Sunday, May 1, 2011

Real Life Survival - The Experiences of a Disabled Prepper

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!



Brigid said...

Shorty - You're a good example, in more ways than just prepping.

Thank you for sharing some good information, and a bit of yourself.

Shy Wolf said...

Shorty- thanks a million for that post. The ideas are fabulous, stuff I'd never have thought about, such as guiding a falling person to the ground rahter than raise them. (My mother uses a walker and I've often just postponed the inevitable but could never figure how to stop it, so your idea is a big help.)
When push comes to shove, I pray there will always be those around willing to help you and yours. Thank every one of you for your service to our country and us.

vlad said...

On Bison Survival Blog we discussed the limitations of the elderly in a survival situation. I wish that more readers over seventy had posted their opinions and experiences.

John said...

Being blind myself--or what some call visually impaired--I strongly re-emphasize the point Shorty made about asking first. Don't assume anything, even if it makes you feel stupid or patronizing. Ask whether you can/should help a person with a disability. Ask what you can do. If you get snapped at by the person you want to help, be patient and understanding. Sometimes help isn't wanted or needed. Sometimes the disabled person needs to chill out for any number of reasons. But always, always ask first. The only exception would be an emergency where someone is drowning, having a heart attack, etc.

riverwalker said...

To: Brigid

There is a unique perspective that comes only from one that has "Been there, done that!"

Shorty is a true survivor.

Thanks Brigid!


riverwalker said...

To: Shy Wolf

Many of us have family members with some sort of disability or physical impairment and too often we ignore to learn simple ways in which we can help them in the best way possible.

Thanks Shy!


riverwalker said...

To: vlad

Too often we forget that the mind is our most valuable survival tool. Many senior citizens and those with physical impairments have a wealth of information and experience that could prove invaluable in a survival situation.

Thanks Vlad!


riverwalker said...

To: John

Thanks for pointing out the exception that if they are unable to respond you need to give them as much help as possible.

Thanks John!


HermitJim said...

I really appreciate the reminder with these tips!

Thank you, Shorty, for your service!

riverwalker said...

To: Hermit Jim

Thanks for the words of encouragement for Shorty.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get him to further enlighten all of us with a few more of his thoughts and experiences.

Shorty is but one of the reasons why this is such a great country to live in as a result.

Thanks Jim!


Shorty said...

Thank you for such kind words, I have been at a loss of words to such responses. I honestly never expected such a response. As for my service it was a great honor to serve my people and I firmly believe that is why I feel still the need to help. Today you have helped me, more than I could ever say.

Thanks again my friends


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