Mens Liberty Blog Home Page Banner

Disability, Marriage and True Love in Brooklyn

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jul 31, 2015 2:30:00 PM

Do you know what today is? Today is July 26, 2015. It is exactly 25 years since the signing of the ADA_25Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA for short. It seems for every step forward we make as a species we take two steps back.

Every summer the Prospect Park Band Shell hosts free concerts. I have lived in the New York City area for fifteen years and never availed myself of this culturally-enriching opportunity. So upon hearing that one of my favorite artists was going to be playing this past Friday I thought it was time I added another well-rounded edge to my musical education and loaded into my Honda Element with my brother Ethan and jetted off to the big city.

I have a Love/Hate relationship with cities. For people in chairs, at least me anyway, they are like that one girl you love to love, you want to love... but... she has that one guy she's crazy about who smacks her around, he leaves for weeks at a time, then when he shows up she drops everything and runs to him. There's museums and theaters and restaurants and great music and when she calls with her bright lights and charm you run to her hoping for that big moment, only to hit the broken sidewalks and filthy puddles, high steps and cramped shops, restaurants without an accessible bathroom and Doormen who say "Oh, sure it's right up the stairs!". Arriving home filthy and smelling like car exhaust, back sore from bouncing over potholes, it's then you realize, you will always be stuck in the "Friend Zone". Like all long and emotionally complex relationships it got me thinking and between two very interesting expNew_York_City_Largeeriences while on said city excursion and the anniversary of the ADA I came to an interesting revelation.

While I would never equate anybody's ethnicity with a disability, I can safely say that the same system which marginalizes the races and social classes treats those with a disability the same way. Most Americans do not know that most colleges and universities, including so-called "Black Colleges" refuse to institute accessible infrastructure, alternative testing and even continued training for professors on how to assist students with disabilities! This is a total violation of ADA regulations. When I attended college myself I can remember being pushed by my brother through 100 yards of foot-deep, unploughed snow to get to class only to be told by the teacher "try to be on time next time". How can anyone get an education like that?

Once through the traffic and the usual wait-in-line at the gate Ethan and I settled into our seats. As the crowd began to fill in I noticed a young couple seated in the reserved wheelchair seating. The girl had transferred from her wheelchair and was sitting in a regular chair. It was obvious she suffered from cerebral palsy, but not to the extent that she could not get around. They sat together smiling and chatting and after my brain was satisfied it had taken handicap_reserved_seatingenough visual data it looked elsewhere. About twenty minutes later I noticed the two of them returning to their seats from somewhere like the restroom or merchandise table. This time I noticed that he too had cerebral palsy. This in and of itself is not remarkable, but these two devoted souls were determined to face the world together with the chance that their own government may never let them get married. Yes, you heard that right. While legally, anyone can get married, those in the "disabled" community who are dependent on certain government programs that only exist through services like Medicaid and SSI can be penalized for tying the knot. This government believes if those like myself who are dependent on the physical assistance of another should be monitored and watched. If you cannot work (or rather employers refuse to hire you) and need daily care and you decide to marry the responsibility of your care in their eyes then falls to your spouse. They wash their hands of you. So tell me something... if I need help almost all day long when is my wife going to work? This puts us in the place where we are forced to make the choice between health coverage, coverage often providing life-saving services, and marriage.

I will take it a step further. Inevitably the person will come along and say, "Why don't you just get a job and buy your own coverage?" Most private insurance companies will not cover 24/7 PCA assistance, so unless you have a job that pays you enough money to pay a PCA $35,000-$55,000 per year out-of-pocket, you have to utilize some form of government assistance. The system was not designed for upward mobility... or love either, but it's just that. A system. Systems can be changed.

Laws can change. People can change, but it starts with people changing themselves first. Don't see the walls that shut you in as prison walls, but mountains to be climbed. Stop seeing that chair or lack of education as one-way train to nowhere, but as an opportunity, a vehicle for change. Yes this discrimination is real. I believe we can change the world, but just not by laws or rules. You can't just tell someone to stop being a racist or a bigot because it is illegal. He must see it in his heart, that it is wrong and know why it is fundamentally against the very life force that makes us human. Change comes from the heart. That is why we can change. Because within each of us is the power to do so.

