Q&A with Blogger Priscilla Hedlin

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.

Priscilla Hedlin - Interview

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.

Q&A with Jamie Goodwin

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.

 Jamie Goodwin - Interviwe

   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!

ROHO Elite Interview: John McRoberts

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Feature Story, Lifestyle, Sports

John McRoberts - Elite LiveRoho

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?”

Training

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.

Paralympic Sports

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. “

The Future

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!

Is It Time To Replace Your Cushion?

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Guest Bloggers, ROHO Community News, ROHO Products

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

“How do I know when it’s time to replace my cushion?” This is an important question that frequently comes up at consumer shows, a question that has a several answers.

The first and foremost reason to replace your cushion is if you have a change of medical condition that effects your skin such as weight gain, weight loss or if the cushion you are on is showing signs that it isn’t doing an effective job protecting your skin— if you start to notice your skin remaining red after a long day of sitting–insurance should pay for a new cushion with the proper seating evaluation.

This is why it is crucial to check the skin on your butt with a mirror every evening and morning—taking a few moments to do a mirror-skin check gives you the best odds of catching a potential skin problem early, before it progresses into a serious pressure ulcer.  If you start seeing a red area at the end of the day, it is important to tell your doctor and ask for a referral for an evaluation with a seating clinician—as soon as possible. Don’t wait!

This recently happened to me.  I’m 52 and in my 27th year as a T10 paraplegic and except for one tiny pressure ulcer right out of rehab I’ve had healthy skin.  But as we age our skin gets thinner. Lately I’ve noticed some redness on my left ischium during my evening mirror checks. I have a pelvic obliquity; my left ischium is slightly lower than my right. I tried readjusting the pressure in my cushion and doing extra weight shifts but the redness would return by evening. Although the redness blanched—turned white when I pushed on it with a finger and would disappear within 30 minutes– I knew I shouldn’t have any redness at all.

I took this very seriously. I know way too many wheelers that “never have skin issues” and felt they didn’t need to do mirror skin checks anymore.  Then somewhere 15 or more years after their injury they end up with a pressure ulcer, skin flap surgery and 3-month hospital stay.

The usual protocol in my case would be to phone my physician right away and get a referral to the first possible seating clinic. AND have the doctor emphasize, “there is compromised skin”.  This should get a timely seating clinic appointment because a new, properly fitted cushion is much cheaper than hospitalization and a skin flap.   If the seating clinic determined the cushion I was currently on was not adequate and I needed a new cushion, I would be sure to have them write that my skin is “compromised” on the Letter Of Medical Necessity.  As always it is important that the Letter Of Medical Necessity and cushion prescription say the exact seating needs; for example, ROHO® HIGH PROFILE® Single Compartment Cushion (4-inch).

I went through this once—26 years ago—with a tiny pressure ulcer due to the wrong cushion.  Because of the pressure ulcer I got a timely appointment at a seating clinic and Medicaid quickly approved payment for a ROHO cushion–an upgrade from the inadequate memory foam cushion on which I had been sent home from rehab.

In my current instance I was fortunate that I know a physical therapist that is an expert in seating and positioning. She took all of my seating information into account and suggested I switch to a ROHO® QUADTRO SELECT® HIGH PROFILE® Cushion, that has deeper cells than the ROHO QUADTRO SELECT that I was currently on. This would give me deeper immersion sinking into the cushion to provide more support in the areas surrounding my ischiums, and allow me additional depth to adjust the cushion so the left rear quadrant is significantly lower than the right without bottoming out—thus taking weight off of my ischium.  A disclaimer: Since I am in the ROHO elite program I didn’t have to get insurance approval.  Several weeks ago I received my ROHO HIGH PROFILE QUADTRO SELECT.  Evening mirror skin checks reveal success!  At the end of a long day my skin looks fine!

Another important reason to get a new cushion is time.  Every brand, make and model of cushion will break down over time. When this happens the cushion no longer supports and protects your skin the way it was designed—putting you at risk of a pressure ulcer.  Even if the cushion you are using is working fine, it is important to replace it before it starts to break down!

How often funding sources will reimburse a new cushion varies from one type of insurance to another.

