver-style.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.