wheelchair Socks

Wheelchair Socks

Today, Dr. Eugene Emmer, owner of RehaDesign Wheelchair Accessories announced the launch of ‘Wheelchair Socks’ an innovative cover for wheelchair casters, the small front wheels on wheelchairs. The launch of Wheelchair Socks comes after years of requests from wheelchair users.

RehaDesign offers three types of wheelchair tire covers for manual wheelchairs. Wheelchair Slippers cover the big rear wheels. Mud Eaters also cover the rear wheels but are made from water resistant neoprene. The new product, Wheelchair Socks are the first covers designed for the small front casters.

Wheelchair Socks

Wheelchair Socks and Slippers

Wheelchair Socks and Slippers

Dr. Emmer said: “For a decade we have sold RehaDesign Wheelchair Slipper covers for rear wheelchair tires. Wheelchair users have told us that they appreciate that Wheelchair Slippers help to keep their floors clean from dirt and free from black tire marks. But for many years wheelchair users have demanded a solution for the front casters too. Until now, we have always given the disappointing answer that it was impossible to cover casters due to the way the caster is mounted on the wheelchair”.

Dr Emmer explained, “Last year after receiving an angry email from a disappointed customer who could not see the point of covering the back wheels and leaving the front wheels uncovered, I had a Eureka moment. In the middle of the night, I woke up and traced out a pattern for a new design. After a few modifications to the new design, ‘Wheelchair Socks’ were born. Wheelchair Socks require more precise and elaborate cutting and final sewing than Wheelchair Slippers do because they must fit the casters precisely. But like Wheelchair Slippers they solve the annoying problem that all wheelchair users have – they help keep floors and carpets clean and protected from damage. The impossible is now possible.”

Wheelchair Socks

Wheelchair Socks

Wheelchair Socks

When asked about the names “Wheelchair Slippers” and “Wheelchair Socks”, Dr Emmer explained: When able bodied people come home, many put on slippers or take off their shoes and wear socks in order to prevent tracking outside dirt and germs throughout the house. Now wheelchair users can use their Wheelchair Slippers and Wheelchair Socks in order to keep prevent tracking dirt and germs throughout the house. In addition, Wheelchair Socks and Wheelchair Slippers will help prevent damage and tire marks to floors and carpets.

Like Wheelchair Slippers, Wheelchair Socks feature a special fabric with a lining that grips to the wheels to prevent slippage. The new specially designed closure makes it possible for wheelchair users to quickly cover the caster wheels while sitting inside or outside of the wheelchair. Like Wheelchair Slippers, Wheelchair Socks are machine washable. Wheelchair Socks’ unique design is pending patent approval in the USA and is now being submitted in several other countries.

About RehaDesign Wheelchair Accessories

RehaDesign is an innovative brand of wheelchair accessories, designed in Europe but distributed worldwide via the www.RehaDesign.com website, Amazon and via a network of independent dealers. Wheelchair dealers interested in joining the RehaDesign network are encouraged to contact Dr. Emmer for more information.

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wheelchair-lovers-hands

Quadriplegic Love Lasts

Quadriplegic love lasts and I was about to find out just how long. It was May10th 1999 and I had only been working as a taxi driver for a few days when at my local rank several drivers wandered over to introduce themselves. Shortly afterwards the passenger door of my car opened and a man got in. “Hi, I’m Steve, hope you are settling in ok.” I looked into the sexiest blue eye’s I had ever seen and fell in love at first sight. Steve was flirty and easy to talk to. After chatting for a while he gave me his phone number and told me to call him anytime, if I needed anything, or even if I didn’t. He said we should grab a coffee back at the garage where everyone went once the night’s work was finished.

There was just one problem. I was married and so was he. Neither of us happily, as it turned out. Additionally some weeks later I discovered I was pregnant. My husband was a violent man who thought nothing of repeatedly raping me. On top of that Steve was already seeing a girl. None of this stopped us growing closer and spending time together whenever we could. Long after everyone else had drifted home from the garage Steve and I would still be there talking. While at work he would look out for me by removing drunk passenger’s from my car if he didn’t think I would be able to deal with them, and was just generally my all round protector.

wheelchair taxi

I knew that our feelings for each other were growing stronger. One night we happened to pull into the garage at the same time to fuel up during a shift. We went in to pay for our fuel and walked out onto the forecourt together. As I went to walk towards my car, he grabbed my hand, pulled me into his arms, and kissed me. I could feel the heat from his body as I surrendered completely to the embrace. In that instant, I knew the feeling’s I had for him were reciprocated.

Steve had to travel 150 miles to work and stayed with family, or friends in the area. A few times he even stayed with my husband and I. As I mostly keep my marital problems to myself it wasn’t until years later Steve would come to tell me he always had a bad feeling about my husband. He knew something was not right between us and could see there was no love.

Steve’s own marriage was in bad shape. During work one night he picked up Kathy, an old girlfriend from his teenage years. He had pretty much separated from his wife so began dating her. As soon as the relationship began he realized it was not going to work. He wanted out but was worried about hurting her as Kathy was in a job that had a time limit on it and she was clinging to him as a savior.

The Game Plan

I took a phone call late one night towards the end of August. “Sarah, are you busy babe? I need to talk to you. It’s kind of urgent.” I replied, “No Steve, I’m at a rank and it is dead quiet. Where shall I meet you?” “Garage, fifteen minutes.” was the reply. I was there in ten, parked my car and got into his. He drove us out of town to a quiet area and began to talk.

Steve explained how he wasn’t sorry about the fling with Kathy, as he had ended his marriage, and that he missed his two son’s. He felt things with Kathy were going nowhere but she kept talking about their future. He wanted out and didn’t know how. I told him there was no easy way and pointed out how during the fling he had neglected work and his friends. He needed to get a grip on things and the relationship would naturally fizzle out. I think deep down we both knew the real reason it wasn’t working out with Kathy.

We talked for several hours that night. Steve knew the thing with Kathy had to end, he knew what he wanted, and I knew what I wanted too. I would have to end my, very unhappy marriage, and try to escape it to be free. Steve was the first person to feel the baby I was carrying move in my belly, everyone assumed it was his, and that we were already seeing each other. Someone had told his estranged wife we already were, but we didn’t know who.

Steve started working more, and things began to get back to normal. He was desperately trying to extract himself from Kathy’s grasp but she kept telling him she would fall apart if he left. He struggled with the guilt, and his ever increasing feelings for me. On the 21st of September, it was Steve’s older brother Mark’s birthday. Kathy, Mark and his girlfriend Louise, plus another driver and his girlfriend all went out to a local pub/club. I drove them to the venue.

No More Secrets

As they got out of my car Steve said I should get there 20 minutes earlier than they had asked me too, and text him when I got outside. So I did, and two minutes after I sent the text, Steve came outside alone and got into the front seat. He pulled me into his arms, kissed me passionately, and said to me, “Right, I’m going to tell her it’s over, tonight, I can’t take it anymore. Sarah, it’s you I want, and if I have been reading this right, I know you feel the same.” I looked at him, “Steve, you know I do, I just didn’t know if I should say anything.”

We did everything but make love right there in the car. Only because there wasn’t time, I wish there had been, no one had ever made me respond the way he did that night without actually having sex. I had never wanted someone so much in my life. He wasn’t put off by me being pregnant. He told me I was incredibly sexy, and he wanted me, so badly, but he had to end it with Kathy first. We arranged to meet for breakfast/lunch the following day. I figured I would tell him everything about my marriage then, and how scared I was of my husband.

I dropped everyone off home, Steve and Kathy last. I got out of the car to say goodnight and he hugged me like he never wanted to let me go. I saw the realization on Kathy’s face, she knew what was coming, and she knew why. She was slim, kind of pretty, younger than me, and a professional stripper. She knew she was going to lose Steve to a married, pregnant, taxi driver. It had been raining heavily on and off most of the night, so after getting me to promise I would drive home safely, and me telling him not to do anything stupid, he promised to call me the next day.

I drove home to my very drunk and unpredictable husband. He was still awake when I arrived. He looked up at me from his chair, “Dropped your lover and his bird off have we?” I looked at him, “George, it’s over, I don’t love you. I want a divorce. Steve isn’t my lover but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t lie about how I feel and I don’t want to. I want a divorce because I want to be with Steve and he wants to be with me. I’m sorry, but there it is.” He freaked out, “I knew it, you’re fucking him aren’t you, that baby is his, isn’t it, that bastard slept in my house, drank beer with me, and all along you and him were fucking each other behind my back! Well, he can have you, I don’t want you, after he’s had you, dirty little slut!.” And with that he stamped off to bed, after about half an hour I followed him, and slept, not very well.

The Accident

At 7.45am my mobile phone was ringing. I woke to a voice on the other end asking who I was, and explaining, “This is Paul, Mark’s twin brother, where is he, it’s urgent.” Fear gripped me. I knew something bad had happened to Steve. “What’s happened, its Steve isn’t it. Tell me what’s happened!” His reply will never leave me as long as I live. “Yes, he’s been in a car crash, it’s not looking good. I need you to find Mark and get him to hospital quickly, may not be much time, I’ll keep ringing around, just get there quick, and safely, ok?”

tetraplegic crash

I was dressed in a shot, my heart pounding, crying and praying to who I don’t know. George woke up, I told him what had happened, told him I was going to the hospital and I would be as long as it took. He watched me in silence as I finished dressing and ran out of the bedroom.

When I arrived at Mark’s house he was waiting for me. “It’s all my fault, I told him he had to move his car. It was across my driveway. He was driving that stupid bloody TVR of Kathy’s. I think they had a row, about you. He’s in love with you isn’t he Sarah?” I just looked at him with tear’s pouring down my face and nodded. “I’ll drive, Sarah you are in no fit state love.” I just totally disintegrated. Louise put her arms around me as I sobbed uncontrollably, and we got into the back of my car. She held me tightly as I wept on the way to the hospital.

On arrival at the intensive care unit of our local hospital we were informed Kathy had died instantly in the crash. The car had hit a massive puddle and slammed into a large oak tree at about fifty mph. She was not wearing a seat belt. We were not allowed in to see Steve. They were too busy trying to stabilize him, so we waited… and waited.

Paul and Mark talked in low voices in the corner. I heard my name mentioned, and Paul say that I should go home, as I was six months pregnant, and they were worried that it was all too much for me. I walked over to them, “I’m not leaving, I’m staying. I want to see him. He needs to know I’m here.” Glancing at Paul, “Does he know, Mark?” Paul looked at me, “Yes, I know, we all knew before he even admitted it to himself. For the last four months all Steve has talked about is you Sarah. Of course I knew, he’s my baby brother after all.”

After what seemed like years, and about a million cups of strong sweet tea, a nurse came to us and asked who was first. Paul and Mark both indicated me, and she asked me to follow her. I went into a bay with four beds. Steve lay in the furthest from the door on the right. His neck brace still on, lines and tubes everywhere, and surrounded by machines. She told me he was heavily sedated but would hear me and know I was there.

She found me a chair but I stood there, next to his bed, more tears came. “Oh Steve, I told you not to do anything stupid and you didn’t listen did you? Oh baby please, hold on, I can’t be without you, not now, I need you.” His eyes flickered open for a second, “Sorry Babe, I’m not dead yet, I’m trying… I love you.” I had to lean in close to hear him, my tears falling on his face. “Don’t cry Babe.” he whispered. I stayed with him, for about half an hour, and then realized that I should let his family in to see him, so I kissed him, on the forehead and promised to come back the next day.

Quadriplegic Ventilator

I walked out into the family waiting room and collapsed into Mark’s arms sobbing uncontrollably and shaking from head to foot. He guided me to a chair, and Louise found a nurse, who took my blood pressure, and asked if I had eaten anything. It was two in the afternoon by then. I shook my head at her, unable to speak. She said someone should take me for food, or home. Louise looked at me and asked which. I said food, so she took me for something to eat, and Mark went in to see Steve.

Turning Points

By the time we came back, everyone but Louise had been in. Steve’s parents had arrived and Steve’s wife was with them. She didn’t want to see him, and caught the train home the next day. Mark and Louise drove me home. Mark promising he would drop my car back later in case I needed the distraction of work. He told me not to worry, Steve was a stubborn git, and he would pull through. At this stage it was unclear what his injuries actually were.

I walked slowly into my flat where I was greeted by my now belligerent husband who without preamble asked if Steve was dead. I shook my head, told him I needed to sleep, and could he keep quiet, and look after Sean, our 2yr old son. He huffed, and agreed. I went into the bedroom, undressed and got into bed. Lying there, on my own, I cried myself to sleep.

