What is a Girl to Wear?

By Wendy Crawford

I somehow manage each morning to dress, after much thought about my outfit for the day. As a quadriplegic, multiple wardrobe changes isn’t always realistic nor an option, so your outfit must work in all temperatures and from day to evening. This is not an easy feat at the best of times and as of late, given the crazy weather here in the northeast, almost impossible!
Temperatures can fluctuate 30 degrees in one day so what is a girl to wear? Now is the time to put away the puffy coats and clunky boots and blossom while still being practical.  There are so many options this year so with some smart layering, chic AND practical is possible.
Start off with a basic T shirt that can stand alone, if you shed the top layers. If the forecast is slightly chilly, wear a long sleeve but if it looks like it could get really warm, wear a short sleeve or tank. Cotton T shirts are great but now there are also new fabrics like blends, modal or even bamboo that are silky soft which make it easier to slide a sweater over and aren’t bulky at all. Pick a bright colored cardigan or pullover that’s easy to remove if you start feeling warm.

Experiencing Equipment and Realizing New Options

By Amy Saffell

Me with Ann Eubank, VP of Community Initiatives for Users First

Like all technology these days, wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment are constantly evolving. There are now hundreds of companies out there with products to meet a variety of needs, and many of those products aren’t the same as what they were even a year ago. Even with an expert in the field to help you, which can also be hard to find especially in small towns, getting the right product for you can be a challenge. Even if you know that there must be something perfect out there, sometimes you just can’t find it because your community is limited in its resources, and the internet doesn’t always give you the amount of detail that you need to make an informed decision on something that will greatly impact your quality of life. It can be an uphill road to get what you need, but that road is made much easier when dozens of vendors are in the same room. It sounds like a dream come true, but thankfully it’s not as farfetched as it sounds. 
The ISS was home to over a hundred vendors

This year’s International Seating Symposium (ISS), sponsored by the University of Pittsburg’s Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, took place on March 6, 2013 in Nashville, TN, and other events like it are cropping up all over the country. The ISS “Wheelchair User Experience” was home to over 100 exhibitors including everything from manual and power wheelchairs, seat cushions, seating positioning aids, and pressure mapping technology. The show focused on products for all ages, pediatrics through senior adults, and people of all ability levels and needs. Those who are involved in the working with people with disabilities had opportunities to attend seminars to learn how to help their clients to obtain and use these products. Hundreds of people who have disabilities and their friends and family members, as well as professionals who work with people with disabilities, could make their way through the exhibit hall and talk to each company about their products and how they best fit a certain user’s needs. It’s possible to hear about products from durable medical vendors no matter where you live, but to be able to see and touch the products right in front of you, to have experts there from the companies, and to talk to other people at the show who have used the products provides invaluable information. Many of vendor representatives are also chair-users, so there is a lot of first hand knowledge and advice to go around. 

Christine Kent Shares her Inspiring Story of Triumph over Tragedy

Alan had stopped by out of the blue; I hadn’t seen him for three years. He told me that he was in the area and he thought that he’d stop by to say hello. I thought it was rather odd, but he caught me off guard as I was unloading my groceries. I had always considered him to be a nice guy, and I didn’t feel any reason to fear him, so I welcomed him in without any hesitation. I had first met Alan when I worked in a doctor’s office and he had asked me out, but I told him that I was unavailable. I bumped into him a few years later at a home improvement store and we became casual friends, and he helped me with a few small home projects. When he came by my home this particular evening though, he had other plans which I was unaware of. We talked for about 15 minutes, just catching up since we had last seen each other. He then said that he had some pictures he wanted to show me, so he brought in his computer bag, set up his laptop computer and started a slide show for me to watch.
When the final picture of the slide show came up on the screen, and just as I was about to say something to him, Alan said, “Excuse me for a moment. I have to get something.” I kept watching the slide show as Alan walked around the couch and reached into his computer bag. I thought that possibly he had more pictures to show me, and sure enough he did have something to show me – his gun. When I heard Alan cock the hammer on the gun, my heart sank. Terror poured through my veins like the water from a giant dam. This nightmare had started at about 10:00 pm that night. But still I didn’t know that within only a few minutes, I’d be fighting for my life. I asked, “Alan, what are you doing? I’m your friend.” Then he said “Put your head face down on the couch, you’re not going to feel anything, I’m not going to hurt you”.  When he told me for the second time that I wasn’t going to feel anything, I thought he was just going to shoot me in the head and kill me because he resented me for never wanting to date him.