Blog site: WheelchairMommy.com
How long have you been blogging? I started blogging before it was blogging. I had my first website in 1999 on a geocities site.
Describe yourself in 3 words. Devoted, resourceful and passionate
First thing you do when you wake up? Drink coffee and check my email.
Last thing you do before you go to bed? I kiss my husband, you should ALWAYS kiss goodnight!
Last book you read? Somewhere with You by Britney King.
Finish these sentences:
In the next 10 years I really hope… to see my boys growing into amazing young men and to be successful in my speaking goals.
If no one read my blog I would…be sad. I am thrilled when someone says it has inspired them but it’s for me too, so I wouldn’t stop!
Visit my blog if you….want to see how I can take care of 3 boys sitting on my butt all day.
I would be very rich if I had a dime for every time someone asked me…to stop speeding in that thing.
I get happy when I….see my boys succeed and reach their goals.
Blogging via Facebook.com/Wheelin’ Weightloss
Why did you start blogging?
I started writing and sharing my story to inspire others to lose weight and to have accountability partners in return.
If you could give your page a permanent hashtag what would it be? #noexcueshere
Gadget/”trick” you use that makes life in a wheelchair a little easier?
Ask for help. People are always willing to help.
What would your followers be surprised to learn about you?
I grew up on a farm and milked goats until I was 12 years old.
Finish these sentences:
I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me ten years ago that…. I would be the mom of 3 boys and a pastor’s wife!
In the next 10 years I really hope… To have reached my goal weight (45 more pounds to go) and to have written a book.
If no one read my blog/posts I would… keep posting! Seeing my progress and setbacks always help when you are on a weight loss journey like this.
Visit my blog/page if you….want to be inspired to lose weight and get healthy!
I get happy when I… go camping with my husband and 3 boys!
Author of the blog: WordsIWheelBy.com
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for just over a year and it’s been such an adventure! (Blog post: 5 Lessons I Learned From My 1st Year of Blogging)
Passionate, persistent, dedicated
Your favorite blog to visit?
I absolutely love reading about the Smith family and their adorable son Simeon, who has spina bifida, at What Do You Do, Dear?
Last book you read?
Don’t Call Me Inspirational by Harilyn Rousso. I related to it so much and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Gadget/“trick” you use that makes life in a wheelchair a little easier?
I learned from my mom to use kitchen tongs when I need a quick, easy way to pick things up from the floor. (Blog post: Amazing Adaptive Uses of Kitchen Tongs and Ottomans)
Favorite topic to write about?
It’s extremely important to me to write openly and honestly about my identity and body image issues, because I believe we all need to work to overcome negative perceptions and love ourselves exactly as we are.
Emily, finish these sentences:
If no one read my blog I would… continue writing and work even harder to share my advocacy work. Never give up on a passion! (Blog post: 4 Lessons Peacocks Can Teach Us About Advocacy)
Visit my blog if you… are disabled and are hoping to find someone you can relate to, if you are working on finding your voice for advocacy, or if you don’t identify as disabled but want to understand the experience of having a disability in more positive, accepting, and supportive ways.
I would be very rich if I had a dime for every time someone asked me… if I have a license for my driving my wheelchair, or any other wheelchair jokes. I’ve heard them all before, and they just aren’t amusing.
I get happy when I… have opportunities to connect with amazing advocates in the disability community. The work that others do is what motivates me to keep going each day.
Meet John McRoberts, a medal-winning Paralympic Sailor for Canada. John splits time between Victoria, British Columbia and St. Petersburg, FL. Always an active person, John participated in everything from wheelchair rugby to racing before finally settling on sailing. To John sailing has longevity, “Other sports have a shelf life because of your age. Sailing can be done until the day I die.”
Disability or Age Doesn’t Matter
Unlike other sports that require being able to move a wheelchair around aggressively or upper-body strength, John points out that with sailing disability or age doesn’t matter, it’s mentality. “The beauty of sailing is that you can compete with a high level disability. Anybody can do this. [On the water] it’s about being faster and smarter – it doesn’t matter about the chair. I get to leave my chair behind. It’s really good mentally to be free from it, you know?”
As part of John’s training he spends time both on the water and in the gym. Four days a week he spends 3 hours on the water practicing. At the gym John is stretching and working with a trainer on machines.
We asked John if he weren’t sailing, what Paralympic sport would he want to compete in? “Rugby. I played when I was younger but since then the chairs have evolved; the whole sport has evolved. Rugby is the ticket everyone wants at the games.”
Security is Peace of Mind
John is equipped with a ROHO cushion both in his chair and on his boat. “You can be as talented and adventurous as you want but if your health isn’t good you can’t do anything. Sitting on a ROHO is a huge peace of mind. I know I’m going to be fine. It allows me to check off one of those precautionary things that I have to worry about each day. It’s my security blanket. “
After meeting John his wife Jackie sailing, they got married in 2010. Jackie also enjoys staying active and is John’s sailing partner. Together they are committed to going to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Best of luck!
Guest blog post by Bob Vogel
Summertime is finally here! Time to hit the open road, vacation in the sun, leave the familiar routine behind and enjoy new places, sights, sounds and adventures. Summer travel also presents challenges ranging from having enough gas to make it to the next town to remembering to apply sunscreen and bug repellent before we get burned or bit. Being a wheelchair user adds a few additional challenges. As I embark on into my 27th year of road-trip vacationing as a T10 para, I’ve developed a mental list of tips and tricks to make a smoother trip, as well as a few hidden dangers to watch out for.
1. Get a US National Park Golden Access Pass
If you are planning on visiting a US national park be sure to obtain an Access Pass (also called Golden Access Pass)—free to any US citizen or permanent resident that has a permanent disability. The Access Pass provides free entrance to all National Parks. Since the free entrance applies per vehicle, it makes me feel like a big spender when I’m riding with friends on camping or scuba trips—when we get to the entrance I get a kick out of whipping out my card and saying “I’ve got this!” I’ve found the access card also provides a 50 percent discount on camping and other services.
2. Join AAA
Travel with a cell phone and car charger and be sure to join AAA. For $51 a year you get a “Classic” (basic membership) membership in AAA, which provides good piece of mind knowing that just a phone call away is an AAA driver ready to fix a wide range of annoyances from getting keys out of a locked car, dead battery, flat tire, and, if the problem is more serious, free towing up to five miles. I suggest moving up to the AAA Plus plan at $91 a year which extends the free towing range to 100 miles and if you run your car out of gas, will send a driver out and put 7 ½ gallons of gas in your car to get you to the next station or town. I learned about the gas coverage when it was my shift to drive on a vacation with friends and I ran the car out of gas on a long deserted stretch of road in Nevada. An AAA membership is also a great way to get discounts from hotels and restaurants, to shopping entertainment and attractions.
3. Use kayak.com for booking travel arrangements
When it comes to discount travel sites for hotel, rental car and airline travel, in my experience, www.kayak.com works best—the site synthesizes fares from all other sites into one list. A word of caution—from my own experience—after booking a hotel or rental car reservation on the site, be sure to follow-up with a phone call to the hotel or rental car agency and double check they have the reservation. Most importantly, double check that they have any special requests like wheelchair accessible room, and/or vehicle equipped with hand controls. I found out the hard way that these requests can and do get lost in the shuffle, something that is prevented by a follow-up phone call.
4. Don’t forget to protect your skin
Sitting in one place on a long drive is a recipe for skin pressure so be sure to sit on a proper cushion in the car. Many people find the easiest way to do this is to sit on their wheelchair cushion. For me, the cushion I use on my handcycle, a ROHO® LOW PROFILE® Dual Valve Cushion, works great as a car seat cushion as well.
5. Check the water temperature of hotel showers and bathtubs
An important word of caution when using a shower or bathtub at a hotel (or while staying with friends), hot water can quickly cause third-degree burns. Although the ADA says the maximum bathtub or shower temperature should not exceed 120 degrees, a 2004 national survey found 78 percent of hot water temperatures in major hotel chains exceeded this. To put this into perspective, the human pain threshold is around 110 F. Water of 124 F will cause a second-degree burn in two minutes, and at 140 F it will cause a third-degree burn in five seconds!
Test water temperature with an area of skin that has sensation before getting into a tub of water and never let warm or hot water run on skin with no sensation. Always have part of the stream on skin that does have sensation. I learned this the hard way when I had the temperature on my hot water heater set too high. While taking a bath, I added hot water and I wasn’t paying attention. Thirty seconds later the hot water had scalded my foot and I ended up in the hospital with a third-degree burn. Last December, on vacation in Florida I was almost burned again—I was sitting on a bench in a hotel’s roll-in shower I moved the stream of water onto my legs while I lathered up my hair. When I moved the water rinse my hair it had gotten quite hot and the skin on my legs was bright and hot! I immediately turned the water to the coldest setting and ran it over my legs for five minutes. Luckily, I caught it in time, and the cold water helped prevent a burn. For additional information on hotel hot water dangers see “Travel Matters: Hotel Hot Water and Rental Car Burn Dangers” in New Mobility Magazine.
6. Protect your skin in the shower while traveling
Last, but not least is protecting your skin when faced with less than ideally accessible bathrooms like the kind I encounter when staying with friends. For me, the most dangerous are the knife-like tracks on the lip of a tub that has sliding shower doors. A close second is the type of shower with a single knife-like lip that the shower door closes on. In a pinch, a bath mat and/or bathroom towels draped over the lip of the tub or shower works well. I also sit on the bathmat or towel to protect my skin on the floor of the shower—especially from the shower drain with its “cheese grater” like surface. However, I find it much easier and safer to use my ROHO ADAPTOR PAD®. I drape the ADAPTOR PAD over the side of the tub to protect my skin during transfers—and then sit on the pad in the tub or floor of the shower. The ADAPTOR PAD is also a great option to protect skin while sitting on the hard surface of roll-in shower benches.
Wishing you fun, fulfilling and safe summer vacations and adventures!
Bob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.