So I figured before I would get into talking about the world of tech and disability I should actually list out the tech I use to get through my day.
What is my disability?
I am what’s called an incomplete paraplegic. I didn’t injure my spine in an accident, instead I had something called a “Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula”. This fistula expanded and blocked blood supply to my spinal cord, which caused me to lose the ability to walk without technological assistance as well as issues with losing sensation, toileting and so on. Basically if it’s below my waist it’s a bit buggered.
Oh and to add to the mess I have a shoulder which likes to dislocate itself. I’ve dislocated it twice in my sleep and it used to be a cool party trick when I was a kid to pop it out and back in to gross people out.
What I use
As I mentioned above, I can walk a little with a frame. The frame I use is a Coopers Non-Folding Walking Frame (Tall). One of the challenges I face is that when I stand up straight, I’m actually 194 cm tall. This means that the vast majority of frames are too short for me.
The woollen holder you see was made by my wife to help me carry bottles and other things around.
Given that I’m very limited in my ability to walk, I have a manual wheelchair to get me around. This allows me to do short trips around the shops and to the doctors. However due to my dodgy shoulder it’s meant to be more of a backup than an every day thing.
My power chair is what my OT would prefer I use in an every day setting. It’s a magnificent beast, able to travel up to 8km/h for a distance of around 16km. Sadly, more due to my height than my weight (though that does have to shrink), we can’t get it in the van. Because I’m 194cm tall, my chair has to be tall, this means that when I use a wheelchair cab, I need the Hiace models with the high ceiling, and even then I scrape my head on the boot door. So it gets out and about when I’m going around my neighbourhood, but for outings further afield it sits there.
It’s essentially a hospital bed but fancier. It moves into different positions (which really help when I have neuropathic pains and leg spasms), it vibrates and it even has usb chargers built in. There are times when the only time I get any relief from the neuropathic pain is when I’m lying down in this bed. It frustrates the hell out of me but there it is.
I was going to post a picture but I haven’t made the bed yet 😉
Okay this might be considering TMI, but this is a blog about tech and disability. One of the problems I have care of the fistula, is the inability to go to the toilet, so I am now dependent on what’s called Intermittent Self Catheterisation. That means I need to rely on single use plastic catheters when I go to the toilet. Without them I would need to rely on glass catheters, or a permanent indwelling catheter, both of which increase the risk of bladder infections.
Don’t worry, I won’t be posting pictures
Lastly I use a Google home device in the bedroom. I’ve connected up my bedside light with a Genio light bulb and use either the Google home app on my phone or tablet, or voice control to turn the light on or off. This may not seem like much, but moving in bed can be quite difficult so it does make things easier.
All the rest
Aside from the above I use every day technologies just like everyone else. I have a phone, a laptop, a smart watch and so on and so forth. My use of these items isn’t much different to an able bodied person (though I have to say, step goals just aren’t a thing anymore)
So that’s a snapshot of what I use to get me through my day. It’s not everything, I also have an office setup, which allows me to work from home (I’ll detail that in another post), and I’m starting to get some tech to help in the kitchen and around the house.