I was woken around 10pm by a text message alert, with shaking hands I picked up the phone, and opened the message. It was from Shawn, another driver who worked for the same people I worked for. The text asked where I was, and Mark, and Steve, and how the phone was going mental with work. I sighed and rang him to explain what had happened. I tried so hard not to cry as I explained.

Shawn asked if that was why my car was parked outside Mark’s house, and offered to come and get me, so I could pick it up. I accepted, might seem a little weird, but I didn’t want to be at home with my husband. I had a quick shower and got dressed. George watched as I got ready to leave. “So, what are you going to do if the bastard dies then, stay and dump his kid on me?” I shook my head, “Not now George, drop it, please, I’m going to work.”

That night was busy. Steve’s phone was still diverted to mine, so all his customers were calling for a taxi, and asking where he was. I broke down and wept many times that night. The majority of his customers had seen us together, and knew how he felt about me. They were all very understanding. Mark was at work too, we met up for a coffee at the garage once work was over.

“You ok Egg Belly? Want a coffee?”  “No thanks Mark, Steve get’s me chocolate, I’m off coffee” (Egg Belly was Mark’s nickname for me as my pregnancy began to show). He looked at me, “You’re going to cry again, aren’t you? Come here silly girl, he’ll be ok, and you two will be together.” We sat in the garage, Mark hugging me gently while we chatted about why he felt so guilty about the crash. I have to admit for a short while I also blamed him. And myself because I knew if I had come clean that night in the car park, about how violent John was, Steve would have come home with me. Mark never found out about the violence until much later either.

Hospital Visits

The next couple of months were odd. I went to the hospital every day. On each occasion the nurses giving me a laundry list of the dangers Steve was in. Steve had broken C4-C5, damaged his liver and punctured a lung which was filling with fluid, and blood. He would be paralysed from the shoulders down for life. At the time of the crash Steve was 32 and I was 31.

One day I went to see him, and his mum and dad were there, and strangely so was his wife. She walked up to me asked if the baby I was carrying was Steve’s. I just stared at her, and shook my head no. I later overheard a heated discussion between her and Mark, she told him that she didn’t want him back, and if he lived, I was welcome to him. I didn’t see her again after that.

After a couple of weeks they had to do a tracheotomy, and told Steve he was not allowed to talk. You never tell Steve he’s not allowed to do anything, he talked! I explained that they would do better if they told him that it wasn’t a good idea. His memory at this period was shaky but he was certain that he loved me, and wanted to be with me. After two months he was moved to a hospital further away, a Spinal Unit in Sailsbury. I was by this time almost ready to give birth, and my marriage was dead, the love of my life was paralyzed and my whole life was in ruins.

Tetraplegic Love Lasting

I continued to work, until the day before Kieran was born on the 30th of December 1999. I had an emergency C section with the previous baby, seven weeks early. Unknown to me at the time, this weakens the uterus, so while in normal labour, the uterus ruptured, and I pushed him out by myself. The bleeding wouldn’t stop, the placenta did not deliver, my blood pressure was falling, and somewhere inside me, I knew I was dying.

I panicked as they took me to theater to manually deliver the placenta, the anesthetist was a friend of mine, and I was lying there on the trolley saying Ken, hurry up, I’m dying, please hurry, I don’t want to die, he tried to reassure me but I knew. Several hours later I woke up in intensive care. A male nurse standing by my bed looked at me, and said he knew me, but wasn’t sure where from. I grinned weakly and said Steve’s full name. He said, “Right of course, you’re his girlfriend. I remember now, blimey, he had the girlfriend who died in the crash, you, and a nasty wife.”

I was in the ITU for a week, and in hospital another week. They had to perform a hysterectomy, and were not exactly delicate about how they told me, “You have four children, you don’t need to have any more, we had to do the hysterectomy, or you would have died.” I was off work for exactly eight weeks. When Kieran was three or four months old I went to the hospital to see Steve.

Mark told me they would be ok, and that I needed to get on with my life. I was absolutely inconsolable for months. I couldn’t get over it. Suffering severe post natal depression, the loss of my ability to have more children, and the biggest loss of all Steve, I went and did the most stupid thing ever in the history of stupid. I had an 18 month affair with Mark, Steve’s older brother.

Kieran was 10 months old, it was my 33rd birthday in the October, and Mark organised a small party, at his house. His four kids were there, my four, Mark’s girlfriend, and my husband. Mark and I still dealing with our guilt over the crash, me with the death of my marriage, and my hopes for my relationship with Steve, my husband with his headlong dive into alcoholism and drug abuse, and of course wife beating.

Mark’s girlfriend and I went to the local on foot, leaving the others at the house. Mark and my husband had a fight. He asked Mark if he was fucking me, ever the smart arse Mark said no, but I’d like to. When we returned it escalated. My husband threatened me with a carving knife. Mark bounced his head off a wooden garden table, telling him, if he touched me again, he’d kill him, adding if his little brother was there he would not have offered the courtesy of a warning. The police were called and George was arrested. I was told I could stay there if I wanted to, they would make room, and with hindsight I should have, but I got a taxi home.

Closing Old Wounds

I arrived to find my husband attempting to burn the house down after having trashed everything. I called the police, they came, told me I was winding him up, it was the marital home, and he could wreck it if he wanted. On the 19th of November he kicked me across the living room in front of our 2yr old son and ruptured my bowel. I didn’t get to go to hospital for about four hours. I cleaned up the dinner he had thrown at me, and sat on the sofa, while the pain increased. Eventually he called an ambulance, warning me if I told them what really happened he would take our boy, and my precious bastard baby of Steve’s, and I would never see them again.

quadriplegic abuse
As we walked down the stairs at home, husband on one side a paramedic on my other, I began to feel sick. The paramedics shoes or my husband’s? No contest, as I felt the vomit rise in my throat I turned my head and puked all over his shoes. That made me feel so much better. I was in hospital for two days, before they figured out what was wrong, I was prepped for surgery, I had bowel resection.

Jim, a driver I worked with, and was good mates with came to see me. He sat next to the bed, looked me in the eye, and said, “Sarah, I know what’s been going on. I know you are frightened, and I know that’s why you haven’t left him, but this can’t go on. He will kill you in the end, talk to the police, please I’m begging you!” I looked at him, tears rolling down my cheeks. “You call them here, I’ll talk to them.” It took two hours to take my statement, they wanted me to go home, and said they would arrest him a day or two later… I looked at the police officer and said, “Who do you want to take out of there in handcuffs, and who in a body bag? Because I won’t be leaving in a body bag.”

Mark came to see me in hospital. I told him it was his fault. That if the family had not vetoed Steve being with me, none of this would have happened, he looked at me, and just nodded. The night before I was going home George came to talk me into forgiving him, promising to get help. I said the same thing I said the night of Steve’s accident… That it was over, and I wanted a divorce, and he was to leave when I got home, immediately. He was not to threaten to take the boy’s and he should be packed to go as soon as I arrive. He accepted this and left, taking my baby with him. I was terrified he would harm our kids.

The next morning it was like a military operation, my drugs were dispensed, and ready for 9am. Jim went to the house and met the police, they arrested George. Jim collected the kids, house keys, and came to the hospital to collect me. I went home in my pajamas!

My recovery took longer this time and as I couldn’t drive, I became the radio and phone operator at work, kept amused by all the drivers. Mark and Jim, to name a few, became my support network. Mark and I talked about how I felt about what had gone on with Steve and came to an agreement that it may have been the wrong choice to send him home to his wife. I never understood why they did it. None of them liked her, she was an awful wife, cheating, neglecting the kids, and the house. She was mentally abusive to Steve from the moment he got home. So while Steve was being abused by her, and I was being beaten to within an inch of my life, I completely failed to see who benefited. Mark did, he got what rightfully belonged to Steve, for a short while anyway.

Wake Up Call

One night at work a taxi driver I didn’t always get along with and I were sitting outside the garage smoking, and having a coffee. He turned to me and said, “Sarah, what are you doing?” “Well John I’m sitting here…” “No, you daft moo, with Mark. He’s not Steve, he won’t ever be like him, he won’t ever be him. No matter how much you want him to be. He just isn’t so you need to stop it, now! You get me? It’s only hurting you, not helping, it never will.” I looked at John, tears rolling down my cheeks, “I miss him John, it’s not fair, he should be with me, not being Annie’s pet husband, it’s wrong, it’ll end badly, I just know it.” And unaccustomed as he was to random weepy women, and show’s of affection, he hugged me tight, and said, with a great deal of foresight, as it turned out, “Don’t worry honey, it’ll all come right in the end, you two are meant to be, just keep the faith, don’t ever let go, and you’ll be together someday, I just know it.”

Wheelchair Couple Coffee

I don’t think I need go into the details of the following relationships, of which there were three, suffice to say, I ended it with Mark only a few days after John and I had our little talk. Soon after this my husband who was arrested for GBH with intent, skipped bail, and threatened to kill me. The council refused to move me until he tried, and I had been vaguely seeing the guy who fixed the company vehicles he offered for me to stay with him, we spent three years together, he was an alcoholic too. I had several affairs during that relationship, and as became my habit, when someone got too close I longed for Steve again, and sabotaged the relationship.

Frying Pan To Fire

I moved on, and had a short lived, sex based relationship with a soldier, 12 years my junior it was very short lived, but mostly enjoyable. I then got involved with someone 20 years younger. We were together for almost six years. During our relationship Facebook was invented and became a world wide access point for people to bugger up their lives, friendships and relationships. I found Steve and sent a friend request which he accepted. That was in December 2009, we didn’t speak much to start with, not directly. Annette didn’t like it so we commented on each others photo’, and generally kept track of each other. Steve has told me since that he was overjoyed when I sent the request. He had been looking for me but only remembered my married name, which I no longer used, and had bypassed me several times while searching Mark’s friend list, thinking it wasn’t me.

In August 2010, Annette got caught out in one of her numerous affairs, and while on the family holiday, announced the marriage was over, had been for many years in her eyes, she spent the insurance money, that Steve had got, and when that ran out, she started visiting sex sites, and meeting random men for sex. The bottom fell out of Steve’s world, he knew they had been in trouble for years, but she had systematically destroyed his self confidence. By the end of November we were in regular contact. In December we had some of the worst snow in year’s. My car was broke down in -20 degree temperatures and was out of action for three weeks. For those weeks, because our house is so remote, Luke my partner at that time went to stay at his mother’s. So he could catch the train to university. And I was alone with my two sons and my laptop.

Sweet Contentment

Steve and I talked for hours on end, with me filling in all the gaps in his memory of the crash, and of the following weeks. Telling him all the stuff that happened to me in those ten years apart and out of touch. He told me how awful that everything was after he came home, how every time they argued she threw the accident in his face blaming him for fucking up her life. When she had alone decided he would go back to her after discovering how much money he would get, plus all the benefits that came along too. Steve recalled, “She took me back to get my money, and pulled me away from you for financial gain, the spinal unit told her I had five years, six max, and once I passed six, that was it.”

By Christmas my car was fixed but my life was in turmoil once again. Steve thought I was happy with Luke, but I wasn’t. I felt like his mother, he was lazy, mean to the kids and our sex life was none existent. After about two weeks of arguing with myself, while Luke was fixed to the Xbox, I started an early evening chat with Steve. I had told him about my fling with Mark very early on during our chat’s and then said I had something else to confess, “You slept with Steve (Steve’s oldest brother) too.” He joked. “God, Steve, no! Credit me with some taste.” I replied, “What then?” he asked. I took a deep breath, and began to type, this is what I said: Steve, it’s you, it’s always been you, I am in love with you, I always have been from the moment we met, and that hasn’t changed. In all these year’s I never stopped thinking about you, wanting to be with you, see you, I am so unhappy with Luke, I just want you…

There was a long pause, it seemed to last forever. Then, “Really? when we started talking so much, I thought for a minute, maybe, hoped, but dismissed it, decided you were just being a mate, but you really still feel that way, you know I’m a cripple, don’t you Sarah? I didn’t get better Baby Girl, you know all this right?” “Yes Steve, I know, why would it make a difference?”

