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Friday, 20 April, 2018
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The Ubiquitous Wheelchair

Date: 02 April, 2017

By: Chief

Imagees, indeed. The good ol' ever faithful wheelchair is without doubt one of the most important pieces of durable medical equipment ever created. Further, if you pay a, well not exactly a kings ransom, you will get one which just might last through a nuclear blast. I tell you, those things are tough as nails.

With a wheelchair the wheelchair-ee has at least some freedom of movement. They are not stuck in a:

Having a wheelchair also makes life much, much easier for the primary care giver which tends to be the husband, wife or the 'other'. I can tell you from extensive personal experience you have no idea how heavy 125 pounds actually is until you have to lift it. It does get tiring mighty quickly.

The dark side

Oh yes, there most certainly is a dark side to that marvelous device called a wheelchair. Actually it is not dark — it is almost pitch black. Yeah, I suppose you could say that's dark. And it is because of the following four words "Prolonged Period of Time" that the wheelchair can and does become an incredibly dark and monstrous horse. It is also the four most important words for both the wheelchair-ee and the primary caregiver.

For it is what the wheelchair-ee and the primary caregiver do about the "Prolonged Period of Time" of the wheelchair by the wheelchair-ee which, in a great many cases, shall decide the life span of the wheelchair-ee. I'll bet your doctor or surgeon didn't tell you about that little detail. That is normally because the doctors and surgeons do not know about the dark side — themselves. I know, that really sucks.

Okay, so just what is a "Prolonged Period of Time?" I have no idea and neither does anybody else. It fully depends upon the:

There are numerous other reasons as well but you get the point. Hence, the big deal is simply that the "Prolonged Period of Time" varies between each individual. Period.

The pump and the plumbing

And don't bother to call Rotor-Rooter. It won't do you a damned bit of good. Though the concept is used but in a very different setup of a pump and associated plumbing.

The heart — also known as the pump and the associated arteries, capillaries and veins — also known as the plumbing — make up what is known as the "circulatory system." Please believe me when I say that the pump and plumbing does have a shelf life.

Quoting the Texas Heart Institute:

"If all the vessels of this network were laid end to end, they would extend for about 60,000 miles (more than 96,500 kilometers), which is far enough to circle the planet Earth more than twice!"

That, my friends, is a lot of plumbing.

Thus if you desire, and who doesn't, to have a:

you had better take mighty fine, real good care of your pump and associated plumbing. Other wise brother — you really do not stand much of a chance. Preventive maintenance on the pump and plumbing becomes far more important if you have a preexisting condition such as diabetes. Additionally, and I do not care how much of a health nut you are, you shall still be fighting an uphill battle if you do have a preexisting condition.

Now let us get down to the lick log. You see the human body was not and is still not designed to be in either a:

for a — here comes the zinger — "Prolonged Period of Time." Here is an example — in 2012 I was in the hospital for a total of 16 days. Twelve of those days were in the ICU and I was in a medically induced coma. The remaining four days were in a pre-release ward to make sure I could go home and not die along the way. After 14 days, two weeks I found I could not:

without the aide of another person. I was that weak. It took me 10 days after I got home before I could make it from the bedroom to the bathroom without assistance. It took me approximately 20 days before I was able to get rid of the walker. That was horrible. Regrettably it is also normal.

Now just imagine you are in a wheelchair for two years or so. Imagine, just imagine, what is happening to your circulatory system during that amount of time of inactivity. Your:

will have become occluded. How badly occluded is anybodies guess but, rest assured, your life span has probably been significantly shortened.

The other not so minor fact is, as my example so perfectly illustrates, the body starts losing strength and muscle mass within a few hours. Hence, the longer a person is in a wheelchair or bed the more strength and muscle mass is lost. And it takes a long, long time to regain it. Most people do not fully regain all the strength and muscle mass they lost. In other words — the longer you are in a wheelchair or bed the deeper the kimchi you are in. Kimchi really stinks by the way.

Epilogue

The bottom line is the wheelchair-ee must get his or her butt out of that infernal chair as often as possible and for as long as possible. Use crutches, a walker, whatever, it doesn't matter. What does matter is getting vertical and working the body so that at least the wheelchair-ee has a chance of actually living a semi-normal, if not an actual, normal life.

I'm not talking once or twice a week for maybe 30 minutes or so. No sir, I am talking about everyday, no matter what, and building up to about 6 - 8 hours per day, or longer, out of that bloody chair. Otherwise your time on this backwater, border town of a planet (I do love Men in Black) shall probably be severely curtailed.

Life or death. The choice is yours.

P.S. Here are some links which you may find handy:

Circulatory system.
Cardiovascular anatomy.
Peripheral artery disease.
Atherosclerosis.
Cardiovascular disease.
Coronary artery disease.
Diabetes.

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