Posts Tagged ‘accessibility’

It has been a while since I have been here. To be quite honest, I forget that I even have a blog. The point of me starting a blog was to pass on information to others that may share similar challenges as I face. The challenge of living in a wheelchair.

Since starting this blog, I have been very open with my readers about many things. An accident in 1997 that left me a T8 paraplegic in a wheelchair, my faith, and the death of my parents and several friends all crammed into the past two years of my life.

Death…the great divide. I readily confess that it has taken a toll on me. I have pulled into myself and for the most part, cut myself off from the world. I’m sure the “experts” would say that I have been battling depression. Perhaps I have, perhaps I have not.

I do admit that my life has changed. We moved from a very busy lifestyle in a bustling city in South Carolina to a dead end road in the wooded forests of Maine. Going to get groceries now is no longer a quick trip to the nearest store. It is a now a planned adventure that will put at least 30 extra miles on my odometer.

I titled this post “Spoiler Ahead” because some of my previous audience may not care to read what I am going to be writing about.

Prostate cancer.

Red Flag.jpg

Yes, I have prostate cancer. And like living as a paraplegic in a wheelchair and sharing my challenges with the world, I find that I now have some new challenges ahead of me. I think that sharing my diagnosis, and challenges, will be good for me to keep things sorted out in my head and possibly help others that may be dealing with the same issue.

Cancer is a very evil sounding word. Yet for some reason, Cancer of the brain, or liver, or pancreas are looked at as acceptable to talk about in polite company. But if a person has been diagnosed with breast cancer or prostate cancer, we only whisper about it behind closed doors with personal friends.

Of course there of thousands of stories that people have shared and that is wonderful. Yet when I read many of them, there is something lacking. The actual details of dealing with things on a daily basis. And in my case, as a paraplegic, I have many things that I have to deal with than an ambulatory person does not face.

So in future post, I plan on talking about those challenges in great detail. Some of you may not care to read about those details so I am throwing up the red flag for you now. Some things will be graphic, some things will be bland, but all things will be honest and real.

It will be interesting to see what sort of  numbers I get of people reading these. And for those of you that are reading this, I hope in some small way it will help.

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March 20, 2017 marked a day of loss for a very good friend of ours. Her mother passed away. Less than two years ago, I lost both of my parents and so I understand how she is feeling at this moment.

We knew her mother and she was a wonderful Christian lady. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now absent from her body and present with her Lord. I know that the family is as assured of this fact as I am, but it does not take away the sorrow and loss that is being felt right now.

Sorrow and loss are feelings that we all must face because our original perfection was destroyed by our open rebellion against God. Yet God, in His mercy, chose not to leave us in our sinful state, but in His Sovereign Will, would one day restore that perfection.

Until all of creation is renewed, we will be very well acquainted with shedding tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing sorrow over lost loved ones. Jesus himself wept in the Scriptures. There are two recorded instances of Jesus crying. Once over the loss of a dear friend and the second over His beloved Jerusalem. However, Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the suffering Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

Throughout the life of Christ, I believe that he saw tremendous amounts of sorrow and grief. I also believe that because of His love for us, he shed many silent tears.

We are told that time heals all things. As nice as that sounds, I do not believe that. Death is our enemy. We were created to live, not to die. I’m not even sure that time lessens our sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one. I think it is more accurate to say that we become adjusted to live with the loss. Regardless of the years that will pass, one rogue memory brings everything back, and that feeling of loss will still be there.

First Thessalonians 4:13 is the light at the end of the very dark tunnel of sorrow. That light is hope. So yes, even as Christians we will experience sorrow and grief. Our consolation in this is that we know a day is coming where our hope will be fulfilled in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Revelation 21:4 which states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

For now, my family grieves for our friend and her family for their loss. I pray that in the days to come, she will cling close to our Savior and be assured that one day soon, the sorrow will be gone and our age old enemy, death, will be swallowed up in Victory.


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I put together a little video about my latest skiing adventure. I hope you get as much chuckle from watching it as I did making it!


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It has been so long since I have logged into my own blog that I could not remember the password. That may be good for the two of you that read this, but I’m not sure yet.

Do I have a good reason for dropping out of life? Or perhaps I should ask is there ever a good reason for dropping out of life. I wish I had a good answer to that question without relying on some old and pat cliché.