There’s things you need to know he told me, we talked a lot on MSN, when we got kicked off Facebook chat for using it too much. He told me all about his injury, his needs, and the hardest thing he ever told anyone ever, about his erectile dysfunction, and that he and his wife had never had sexual intercourse since his injury. But there are ways we can he said, she just couldn’t be bothered. He wrote it all on MSN with his Dragon dictate software, and the pause, while I read it, seemed like a eternity, the next thing he wrote was “Oh no, what have I done, it’s too much. I want to make love to you and I might not be able too… say something Sarah.”

I answered him, immediately, “No, Steve, I was just reading it, carefully, so I took it all in, so, tell me, what can we do, for us to be able to make love?” His response was one I will never, ever forget…” Oh God Sarah, you really do love me, and want me, don’t you, do you know, how I write text messages, let me tell you, I write them with my tongue, I can drive you to total ecstasy with my tongue, you’ll think you are dying with pleasure, I promise you, I’ll make you come, for hours, and when you think you’ve had enough, you’ll be begging me for more, I can satisfy you more than any man has ever before I promise, but we may not be able to have actual sex, do you think you can spend your life that way?” “Yes, Steve, oh my God yes, I am turned on just thinking about it.” “Good, and there are tablets that can help with erectile dysfunction, I tried Viagra but it made me dysreflexic, and Annette didn’t want to have proper sex with me anymore she had plenty of that elsewhere”

That conversation took place in the first week or so of January 2011, Annette had met a new guy online and stayed with him most weekends, which became four or five days, leaving Steve with her two kids from her first marriage, and her and Steve’s two son’s, who when they said they were splitting both opted to stay with Steve. We spent loads of time on the phone, having both taken out a contract with the same mobile network, we talked endlessly about before the crash, and after, and laughed, a lot. we sent dirty texts, he drove me to orgasm by talking to me, we had phone sex, my vibrator got a lot of use in those weeks, he loved to hear me coming while I gasped his name, and screamed it too.

Annette and her new man found a flat together, they were moving in on the last day of February, I arranged to go and see him, that weekend, the 3rd of March, I lied to Luke about where I was going, Steve had said he would hold me to nothing, until he looked into my eyes when I first saw him, and knew I meant it when I said, to his face that I love him, and his spinal injury changed nothing.

Quadriplecic Love

I arrived at his house around midnight on the Thursday, Callum, his 13yr old son let me in, and I followed him upstairs, I was so nervous, it had been so long, what if I was not how he remembered me, what if he decided it was a terrible mistake. I walked into the bedroom. Steve was in bed as the carers come to put him to bed at 9.30pm, I walked to his side of the bed, all the nerves melted away, we looked at each other for a few seconds, and he said, “Hi Babe, been a while, you look just the same as I remember.” I leaned over and kissed him, we forgot for a second that Callum was there, and he kissed me back passionately, and then said, whoa, children! Callum stayed for twenty minutes, went and made a cup of tea, and then, bless him, made a tactful departure.

Fatal Rapture

In minutes, I was down to my red (Steve’s favourite colour) knickers and bra, and in bed, in his arms. “Get that bra off, this instant, I want your nipples, where I can get them.” I did as he asked, “Come here, then, but remember you are the boss, you say how far we go, or not.” And that night, my nipples got more attention than they had ever had before, and I was gasping for breath by the end, Steve is super sensitive around his neck, shoulders, ears, and head, and I worked this out very quickly. We fell asleep, with Steve’s arms wrapped around me, and his body curled towards me, my knickers lost somewhere on his bedroom floor.

The next morning the nurses arrived, at 8.30 to do bowel care, just walking in like they owned the place, I had in the night kicked the duvet off me, so the sight that greeted them was me naked, wrapped in Steve’s arms, they didn’t know where to put themselves, but made no sign of leaving the room so I could cover myself up. Steve woke up, and said, can you get out, please, Sarah needs to get some clothes on, she can’t stand around on the landing naked while you do what needs doing, can she? they went out onto the landing, and I found my dressing gown, and dragged it on, I went and found the kitchen, made coffee, and waited while his bowel care was done, I could hear them, questioning him, about me, him telling them, that we had known each other for years, and get used to my being around. Is this the new girlfriend then Steve? Yes, his very firm reply.

It was an amazing weekend, the second night he did as he promised with his tongue, by far  the most stable position for this is me facing his feet, where he can get to every part he wants with ease, but I like to face him, because he likes to watch my face as I come, and look into my eyes as he works me into a frenzy, but that way, plays hell with my legs, which start to give way. “Turn around Sarah, I want that cute little arse in my face.” so I do, and in minutes I am experiencing the most intense orgasm I have ever had in my entire life.

My body takes over completely, rocking back harder and harder against the firm pressure of his tongue, while I scream his name, over and over, gasping that I am coming, like he was in any doubt! And just when I think it’s stopping it washes over me again, he pushes his tongue inside me, moaning softly as he does so, pulling me harder towards his mouth, murmuring “Come on Baby, there’s more I know there’s more” And he is right, I push back again, “Oh god, Oh Steve, Oh please, I can’t, can we stop…No, don’t stop, don’t ever stop Oh Steve, I’m coming.” A muffled groan is the only reply, and a giggle, as I change my mind about a break, and then change it again.

While this is happening, I glance at his penis, which with some attention from my mouth had hardened, and then changed its mind, but is in my hand anyway, and it’s hard, properly, “Steve, you are hard! stop a sec, I keep a firm hold, and switch back to facing him, then gently guide it inside me, his face registers surprise, I can feel that, he says, not all over but the warmth, the pressure, oh Sarah, you are a clever girl, I move gently, so we don’t lose it, feeling him hard inside me is just wonderful.

Looking into his eyes, as I move up, and then gently back down, then keep still, and use my fingers to make myself come, at this point, as I do, his eyes widen, in surprise, I can feel you tightening on it, and then he says he has this odd, fluttery feeling in his stomach, which he says is so pleasurable, and I can feel him hardening more inside me, this feeling intensifies, then slowly stops, I think that that was the first time I had an orgasm since my injury, he says, and that was just well WOW.

Wheelchair Love Lasts

So, although there is some erectile dysfunction, with the right stimulation, it’s not all the time, we use a drug called Cialis, if we want it to last longer, and be harder, but most of the time, I can get it to become hard, with a combination of him watching me give him oral sex, and the use of a mini vibrator called a bullet, or just him giving me mind blowing orgasm’s

Quadriplegic Love Lasts

The weekend flies by, and it’s Monday, before I know it, we have time to go to lunch with Victor, a friend of Steve, since they were 17, he is a lovely guy, but his and Steve’s friendship has suffered over the years, due to Victor’s intense dislike of Annette, and her treatment of Steve, and herself serving reasons for taking him back. He told me all about it as time went on, just before the accident.

Victor clearly remembers Steve visiting with Kathy, and telling him, don’t get too used to her, it won’t last, don’t let Justine (Victor’s wife) get too friendly, there’s someone else, I have fallen in love with, but Fuck, it’s so complicated, she’s married, but he is a dick, and I think she is scared of him, and she’s pregnant, and no it’s not mine, but Victor I want her and I know she feels the same.

I just have to get out of this, I can’t deal with her, she’s suffocating clingy, and keeps on about us getting custody of the boy’s, she doesn’t know anything about kids, and I just don’t love her, not that way, what the hell am I going to do? Victor told him to tell the married woman how he feels.

Then we are standing in his back garden, having a cigarette one day, and Victor suddenly realizes he saw me, the totally devastated pregnant woman at the hospital was me, and it all slots into place, and he say’s, “And you still love him after everything that’s happened, incredible.” So friends believe me when I say quadriplegic love lasts.  After all the pain, distance, and time, plus our many obstacles and mistakes, our love for each other has endured to this day.

3D Wheelchair Art Modeling

3D Wheelchair Model Animation

Creating 3D wheelchair model animation is easy with so many user friendly programs available these days. You no longer need a degree in kinetics to easily create realistic animations. I explained how to set up some simple 3D wheelchair models previously using free 3D software Daz3D. Now here are a few 3D wheelchair model animations I put together. One of the options in the Daz3D 4.6 free version is export as an AVI movie. I then simply rip to GIF format to be cross browser friendly and post here.

The 3D wheelchair model animation below is a short endless loop of 50 frames. Our female model Susan in sports gear is walking beside our male model Michael in a Flex wheelchair on a warm sunny day.

3D Wheelchair Model Animation Walking

3D Wheelchair Model Animation

This second 3D wheelchair model animation is sexy Susan in a bikini on roller blades pushing a shirtless Michael in his Flex wheelchair. This one is an 80 frame loop. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make it look most realistic, like Susan’s hair blowing, and Michael’s head bob on each push. Did I over do her boobs lol? The scene in the background is a single image making the rendering process (saving as video) faster.

3D Wheelchair Animation Roller Blades

Wheelchair Model Animation of sexy bikini girl jiggle on roller blades pushing guy in flex wheelchair

Once you get the basic movement right there are many easy to apply options; skin color, hair type, clothing, body type, muscle size, plus lighting effects, endless camera angles, and so on that all conform or magnetize to your base 3D wheelchair model animation. I created the above short animation simply by making a few changes to the first countryside one.

3D Wheelchair Animation

Bookmark this page and have a go at making your own 3D wheelchair animation. I’m here to help and happy to post any of your creative works on a page of your own.

Mad Spaz Club copyright wheelchair icon

Website Help and Updates

Mad Spaz Club wheelchair welcome icon copyright streetsie.comWelcome to the Mad Spaz Club website where all the cool wheelchair people hang out. Please report bugs, make feature requests, post complaints and general feedback in the comment section below. We are constantly improving the Mad Spaz Club website to make your visit a safe enjoyable one. Simply register an account to access all our features.

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11 February 2014 Extra Chat Features and Author Pages

We have made adjustments to our live chat to reward our loyal members including; online user list country flags, message window refreshes every 3 seconds (was 4), 500 characters per message max (was 400), anyone with contributor status (has written an article for us) can access moderation tools and initiate private chat windows, and we un-banned several words eg. viagra sex vagina ejaculation. We do allow discussions about sex as long as it is not offending anyone. You can now also read more about an article author by clicking on their name at the end of an article.

8 September 2013 Chat and Gallery Upgrades

Has it really been a year? We have made many improvements site-wide and helped hundreds if not thousands of people living with spinal cord injury. Major upgrades were recently made to our Live Chat feature after a conflict arose with the gallery. The gallery problem is an external scripting one out of our control so we are seeking a new gallery solution. A big thank-you to all our supporters and helpful members assistance over the last twelve months. I will try to post more updates here before another year passes us by.

12 Sept 2012 Amended Registration Agreement

Added “Wheelchair Dating” and “Artworks” forums, opened quick reply feature, upgraded versions and made minor layout adjustments. Amended registration agreement to include; “POST SOMETHING. The more you post the more access and privileges you are given. Members with 0 posts are given a rank of “Voyeur, one who spies on another’s private moments.” As we respect and protect our active members privacy, members with 0 posts are often deleted. To avoid this please make a post.”

11 June 2012 Forum Upgrades

Our forum has been updated to the latest stable version. We also added new avatars, a disability field to profiles, and enabled a “quick reply” feature on all posts. The disability chat room refresh rate has been bumped from 6 to 7 seconds to reduce server load and make it more stable when busy.

13 Mar 2012 Theme Updated

75% of people viewing our website use Internet Explorer. Updating our theme to display correctly in IE and the top 5 browsers is a never ending process. We rolled out several cross-browser fixes bringing our theme upto date today. Let us know if you have any problems viewing our website.

1 Oct 2011 Memberships Increase

600 images were added to our galleries during september. We wish to extend a warm thankyou to all who uploaded and the regulars who assisted new members and visitors during Graham’s absence. We’ve seen memberships steadily increase on our forum. The live chat area has been busy and our most prolific member there Deb has been promoted to a chat Admin. We greatly value all our members and appreciate your continued support.

27 Aug 2011 Article Submission Form Added

Website updates this month saw our article submission form go live to the public. I hope by making it easy, it will prove popular, as I love to read all your stories and experiences. Adding a math quiz to our member registration form cut down spam allowing me more time to work on Mad Spaz Club articles. While there have been several background improvements made the only other noteworthy mention is that over 300 images were added to our image galleries this month. Thank-you all for your continued support.

6 July 2011 JPG Image Upload on C omment Form

We have added the optional ability to upload an image along with your comment. We hope this enhancement makes it easier to share photos and interact with your fellow members here at the Mad Spaz Club.

20 June 2011 Upgraded Gallery Features

Thank-you to all our members who submitted photos to our galleries this month. Nearly 300 images in total. In appreciation we have added new features allowing you greater control over descriptions and how images are displayed. Any registered member can create a gallery and upload images, here’s a step-by-step how to.

