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Incontinence Support Blog

Renting a Home from a Chair

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Aug 16, 2016 4:36:16 PM

My family and I recently went through a rather difficult, yet educational experience. For the first time since my injury I was jointly responsible for a home. By the this I mean my name was on the lease. Many of us in chairs often live with family, some us received a settlement and bought a home, but there are those of us making a go of it out there in world living in a place we do not own. This means Landlords and that can be good, or really bad.

Last year my family and I moved to a new state to start a business. We had trained, saved, and searched for the right opportunity as well as the property. We planned to run a home-based food business and so infrastructure and amenities were equally important as accessibility. We finally found what we wanted and in a flurry of activity we signed a lease, packed, and moved. So as not to bog down this post with the gory details I’ll get to the point… the Landlord was dishonest and breached the lease causing us to lose a years’ worth of hard work, money, and ultimately we had to get a lawyer. Now ultimately our case stands on its own for anyone leasing a home, but in our effort to educate ourselves about our rights I learned a few things I felt it might be worth it to pass on to you. So here’s a few tips...

Make friends with a Lawyer. I’m serious. Attorneys get paid for their time and do get expensive, but the $150-$250 to have them read through a lease agreement could save you thousands on down the road. If you’re in a chair there are many pro bono disability rights services that can at least advise you on such matters before you sign anything. If you have a friend or family member who is an attorney don’t assume favors, be honest about what you can afford, tell them what you need, and offer them something for their time.

Don’t be in a hurry. If you are even remotely considering moving start looking now. Give yourself time. When you rush you settle for second best and a lease can be a difficult thing to get out of.

Don’t be impressed and don’t believe the pictures. Anything can look great with a coat of paint. If you are limited physically take someone with you who can look at the attic, the crawl spaces, the plumbing, and under the cabinets. Have them check for rot, mold, leaks, pests, and anything that could be unsafe or a fire hazard.

Be specific with the Landlord about your needs. Educate yourself about disabled tenant’s rights. There’s a lot of them and they’re in your favor. There are many resources online. However, be kind and polite. Explain your daily routine and how the space does or does not work, and what you can do to change it. Educate yourself on all the accessibility aides that are modular and can save them money. They will appreciate that.

Ask for references and do your homework. They will want references from you, expect no less from them. If you can, speak to previous renters, other current tenants, employees, or other professional connections. Listen and watch their reactions, it will tell you a lot.

Get it in writing, get it in writing, GET IT IN WRITING. Protect yourself now and you won’t have to fight later. If the lease is vague, get it rewritten in clear language. Know exactly what you are responsible for and what you are not. If you need special wording due to the wheel chair be honest and say what you want.

Life in a chair can be a daily challenge. Knowledge is power and can ease the stress of so many unnecessary battles. Living independently is a great blessing and gift that many don’t get to enjoy. The more of us who get out there and make it the norm the more landlords will make more and more properties accessible.

Thanks for reading.

Topics: family, wheelchair, Patient Stories, Guest Blogs, how to

Getting Back in the Game

Posted by Mens Liberty

Apr 26, 2016 11:00:00 AM

I think that for almost every one of us reading this message, we have at least one thing in common:  We’ve experienced some setbacks in life.  It could be financial, losing a beloved family member, friend or co-worker, divorce, a lay-off, our health, and many other things – including incontinence.

 It’s easy to have a good attitude and continuously think positive as long as things are going our way, right?!

What about the difficult times?  One of the hardest things to do when we’re experiencing adversity is to keep our heads held high, and “get back in the game.”  To be positive or to not be depressed…  It’s really easy to lose our passion when we’re hurt.

 Our friend Jason Parker, an Olympic medal winner (speed skating) has a great story about his very first race.  He was around 11 years old, and it was a 4-lap race.  So as he was skating into the very first turn, guess what he did…  Sure enough, he “hit the boards”.  That’s skaters-talk meaning he fell down.

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He picked himself up and began skating again, and by the end of the race, Jason had fallen 4 times.  But you know what he had to do to finish the race?  He had to PICK HIMSELF UP and begin skating again.

