The concept of a curb cut is elegant in its simplicity — it’s just a small ramp inserted at street corners or other logical places to allow wheelchair users, parents with strollers and other people who use wheels the ability to cross the street. Yet, for some reason, sometimes this simple elegant concept gets bungled. […]
New York Times’ Linda Yablonsky recently wrote this about the artist Chuck Close: “Close, who is 73, has been bound to a motorized wheelchair since 1988, when a spinal artery collapse caused near-total paralysis. That didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for either making art or collecting it, and other things as well …” Wheelchair bound since […]
My original assignment for this column was to write about life in a wheelchair in Los Angeles. I have strayed from this noble purpose because, a. I am in LA but not of LA, and, b. I have an eclectic mind, which is the same thing as scatter-brained. But, here is a paradox about LA […]
This time of year we’re bombarded with silly TV commercials trying to sell us even sillier gift ideas, ranging from Chia pets to underwear, potato chips and everything in between. This year, though, when I saw the ad for “the Clapper,” I thought, “hmm, that might actually be useful.” Wouldn’t it be a kick to […]
It feels like a cyber assault these last couple of days every time I signed into my email account and find countless, screaming offers for CYBER MONDAY DEALS! BIG DISCOUNTS! FREE SHIPPING! ONE-OF-A KIND SAVINGS! Whoa. How much online Christmas shopping can one person handle? As it turns out – quite a lot. But I […]
Several months ago at the Portland International Airport, in the midst of a routine patdown, a second uniformed TSA employee approached and told me I had tested positive for explosives. Me? Explosives? I knew it wasn’t my shoes because I tend not to ever wear them anymore, except when traveling. Could it be my underwear? […]
Some of these inventions for wheelchair users undoubtedly already exist, but I guarantee that some of them don’t (generally because they are outlandish or endearingly impractical), but each of them puts a spotlight on one of the small but troublesome dilemmas that plague my particular corner of the disability universe. I am guessing I am not completely alone. And the more small problems that get solved cheaply, easily and practically, the more time we disabled folk have left over for higher level functions.
The Wheelchair Front-Plow
A wide, V-shaped flexible plow that easily attaches to the front of your chair, like a snowplow but for light-duty use. Made of stiffened rubber or some durable, flexible but strong plastic, it would hug the ground and push all manner of objects in your path out of the way. It would have to be wide enough to direct items beyond the reach of your back wheels so you don’t crunch them on your way through. All those years of navigating a living room strewn with Lego pieces after the kids went to bed would have been a lot easier with this implement. A corollary design might have brushes, allowing you to sweep the floor like those drivable lawnmowers handle a field, and you would just make a long, systematic pass through your house to clean up.
The Back Hook Implant
If I become a hoarder, it won’t be my damn fault. You can blame it on sick children. The little runts pulled a fast one on me by moving from their raggedy old hospital into a shiny new one. And never did anyone stop for one minute to consider how this move would affect me. […]
Let’s face it: Most wheelchair users are way too nice. We all want to do the right thing, be independent, be strong, never ask for pity or a helping hand. That’s certainly admirable, if, say, your goal in life is for people to say glowing things about you at your funeral. Someone might even record […]
Imagine the employment rate among cripples is still as God-awful low as always. It hasn’t improved much in the two decades since the ADA was signed. I’m very surprised by this. As I watched the ADA signing ceremony on the White House lawn that glorious day in 1990, I was sure that employers across the […]