Hello. My name is “Shorty” and I’m a disabled prepper.
Before I get started, a little background information might be helpful to you. While serving with an airborne unit in our military, I was involved in a parachute mishap. This mishap resulted in a compression fracture of my S-1vertabra and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Over time this injury has progressed to a point where I am now confined to a wheelchair a fair amount of time.
As a result, most of my exposure to people with disabilities comes from the veterans I come into contact with on a regular basis. The information that I wish to share with you comes from my experiences, conversations with others like me and personal observations throughout my life.
While I’ve only been studying about and working on prepping for a short time, I’ve been talking about the need to be prepared for quite a few years. The reason most of this came about was a conversation about Katrina. This really set things into motion. There were 8 or 10 of us sitting around and watching a comparison of the events surrounding Katrina. Suddenly a friend of mine said “If push comes to shove, in a situation like that we’re all going to die.” When he continued, a sudden quiet came over our group. Realizing that if something like Katrina were to happen again a very simple truth was clear to all of us. We can’t run.
We’ve all been through tough times where there were slow downs in the delivery of our medications. We’ve also managed to have a decent stash of medication for emergency purposes. We’ve also had bets to see who could push themselves to the limit of their particular disability. By way of example, one of the bets that came my way was pushing another guy in his wheelchair but it came with a little condition attached to it. I had to do it standing up and had to give it an honest try. In essence we knew each other, their disabilities and their limits. All of us had been through some rough times in the military and we we’re all combat veterans.
Hearing that one of our group thought that we stood no chance was a very sobering experience. This started a conversation that still picks up at some point whenever we get a chance to meet up. We all agreed that he was right about one point. In certain circumstances, a disabled person is going to have a tough time surviving. If you need bottled oxygen, eventually you will run out of oxygen and you will die. If you are on certain medications, you will either return to insanity, suffer a relapse or die. If you have to rely on an external source of power and that power is interrupted you will die. While all these things are all true, they are not set in concrete.
We realized that we must do a number of things to increase our own chances for survival. We have to stay in the best shape possible and we have to work at reducing the need for the types and amounts of medications that we were all using. I was on twenty different medications to treat a wide range of problems. I was being treated for a variety of problems with pain, swelling, PTSD, and stomach problems. Suffice it to say, we’re all over medicated.
Throughout my life I have noticed that most normal people generally want to help disabled people. This is a great thing but they generally don’t know the best way to offer their help. Here are some simple ways that may enable you to be more helpful.
1.) If you want to help a disabled person, ask first. It’s a simple and courteous approach.
2.) No one can stop you from walking beside someone in an awkward situation but there are some simple rules here that should be followed as well:
a.) Do not touch someone unless you ask. It’s rude to touch others without provocation.
b.) If you try to catch someone who is falling, don’t try to stand up, guide them down. The body is already traveling in a downward motion and trying to stand up causes a whipping motion. This creates a situation where the body now has to get inline with standing up; the more movement in different directions, the more opportunity for pain.
3.) Never approach a dog when it is on lead or is wearing a work vest. These animals are well trained and are very happy to do the jobs that they do, but they are still dogs. Do not separate or cause them to be separated from their person. I do not like the terms master and owner, as this does not correctly state the true relationship that is involved.
Hopefully this small bit of information will assist you in your efforts to help.
Note from RW: A special thanks to Shorty for sharing his experiences with us.
Staying above the water line!