Here’s a guy who went from falling 4 times in his first race and because he had a “Pick-Myself-Up Attitude”, he became an Olympic champion!

 Now here’s the rest of Jason’s story…  Sitting in the audience of his very first race were his family, his friends, and a cute young girl (Kristin) he had his eye on.  And with all his falls, he was embarrassed beyond belief!  And after the race, he knew that cute little Kristin would never give him the time of day, and perhaps not even look at him.


Fast forward 15 years, and cute little Kristen is now Mrs. Parker, and Kristen and Jason have 2 beautiful children!

Of course, many people choose to sit on the sidelines of life and not move forward because they’ve been “injured.”  As we all know, that’s their prerogative.

But at Men’s Liberty, we feel like it’s our responsibility to ask questions that just may perhaps motivate you to change your life and to change your lifestyle!

So here’s the question:    “What if…?”

What if we picked ourselves up from the “boards” and “started skating again?”

We’re reminded of Cameron J., survivor of prostate cancer.  Like many, his treatments left him incontinent.  He was devastated because (in his words) he ‘was TRAPPED at home, afraid to go anywhere because he feared that his adult diapers might leak, or that someone could smell his urine.’

Lucky for Cameron, his daughter was an expert researcher, and that’s how he discovered Men’s Liberty!  And because of Men’s Liberty, Cameron picked himself up off the boards and became active again.

In fact Cameron is so active and busy, dedicating and volunteering his time and energies to the local hospital, church, and community enhancement committee!  Cameron’s wife teases saying ‘she sees him less now than when he was working.’

And that’s what it’s all about – raising our heads up high, finding solutions and getting ourselves back into the game!

I think that if we just stop and think about the many times we’ve witnessed people picking themselves up, we’ll start saying to ourselves something like this –

  •  “If John can do it, why can’t I?”
  • “I saw that football player finish the game with a broken arm AND broken ribs! Why can’t I?”

And think about it…  When they interview champions about their injuries, almost always they say the same thing:  “I’d rather be IN THE GAME than sitting on the sidelines watching it go by.”

 And there’s the difference between champions and everyone else.

Now this is important:

 At Men’s Liberty, we believe that

ALL PEOPLE HAVE A CHAMPION INSIDE THEMSELVES!!

So what can we do to help you find your inner-Champion?  What can we do to help you pick yourself up from the “boards”?

And – do you have a “Champion Story”?  We want to hear it!!  We want your inspiration and we want to celebrate your big wins.  So please – share your story with us now!!

NOTE:     If you’re new or just discovering Men’s Liberty, please know that we have a very experienced team of experts – including nurses and medical specialists, readily available to help answer all your questions to regaining your life and your inner champion.

Don’t hesitate to call our client assistance team today – 800-814-3174.  We’ll make every step of this journey as easy as possible!  800-814-3174

Topics: family, Health Literacy, Patient Stories, compassion

How CathGrip can Improve Your Tubing Securement

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 8, 2013 2:30:00 PM

CathGrip Products

As some of you may have already guessed, I am new to the BioDerm team and the healthcare industry. I have only been with the company for the past two weeks; however, ever since my first interview I could see the dedication and passion everyone here has for the products we produce. It’s one of the things that attracted me to the company. Everyone from the call center representatives to upper management is enthusiastic about making  a difference for our customers and improving their daily lives. I’ll admit, I didn’t quite get it at first. Then I looked a little deeper, and I was struck by how different they were from what is currently on the market and how they could make a positive impact for physicians, caregivers, and ultimately patients.

And fortunately, it seems I’m not alone. This afternoon I was sent an email which I would like to share with you. The email is from one of our patients, Kelly Iden. Kelly was recently sent samples of our tubing securement devices, UniGrip and Grip&Seal as well as BioPlus+.

CathGrip is our hydrocolloid based catheter securement device. It uses the same adhesive as Men’s Liberty and can secure almost any tube coming out of your body. Tubes and drains are common in hospitals, but what I didn’t know was that some people have permanent tubes – they’re always going to need products like ours!

Kelly is one of these. He has a permanent suprapubic tube and is currently recovering from surgery to correct buried bumper syndrome.