  1. In your profile> Gallery> Add Gallery/Images
  2. Click “Add new gallery” tab
  3. Type in your gallery name
  4. Click “Add Gallery” button
  5. Click “Upload Images” tab
  6. Select your gallery name from the “chose galley” drop down
  7. “Browse” to and add your images, you’ll see them listed below the Browse box
  8. When you’re ready click “Upload images” give it time to process and create thumbnails
  9. Then you can add descriptions, alt and title tags, adjust your thumbnails etc.

1 June 2011 New Comment Notification Design

Our exciting new HTML comment notification design was launched today. Simplistic and sleek, if you comment on our website and leave the “Notify me of new comments on this page” box checked you will receive a visually stunning thank-you email notice on your first-time comment and an email notification everytime a new comment is posted on the page you are subscribed to. All MSC notification email includes links to opt-in/out of our services. We hope you enjoy this improvement.

1 May 2011 Reinstated Disability Forums

A flashback to the heady days when websites were built around forums. We get quite a few requests for forums and so after an extensive overhaul the forums we began in 2003 are back with retro flair. Some images and SP posts were not retrievable and we are working on bringing it into line with our one login for all website features policy but it’s up and running with a new “Personals” section so register and post your profiles.

29 Mar 2011 Bluce Ice Theme New Default

We will be rolling out our Blue Ice theme this week. Those resistant to change will still be able to revert to our Ruby theme with our theme switcher for a limited time. Blue Ice is the new default theme. Why? Features; Less clutter to find what you’re looking for faster. Quicker loading pages. Lightweight sub pages. Upgraded security. Easy to read fonts. Footer includes hot topic lists and quick contact form.

4 Mar 2011 Building Blue Ice Website Theme

We are developing a new black blue and white disability friendly theme with simplicity in mind. Soon you can find what you are looking for faster. But you don’t have to cross your legs and wait, use our Theme Switcher and check Blue Ice out now! Be sure to tell us what you think.

28 Feb 2011 Visit Our New Live Chat Area

We promote disability adventure and publish personal stories from wheelchair users and other people living with and caring for people with disabilities. We share knowledge and experience providing information and support to those impacted by spinal cord injury and all that wheelchair life involves.

Get Published

Your story could bring comfort to many. We love to hear from wheelchair users and people living with paraplegia quadriplegia and spinal cord injury as equally from anyone who’s life has been impacted by disability. We want to publish your story, if you are willing to share your story tell us briefly in a comment or our live chat area and we will contact you.

Our Gallery

To upload pictures and share with us you must have a registered account. Your images will not appear until they are approved by an admin. You may also upload images in our forum once registered, these will appear immediately. Visit our live chat area to request an account or higher access to advanced features. Anyone found abusing fellow members or our services will be dealt with severely. We reserve the right to delete any account and services without notice.

Create Your Account

We have taken steps to block spammers but allow legitimate users to still register an account with us. If you have any problems registering simply post or comment here or drop by our new live chat area and we’ll do our best to help you. Admin’s can create accounts and answer any questions about uploading images and publishing articles.

We apologize for having to delete previously registered member accounts and any inconvenience that may have caused. We take your security very seriously and take any action we feel necessary to safe guard you and your privacy. No accounts were compromised, we only deleted previous member accounts as a precaution.

Contacting Us

Other than our live disability chat and comment areas we offer a contact form at the bottom of our home page. We encourage you to ask and be answered in article comment areas so others can read learn and offer answers. We make it easy to post a question, comment or have your story published. So get cracking, shake off that granny blanket and show the ability in disability.

Many people don’t realize a spinal cord injury not only affects the person living in a wheelchair, their immediate family friends and loved ones lives are also affected. Relatives, work colleagues, even your local doctor becomes involved in one way or another. Did you know one third of the population has or cares for someone with a disability.

Paraplegic Lover

My Paraplegic Lover

I first met my paraplegic lover Chris online a year ago. There was an instant “click” as we are both from Midwest USA, the same age, liked the same music, and made each other laugh. It was wonderful to laugh with someone again. Each day we learned more about each other and the relationship grew. Even though we had never met in person we were like two peas in a pod.

Two months later we made the decision to meet and he flew to Ohio. This was the first time he had ever been on a plane. His only previous experience with flight had been a helicopter to the hospital after his car accident in 2002, which resulted in L4-5 paraplegia and a below knee amputation on the right. Obviously we had discussed “the chair” but it was rather irrelevant to our relationship at the beginning- just the way he gets around.

Paraplegic Lover

Paraplegic Lover

I have to admit I was a tad apprehensive while waiting for the plane to land  about silly things, like getting his chair in my car (as I have a VW beetle), how much could he feel, how would I approach intimacy etc. We had talked about being intimate as we believe open and honest communication is key to a relationship, but talking and doing are two totally different things. I ran across the airport, threw myself onto his lap (much to his surprise and the surprise of people waiting for luggage) and all was right with the world. I knew immediately he was the man for me and this relationship could work.

As I always say, and mentioned above, the most important advice I can give, is communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. He talked me through getting his chair in my car and our week began. We went out to eat but ended up spending most of our time in each others arms just getting to know each other and each others bodies.

Even though he has no feeling below T12, we found out that there are so many different ways to please another person, and satisfy each other, other than “traditional” sex. I was in heaven with my paraplegic lover. The neighbors banged on our wall which really made me laugh. Mapping his body, finding those sensitive spots was such a turn on for both of us. We talked about his accident, our pasts, our future and made a plan to see each other again. All too soon that first visit was over.

Two months  later he flew back again. We were talking 16 hours a day by phone, e-mailing, etc yet we really wanted to be physically in the same location to see if the magic still happened. I went for rides on his lap at parks, we saw movies, and did what every other couple does- we just got more looks from people and some even made snide remarks, such as “can you believe she is sitting on his lap kissing in public?” It just made us laugh harder, as if people expected us to hide away just because he was in a wheelchair.

For those who are leery of dating a paraplegic or anyone in a wheelchair – don’t be. He has expanded my horizons so much just be being himself. Intimacy is different than for an able bodied couple, but let me tell you that upper body strength is awesome and we’ve learned to please each other to a degree that would make able bodied people  jealous.  His mouth, his hands, the way he looks at me are so intense and when we stare into each others eyes its as if I feel him touch me. Even though my paraplegic lover Chris can’t feel me – in a traditional sense – he has many areas of sensation that other men don’t have.

In my opinion, what some men don’t “get” is that the brain is the largest sex organ in your body. So you can learn to “feel” in a different way and achieve orgasm in a more mental way… like your brain is exploding with pleasure.  It’s so intense for both of us that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And oh my there should be books about the hows and joys of wheelchair sex.

As for eating out and things like that,  we just make sure where we are going is accessible, and add a little more time for transfers. If you are considering dating someone in a chair just relax and have fun with each other. Communicate, talk things through, and never let someone tell you it can’t be done. Throw the books out the window, ignore any odd looks you get (or if you are like me just smile and wave as you ride on your guys lap) and since every SCI is different don’t be afraid to experiment!

Don’t let odd questions from people get you down just smile and answer in whatever way you feel comfortable. Because, people tend to ask intrusive things. Children are curious, not afraid to say anything, and generally will find you to be the coolest ones around. We overheard a boy in the grocery say, “Mom, I want a THAT for Christmas” THAT being a wheelchair with lighted castors.

People have also been very helpful to us. We have a large military base in my town and a large VA, so more than once people have come out of nowhere to see if he needs hep transferring or if I need help with the chair. Our usual answer is, “we’ve got this, but thank you” and once a woman approached Chris, said “this isn’t your first rodeo, is it?” and then danced off with him at an outdoor concert, while I took pictures. Most people do mean well.

After further meetings here and in his home state, he has moved in with me as of August and we are blissfully happy. I’m not saying we never have things to overcome, but that’s true of any honest relationship. What we do have is so much laughter, so much fun, and so much appreciation for the little things in life. Most of all… we laugh :) Remember, scars have stories of strength and the will to survive to don’t be put off by silly things.

If anyone has any questions, I’m always willing to answer and will continue to keep you updated. We are officially engaged, so more to follow on that another time  and also more to follow about traveling by plane with your chair and the things to know beforehand that we have learned the hard way :)

Good luck to all of you- don’t be afraid to try. Together you can overcome anything.

Amanda

Becoming Caregiver

Becoming a Caregiver – When the Dynamic Changes

I never realized I was becoming a caregiver. My fiance a L4-5 paraplegic and I have been together a year now. He is my rock, a wonderful, funny, strong and independent man. We always have open and honest communication and have achieved a good balance in our relationship as sometimes I need my quiet time for reading, yoga, etc, and he needs his space for sports, guy stuff, and the cooking and cleaning he enjoys.

Becoming Caregiver

Becoming a Caregiver

Three months after he moved in with me as we were adjusting to living with each other, making my place accessible, planning to get hand controls for my car so he could get out and about more, and planning for this years holidays, he had a flare up. Severe neck pain from a fall two years ago returned. At the time a surgeon in his home town had tried every test and conservative treatment yet refused to operate. He had lost all use of his hands and arms from he fall but did a month of inpatient rehab, worked, struggled hard, and got some use back.

Now he was in agony again, with a loss of sensation and shooting pains – including in his legs which he hadn’t “felt” since his initial spinal cord injury in 2002. He dropped everything he touched. Even a plate was too much weight. This from a man who worked out with 40 lb free weights every morning prior to that.

Dynamic Changes

Overnight, the man who did all the cooking, cleaning, his own showering, etc and who loved to pamper me, and oh so please me intimately, was literally stuck in bed except for trips to the bathroom. No more movies out, the laughter dimmed as his pain increased, and our dynamic changed.

Having worked in the medical field I have never advocated for a spouse to be a primary caregiver for many reasons. Not because I was unwilling to do the work, but rather to separate the roles. Was I the fiance/lover or the nurse? I have seen many couples struggle with that to the determent of their relationship. I have seen many caregivers burnout. And the one they are caring for get frustrated with the caregiver/partner for being able to do things they no longer can do – even in a short term situation.

We waited a long six weeks to get in to see a surgeon. In that time I was very surprised how rapidly his condition deteriorated. I later learned for every day spent in bed it takes approximately three days to get the function back. And that is before adding in the toll surgery takes and the rehab required after that. I love this man deeply and knew I did not want to lose him or make him feel badly because of something outside his control, but I didn’t know what to do.

I realize anyone’s life can change on a dime and we aren’t guaranteed anything, but we were having so much joy making a life then… snap. I knew whining wouldn’t help and I’m not a whiner. I wanted my man to know he was loved, that I do care for him and that he was still my knight in shining armor, yet I was wearing down. I started to panic because we weren’t even post op yet and I was exhausted mentally and physically as a carer.

I also noticed that I suddenly had no “alone” time. We weren’t sleeping due to his pain, he was basically glued to the TV just trying to ride the pain out, and I was getting snappish. Cognitively I knew none of this was his fault, he didn’t want to be in this situation, relying on me for everything any more than I did, and yet here we were with no one to understand or talk to about what was happening, me becoming a caregiver. He was new to the area with no friends of his own yet and I didn’t feel “right” about discussing what we were going through with friends. I looked for an online carer support group but most seemed to want money or were geared toward specific conditions or the elderly. I was trying to anticipate and be proactive rather than reactive, but it didn’t appear services were in place for this to happen.

Carer Burnout Setting In

One day I felt exhausted from a long night of tossing and turning and then I heard the TV next to me start up and I wanted to scream, “can I please please have just a moment to myself to wake up, gather my wits, and be “me” before I immediately have to turn you, get your medications, get your breakfast, shower, lift you, etc etc.” He’s is over 150 lbs heavier than me. I suddenly felt as if I was losing myself. What made “me”, “me” ( selfish of me I know).

I scrambled through the caregiver morning routine, ran to the grocery, only to have him call with a question about something he saw on a TV show that confused him and I had only been away a mere 10 minutes. My cell rang and again I panicked, thinking he had fallen, only to be asked a question about a TV show! I thought, “couldn’t this have waited”. He asked where I was, I said in the checkout line… It felt as if he was checking up on me.

Becoming a Caregiver

Becoming a Caregiver

We have always been very open and honest with each other and great at communicating so I was shocked to realize I had become afraid to mention how I felt. It left me feeling a terribly selfish, weak person for wanting some sleep, wanting to read a book, wanting to have some silence in the house without the TV continually blaring what I consider “mindless” TV. On one level I knew given the pain medications he was taking TV was probably the only thing he could focus on. Rationally, I knew that I did, but I noticed I was snapping and acting like a shrew. Which isn’t like me and I sure didn’t want to lose this man or ruin what we have.

The irrational part of me just wanted a break from being the carer. I was tired, tired of managing medications, managing doctors appointments, getting prescriptions, doing all the tasks around the house, bathing him and so on. It felt as if every time I sat down he would say, “can I have this, can you get that.” I knew I was becoming selfish. Started wondering if I was enabling him not to do things. My thought patterns just weren’t linear. I finally snapped and said, “did you notice I just sat down and was going to read, just for a minute, silently.” It didn’t work, as I opened the book and he began to talk. Probably more the pain medications than anything but my one single moment of peace in weeks was gone.

Finding The Balance

We tried to talk it out before surgery, but the doctor wouldn’t give us any information at all about what to expect post op so I tried online research about post op care but most was geared toward an able bodied person having a cervical fusion C5-7 and not an L4-5 paraplegic. I realize it sounds like minor surgery but at the time it felt like a big one. Mostly because we were both frustrated tired and ready for improvement. We communicated, determined he would need his rest post op, and I would need mine for when he came home. I thought, a ha, problem solved.

Immediately post op, I discussed safety issues with the surgeon. I knew that with a fusion an able bodied person would need high protein for the fusion to heal, would have limits on lifting, etc.. so how did that play in when you are lifting yourself for mobility? I asked the doctor to make sure his transfers were safe before sending him home. I advocated for them to evaluate his strengths and weaknesses after the surgery to develop a plan of care prior to discharge so I could have everything ready. Hoping to have a smooth sail back into our happy intimate relationship so we could move forward pain free. With more mobility and sensation for him.

His post-op pain was intense for weeks, continual 9-10, his neck swelled so he could only tolerate liquids. His neck collar became the bane of his existence as he couldn’t shower – much less transfer into a shower, and his functional level was determined to be T12. His bladder went into spasms so he had to begin self catheterizing, something he did not have to do before. It became one incidental finding after another. We tried to laugh, hold each other, and remain a kind, loving, grateful couple.

The Gentle Approach

They moved us to the rehab floor and I was allowed to stay overnight. I was also required to participate in his rehab as a team approach, which I thought was wonderful as I would be able to learn how to move him safely. Learn range of motion exercises I should have been doing all along and be an integral part of his rehab. The problem once again became how to get any rest when in PT/OT/RT class all day. Taking to the P.hD (he’s a funny story unto himself. Especially his perceptions of intimacy for people with SCI and their partners – to think he counsels new SCI patients scares me). Running home to do our laundry as he went through many outfits per day while his bowels and bladder adjusted. Managing my meals, continuing my search for employment, all the while not sleeping as he was unable to get more than a half hours rest at a time, which might total two hours a night.

Once again I was trying to appear upbeat and chipper but he could see it was wearing on me and knew neither of us had rebounded yet from how tired we were before we even got to the surgery. He began to feel he was a “pain” to me, to feel guilty he couldn’t do more, to beat himself up for things outside of his control and to notice I had no “me time”. Unfortunately the no “me time” may go on for an extended periods even after discharge home. So at this point we really need a balance. I do not want to become a snappish person once we are solely one on one again. All I can think of now is communicate, communicate, communicate but I’m not sure that is the entire solution.

He’s now working with a 1 lb weight vs. 40 lbs, has restrictions of no bending, lifting, twisting, will wear the hard collar at least 12 weeks, etc. Some days it feels like three steps forward and five steps back. Today they told us they will watch him transfer into my car tomorrow and practice that. The team from OT/PT is to come to our home on Wednesday  to advise on grab bars, toilet commode and anything else they feel we need. Thursday is a holiday in the US but they want us to spend the night in the “apartment” on the rehab floor to see how we do and discharge home Friday. Somehow assuming elves will get the equipment to make the place accessible and install it all. Medicare/medicaid won’t reimburse for grab bars etc.

We are sleep deprived, pain is not controlled, and we have been told he won’t get back functionally where he was before the surgery. I will need to stay close by and they may get health care in once or twice a week and OT/PT in once a week. I love this man more than anything in the world and I do not want to jeopardize our relationship or make him feel bad for things he can’t control. I don’t want to whine but am I wrong for wanting some quiet time, alone time for me? Would anyone be interested in sharing thoughts, ways to help each other, a place to vent?

Stop Forum Spam

Stop phpBB3 Forum Spam

I’m about to show you how to stop phpBB3 forum spam without using CAPTCHA, math equations, filters, 3rd party API or RBL databases, email ip or bad word lists. Yes we tried them all. While they have their purpose newly created spammer email accounts still get through.

Here I share with you a very simple yet effective industry insiders secret to stop phpBB3 forum spam user registrations using a custom profile field. It’s quite simple, no spam user registrations = no spam posts. So let’s get to it.

Within phpBB3 Administration Panel

Users And Groups> Custom profile fields> Type “antispam” in the field> Select “Numbers” from the dropdown box> Click the “Create new field” button.

Stop phpBB3 Forum Spam

Stop phpBB3 Forum Spam

Add profile field

Field type: Numbers
Field identification: antispam
Publicly display profile field: No

Visibility options

Display in user control panel: No
Display on registration screen: Yes
Display on viewtopic screen: No
Required field: Yes
Show field if no value was selected: No
Hide profile field: Yes

Language specific options

Field name/title presented to user: Confirmation
Field Description: This box must contain the number 4 only

Click: Profile type specific options

Length of input box: 4
Lowest allowed number: 4
Highest allowed number: 4
Default value: 4321

Want to see it in action? http://www.streetsie.com/forum/ucp.php?mode=register

You may find after updating your phpBB3 version some spam gets through. Simply repeat the above to create a new custom profile field using a different name and number then delete the old custom profile field. Enjoy all the free time you now have.

wheelchair provision 01

Policy and Planning for Wheelchair Provision

 
Policy and Planning to Implement Sustainable Wheelchair Provision 
concludes our five part series on wheelchair provision in less resourced settings brought to you with permission from the World Health Organisation. In this article we cover the following policy and planning guidelines;

  • present key activities for the planning and implementation of wheelchair provision
  • suggest strategies for costing and financing wheelchair provision
  • suggest links between wheelchair services and other sectors

Testimonial from a user in the Philippines

wheelchair provision 01Michelle lives on the rural island of Masbate, a remote area of the Philippines. She is 20 years old, and was born without legs and with on one arm. Unable to propel a standard wheelchair, Michelle has lived without one for most of her life. For mobility she has had to “walk” with one arm and her torso. In 2005, Michelle was referred by community workers to a wheelchair service operated by an international nongovernmental organization.

The service team saw that for a wheelchair to be useful to Michelle, it would need to be operable by one arm, be suitable for rough surfaces, and be easily portable on public transport for travel into town. A local wheelchair factory that operates in partnership with the wheelchair service team was able to create a wheelchair to these specifications.

Michelle is now able to propel herself in her wheelchair, and no longer has to move herself along at ground level. She uses the wheelchair to attend church, make social visits and play basketball. Most importantly, Michelle, who has a keen entrepreneurial spirit, aims to improve the economic well-being of her family. With improved mobility, her opportunities for this are greater.

5.0 Purpose and Outputs

The purpose of the policy and planning guidelines is to develop and implement policies for cost effective and sustainable wheelchair provision. Implementation of these guidelines will lead to:

  • develop a national wheelchair policy
  • plan wheelchair provision programs at national level in collaboration with all stakeholders, based on identified needs
  • integrate wheelchair services into existing health and rehabilitation services
  • develop national standards for wheelchair provision
  • calculate costs and establish sources of funding
  • link wheelchair provision with existing sectors and institutions in society

Stakeholders and Resources

Stakeholders involved in policy and planning include policy-makers, planners and implementers, manufacturers and suppliers of wheelchairs, providers of wheelchair services, disabled people’s organizations and users.

5.2 Policy

Developing a Policy

A national policy on wheelchair provision can ensure that users receive wheelchairs that meet minimum requirements for safety, strength and durability and that are appropriate for their individual needs. A national policy can also ensure that wheelchairs are provided by trained personnel who know how to properly assess users’ needs and how to train users and caregivers on how to use and care for the wheelchairs.

When developing a national policy it is recommended that the following relevant areas are considered; 

  • issues addressed by relevant international policies
  • design, supply, service delivery, training and user involvement
  • funding
  • links with other sectors

To avoid a separate policy for wheelchair provision, wheelchairs can be included in a general policy for provision of assistive devices. However, specific issues related to wheelchair provision may need to be addressed in additional policy documents.

International Policies

The two main international policy instruments related to wheelchair provision are: 

  • the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and
  • the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

The Convention

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities consists of 50 articles. Articles 4, 20, 26 and 32 are particularly applicable to wheelchair provision as follows;

Article 4. General obligations

1. States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. To this end, States Parties undertake:

(a) To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention;

(g) To undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost;

(h) To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities;

(i) To promote the training of professionals and personnel working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in this Convention so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights.

Article 20. Personal mobility

States Parties shall take effective measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including by:

(a) Facilitating the personal mobility of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost;

(b) Facilitating access by persons with disabilities to quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including by making them available at affordable cost;

(c) Providing training in mobility skills to persons with disabilities and to specialist personnel working with persons with disabilities;

(d) Encouraging entities that produce mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies to take into account all aspects of mobility for persons with disabilities.

Article 26. Habilitation and rehabilitation

3. States Parties shall promote the availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies, designed for persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation.

Article 32. International cooperation

1. States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities. Such measures could include, inter alia:

(b) Facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programs and best practices;

(d) Providing, as appropriate, technical and economic assistance, including by facilitating access to and sharing of accessible and assistive technologies, and through the transfer of technologies.

The Standard Rules

The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities consists of 22 rules. With regard to preconditions for equal participation, Rules 3 and 4 apply to wheelchair provision. With regard to implementation measures, Rules 14, 19 and 20 are applicable.

Rule 3. Rehabilitation

“States should ensure the provision of rehabilitation services to people with disabilities in order for them to reach and sustain their optimum level of independence and functioning.”

Rule 4. Support services

“States should ensure the development and supply of support services, including assistive devices for people with disabilities, to assist them to increase their level of independence in their daily living and to exercise their rights.”

Rule 14. Policy-making and planning

“States will ensure that disability aspects are included in all relevant policy-making and national planning.”

Rule 19. Staff training

“States are responsible for ensuring the adequate training of personnel, at all levels, involved in the planning and provision of programs and services concerning people with disabilities.”

Rule 20. Monitoring and evaluation

“States are responsible for continuous monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of national programs and services concerning the equalization of opportunities for people with disabilities.”

Both the Convention and the Standard Rules clearly state that the government has the primary responsibility for wheelchair provision. It is therefore recommended that wheelchair provision be an integral part of national strategies.

Article 32. International cooperation

1. States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities. Such measures could include, inter alia:

(b) Facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programs and best practices.

(d) Providing, as appropriate, technical and economic assistance, including by facilitating access to and sharing of accessible and assistive technologies, and through the transfer of technologies.

Specific wheelchair provision issues

There are five areas to be considered when developing a policy for basic wheelchair provision.

1. Design: Each person has a unique set of individual or environmental needs that dictate the wheelchair design that is best for him or her. Because user needs are so diverse, no single wheelchair design will be appropriate for all users under all conditions. It is recommended that policies:

  • require that several types of wheelchair be made available to service providers to ensure that each user receives a wheelchair that meets his or her needs; and,
  • specify minimum national requirements to ensure that wheelchairs will be safe, durable and locally maintainable.

2. Production and supply: Wheelchairs can be produced and acquired in a number of ways. They should be tested for strength, durability and suitability for the context in which they will be used. Decisions will need to be made on how wheelchairs will be produced and acquired. It is recommended that policies:

  • approach the overall need for wheelchairs in relation to the funding available, the sustainability of supply over time, local economic development, and the impact on the local wheelchair provision infrastructure;
  • encourage assessment of wheelchairs against minimum guidelines;
  • encourage participation of users and service providers in the selection of wheelchairs; and,
  •  take into account other national policies on related issues, such as support of local production and local employment.

