When I was first disabled and my legs decided they only worked sometimes I spent almost two years basically bed bound because of the multiple disabilities I live with the doctors couldn’t get a treatment that worked in a balanced way for all that ailed me . I was in a dark “woe is me” place thinking the judo competing marathon running physically able life was a thing of the past. A friend of mine whom I have known since childhood tore me a new one, “get your whining disabled ass out of bed and get back to that thing called life you’re disabled not dead!”
I got an electric scooter because my insurance called a wheelchair “ not necessary” a ”luxury” but in the year and a half I used the scooter my weight ballooned to over 500lbs, on February 4th 2009 a doctor told me if I did not lose weight I was dead.
I bought a folding wheelchair online and when it came it was ugly and I cried it looked like the kind of chair a dying person would have so I took everything off of it I threw away arm rests I cut the height of the back down to a mere sports chair style sling I took the upholstery and re did it in zebra print I resprayed the frame with four coats of purple and two coats of clear and I started pushing.
The first week Ella said “let’s go to the botanical gardens, it’s only a mile each way” I said sure and going there was downhill? Easy peasy, when we were leaving I gotten yards and we hailed a cab too far too soon.
That week we went through our cupboards and the fridge and threw away the fattening and we went the last step from vegetarian to vegan, and each day I drank 2 liters of water and pushed around the block next month around two blocks the month after to the botanic gardens and BACK.
Many good friends who like me had wheels under their collective asses but had been using chairs for much longer gave me helpful tips and advice and piece by piece the chair had cross supports wielded, the back wheels were changed to quick release hubs and the front to frogs legs casters and forks and a better cushion and for a while it worked the weight fell off.
In late 2010 my chair frame snapped on a steep railway platform and I met a man with a company called infinite rehab in maleny Queensland Australia, he took a couple of hundred measurements and showed me quality of the metal and gave me a choice of colors and upholstery cloth and he asked how I sit, what my disability was and then he left and handmade and stitched everything except the wheels and 8 weeks later I had a chair that fitted like a glove not only my body but my life.
and even after getting my custom ride I customized it further with kenda nevgal off road wheels
and frogs legs casters and wheels
I would still be in my broken homemade folding chair if not for those who had gone before reaching back and pulling me up with support knowledge and advice and most of all stern words when I threw a pity party, as one friend admonished me” if you’re going to throw a fucking pity party next time get the damn thing catered” words to live by!
What happened to me was people I knew some only just newly acquainted others lifelong who were dis or otherwise abled, saw me in distress and depression and gave a necessary come to Jesus meeting then others saw what equipment I had and said not bad but let me show you where to and how to get yourself something better.
Each person spent no more than an hour, some only minutes to pass forward their sage advice but those periods of time gave me back my life I did judo once again,
I swam two miles a day
I did road races (10km, 15km, half marathon) and surfing
and I worked I had a life I don’t call it normal because seriously what the fuck is that?
So now it’s my turn, and I take it seriously I write this blog to give information, I do outreach amongst the wheelchair using homeless? Yes there are two homeless paraplegic veterans in New York one of them has a chair held together by duct tape? I have helped them get new chairs housing and medical care, not because I want kudos but simply because I know how and what does it cost me? Absolutely nothing and all I ask of them is to turn around look behind and pull someone else up as I have for them.
I don’t believe in god, if he was real where was he when a 5 year old child was raped by pedophiles and passed around like party favors? But his book of fables is very clear on the subject of helping others
“He who refuses but one of mine refuses me”
Finally the two best ways to pass it forward are
1/ to live an amazing life
2/ so live your life it demands a question
Just because you have wheels under your ass doesn’t mean you can’t have a mind blowing life quite the obvious in fact because as the meme says
“don’t walk quietly to the grave jump on your ride and scream through life yelling yahoo and swing sideways to a stop screaming “damn life was one hell of a ride”
What better way to scream through life eating every moment like a cannoli than with a cool custom wheelchair under your ass!