Below, he describes his experience using our products.

“I wanted to thank you all for the samples and say I love your products. My skin was happy for one of the first times in 5 years. They don’t cause itching, or pain. After you remove them you cannot tell where they were. They are sturdy and they didn’t fall off (or even lift) and the clasps didn’t break no matter how many times you opened and shut them. I loved them both but at this time I prefer the UniGrip. The BioPlus+ didn’t cause any itching either. You have an awesome product and it truly does what it claims to do”

That last sentence really drove it home for me. We are not just selling healthcare devices without purpose; we are creating products that positively impact the lives of other people. I now understand where the passion and dedication comes from; it comes from stories like this.

With that being said, we still have many people to help. There will be more stories to tell and more people who can benefit from discovering these lifechanging products.

So I’m sending out a big thank you to Kelly for sharing his experience with us and allowing me to share it with our readers. I look forward to hearing more stories like this one, so please, if you have an experience you would like to share with us, don’t be afraid to reach out. We would love to hear your story!

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Topics: Patient Stories, CathGrip

A Life Changing Day - Eman's Spinal Cord Injury and Rehabilitation

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Aug 7, 2013 9:34:00 AM

Sometimes in life, there are events that make you remember just how lucky you are to be alive and healthy. One of our newest clients is Eman, and it's been quite the ride so far. We've been so moved talking with Eman and his family, we wanted to share a bit of his story here for all of you.

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Eman 3Emmanuel Gilligan, who goes by Eman, is an American citizen who has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the past 17 years, with his wife and four children.  Eman is an accomplished musician, and while his studio work is the family’s primary source of income, he, his wife, Julia, and three of their children also perform with him in many different venues.  They also regularly perform voluntarily for the poor and infirm as well, sharing messages of hope and love. 

On March 5th of this year, Eman was leaving a bank in a Rio suburb after he had withdrawn some money, and he was targeted by two men on a motorcycle who chased him as he drove off.  Although he desperately tried to lose them, they were able to corner him. As they roared up to his car, the man on the front of the motorcycle ordered the man behind him, “Kill him!,” and the man shot Eman through the driver’s side window.  The 9mm bullet was fired at close range and entered his left arm, went through his left lung and lodged in his right shoulder, where it remains.

This happened at 1:00 in the afternoon, in a neighborhood where luckily people summoned help immediately, and an ambulance rushed Eman to the largest government hospital in Rio (Miguel Couto).  The doctors told the family later that it was a miracle Eman was alive, as they have very few patients survive being shot with a 9mm at point blank range.

After Eman’s breathing was stabilized (his lung was perforated), Eman was able to tell the doctors that he had no sensation, feeling or control of his legs. X-rays and CAT scans showed the bullet had grazed a vertebrae, sending 3 small fragments into his spinal cord.  The velocity and intense heat of the passing bullet also created what the neurosurgeons in Rio described as a lesion on his spinal cord.

Eman in hospital10 days into his hospitalization, Eman regained breathing function as his lung drained and began to re-inflate, and began having sensations that he described as feelings of ants or insects crawling up and down his legs.  Neurosurgeons initially dismissed this as a “psychological phenomena” that occurs sometimes with paraplegics, but after re-examining him, they proceeded with an operation to remove 3 tiny bone fragments at the T7-T8 vertebrae.

A week after the surgery, Eman was taken home by ambulance, where he remained for a week.  A urinary tract infection and large pressure ulcer that developed while in the hospital worsened in the week he was home, and he returned to the government hospital for treatment of both conditions. 

After three more weeks in the hospital, Eman again returned home.  Although he has had increased feeling and sensitivity to touch in his legs, he has no control over them, and has been
experiencing terribly painful spasms, day and night.  The pain, the lack of sleep because of the
pain, the necessity of another return to the hospital for plastic surgery needed to patch up the pressure ulcer, the many fears he faces for himself and his family - as you can imagine, he is going through an extremely tough and trying time physically, emotionally and psychologically.

While Eman’s family is so grateful to the hardworking (overworked) doctors and nurses at the government hospital in Rio who saved his life when he was bleeding to death from the initial gunshot, the level of care he received after he was out of intensive care was frankly, appalling. 