3. Service delivery: Providers of wheelchair services play an important role in liaising between the users and the wheelchair manufacturers. They can ensure that individual users are provided with an appropriate wheelchair. They provide education and training about the user’s needs, as well as ongoing support and referral to other services. It is recommended that policies:

  • promote user empowerment and choice;
  • require that wheelchairs be provided through a proper wheelchair service delivery system;
  • require that all wheelchair service providers follow recommended practices regarding of wheelchair availability, prescription, fitting, training of users and follow-up services; and,
  • require wheelchair service providers to demonstrate transparency, fair pricing, and monitoring and evaluation of their services.

4. Training: Training of all personnel involved in wheelchair provision ensures that service delivery can be maintained at a nationally accepted level. It is recommended that policies:

  • encourage that training be made available for all individuals directly associated with the development and implementation of wheelchair provision, including those involved in design, production, testing and service delivery.

5. Financing: Each of these four areas of basic wheelchair provision requires funding. Different funding strategies are described in Section 5.4. Typically, the costs of designing, producing and supplying a wheelchair, the delivery of wheelchair services and training of personnel are included in the price of the provided wheelchair, unless the costs are covered in other ways. It is recommended that policies:

  • specify funding mechanisms;
  • set eligibility criteria for funding;
  • specify the categories and standards of wheelchairs and services that are funded under the scheme; and
  • promote user empowerment and choice.

Other policy support mechanisim governments could consider

  • waiving import duties on raw materials used to build wheelchairs;
  • waiving import duties on wheelchairs if they are not available in the country;
  • supporting local nongovernmental and disabled people’s organizations that provide wheelchairs and related services through direct grants, or by facilitating relationships between local and international nongovernmental organizations, business communities and other stakeholders;
  • supporting private wheelchair manufacturing businesses through competitive tender offers, loans and training grants;
  • promoting the participation of users at every level of service planning and implementation;
  • removing architectural barriers to increased mobility, independence and participation, thus stimulating interest in, use of and demand for better wheelchairs; and
  • including wheelchair provision and allied issues (such as accessible environments and accessible transport) in other national policies.

Example of a policy in India related to wheelchair provision

In India, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act (2) was adopted in 1995 as a result of continual lobbying by disability activists and nongovernmental organizations. This lobbying involved extensive consultations with officials, protest marches and press conferences (3). Regarding wheelchairs, the Act states in Chapter VII: “The appropriate Governments shall by notification make schemes to provide aids and appliances to persons with disabilities.”

On the basis of this Act, the Indian Government introduced the Assistance to Disabled Persons of India scheme, under which people with a monthly income of less than US$ 160 can get a wheelchair free of charge. If the monthly income is between US$ 161 and US$ 250 the user has to pay 50% of the cost, and if the income is above US$ 250, the user has to pay the full cost of the wheelchair.

Example of a policy in Afghanistan related to wheelchair provision

In October 2003, the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled in Afghanistan published a Comprehensive National Disability Policy. The policy was “developed in collaborative manner by all stakeholders including primarily disabled people organizations and self help groups; disability NGOs both national and international; major line ministries including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs, and Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled (MMD); related UN agencies including UNOPS/CDAP, WHO, ILO, UNICEF, and UNHCR; National Constitution Commission; and President Office” (4). It is expected that the initial policy will lead to a more detailed and prioritized plan of action that needs to be developed in order to achieve the ultimate objectives of this policy. The policy goes on to state:

Provisions for people with physical disability for example, should include orthopedic rehabilitation centers; physiotherapy services; and orthopedic, assistive and mobility devices. These services should be close to a regional or provincial hospital with orthopedic surgical services so that the local population has easy access. They could be located ideally, in cities with medical teaching faculties such as in Kabul, Mazar, Herat, Kandahar and Jalalabad. Future services should provide for an expansion in orthotics as this is underserved.

All patients have the right to receive devices. Devices should be well-made, well-fitting, of local materials whenever possible and repairable locally. Appropriate technology should be standardized throughout the country. A mechanism for national standardization should be created with relevant experts in collaboration with MOPH [the Ministry of Public Health].

5.3 Planning

There are six key activities in planning and implementing wheelchair provision.

1. Identifying the need for wheelchairs and services

Identifying the need for wheelchairs is necessary to determine the numbers of services and personnel required and where to locate services. Such assessments also provide information on user satisfaction with wheelchairs that are in use and may have been distributed with or without service provision. Statistics should include the number of users, prevalence of different health conditions, impairments and restrictions in participation, and the geographical location of these individuals. Collection of data can often be facilitated by collaborating with community-based rehabilitation programs and disabled people’s organizations. Where collection of data is not possible, the conservative estimate that 1% of the population will require wheelchairs can be used.

2. Planning wheelchair provision at national level

It is recommended that governments be actively engaged in the planning, establishment and continuing development of wheelchair services. Governments are advised to consider funding wheelchair services along with other rehabilitation services. Where government funding is already allocated to wheelchair provision, it is recommended that the services be assessed to determine whether they are being provided in accordance with the recommendations made in these guidelines.

3. Encouraging collaboration between governmental and nongovernmental service providers

Wherever possible, national and international nongovernmental organizations involved in wheelchair provision are encouraged to collaborate closely with relevant ministries and departments to assist in developing and implementing the national plan for wheelchair provision. A coordinated plan can help to make maximum use of resources and ensure that the appropriate services are accessible to those who need them.

4. Integrating wheelchair services into existing rehabilitation services

Wheelchair services will be enhanced by integrating them into other rehabilitation and health care services where possible. Integration helps to coordinate efforts among key stakeholders, make the best use of resources such as health centres and personnel, and facilitate strong referral and consulting networks. A good example is that of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, where a multidisciplinary group of medical professionals have established a wheelchair committee to address issues related to production, service delivery, distribution and maintenance (6).

Referral networks are critical to the sustainability of wheelchair services, and help to ensure that the services are accessible to those who need them. Consulting networks and access to health care professionals such as physicians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and other specialists help to ensure that appropriate services and equipment are provided to users. This is particularly important for those with complex needs.

5. Adopting national standards of wheelchair provision

National authorities and providers of wheelchair services are urged to develop and adopt national standards. National standards need to address issues associated with the quality and testing of wheelchairs, personnel training and service delivery. These guidelines may serve as a starting point for developing standards. It is also recommended that monitoring and evaluation be carried out to ensure wheelchair services meet the established standards.

6. Empowering consumers

National governments and international development agencies can create and support an enabling environment. Users need to have the opportunity to choose the right product for themselves from among a variety of products. A good information package about these products, including possible sources of funding or subsidy, could be very useful for the user in making the right decision.

The best strategy for developing a national wheelchair provision programme will depend on the current state of wheelchair services in the country, the available resources and the needs the service has to meet. It is useful to consider the following questions when planning wheelchair provision.

  • What are the characteristics and specific needs of the user population?
  • Do stakeholder groups exist and, if so, what are their interests and opinions?
  • Do wheelchair services already exist (through local workshops, community-based rehabilitation, disabled people’s organizations, other nongovernmental organizations, the private sector or government)?
  • Is there any wheelchair provision outside the formal infrastructure, for example provision of mass imported wheelchairs?
  • What can be done with existing resources?
  • What are the current funding mechanisms?

Strategies for Developing a Wheelchair Provision Programme

  1. The government wants to establish a national wheelchair service programme. The government may contact interested nongovernmental and disabled people’s organizations, users, training  programs for health professionals, international organizations such as WHO and the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics and relevant international nongovernmental organizations to help in developing an appropriate plan for a national wheelchair service. The government may look at its own prosthetic and orthotic services and use these as a basis for developing a wheelchair service. It may also contact government bodies in other countries to learn from their experience and seek advice.
     
  2. Wheelchair provision exists but on a small scale through independent organizations; there is no collaboration. The government, local organizations or an international nongovernmental organization could assess the possibility of scaling up the operation. A resource centre can be set up to involve people from the different organizations in a collaborative effort. The resource centre can then evolve into either a coalition of organizations interested in wheelchair services or an independent nongovernmental organization in its own right.
     
  3. There are organizations in the country but no wheelchair service delivery. An interested nongovernmental or disabled people’s organization can serve as the nucleus for a resource centre. The organization needs to identify an appropriate organization with wheelchair provision experience as a partner (e.g. a governmental or nongovernmental organization in a neighbouring country or an international nongovernmental organization) and should follow the other initial steps in scenario 4 below. Alternatively, this process may be started by an international nongovernmental organization, which then seeks out local nongovernmental and disabled people’s organizations as partners. Efforts should be made to identify and network with other countries or organizations that have had similar experience in initiating wheelchair services.
     
  4. There are no organizations in the country and no regular wheelchair service delivery. An international nongovernmental organization, either on its own initiative or at the invitation of or in partnership with the government, could establish a resource centre in the capital or other major city. The resource centre could be an integral part of an already existing rehabilitation institute. The resource centre should begin by providing important information to users, their families or caregivers and health professionals about mobility needs and wider issues pertaining to mobility. The international nongovernmental organization should develop a stakeholder analysis and survey people who use or require wheelchairs, in order to identify gaps and determine the need for wheelchairs and services. Preliminary participatory research will present options for meeting the needs. Funding should be secured to begin wheelchair provision. Efforts should be made to establish a working relationship between the resource centre and relevant governmental bodies as a first step in establishing a national wheelchair service.
     

5.4 Funding Stratagies

An important part of setting up a wheelchair service comprises costing and establishing sources of funding in order to ensure the financial sustainability of the service.

Costing

 The first step towards financial sustainability is the accurate calculation of the direct and indirect costs of wheelchair services. It is important that the cost of service delivery and the cost of the product are accounted for. Initial costs of setting up a wheelchair service should also be provided for but do not need to be included in the calculation of running costs. When estimating funds needed to establish and sustain wheelchair services, planners are advised to consider the total cost of wheelchair provision. The total cost is the sum of all direct and indirect costs.

Direct Costs

Product

  • Manufacturing cost or purchase price of wheelchair
  • Shipping and transportation of wheelchair

Initial Service

  • Personnel costs (clinical, technical, training) for assessing, ordering, fitting and training
  • Personnel costs for ordering and inventory of wheelchairs
  • Materials and equipment for assembly and modifications
  • Supplies (assessment forms, record-keeping, etc.)

Follow-up service

  • Personnel costs
  • Maintenance and repair

Indirect  Costs

  • Management
  • Administration
  • Overheads
  • Capacity building – training of service personnel

Sources of Funding

Many individuals who need a wheelchair cannot afford to buy one. Nevertheless, everyone who needs a wheelchair is entitled to one, regardless of his or her ability to pay for it. Thus, funds will need to be made available to users needing financial assistance. Different funding mechanisms are described below.

Government Funding

Government funding is usually the most reliable funding source where the government is committed to wheelchair services. Where wheelchair services are being established or provided by nongovernmental groups, it is recommended that there be continued consultation with the relevant government departments. Consultation should include long-term planning to determine when, how and to what extent the government is able to assume overall responsibility for the service in the future, including financial contributions.

Donor Funding

In many contexts, the initiation of a wheelchair service may depend on funding from national and international donors. Owing to its usually short-term nature, donor funding should be complemented by advocacy for government and other more sustainable sources of funding.

Wheelchair Funds Managed by Committee

A local “wheelchair fund” may be established to subsidize the cost of wheelchairs for individual users. Wheelchair funds exist to source funding and equitably manage donations secured for wheelchair provision. Users apply to the fund committee for a full or partial subsidy of the cost of a wheelchair. It is recommended that such funds apply a means test to determine how much financial assistance should be given. Government funding may also be channelled through a wheelchair fund.

Committees should comprise a cross-section of individuals who have a vested interest in sustainable wheelchair provision, such as (though not limited to) users, representatives of disabled people’s organizations, clinicians and technicians, government representatives and local dignitaries.

Contributions From Users

Unless full government funding is provided for wheelchair purchase, it is recommended that any financing system incorporates an element of financial contribution from users themselves. Contribution  programs should be run in conjunction with individual means tests to ensure that users contribute no more and no less than they can realistically afford. Users’ contributions also stimulate demand for products and services of appropriate quality.

A credit scheme is an option that allows users to borrow funds to purchase a wheelchair and to repay it over a period of time. Another option is an employment scheme, linking wheelchair provision with the opportunity for the user to obtain a job or funds to start a business and to pay for the wheelchair over time.

Fees on Donated or Imported Wheelchairs

Even when a wheelchair is donated free of charge, there are costs associated with its responsible provision to the user, including follow-up with the user and maintenance of the wheelchair. Organizations that import wheelchairs on a large scale without ensuring the necessary services, as described in Chapter 3, could be required to pay a fee to support the services.

Income Generation

Wheelchair services can be subsidized through income from the sale of other products such as canes, crutches, walkers, and toilet and shower chairs.

Voucher System

A voucher system may enable users to make their own purchasing decisions. The user is assessed and receives a prescription for a wheelchair with certain features. The user is given a voucher to the value of the cheapest wheelchair that fits the user’s prescription and that also meets minimum standards for safety, strength and durability. Users who want a more expensive chair that meets the prescription have to find the additional funds themselves.
 

5.5 Links With Other Sectors

Wheelchair service stakeholders are encouraged to collaborate with other sectors and institutions. These linkages reduce the cost of establishing and operating a wheelchair service and allow the service to grow more rapidly. Professionals in these other sectors will learn about wheelchair services, while the services will benefit from the increased involvement of educated and trained professionals. Collaboration will also facilitate more enabling or barrier-free environments, and a higher level of inclusion and participation

Health services and community outreach campaigns

Existing health services provide an infrastructure into which wheelchair services can be integrated at the lowest possible cost. Information services can be expanded to include wheelchairs, thus facilitating the identification and follow-up of users. The advantages include a common location for all services, the use of existing referral networks, and greater awareness among health and rehabilitation workers. Visits by health services to outlying areas (for HIV/AIDS awareness, community-based rehabilitation  programs and vaccination campaigns, for example), as well as literacy, voter registration/political participation campaigns and any other outreach  programs, also provide an opportunity to provide wheelchair services.

Education

Linking wheelchair provision with the education sector can facilitate the development of training materials and implementation of training  programs. In some instances, core subjects may already exist within the academic institution. In these situations it may be possible to integrate training for wheelchair provision into existing courses.

Similarly, manufacturing and testing laboratories may exist, which can help facilitate the design, production and testing of wheelchairs. University students in a variety of technical and health disciplines can be recruited for careers in wheelchair provision. Service providers can engage students for field placements to obtain experience. Finally, academic institutions will be familiar with methods of accreditation, which may help in establishing nationally recognized, accredited training for wheelchair provision.

Wheelchair services can also work with the education sector to ensure education is accessible to people with disabilities, as stated in Article 9a of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. With a wheelchair and a barrier-free environment, a person with disability can access education in school or college. Schools and colleges need to have, as a minimum, easy access to classrooms, wide doorways and accessible toilets.

wheelchair provision 02Livelihood

It is likely that new wheelchair users will need help in finding a job or acquiring the necessary skills to find a job or return to work. Article 27 of the United Nations Convention states: Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.

Policies that encourage employment training, job referral  programs and mainstream education for people with disabilities can help to increase the employment opportunities for users. There are benefits for both users and society when users are able to secure their own livelihood. Through employment, users and their families can better secure the necessities of life and improve their economic and social situation.

wheelchair provision 03The Standard Rules on the “Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities” notes that users have obligations as well as rights. With mobility, and a greater opportunity for work, users are in a better position to fulfil their obligations to society.

Social

Quality Of Life: With a wheelchair and a barrier-free environment, a person with disability can easily participate with dignity in social and community life. Active participation in the social, spiritual and cultural life of a community has a strong impact on the quality of users’ lives and their self-perception and self-esteem. Both participation in and appreciation of the arts, sports and recreational activities, can greatly contribute to a positive self-image and well-being.

wheelchair provision 04Active Participation: Barriers to participation of users include negative attitudes held by the public, the users’ families and sometimes the users themselves. An effective way of overcoming attitudinal barriers is for users to become more visible, demonstrating to family, friends and the broader public that they can participate in social activities (see Fig. 5.3.). Through direct experience, users and those around them learn the full extent of a user’s abilities. Users have the same rights and opportunities as others to have a family. In fact, a wheelchair makes family life easier and less stressful for a person with disability and his or her family.

Governments are encouraged to assist users in accessing wheelchairs and services that allow them to function as independently as possible. Users and their families also need to receive the social benefits to which they are entitled.

Infrastructure: Barrier-free environments create opportunities for users to exercise their rights, opportunities and freedoms, to become productive members of the family and to fulfil their duties to their family and community. The success and optimization of wheelchair provision in any country largely depend on the environment: a barrier-free environment will benefit not only wheelchair users but also others, especially older people. Basic aspects of the infrastructure that need to be accessible include:

  • buildings, i.e. housing and public buildings providing, for example, health services, education, employment, banking, government services and other public services;
  • public transport, such as buses, trains and ferries;
  • roads, streets and footpaths;
  • food, water and sanitation facilities such as open-air restaurants and markets, water taps, tube wells and toilets; and
  • facilities for culture and recreation, for example stadiums, cinemas, theatres, parks, public halls and community centres.

It is recommended that experts on wheelchair accessibility, for example users with adequate knowledge, be represented on local, regional and national committees that determine planning and construction. Universal design, including wheelchair access, could be included as a requirement in university  programs for civil engineering, architecture, urban planning and design.

Access for all in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, a consortium of disability organizations was formed to support a campaign to promote the inclusion and participation of all people with disabilities in tsunami relief, reconstruction and development work. The Access for all campaign asks for the inclusion of people with disabilities when rebuilding the nation. This means rebuilding an accessible nation: making all public buildings, transport, places of employment, services and infrastructure accessible to all. It also means including people with disabilities in plans for the nation.
 

5.6 Inclusion and Participation

The ultimate aim of wheelchair provision is to facilitate inclusion and participation. Mobility is often a precondition for participation in society. Hence, provision of wheelchairs that enhance personal mobility is an essential element of interventions to ensure that all citizens of a country get equal opportunities to enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Inclusion and participation of people using wheelchairs will require: 

  • barrier-free environments and disabled-friendly products and services;
  • general services and systems such as housing, health care, transportation, schools and income generating activities are made accessible; and
  • specific services and systems such as medical treatment, rehabilitation, wheelchairs and other assistive devices and support services are made accessible and affordable

It is important that all stakeholders in wheelchair provision are aware of and understand the ultimate aim of providing wheelchairs, and translate this understanding into appropriate action to ensure sustainable inclusion and participation. When the wheelchair needs of people in less-resourced settings begin to be met, this will benefit not only the individuals and their families but also their countries.
 

Conclusions

  • Countries have the primary responsibility for wheelchair provision, as stated in United Nations policy instruments.
  • Areas to consider when developing a policy for wheelchair provision include design, production and supply, service delivery, training and financing.
  • Key activities in planning and implementation wheelchair provision are:
    identification of need
    planning at national level
    collaboration among stakeholders
    integration of existing health care of rehabiliation services
    adoption of national standards
    emp0werment of users
  • Linking wheelchair provision to other sectors of the society can be effective.
  • Infrastructure and transport systems need to be accessible to all.
  • The ultimate aim of wheelchair provision is to facilitate inclusion and participation.
     

Resources

  1.  Scherer MJ. The change in emphasis from people to person: introduction to the special issue on assistive technology. Disability & Rehabilitation, 2002, 24:1–4.
  2. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995. New Delhi, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, 1995 (http://socialjustice.nic.in/disabled/welcome.htm, accessed 11 March 2008).
  3. Wong-Hernandez l. Moving legislation into action: the examples of India & South Africa. Disability World, 2001, No. 6 (http://www.disabilityworld.org/01-02_01/gov/legislation.htm, accessed 11 March 2008).
  4. The Comprehensive National Disability Policy in Afghanistan. Kabul, Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled, 2003 (http://www.disability.gov.af/npad/publications.htm, accessed 11 March 2008).
  5. Oderud T et al. User satisfaction survey: an assessment study on wheelchairs in Tanzania. In: Report of a Consensus Conference on Wheelchairs for Developing Countries, Bangalore, India, 6–11 November 2006. Copenhagen, International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, 2007.
  6. Munish A. Follow-up, service and maintenance (including repairs and maintenance), sustainability of service, service delivery system. In: Report of a Consensus Conference on Wheelchairs for Developing Countries, Bangalore, India, 6–11 November 2006. Copenhagen, International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, 2007.
  7. Wiman R. et al. Meeting the needs of people with disabilities: new approaches in the health sector.Washington, DC,World Bank, 2002.

 

Dean Pusell Love the Universe in You

Dean Pusell Love the Universe in You

In the summer of 1988 the smell of salt hung in the air by the beach in Australia. I decided to escape the heat and go surfing with friends. We all ran into the water diving in at waist deep. As I floated to the surface face down unable to move. I knew the blood in the water was mine. Thankfully my friends noticed and rolled me over. Unable to feel from my bottom lip down I sucked in a big breath of our precious sky. Funny, I lost a lot of blood but not a tear in the ocean that day.

Dean Pusell Love the Universe in You

Love the Universe in You

I was placed in a halo brace to stabilize my quadriplegia and for the next fourteen months in hospital I was nurtured and doctered to use a cold steel wheelchair for the rest of this mortal life. I was only sixteen. After re-learning how to dress and feed myself it came time to write. Though it was most difficult I not only learned to write again, I came to allow my feelings to flow through my hands, drawing and painting over the next few years.

From 1994-2005 my creative works featured in 65 exhibitions around the world involving surreal painting, charcol drawings, collage, photography and poetry. I even turned my hand to writing lyric’s for a blind man to air on public radio. It lead to more television comericals and interviews.

For the last 18 months I have squinted through my heart, purely absorbing this mystically breathing life of spirit, breeze, and vibes- from pulse to paper in “Love the Universe in You” my scribbles began happily.

In a minds gentle silence and a hearts soft voice this smiling light was healing in a peaceful surrender, what grew in this pink and purple dusk amongst the closing lavender lotuses was the birth of a waking dream… piercing stars now whispered a gentle bliss. – Dean Pusell

“Love the Universe in You” is my latest published book. It was written with a glowing smile, deeply feeling the dual meanings of the title. Grab a copy and find your bliss.

Peace and smiles to all,
Love Dean Pusell
DeanPusell.com

sarah casteel wheelchair tennis champion

Sarah Casteel Wheelchair Tennis Champion

Sarah Casteel two time national wheelchair tennis champion suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury when a drunk driver slammed into the car she was driving on Independence Day in 2002. Tragically her 15 year old brother in the car at the time, did not survive the accident.

sarah casteel wheelchair tennis champion
Sarah Casteel Wheelchair Tennis Champion

Casteel, 18 years of age, was taken to the University of Missouri Hospital where she not only had to cope with the loss of her younger brother but the loss of her mobility. Now a paraplegic, she would not walk again.

Sarah remained in the hospital for three months before returning to her home in Greenville, South Carolina to continue with physical therapy.

Life with Paraplegia

Prior to the accident Sarah Casteel was an all-state volleyball player who excelled in tennis, competing on the boys’ tennis team in high school because there was no girls’ team and later played for Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. In her freshman year of college she wanted to study fashion design and art, but that all changed in an instant.

After the accident Casteel returned to Stephens College where she quickly discovered it was not wheelchair accessible. Many of her classmates were less than compassionate unfamiliar and uneasy with her new found paraplegia.

It was not good. It was weird; my life had changed so much. I found out I didn’t have friends anymore. A lot of people I thought were my friends disappeared. I guess they couldn’t deal with it. It was very hard. I decided this was not the place for me anymore. – Sarah Casteel

Casteel began looking for another school, one that could accommodate her wheelchair and improve her quality of life. She found such a place at the UTA (University of Texas in Arlington). She applied and received a wheelchair tennis scholarship to attend the UTA.

The occupational therapist I worked with in Missouri actually introduced me to wheelchair tennis, so I started looking for a school with a wheelchair tennis program, and the University of Texas actually was offering a scholarship for wheelchair tennis. I made friends there and I was No. 1 on a team of four. I competed against other colleges and in national tournaments. – Sarah Casteel

National Wheelchair Tennis Champion

Sarah Casteel

Sarah Casteel

The two time USTA (United States Tennis Association) national champion 2004-2005 Sarah Casteel has also competed in the World Cup held in the Netherlands. Graduating from Stephens College in 2005 with an Inter-disciplinary Studies degree with a focus on biology, she decided to pursue a career helping others.

A connection made with an occupational therapist in Missouri inspired her to become an Occupational Therapist. This led her to the Medical University of South Caroline (MUSC) where she graduated in 2009 with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy.

Training for a spot on the USA Paralympic wheelchair tennis team to compete in the Beijing Paralympics 2008 was interrupted when the steel plates and screws that fused her spinal vertebrae together began to irritate. After further spinal surgery and several week’s recovery, the unstoppable Casteel was back in training with her coach, Crafton Dicus, and competing nationally. Becoming a member of the U.S. Tennis Association High Performance Wheelchair Tennis Team.

Wheelchair Tennis Paralympic Games

Now with the guidance of pioneering wheelchair tennis coach Chuck McCuen, striving to hold a place in the World Cup Team 30 year old Sarah Casteel, a world-ranked wheelchair tennis champion feels she has a shot at representing her country in the Paralympics Games in London 2012. With the formidable tenacity Sarah Casteel has approached life with and a mean top-spin backhand that could snap your head off, whether Sarah makes the Paralympic team or not she will continue to inspire as all.

loving-somebody-extraordinary

Loving Somebody Extraordinary

It was September 24th 2006 when my path crossed with my soul mate. At 35 I had all but lost faith in eligible men and monogamous relationships, never mind conventional marriage. There he was sitting in the only patch of sun at a Bar-B-Que and I couldn’t resist joining him to soak up the warmth. I had just given up alcohol for good, and offered him a taste of my ginger beer. His cousin, our neighbour of 34 years, was having a farewell BBQ and Francois almost didn’t come. Meeting Francois changed my life forever. 

Loving Somebody Extraordinary

Loving Somebody Extraordinary

Francois is a wiz on computers and online games. At the time he was busy with Lineage II. He explained how he was able to gather with other online gamers across the world to arrange sieges, defend castles and fend off fierce dragons. He called himself a “lowly warrior”. I have since discovered he is more likely a Knight. With many of his fellow swordsmen being North Americans, most of the online battles were scheduled for 4am. This was no trouble for Francois and he would be awake and ready to support his guild. 

His lifestyle was akin to that of a vampire, drawing the thick curtains during daylight so the glare wouldn’t reflect off the graphics, and awake all night to battle. He fought with pride, honour and dignity, and this seemed to mirror his inner core. Francois was clearly a gentleman who encompassed good old fashioned chivalry. He also has a deep understanding of human nature, and a permanent good humour. These are rare and precious qualities that were obviously enhanced through his disability. Francois has a level C5-6 spinal cord injury (SCI) and is completely paralysed from his chest down to his feet. He has partial movement of his upper arms running down into wrist extension, but sadly it stops short of hand and finger movement. 

At 5:20pm on a warm Monday afternoon in 1992, a car drove into Francois flinging him off his motorcycle and breaking his neck. What would you do if you could alter 10 minutes in your lifetime? He was 18 years old and had just started working. He spent six months at the Conradie Rehabilitation Centre for spinal cord injuries where he recovered and was taught how to adapt to his new life. The first three months were spent in a head brace which was fastened tightly to prevent any movement at all so that the bones in his neck could fuse. They didn’t realize that his scapula was broken, and the pressure of the brace against his shoulder was agonizing. The pain in his shoulder restricts pushing his wheelchair to this day. Suddenly lying on your back with no sensation and no movement in your entire body is a life sentence that one cannot compare to anything. It’s unthinkable. 

The ward was full of men forced to come to terms with their injuries. They developed an unspoken bond and deep understanding that would resurface years later when they bumped into each other again. Every three hours they were turned to prevent pressure sores, which meant a peaceful night’s sleep was impossible. Pressure sores are one of the worst afflictions of paralysis. They develop too easily from lack of blood circulation, mostly from a hip or bony extrusion pressing for too long on a surface. Being paralysed means not being able to feel anything below the level of the break, and often a pressure sore can go unnoticed until it’s very serious. Tragically, two thirds of people with a spinal cord injury suffer chronic, intractable pain in those areas where there is sensation. A “complete break” is when the nerve has been completely severed, whereas an “incomplete break” means there is still some connection and some level of recovery.

God’s miracle of creation is clearly evident in how the organs of the body know their respective tasks and carry on as per normal. Bladders and bowels still need to be emptied. This is one of the biggest hurdles that a paralysed person faces, how to manage their bowel routine and to retain some sort of dignity. Did you know that it’s impossible to cough without chest muscles? This change’s the dynamics of catching a simple cold for fear that it may become bronchitis. I certainly didn’t know. I knew virtually nothing about paralysis when I met Francois. But I was willing to learn one day at a time in order to spend time with him. I laughed more than I had in years, life had become adventurous and fun, I had found my very own Mr Bean and perfectly preserved Peter Pan rolled into one. 

Francois enjoys the view from his wheechair in Knynsa

Francois enjoys the view from his wheechair in Knynsa

Our first date was a drive to Ceres, stopping at Bainskloof pass for a picnic. It would be his first picnic in 15 years. Imagine not doing things for 15 years, not going to the movies, not believing you could have a loving partner or a normal life. It was a first of many more firsts to follow. But that picnic was our very first time and we hadn’t yet figured out the do’s and don’ts. That day I burnt his hand with a hot coffee cup (he still has a small scar); he developed the start of a pressure sore sitting on a hard car seat; and he got a bladder infection from an overfull legbag that he didn’t want to ask me to empty. It was love. And the physical attraction was undeniable. He had a twinkle in his gorgeous blue eyes that made my heart skip a beat. 

We both knew from the beginning that we had found the love we had once believed in. I had travelled around the world and found the centre of my universe on my doorstep. We used to play together as carefree children. Francois proposed to me on 7/7/2007 during a weekend away at Cape Agulhas. Our friends and family joined in an awesome engagement celebration at Wiesenhof, in the heart of nature. We had a BBQ at the lapa overlooking the dam, with each guest receiving a straw sunhat as a special memento.

Computer keyboard typing splint

Computer keyboard typing splint

Soon after we met, Francois embarked on an arduous journey of studying IT through UNISA. It’s a four year course that he has immersed himself into, determined to make a success. He has been richly rewarded with distinctions for almost all of his subjects. It’s a tremendous achievement, especially given the technical difficulties involved for him to study and write his exams. He is fortunately able to operate a computer easily with the aid of a typing stick. In fact, with another set of helping hands he has built all his own computers. However, a textbook poses much more of a challenge. To handle a book and turn pages without the use of hands and fingers is no easy feat.

Here Francois’ mother deserves a special mention, as she tirelessly assists him with his studies as his caregiver. The first examination that Francois wrote was nail-biting. Other students are able to write exams but Francois needs a computer to type on. They had designated a computer at the back of the normal exam venue upstairs. On that particular day the lifts were out of order. Mayhem and panic followed. They contemplated carrying Francois upstairs, but this was too daunting and dangerous.

The library was downstairs and they ended up using one of the quiet audio-visual rooms, make-shifting a desk for him. Telephone books were cleverly placed underneath to raise the level of the desk to the height of his wheelchair. Another desk was placed alongside for Francois to be able to lean on. Without him having stomach muscles he is unable to balance, so without support he would topple over. I’m not sure if he would fare well on a boat, it’s an adventure we’re still to try. Lastly, he brings his own keyboard and mouse for ease of use. This was to become Francois’ examination venue thereafter. A few years on, Johan Jacobs, the Deputy Director at UNISA, specially designed motorised adjustable desks suitable for people with any sized wheelchair, and purchased state-of-the art computers for people with any type of disability.

Each exam has had its own set of challenges. Once, Francois had to re-write his exams. It was a very bleak day indeed. As Francois was finishing up and preparing to print, MS Word froze and all his answers were corrupted. That day Francois and his invigilator sat for seven hours straight as he diligently rewrote the entire paper. Tricky too is when questions require him to draw a technical diagram, which he cannot do. This can be beyond frustrating. Frustration is the number one stumbling block. Able bodied people are able to go for a walk, go for a drive, do something else to release our pent-up frustration. How does a paralysed person handle the many frustrations that he encounters? Francois remains sane with an insane sense of humour.

It’s a daily reminder for me to be ever-grateful that I am physically able to get out of bed, take a shower, hop into the car and drive to work. The simple everyday things that we take for granted are actually the greatest gifts in life. Francois is unable to cross a road on his own because of the pavements. It takes a minimum of two hours to get us both ready in the mornings. All routine tasks take thrice as much time and effort.

Going out can become emotionally draining when things go wrong: if the legbag leaks and floods the shoe with urine; not being able to find parking in a designated wheelchair bay; no room for the wheelchair next to the car, a small oversight in some parking areas; the catheter not draining properly (this is life-threatening if not fixed in time); extreme hot or cold weather (quadriplegics don’t have normal temperature regulating bodily functions); transferring into or out of the car in rain where everything plus the wheelchair cushion gets wet. Yet after the rain there is always a rainbow. We had a magical wedding on 4/4/2009, it was a dream come true. The love and support from our family and friends was phenomenal. This was topped by the best adventure we’d ever had, a honeymoon in Kruger National Park.

Travelling-wheelie-Wall-E

Travelling companion Wall-E

Wall-E was our travelling companion, a young fluffy lion with wild hair and an eagerness to see untouched nature. Kruger is well equipped for wheelchairs, and each of the five parks we stayed in had designated bungalows that were wheelchair friendly. Though being wheelchair friendly doesn’t necessarily mean being quadriplegic-friendly. On two of the balconies I almost lost Francois as he went flying down a ramp that was too steep, once backwards! He also burnt his hand quite severely while tending to the fire one windy evening. We had duct-taped a long two-prong fork to his hand so that he could turn the meat. He is unable to feel heat on his hand and the fire must have been hotter than we realized.

 We both tend to put on our McGyver caps when trying to find clever ways of doing everyday things. Great successes are duct-taping a table-tennis bat to his hand, putting non-slip handgrips onto everything, which has amongst other things brought out the chef in him. Along our travels we were privileged to find QAWC (QuadPara Association of Western Cape) through which we have met so many other people in a similar situation as us. Some were recovering at Conradie at the same time as Francois, cementing strong friendships. They don’t let adversity hold them back. It is fascinating to observe how everyone finds ingenious ways of doing things. It is just a lot harder to physically do everyday things, and a person’s potential is dependent on their environment and support base. Which is why it’s uplifting when total strangers offer their help. On a particularly interesting day at the World of Birds, a steep pathway had become damp and slippery. We were stuck. Out of the blue a strong set of arms enveloped my shoulders and helped me push the wheelchair. It’s these moments that live forever.

Christopher Reeve named his first book “Still Me”. He was still the same person inside, regardless of his physical condition and appearance. He was still the same person, yet even better in many ways. As was Francois, he most likely developed a bucket load of patience, a deeper level of understanding, and an enhanced emotional intelligence* after his accident. Chris used his fortune and misfortune to encourage researchers to find cures and a better quality of life for paralysis victims. Chris’ work and legacy is paying off. Recently a paralysed victim of a car accident, Rob Summers, has been able to move again through ground-breaking electrical nerve stimulation. Although still early days, it pays homage to the title of Christopher Reeve’s second book, “Nothing is Impossible”

Jessica

3D wheelchair models Michael and Kay splash into some swimming pool fun

Wheelchair Models Pool Fun

This week 3D wheelchair models Michael and Kay get wet in pool fun. Water is a difficult medium to animate. Plugins can achieve a realistic effect but out of the box Daz3D is hopeless at animating water. Adjusting opacity works fine for still images. However, creating an animated splash effect as Michael plunges into the pool in Daz3D is a big fail.

Three solutions; purchase a plugin, create splashes in another 3D modeling tool to import and animate, or place the camera at water level and move the water surface. For the simple purpose of bringing you original wheelchair related content we did the latter for this short video clip.

Wheelchair Models Pool Fun Video

Realistic Wheelchair Models

Good lighting is essential to realistic effects. Get the movements right before adding lights as they slow render speeds dramatically. We import the pool scene and fill it with water. Animate disability models sexy paraplegic Michael in his briefs and Kay in a pink bikini jumping into the swimming pool. Then add eleven slightly yellow distant lights to replicate sunlight; a ring of five pointing down at -33 degrees, five up at 44 degrees, and one down at -59 degrees. We set raytracing on the last light with an intensity of 73 and a shadow softness of 2 for a realistic sun shadow.

Adjusting Lighting for Wheelchair Renders

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The Pool Fun Part

We understand most don’t care how we create content, you just want to see the end results, and that’s ok. We have no purpose without an audience. If our audience does create and share stories, photos, video, comments, etc we will grow faster and serve you better. We built this website so you can express yourself. These anatomically correct models can be made do much more than we have shown here. We are also interested in using real-life models, disabled or not.

Graham Streets
MSC Admin