The past two years have not been good. Starting with the death of my mom on July 7, 2015, a very good friend on July 18, 2015, my father-in-law on September 5, 2015, my dad on October 9, 2015 and the list continues on like that for two years.

Of course many have told me that I am depressed or wallowing in the depths of despair and need to seek out “professional” help. I do not feel depressed and I am not wallowing anywhere (outside of the occasional times I get my wheelchair stuck in the mud).

What I do feel is reflection. Even now I have a very good friend in New Zealand, from playing on line games, who is only 35 years old, laying in a hospital bed, and feels like giving up. I also have another very good friend in NYC that is scheduled for back surgery on Tuesday for spinal stenosis. So this new year is not looking much brighter then the last two years.

It is very easy to ask why…but we all know why. What I ask is “Have I done enough?” Have I been there when people need me? Have I offered a smile, held their hand, laughed with them, cried with them. Could I have done more? These are the questions that cause me to reflect as I go into 2017.

My only New Year’s resolution is that I want to be a better person for people when they need me most.

In my book, regret is a much worse feeling then depression.

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One thing to consider, when purchasing or remodeling a home for accessibility, is the size of the rooms. Our home was not being lived in when we first saw it on the market, so we had an excellent opportunity for me to roll around the empty rooms and get a good concept of floor space.

Since the home was built in 1970, one thing that was an immediate concern was the size of the bathrooms. There were three bathrooms in the home and I was not able to get into any of them. The picture you see on the right was a combined laundry room/bathroom that is off our kitchen. There is also a pantry cupboard in the room and a door to exit into the garage.

It was obvious that this room was impractical for me, and the half bath (where you now see the washer and dryer), was about the size of a phone booth with a 28 inch wide door. Wendy did not like the idea of three toilets to clean in the house anyway, so we decided to remodel this room. When we remodeled, we eliminated the half bath and moved the washer and dryer to that side of the room.  We also replaced the 32 inch door going into the garage with a 36 inch door. We have no other furniture in the room, which makes for a very spacious laundry room with a large pantry cupboard.

Moving to the other side of the kitchen there is a doorway that leads into our den. This door is only a 32 inch door, but since I can fit through it fine, we decided to leave it as is because there are built-in bookshelves surrounding the door in the den. We have a lot of books and did not want to give up bookshelf space if at all possible. Once again we have hard wood floors in the den, but you will see from the picture that we added an area rug. When choosing the rug we made sure it was durable and not very thick. Pushing wheelchairs on carpeting or thick rugs is not an easy thing to do.

The two pictures of our den with the fireplace in view were taken from the doorway leading into the foyer. A couple of things to point out here: the fireplace and the computer desk. The fireplace is equipped with gas logs that are remote controlled. The remote makes it very easy for me to ignite the logs and is a great safety feature for anyone. The older style gas logs had to be started from inside the fireplace which was difficult for me to do. I would much prefer a fireplace with natural wood to burn, but, unfortunately, that is not the most practical thing for me any longer.

Finding a computer desk that is wheelchair accessible will probably send you on many shopping excursions. The typical design of computer desks is to put the keyboard on a tray that pulls out from beneath the surface of the desk. That does make good sense but rarely allows enough height distance to roll a wheelchair up under. My knees hit the keyboard tray, and that is as far as I go. So what we did was purchase a library table large enough to set our desktop computer and accessories on. This allows me plenty of leg room, and I am able to reach everything that I need when sitting there.

The last thing to mention in our den is the TV. Thanks to the new style of flat screen TV’s, we mounted ours on the wall which freed up a lot of floor space. A large entertainment center can be very nice if you have a room large enough to handle it and still leave plenty of room for maneuvering a wheelchair around in. Floor to ceiling bookshelves are great because I keep my books on the lower shelves and Wendy uses the upper shelves. We also have multiple other bookcases spread throughout the house with easy access.

One last thing to point out in a den is placement of furniture. Most dens will have sofas and chairs surrounding a large coffee table for entertaining, or placed around the TV for optimal viewing. In our case you will notice that the center of the room is obstacle free. We have three beanbag chairs to crash on when someone watches TV. Then they can be easily tossed into the corner to get them out of the way. Not the most aesthetically pleasing look for most people, but it definitely keeps open space for wheelchairs.

And for my next post, we will travel into the bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Remember to check out www.rickhuntress.org for book ordering details.

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