Do something today. Do it now. Change your point of view. Don't have an education? Get a library card. Don't have money? Share what food you have with someone who is hungry. Are you paralyzed? Get online and use it as chance to encourage others. Do you have a job, but it barely pays? Work harder, smarter, smile and laugh. Ring up those groceries like you're a millionaire. Do have a little spare cash every month? Support blogs like these and research projects like the Reeves Big Idea. Do you have a lot of money? Pay it forward and invest in somebody else's dream. If you don't have anything? Give words, give words of life and encouragement. These are the things that supersede laws and governments and will last when this wheelchair I sit in is a rusted mass at the bottom of the ocean 500 years from now.

Civil Rights, ADA... they are written pages that mean nothing without the spirit of the men and women who believed in themselves enough to fight for them. It is the spirit of a thing that gives it life that makes it breathe. That spirit is colorless, genderless, it is neither sick nor paralyzed. It knows no border or creed or flag. The moment we recognize this is the moment we will love each other.

Thanks for reading.

Subscribe to the Blog!

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb, Guest Blogs

Tips & Tricks: How to Use the Bed Bag (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jul 27, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Good afternoon. It seems there has been some confusion on how to properly use the bed bag's that are included with your supply of Men's Liberty. In this week's video blog Wendy explains how simple it is to use the and properly clean your bed bag. Check out the video below!

Subscribe to the Blog!

Topics: Video Blogs

6 Everyday Things to Avoid if You Have Urge Incontinence (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jul 21, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Happy Tuesday! Wendy is back this week to give you a few tips and strategies to help manage your urge incontinence. Check out the video below and as always don't forget to leave your comments and questions. Have a great week!

Get Help Now!

Too Many Prescriptions? (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jul 13, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Hello everyone and welcome back! In this week's video blog Wendy goes over new drug prescription data that has been released by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Check it out below and don’t forget to leave your questions and comments.

Subscribe to Our Blog!

Topics: incontinence

Adjusting to a New Normal

Posted by Sam Turner on Jul 9, 2015 2:30:00 PM

When our son died of sleep apnea on July 2, 1997, our life shattered. Ours was a colorless world of black and white. Well-meaning family and friends advised us to “get over it and get back to normal”. That wasn’t going to happen. Nothing was “normal” again. Eighteen years of monthly meetings with The Compassionate Friends helped us move out of the “Valley of Grief” and into a new normal. We began to see color again. I’m mindful of this quote:

What the caterpillar calls the end; the rest of the world calls a butterfly  ~ Lao Tzu

monarch_butterfly_stockThe following year, I took a sleep apnea study through the University of Arizona. Eight weeks later, I was wearing my first CPAP and adjusting to a “new normal”- sleeping with an air tube. I looked like a SCUBA diver. I had to learn to turn from one side to another without kinking the tube. That became a normal procedure. A new normal where I no longer snored meant no more bruised ribs from She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

And thus began my journey along this new learning curve including hearing aids and a De Vinci Robotic Radical prostatectomy, where my surgeon said I would “probably” have to wear diapers. “Probably” was an understatement. My extra briefcase held a load of men’s absorbents. My new normal was four or five absorbents daily and two or three nighttime changes. Shortly after the prostatectomy, I had a penile prosthesis implant that allowed me to move in a new direction. (No pun intended.) I was moving along this curve of “new” normal faster than I realized.

Later, there was cataract surgery for both eyes. Driving at night is no longer frightening.

Except for the absorbents, I found I could have somewhat of a normal life. Not the life we had when all four of our children were alive, not the life when I didn’t use a CPAP, not the life after the prostatectomy, or a penile prosthesis, but a new normal where, in my eighth decade, I could adjust and adapt.

Men’s Liberty entered a year ago, July 2014. On a one-to-ten scale, I found myself around the curve toward a new normal of confident comfort. There is more to learn, but Wendy La Torre’s TV training program makes negotiating this curve easier. I am closer to the “ten” than ever before.