Because of the large pressure ulcer on his back’s sacral area, Eman cannot sit for long flight from Rio to the U.S., so travel arrangements have been very difficult, to say the least. But in the past couple of weeks, this seemingly insurmountable obstacle was overcome! Thanks to Uncle Sam and the Victims of Crime Dept. of the FBI. They have graciously arranged a special medevac flight that fly to Brazil and pick up Eman, taking him from Rio to Atlanta, GA.

Eman in hospitalIn Atlanta, where Eman’s mom lives, the Shepherd Center, a renowned institute for spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation, has agreed to evaluate and treat him.  This ambulatory flight and acceptance into the Shepherd Center in Atlanta are BIG answers to prayer, and we want to THANK everyone who has been praying for Eman’s recovery.

Julia has kept a detailed, photo-filled blog for relatives and friends of the family, where many more details of the shooting and the day-to-day events that have transpired since can be found:  ttp://emmanuelguitarman.blogspot.com

A news article about the shooting that appeared in the Rio Times can be found here: http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-daily/american-musician-shot-in-rio/

Another Rio Times article about a fundraiser held by the expat community in Rio for Eman can be found here: http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-entertainment/rio-community-throws-gilligan-fundraiser/

If you would like to hear a beautiful song and prayer written and performed by Eman, "Lead Me to the Rock that is Higher than I," please click here: http://yourlisten.com/channel/content/16962095/EG_Lead_Me_to_the_Rock

Another inspiring song, "Third Option," which Eman wrote for his teenage daughter Larissa, can be found here: http://yourlisten.com/channel/content/16962091/Emmanuel_Gilligan_Third_Option

The entire Gilligan family extends their heartfelt thanks to each of you who have expressed such concern and love for Eman in this time of crisis. We know we are facing an uphill struggle to obtain the healing and restoration that is now needed. 

Topics: wheelchair, Caregiving, spinal cord injury, Patient Stories

Meet Men’s Liberty Users Tina & Eric

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Feb 4, 2013 1:30:00 PM

We love hearing from our customers and Tina & Eric are no exception. They’ve been using the product since 2012 and it’s made a huge difference. Tina was kind enough to write us a brief letter about their experiences and we wanted to share it with you all -

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Dear Mens' Liberty,

I wanted to write your company a note regarding your external catheter product.  Your product was recommended to my family from the ALS Clinic in Portland Oregon.  Always the skeptic, the word catheter scared me a bit.

The reason this product was recommended to us is that my husband has ALS, and is unable to get up and use the restroom as needed.

It took a couple of attempts to get the product on correctly, but once it was in place, it worked out very well.  I was initially scared to tape anything in that region, but that was not a problem as the materials they used are great, easy to remove and painless for my husband.

This product has made a large impact on our lives.  The most degrading thing that my husband can think of is being in a diaper.  Your product helped him to avoid that bit of humiliation.  We were able to utilize this product so that he could attend our daughter’s graduation in comfort and without the fear of an "accident" that would further embarrass him. You could not tell he had it on through his clothes, which was a big concern for my husband.

It also allows me, the caregiver some leeway when needing to run errands, etc. 

I wanted to pass along my praise of your product as I can see many applications in the lives of men everywhere.  More doctors should offer your products, as I had never even heard of anything like this before.

The fact that this product helped my husband retain his dignity in the face of a terrible disease, speaks volumes about the usefulness of its applications.

One more note, Cory was an excellent resource for me.  In this time of tragedy in our lives, he followed up with me with all due respect to my situation.  He offered guidance on the product and a personal touch of support that you don't see often in this day and age.

Your product has been an excellent resource and you should be commended for putting it out there for people.

Sincerely,

Tina P.

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A big thank you to Tina for sharing her experiences as a caregiver using Men’s Liberty. Do you have a Men’s Liberty story we can share? Leave us a note in the comments or send an email to CustomerCare@mensliberty.com!

Does your doctor know about Men’s Liberty? Send them some information!

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Topics: bladder control, external catheter for men, Caregiving, Patient Stories