In order to get a new cushion before your current cushion breaks down it is important that you are the squeaky wheel and ask about getting a replacement cushion. The way to do this is contact your local DME (durable medical equipment) supplier and tell them you need a new cushion. They will be happy to guide you through the step by step process of getting a new cushion, based on your seating needs, including gathering your insurance information to let you know how often your insurance will reimburse a new cushion.

If you don’t already have a working relationship with a DME supplier, locating one is your next step. ROHO makes this easy. To find a DME supplier go to www.therohogroup.com/where_to_buy.jsp and click on Buy from an Authorized Retailer Near You.

You can find Medicare DME provider(s) in your area by going to www.medicare.gov. On the main page pull down Resource Locator, scroll down to Medicare Supplier Directory, from there, type in your zip code and click submit. On the next page check Wheelchair Seating/Cushions and hit view results. The “default” setting on View Results is 10 miles — to find more DME supplier options it is helpful to expand the View All Suppliers Within (on the right side of the page) to a larger distance in order to find a Medicare DME provider that is also a ROHO authorized retailer.

It’s much better to be a proactive “squeaky wheel” and work on getting a replacement cushion while the cushion you are sitting on still provides proper support for your skin than waiting too long and risk developing a pressure ulcer because your cushion gets so old it is breaking down.  Plus, getting a new cushion while your old cushion still provides proper support means you now have a back up cushion—one you can use while cleaning your new cushion and/or to use on the seat of your car for extra skin protection while driving.  If your cushion is getting replaced, be sure that all of your paperwork specifies the exact manufacturer, model and size of the cushion you were fitted for.

Keep doing daily mirror skin checks and replace your cushion before it breaks down.  Stay healthy my friends!

 

___________________________________________

Bob VogelBob 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 online.relations@therohogroup.com.

Will 90210 TV Show’s Riley Be Hospitalized With A Pressure Ulcer?

December 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Feature Story, Guest Bloggers, Lifestyle

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

Move over Artie Abrams from Glee, there is another wheelchair-using character on TV, this time it’s Riley Wallace, a 20-something paraplegic who was introduced this fall in the fifth season of 90210 on The CW Network. Unfortunately, like Artie, once again Hollywood ignored the talented pool of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) performers with disabilities who are wheelchair users and cast a non-disabled actor, Riley Smith, for the part. And once again, Hollywood misses the mark in many obvious areas, some which would surely land a real paraplegic in the hospital with a pressure ulcer.

From the moment Smith’s character “Riley”– a complete paraplegic with a low injury level that is at least a few years post injury—is introduced, it becomes apparent that the TV show didn’t bother to hire a consultant (an actual wheelchair user) to create an accurate portrayal of a paraplegic.  When we first see Riley, as an outpatient in a physical therapy gym, he is sitting on a wooden bench, doing bicep curls with his wheelchair nowhere to be seen. Are you kidding me?  Sitting on a wooden bench with no cushion?  And in a physical therapy gym, no less? Completely implausible.  Later in the scene, a physical therapist asks Riley if he is done lifting and brings his chair, complete with a foam cushion. No way a para would allow his chair to be taken away in this type of situation. . The obvious – a cheap foam cushion on the chair puts it over the top. How Riley has made it this long without a major pressure ulcer is beyond me. In real life, if a person with SCI (spinal cord injury) disregards their seating they will end up with a pressure ulcer—one that could be avoided. Perhaps this is what the writers are planning for thesixth season of 90210?  Will the storyline be that Riley develops a pressure ulcer, is hospitalized, and the wound causes an infection, drama building as he is near death from sepsis caused by the pressure ulcer?

“The portrayal is absurd,” says Tricia Garven, a physical therapist, masters of physical therapy/licensed (MPT/L), assistive technology professional (APT) and clinical applications manager for The ROHO Group.  “The reality is sitting on something unpadded, and sitting on a basic foam cushion on your wheelchair is a setup for a pressure ulcer and lengthy hospital stay, one that can easily run $100,000 or more.” Garven explains that because of funding cutbacks in the rehab industry, too many people are getting such short rehab stays they don’t fully learn you can’t sit on hard surfaces without a cushion.  “You may get away with sitting on a hard surface for a while, maybe even years but it is like playing Russian roulette, it isn’t a matter of IF you will get a pressure ulcer it is a matter of WHEN. The TV show does a serious disservice showing this,” she says.  “The same cutbacks result in people getting sent home without proper seating and positioning, a vital element because it is preventative — it helps prevent pressure ulcers and orthopedic problems” she adds.

Another area where the TV show misses is on Riley’s wheelchair. He is styling around in a properly fitted cool-looking wheelchair; except he is still using anti-tips! Seeing Smith try and play Riley as an active “in your face” heartthrob, wheeling around with anti-tips makes as much sense as an actor portraying an outlaw biker roaring around on a Harley with training wheels. He becomes more of a caricature than a character.

In interviews, Smith says his preparations for the show included the producers getting a chair two months in advance and he wheeled around his house and neighborhood.  Good start, but not obviously not enough–this reminds me of people that come up to me and say “I hurt my knee and spent a whole month in one of those [wheelchair] so I know what you are going through”.  Smith’s other preparation was speaking on the phone for two hours with Tiphany Adams from Push Girls. Wow, “talked with a para on the phone for two whole hours…”

“As an actor, from an actor’s prospective [wrong cushion, lifting weights on a wooden bench, anti-tips etc.] this is so frustrating because it just means the actor didn’t do his homework” says Tobias Forrest, an actor and singer-songwriter in his 14th year as C5 Quad who plays the character Greg in “The Sessions.” “Half of an acting job is doing the work to develop a background for the character I’m playing—if I’m playing somebody from Louisiana, I shouldn’t be talking with a Texas accent” he says. “I create a whole biography of them. I know their birthday, their horoscope, and the names of their parents. I know the life that they lived up until this moment.”

Forrest says he knows of at least five Screen Actors Guild actors that are paraplegics in the Los Angeles area that fit the bill for Riley’s character.  “When a non-disabled actor is playing a paraplegic they need to do all of the background work,” says Forrest.  “How were they injured?  What is their level of injury? Do they have spasticity? What kind of cushion do they use?  Do they know about things like avoiding pressure sores?  If they have anti-tips on the wheelchair, why?”

A great example of the kind of work that a non-disabled actor should do to play a wheelchair user is John Voight’s preparation to portray a paraplegic in the 1979 movie “Coming Home”. Rather than wheeling around and making a 2-hour phone call to a para, Voight spent months wheeling with other paraplegics at Rancho Los Amigos rehab center and worked with with Jeff Minnebraker, a rec therapist and L1 para.  Minnebraker was also hired as consultant and an extra for the movie.  The result was an amazing, very realistic character—a character that that won Voight an Oscar for Best Actor.

“The fact that they [90210 producers] didn’t even audition [SAG actors] in chairs is their biggest sin,” explains Allen Rucker, acclaimed author, TV writer-producer, Chair of the Writers Guild of America West, Writers with Disabilities Committee and Co-Chair of the annual Media Access Awards.  “Casting people, it has been my experience, do care. The Casting Society of America, the casting guild and part of the consortium backing the annual Media Access Awards, definitely cares and is always promoting diversity casting. Most casters and producers down here [in LA] are not evil people. They are often unenlightened, sometimes lazy, and always under tremendous pressure to deliver.”

Rucker says the best way to get Hollywood to change and cast actors with disabilities to play a person with a disability is to contact the production company.  The same holds true for discrepancies like sitting on a foam cushion or using anti-tips. Other shows like medical or crime dramas hire consultants to get details correct because if they don’t the studio hears about it from their viewers. They should be held to the same standard when it comes to portraying a character with a disability—if enough people contact them perhaps they will get the big picture and hiring actors with a disability rather than a non-disabled actor “playing” somebody with a disability—a move that makes a much more powerful and realistic performance.

When contacting a production company, be sure to let them know which show you are contacting them about.

The production company for 90210 is CBS Television Studios:

CBS Studios Address:

7800 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA. 90036

General Phone Number:

323.575.2345

CBS Studios Website

http://www.cbs.com/

___________________________________________

Bob VogelBob 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 online.relations@therohogroup.com.

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