Get Started

Topics: incontinence

The Time Machine

Posted by Caleb Bartlett on Jun 29, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Today a friend I've known for many years and went to school with posted a set of photos on every body's favorite social network. As I have already mentioned in one of this year's blogs 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of my high school graduating class. It seems strange because I remember the night in the late 1980s when my parents dropped my brother and I off at the baby sitter's on the way to my father's 20th reunion. Time truly waits for no man. clock-clipart

As I sat looking at that picture that same weird mixture of thoughts, emotions and feelings that always comes up when I see a picture of myself before the injury. It seems that much of my life is often defined that way, the boy before the injury and the man after, and how different they truly are. There I sit, trying to literally convince myself that the boy without a clue in the photo is actually, or ever really was me.

A few years ago I began having a recurring dream, usually about once or twice a week. The dream usually takes on 1 of 2 themes. One, I dream I am literally back in time in my body, in the exact clothes I wore and in the same social situations. The only difference was I have my thirty-something head full of so-called knowledge to make a somewhat more informed decision. Just when I am about to do the right thing in that pivotal, life-changing moment... I wake up. Then there's scenario number two... I dream I am an adult as I am now, and I appear to myself as a young man ready to give the golden key of wisdom that will somehow change my future like some science fiction movie. Funny thing, I wake up before I can warn that young man. It has become so common that even in the deepest sleep I have come, in a flash of lucidity, to recognize the moment I am dreaming. I then hurriedly stammer to get out what I want to say.

Today as I studied that photo I realized it was Father's Day. It makes me wonder what my Dad feels when he sees an old photo of himself. What would he say if he saw that photo of me? What kind of fear, frustration and urgency did he feel in those very real days when I was 13, 14, 15... what kinds of words did he struggle with? I'm sure he had his own dreams for me, not of the past, but for the future. Hopeful dreams. I imagine they paled in comparison to the words he struggled to find when I awoke from the anesthesia knowing I never would walk with my graduating class. What words would stick in his throat when years later in my anger and frustration with my suffering I would lash out at him looking for someone or something to blame and say things I regret till this day. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but whose words? The photographer? The subject? The viewer? What are those words worth?

I still consider myself a young man. I have been fortunate enough to come to terms with the memories of that young man in that photo. I have been blessed to apply some of the words my father did share with me. Think for yourself. Say what you mean. Look'em in the eye when you talk to them. Don't answer questions that haven't been asked. I am blessed to have reconciled what differences we have had over the years and know my father not just as "Dad", but as my friend. I hope that when he looks back over the past he feels peace knowing that everything turned out alright. I hope he knows that it was not lost on deaf ears and that his acts of love and affection, his love for nature and living things, his passion for music and his desire to live honestly have helped me live through the difficulties of spinal cord injury.

I don't have a time machine, but I'm lucky that I do have more time. More time to do the right thing, do it right and do it because it's it is right. Hopefully if I ever have children I will find the words and actions to help them do the same so that one day, when they look back they will know they did not waste this time here we call life.

So to all the fathers worthy of the title, and most all to you Dad, Happy Father's Day.

Thanks for reading.

 

Subscribe to Our Blog!

Topics: Guest Blogs

APIC Annual Conference 2015

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jun 24, 2015 11:30:00 AM

APIC_2015_Thumbnail

Hello everyone! Today we would like to make an announcement: We will be attending the annaul APIC Conference in Nashville, Tennessee along with our partners over at Eloquest Healthcare.

This event is not open to the public; however we are looking forward to learning and networking with fellow APIC professionals. The conference runs from June 27th to the 29th, so if you are attending, be sure to come visit BioDerm Inc. at booth #1342 to learn about CathGrip®, and FreeDerm™. Sarah Woodward will be at the booth to field questions and demonstrate the benefits CathGrip® and FreeDerm™ offer to the acute care market.

Additionally, Please visit our partners Eloquest Healthcare at booth #1529 to learn more about ReliaFit® - the acute care version of Men’s Liberty. Make sure you catch CAUTI Talk™ - an interactive forum on CAUTI risk reduction initiatives lead by Matt Stahl RN CWCN – during exhibit hours at select times.  Attendance is limited, so register here and receive a Starbucks® gift card when you attend the 15-minute session.  While you’re there, grab a new, evidence-based white paper for ReliaFit® Male Urinary Device, Mastisol® Liquid Adhesive and Detachol® Adhesive Remover to take home!

