Smart Chair Innovations
Be encouraged! It is good to hear of these thoughtful innovations and thrusts that address the emotional and psychological health of chair users [“Meet the Smartchairs,” April 2018]. Thanks for sharing.
Michael Andrew Williams

More Diet Info Needed
I’ve been struggling with weight ever since I wasn’t able to swim frequently. It is so hard to find information about SCI and metabolism and diet [“Making Sense of Your Metabolism,” April 2018]. Thank you so much for writing this comprehensive article. More articles like these are needed.
Mary Keating

Wheelchair Vanity
Why shouldn’t we be vain about our wheelchairs? People are vain about the car they drive, and the wheelchair is really just another mode of transportation [“Dreaming of a Prettier Chair,” April 2018]. I want my chair to be very comfortable, to be cute (or pretty) and quite frankly to have people stop me not because they feel sorry about the fact that I am in a wheelchair, but because the chair is so “cool looking” that they want to know where I got it.
Idalia Ringwal

Unique Chair Deco
My Jazzy Select 14 served me well for nine years until I got my Quantum iLevel. I found bright, interesting T-shirts and skirts to slip over the seat back, used a lovely, soft lambskin fur for the seat and color coordinated the duct tape for the arms. I added a Harley “Lady Rider” patch for the back of the headrest and acquired a chrome “Limited Edition” for the front. Most of the comments and conversations I had were upbeat and complimentary in the mode of “you go, girl.” Now for the Quantum, a friend has offered to install neon ground effects
Lori Kowalski

Patient Advocacy
I have found that you need a patient advocate — whether a professional or family member who learns the job — when you are hospitalized, and then you have to become your own advocate afterwards [“Finding My Patient Advocate,” April 19 NM blog]. It is exhausting to fight for what you need. It takes being tenacious to the point of wanting to give up, but you just keep going.
Sheri Denkensohn

Wound Bed Advice
I am a T12 para, physical therapist, former clinical manager for Span-America (therapeutic bed manufacturer), and have a history of pressure ulcers and one small flap surgery on my right ischium. Clinitron beds are excellent pressure equalizers, so if you have to lie on the flap site, they’re the best option [“Finding My Patient Advocate”]. However, they are painful to lie in because you’re floating on liquid, sand and air.  Many have experienced severe neck, back and shoulder pain. It’s difficult to move in it or for caregivers to take care of you. There are versions now that have the sand just under the trunk and those are easier to stay on, but still expensive. If you can lie in a couple of positions, like on your left and right sides, and not put pressure on your flap area, and if you are diligent about turning regularly and eat lots of protein, you can probably do well on a good low-air-loss mattress.
Laurie Rappl

Portable Hand Controls
I have rented cars with hand controls in multiple states over the years, always at a major airport [“Problems with Rental Car Hand Controls,” Everyday Advocacy, April 2018]. I have had companies flat out botch the reservation and lose the fact that I needed to have hand controls on the car, and I’ve had to scramble and arrange alternate transportation on the spot. Because of this I have begun to carry my portable hand controls as a backup when I fly.
John Nicholas

DOJ: Not that Responsive
I’ve had a couple of complaints go through the DOJ’s mediation program; however, the vast majority of the ADA complaints I have filed with the DOJ have been rejected [“Filing an ADA Complaint is Easier Than You Think,” April 13 NM blog]. When DOJ finally gets around to investigating my complaints, they generally say something like: “You may or may not have a case; however, we are not pursuing it at this time.” Currently, I’m waiting on two complaints I filed in 2014. All my complaints were well documented with photos, explanation of the issues and citation of the specific statute violation.
Rob Gilkerson