An Emerging Star
Thank you for the article by Reveca Torres [Reframed: “Shadows and Light,” March 2018], a truly remarkable, original, moving piece of writing. I hope that Ms. Torres will continue to write, and in longer formats, such as an autobiography or a short story. She is an insightful, poetic communicator, an emerging voice of endearing grace and sweetness … and, more rare, an optimistic kind of bittersweetness, yet in the end, positive. This reminds me of a hidden spirit breaking free, which I haven’t seen so effectively expressed since Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Who Am I This Time?” Brava!
Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Satire Taken Too Far?
I know satire. I did editorial cartooning for my college newspaper, and controversy did spark debate, a goal of any editorial. But, joking about impersonating military personnel might be going too far [Please Remain Seated, April 2018]. I live in the San Diego, California, area — a big military town where both active and retired members are an important part of our community.
I can’t imagine ever trying to use my wheelchair as a means to get a “military discount” from any merchant. Our military families deserve much more respect for their service and sacrifices. Besides, the Stolen Valor Act makes it a criminal offense to make false claims of military service for gain. I think your cartoonist should add a panel or two laying out the ethical and criminal reasons not to pursue this avenue of deceit.
La Mesa, California
We were in Israel last June with my daughter, who is a vent dependent quad [“Rolling in the Holy Land,” March 2018]. Fantastic experience. They even got her into the Dead Sea.
Bureaucracy to Blame
No doubt we are dealing with one of the most inefficient and blindingly stupid health systems around [“The Cost of Profit-Driven Health Care,” NewMobility.com, March 15 blog]. That said, it’s unrealistic to assume that all the shortcomings are attributable to profit-seeking. Some of the bureaucratic idiocy is the nature of administration, whether profit-based or not, and some highly-specialized, low-sales-volume medical equipment is just extremely expensive to research, design and manufacture. Folks with similar conditions in Europe may not face the same kinds of issues, but I imagine they can relay some stories of their own. Our system could be hugely improved, but only the current White House occupant thinks that doing so will be quick, simple and easy.
Through the Gauntlet
I’ve been through all the operations you’re going through — many times [“Hospital Production Line — On the Slab,” NewMobility.com, March 1 blog]. The stage IV pressure wound, the osteomyelitis, the IV antibiotics, the colonoscopy, the colostomy, the debridement, then multiple flap surgeries, all the doctors, the Clinitron beds, the nurses, aides or techs, months in bed, followed by extensive rehab — such has been my fate and experiences since 2004. I’m a T4-5 complete SCI para since 1978. I’ve survived and am doing pretty well now. They made me get a power chair capable of reclining “if I wanted to live.” I hate it, but I’ve adjusted to it. … At this point, you can’t fight what has happened — go with the flow, but don’t take any shit either. I’ll be pulling for you and following your experiences.
I use The North Face Access Backpack. It opens easily with the flip of a button and has space for a laptop, phone and other things, with easy access pull tabs to get everything out. It also has lots of space in the main compartment [Gear Hacks: “Backpacks and Under-Chair Bags,” March 2018].