Eloquest Healthcare is proud to announce that new, evidence-based white papers for ReliaFit®, as well as Detachol® and Mastisol®, will be available at booth #1529.  Don’t forget to grab a white paper to take home!

We look foward to seeing you there!

Getting a 24 Hour Wear Time: Top Tips from the Experts (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jun 11, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Good day everyone! As a result of your response to our 2015 customer satisfaction survey we discovered that many of you were having trouble getting to a full 24 hour wear time. Watch the video below for expert tips on how to reach a full 24 hour wear time. Don’t forget to leave your questions and comments below. Have a great day.

Get Started

Topics: Video Blogs

Self-Isolation and How To Avoid Meetings

Posted by Sam Turner on Jun 8, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Becoming incontinent happened quickly after my total prostatectomy. At my post-op meeting, the surgeon said I might experience some incontinence and need to wear diapers. (Those were his words: diapers.) That was an understatement. I experienced incontinence every day, all day. A friend suggested that I try physical therapy.

My therapist said, “You should have come to us before your surgery. You would have learned better control. Too bad your surgeon didn’t tell you.” Six weeks of bio-feedback and therapy helped. I learned Kegel muscle exercises and continue them as part of my regular physical training today. But I still used absorbents.

In the drugstore, I couldn’t pass the aisle without picking up an extra package of “male guards.” (Those are absorbents, folks!) Carrying extra absorbent pads was routine. I avoided many events knowing that leakage could become a major interruption. My wife began traveling to family events without me. I didn’t witness our daughter’s hooding at Western Oregon University for her Master’s. I could sit home and leak.

I stopped going to several of my professional meetings because of my “problem.” Either I carry a briefcase of absorbents and sit near the restroom or stop attending meetings. How about a social party at someone’s home? Where do I dump my absorbents? Four fully packed absorbents can fill a small bathroom wastebasket. If I can hide it in my pocket and make it to the kitchen garbage can… I chose to stay home and fill our own garbage can.

We stopped attending movies. A two hour movie meant three or four trips to the restroom (more if it was a comedy) and cargo pants pockets full of fresh absorbents as needed. Hold the iced drinks.

A wide-screen TV and subscription to Netflix solved the problem. I can hit the pause button as often as I need. Pass the popcorn.Sam_Turner_Granddaughter

A year ago, I discovered Men’s Liberty External Catheters and things changed. One attachment meant twenty-four hours of confidence with minimal interruption (even after drinking coffee.) Movies, meetings and social affairs are all possible now. Our granddaughter graduated with honors from high school last week. I sat beside my wife, applauding. 
Get Started

Topics: tips from Men's Liberty users

47th Annual WOCN Conference in San Antonio, Texas

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jun 5, 2015 9:00:00 AM

WOCN-15-Brand-Logo-Circle

Hello everyone! Today we would like to make an announcement: We will be attending the 47th annual WOCN conference in San Antonio, Texas along with our partners over at Eloquest Healthcare.

This event is not open to the public; however we are looking forward to learning and networking with fellow WOC professionals. The conference runs from June 6th to the 10th, so if you are attending, be sure to come visit BioDerm Inc. at Booth #731 to learn about CathGrip®, and FreeDerm™. Sarah Woodward will be at the booth to field questions and demonstrate the benefits CathGrip® and FreeDerm™ offer to the acute care market.

Additionally, please visit our partners Eloquest Healthcare at booth #114 to learn more about ReliaFit® - the acute care version of Men’s Liberty. Be sure to catch CAUTI Talk™ - an interactive forum on CAUTI risk reduction initiatives lead by Matt Stahl RN CWCN – during exhibit hours at select times.  Attendance is limited, so register here and receive a Starbucks® gift card when you attend the 15-minute session.

Eloquest Healthcare is proud to announce that new, evidence-based white papers for ReliaFit®, as well as Detachol® and Mastisol®, will be available at booth #114.  Don’t forget to grab a white paper to take home!

We look foward to seeing you there!

Topics: announcements

    Subscribe Today!

    Follow Me

    Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel!