Dear Mark, I have a son who is handicapped and in a wheelchair, he is 19 yrs. old. Do you know of a website for handicapped dating? I am having difficulty in finding one. Can you please help? Thank you,
Dating and disability sites are far and few between. I'm not aware of a good, down to earth site that talks about the nuts & bolts of dating. But, I do feel that this is a tuff subject for most all people even without a physical disability. So, add the issues that go along with being handicapped and yes, it does get even tougher. Not impossible! Just tougher. The hardest thing to do is to put your fears aside and trust that people will see the person within and let the doors to romance open. Getting burned in relationships is not simply a possibility. Its reality. How well can your son bounce back? I wish you the very best!
I don't know if you remember me or not. I emailed you about a year ago. I think I mostly just rambled on and on but mostly was worried about introducing my quadriplegic b/f to my family. I just wanted to say how well things have gone for us. We now live together with his parents and plan to marry next May. Anyway, thanks for listening.
Thank you for such positive news. At this time of Thanksgiving, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Love is one of the greatest.
I came across your homepage, and feel compelled to write. I was 9 mos. pregnant when I had a car accident. My daughter is a miracle and my life now. I broke my neck--C5 incomplete, and am a quad. I am very fortunate however, I have feeling throughout, and can sit up--i have regained alot of movement. I have all of my upper body--except my hands--so far. i have even moved my legs a couple times. its been over a year now, and i am really enjoying life. Yes, there are always bad days, but I believe this accident was a blessing in disguise. I feel I have a purpose now. I have accomplished alot since my accident. Here is my homepage link, although it is quite old. Michelle Cave at a glance... Since writing my homepage, I have done a few more things. I designed a handicap-accessible crib, which I can get my daughter in and out of. I also am in the process of having steps built onto my chair so she can climb up onto my lap. I share alot of the same feelings you do when it comes to sex and dating. Before my accident I was very career oriented, and wasn't much into having a serious relationship. Now it's different. Meeting someone special is hard enough, then the wheelchair is added to the equation, making it even harder. I have had a few boyfriends since my accident, and really have no problems when it comes to sex. I'm a freak--I love it--always have. The problem I have is with commitment. It's hard to find someone to stand by me through the thick and thin. These boyfriends it seems love me--as a person, but I feel as if they grow more and more uncomfortable with the wheelchair, the longer the relationship goes on. I don't feel sorry for myself, and the hardest part of all is seeing others feel sorry for me. I may have said too much, but after reading your homepage, I feel comfortable talking to you. So tell me more about yourself. How did you become paralyzed? What is your injury? Where do you live? Well, I have alot of questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Michelle
What a beautiful smile! You and you daughter have a lot to smile about. It sounds like you've tapped into some creativity and you're using it to your advantage. Good for you! But, I'll bet that your daughter is the real beneficiary. I've said all along that dating isn't easy for most people but adding the chair and other complications can make it pretty challenging. But, not impossible. I hate to spoil your fun, but your not a freak if loving sex is your game. At least not in my book. It can be a pretty incredible natural way of sharing yourself with someone special. I do feel that your thoughts on dealing with the "chair" in a little longer term relationship are fair statements. I also think that its perfectly Okay for your partner to get pissed once in a while having to deal with a wheelchair. I don't see it any different that a parent getting frustrated having to push a stroller. They don't dislike the baby, just the stroller. There are a lot of times that these wheeled modes of transportation just get in the way. Not the user or person in the chair, but the chair itself. Yea, I think that's fair. Let those who care about you share your passions. Even if one of them is somewhat negative like thinking that wheelchairs suck. In general, yea I think that they suck. But as you know, its now a part of life. If someone loves you, they'll take the good with the bad. Its all a part of the deal. And it can last a lifetime if you work at it. I have on my website under History more about my injury but I live in NW Pennsylvania. I wish you the very best!
To whom it may concern,
I just got done looking at your website and i think its great. I'm a c-6 quad and have been hard pressed to meet other quads with great attitudes, like my own, since i got hurt in 1995. I live in a rural area where there r few other quads. The individuals that I have met all seem to have lost their zest for life, whereas I still enjoy many of the things I did before my accident. I love the anything outdoors and still go hunting, fishing, etc. Although I use different forms to be able to do these activities it is still possible. I would like to say thank you for showing me that there are others out there like me and letting people know there is still life after paralisis.
you for your note Jason. There definitely is "still" life after paralysis. And
then, there is the rest of us!
I need some answers or help of where to find some answers. I have a friend who took a fall from a pretty good height but DID NOT cause any type of injury to the spinal cord itself. They said all he did was have some bruising and after that went away he would be able to return to his normal lifestyle. Now they are saying that scar tissue has formed where the bruise was and he now can't use anything from his neck down. Is there something even something new that might be able to at least get some movement to his arms so that he may be at least able to pour himself a drink without having to rely on someone 24/7? It has brought his self esteem down so much I don't know how much more he can take. He's ready to call it quits. Can someone please help.
There is no easy answer. Many paralyzed people are unable to regain function because of the scarring that can occur in the central nervous system (CNS). Compression fractures are one example of how the CNS can develop scarring without the CNS having been directly injured. Compression fractures can occur from landing on your head and damaging or stressing the vertebrae. Swelling develops in the CNS as a result and scar tissue can form. To the best of my knowledge and within the most recent research studies Ive read, it cannot effectively be reversed. But, thats today. There is great hope for the future. However that bit of optimism will not help your friend out his current dilemma. His physical and emotional issues need to be evaluated by a health care professional. And if they dont help, keep looking until you get the answers or help that he needs from knowledgeable professionals. Calling it quits is a very unfortunate choice. But it is a choice. And so is getting help. Low self-esteem is a temporary situation and it doesnt require a long-term solution like calling it quits. Help your friend by letting him help himself. Get professional help!
I wish both of you
the very best!
Just been going through your website and have found it the most informative yet. I have been dating a quadriplegic guy for the past 3 months, we met initially over the internet and found that we had absolutely everything in common, he is the most wonderful kindest man that I have ever met in all of my 33 years. The problem is that when we are together I am constantly asking him if he is ok, its not that I am being patronising thats just my nature, and sometimes I feel that it annoys him a bit, I have never been in a relationship with a disabled person before and I am on a learning curve at the moment, when he has difficulty doing something, is it best that I wait for him to ask for help or just step in and help him, sometimes I feel as though I am walking a tightrope with him and doing my best not to make him feel any less of a person, I love him so much and cannot imagine life without him, its just that I feel I have to watch what I say and how I say it things like that.
Another thing I have noticed is that he is not very active and tends to stay indoors
for the majority of the time, and does not seem to have many friends, I did ask him one
time if he had any friends in a similar position to himself ( he damaged his C5 in a road
crash 15 years ago), he had not kept in touch with anyone, but my point was that it may be
easier for him to discuss certain issues with someone who is in a similar situation to
himself, it just seems to me sometimes that he is shutting himself off from the world, any
advice would be appreciated.
Thanks for listening
Your heart sounds sincere. Consider this. If someone you know would tell to you that you don't look like you feel well constantly, you may start to doubt how you feel just by their inquiry. You may wonder what they're seeing that doesn't look good. You may even change your plans and take a nap. You may eventually even find that this person can't read you at all. And that's that. Move on. In my opinion, you're headed down a no win street. If your nature is to be caring and helpful, then learn about the things that can go wrong and the signals he may give off when he really isn't OK. This can only happen by asking him. Trust in what he says even if you doubt it. Give him the space and time to share his ills and listen as you go. Listen to your heart in the love you give, listen to his tone in the love he gives and listen to how your comments may make him doubt himself. Back off the "are you OK" stuff and let him know that you'll be there for him by... well... being there for him. And let him know that you care by your touch, your patience and understanding. Are you OK with this? Are you sure? Sure you're OK with this? OK?
If you're concerned about his level of activity and you sincerely
feel that he may be depressed, a friend may be what he needs. Not another caretaker. Use
your friendship and your love to bring him out to a level that he's comfortable with. How
was he before his injury? He may have been a homebody then too and his injury may have no
bearing on his disposition. It may just be who he is. But then if its not and he's in a
shell, who better to show him happiness than you?
I wish you the best,
I just read your amazing essay and wanted to thank you for it. And I also wanted to ask you a question. At a wake on Saturday I saw a gorgeous man in a wheelchair and felt I'd been struck by a lightning bolt. I saw him again the next day at the funeral and reception afterward. We talked briefly and I overheard enough conversation to know that he became a paraplegic through a motorcycle accident; from his demeanor I'm guessing that it hasn't been all that long -- he seems to have taken a direct hit to his self-esteem as well as his spine. I'm dying to ask him out but don't want to freak him out. He is on my mind constantly and I have been reading everything on paraplegics and dating and sexuality that I can find on the Web. Any advice about how to go about this? I'm a good bit older than he is, so it could be tricky all the way around. Thanks for your help.
Well... Maybe I should go to more wakes. Its has to be better than a bar! If you're concerned about approaching him, don't be. If you're concerned about the age difference, it may only matter to you. If the injury has taken a hit to his self-esteem, your hand may be the lifting spirit. Ahh. but only if. That little two letter word can stop a life from living. May you live all the days of your life. But only if?
Mark: I fell in this site tonight and read your article. I was very impressed. You're very wise for a young man!
Thank you. Wisdom comes from making so many mistakes.
I've met the most gorgeous man, he's Paraplegic. He's had previous sexual relationships, even marriage. I've not had so long to get use to all that surrounds his disability. He turns me on so much from just being around him, hearing his voice etc. But i really have no idea on the sexual needs of this man. Is it a case of every thing goes. I understand the clinical side if things, i.e rising to the occasion, but what about the rest. What about oral sex. Will he get his pleasure emotionally/mentally from watching as he receives oral sex????????? I just haven't got a clue....... Please help. I want everything to be so special when we do eventually make love. Please help me.....
Thanks for your note and openness. Everyone is different and he is the only one that can tell you what his sexual needs are. Because of his paralysis, he may not find receiving oral sex stimulating but may find excitement elsewhere. Will he get pleasure? Again, this is so different for so many people. I just don't see the word normal ever describing sex. It is so individual and has its own culture based on the chemistry of the people involved. But it has the distinction of being the only thing that when its bad, its still good!
I read your article on the net and found it quite encouraging. I am a 31 year old male paraplegic with a complete injury at T6-T7, as the resut of a fall in 1991. I have met a number of women since then but I have always felt uneasy about sex. Now I have met someone who is special and but I still have not had a full sexual relationship with her. I wear a condom and leg bag and my urine flows constantly. I do not know how to overcome this problem. I know you are not an expert but I would appreciate any advice.
I understand pretty clearly why you have reservations. You are definitely not alone with your concerns. But, I don't see a problem to overcome. I see a situation that can be managed. If you approach it as a problem, it will be. Take a shower. Empty your bladder and spend some time getting to know what works and what doesn't. Intercourse may not always be possible. But get as much enjoyment from her satisfaction as you possibly can. She may love you for it and you may realize that you don't have a problem.
My story, I feel, is different from a lot you have seen. It is sweet, yet sad. When I was in seventh grade I had a big crush on a guy at school. Unfortunately, he didn't return the affection. We became great friends and would talk for hours all the way through high school. I was living in a nearby town when I heard about his accident. Yours actually sounds a lot like his.When he was 16, he dove into a pool and broke his neck. I believe he is a C-4 incomplete, C-5 complete. I'm close I'm sure but maybe not EXACTLY right. It took me a year before I could muster up the strength to visit him. I did talk to him all the time while he was in the hospital and once he returned home. I feel as though, I mourned his injury, but he never did. We always had a very strong connection, but lost touch afer a while. Ten years have passed and I found him once again. He has never left my thoughts. The first time I heard back from him, it was as if only a day had passed. We have really developed an extraordinary relationship and I am completely in love with him. We laugh all the time thinking, "finally, both of us on the same page." I can't wait to spend a life with him, yet I do have concerns. I feel as though I can handle all of the changes, we have discussed pretty much EVERYTHING in detail, but I still am a little worried. This is so new to me, I'm not sure what kind of strain it would be on a relationship. I have two young kids,(which he adors!), I'm worried about how it will impact their lives. It would be nice to hear from someone that has been there and knows what it's like. I really admire what you have done with your life and you remind me a lot of him. I read your story and it really touched me. I have read several articles and seen a lot of chats, but you are the only one that was just like him. It would be nice if you would be willing to let me ask you some questions on occasion. Thank you for lending your ear,(I'm sure I talked it off :)), any reply would be GREAT! Thanks again for your site, it really made my day!
Your heart and spirit shine above any concerns that may arise. Learn a little, love a lot and take your time to let things happen at your pace. The injury he sustained does take on its own culture and the things he sees may not always make since right away. But time, patience and openness can give you the strength to make anything work if its in both of your hearts. Feel your way through it and let your children be children. They're in a position to grow with a greater understanding and tolerance for the different needs people have. How much you share with them is your choice. I have great respect for the minds of children. They are the most forgiving and accepting people on the face of the Earth. Let them learn and love right along with you. If you feel that you would like to get my perspective on some things you may want to know, I'll be here. I wish you much love,
My name is nicholei am 17 years old and my uncle got into a cart accident December 8, 2000 and he is still alive he has quadriplegia in his spinal injury we are trying to look for resources on ways to help him out better and facilities on his disability we live in phoenix Arizona we are looking for places all over the world so if you have any information would you please send it to me.
Thank you for your note. I'm sorry but I really don't have much information or knowledge on longer term care facilities. If his injury was in Dec of 2000 and he is still needing significant care, his level of injury must be pretty severe or there were other complications. Take a look at the SCI links page on my site at www.dreamblvr.com/links.htm and begin contacting those in the professional world. There is a link there for the Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center. I wish you and your family the very best.
I am really enjoying your website! I recently returned from an across-the-world trip to attend the wedding of a good friend. She married a quadriplegic man whom she met on the internet and fell in love with. We stayed with the happy couple for a few days before the wedding, and I nearly fell in love with the groom myself--he was awesome. After spending some time getting to know him, I really became interested in learning more about his daily routine and exactly what kind of challenges he faces, just so I could appreciate his condition more and my friend's new lifestyle as well. Unfortunately, she hasn't seemed too comfortable chatting about the "nitty-gritty" details with me as she used to with other guys. Your stories and information really helped me gain insight into SCI and some of the daily care issues involved. I see that there are difficulties, but lots of things that are just plain "normal" too. I was really excited to see all of the sporting activities that you are involved in. I'm hoping my friend's husband will eventually take some of these things into consideration. Thanks for sharing so much!
A man isn't complete until he's married. Then he's finished! I'm beginning to hear of more great stories like you described where people learn about the heart and soul of another person without judging the package first. But then, some just might like the package too! As far as the nitty-gritty details go, the three most important aspects of a paralyzed persons condition revolve around bowel, bladder and skin. Each person (disabled or not) may manage these aspects of daily living a little different but it's a part of life we don't talk much about. Why you ask? Hey, it's personal! Well...until you talk with someone who works in the medical field like a nurse or a nurse's aid and then you may get more than you really wanted to know. I'll assume middle ground. Both the bowel and bladder need to be emptied on a regular basis in a way that lets us be social. This can be done in a variety of noninvasive or too complicated of ways. The skin just needs to remain healthy on areas like the butt. If it gets scratched or becomes sore from sitting conditions, the only good way for it to heal is to stay off of it. Then you're stuck! Give it a little time and your friend may just open up a little about the details. Besides, I thought women were more comfortable discussing the bedroom details where men just embellish.
Thanks for your note. I loved it! - Mark
hello mark, my name is stacey and i located your web site while searching for information. i have been by the side of a colleague who sustained a s.c.i. two years ago. it has been a roller coaster ride for him and his wife emotionally and physically. while reading your input, you described very well the changes in life that we all must reach to have fulfilling and loving relationships. im also in my early thirties and i agree with much of what you wrote. i have learned that all of our experiences in life develops strength of character and patience. patience also helps us to trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. i must tell you that a man is attractive for who he is. he is no less attractive because of a s.c.i. or any other sustained injury or disability. i have a few friends with s.c.i. and i do not ever see the chair. but, i have always looked at people on the inside instead of what is on the outside. dont get me wrong, looks do count :) but attraction is more than skin deep if its going to mean anything. just thought that i would write you to thank you for your positive words. it was a pleasure to read. God bless you and i invite your e-mail response.
Thank you for your kindness and warm thoughts. It seems as though a number of people have gone through that roller coaster ride you described. Its a good analogy to most aspects of life regardless of SCI. From personal experience, If I have to be on the ride then I will enjoy the view, hold on when it gets going and smile while my heart races and hurts inside. When its over, Ill have been grateful for the ups, downs and speed at which things seem to pass by. And Ill bitch a little just to keep things well grounded!
Hi... I'm trying to find the Black and Decker Titan that you talk about in your site, but I'm having no luck. Is there a web site or a store that you can send me to? I live in San Diego. Is there another product you would recommend for that?
Here is the web address for the remote entry door lock. http://www.kwikset.com/deadlocks.htm I have a couple of doors outfitted with the remote lock/unlock. The remote can be programmed for more than one door so you can use the same remote at different doors if you choose. There are other systems out there but I like the simplicity of this one. I know people who have a combination lock/unlock handle that works great for keyless entry. Unfortunately, I dont have any product information on that unit.
luck. I hope that you find what you need.
Hi! I took the time after church today to come to Kinko's and look your website up again. I felt really bad because I had emailed you so hurriedly yesterday that I knew it probably didn't make a whole lot of sense. I also wanted to slow down enough to figure out what your name is! HA! First off, let me tell you that Kinko's charges 20 cents a minute for computer time, so consider yourself lucky that I am emailing you! I absolutely love to write, so I won't mind if you answer me sometime.
I also wanted to again address the "God can heal you if you believe enough issue"...I had a similar incident happen to me at a Gospel singing of all places. My Mom had been sick and a lady came up to my Dad and I and informed us that the reason God hadn't healed her was because she was not attending church regularly. Now that as you say made my blood boil! I told her to Judge not, lest you be judged, and I left her standing there with her mouth open before I lost all of my ladylike qualities. Be glad I was not
with you at Kmart that night! I am sure I would have given that woman a piece of my mind. How people can judge others without walking in their shoes (or sittin in their chair) is beyond me! I just don't get it! Then they come off as such fine Christian people. Hey! I know I am a Christian, but I promise you that I don't judge people's circumstances by how much faith they have--or lack of faith thereof. God is no respecter of persons. And your faith is between YOU and GOD. I can't tell you, hey, Mark, I know
you believe or I know you don't believe because I don't know your heart--only God does. So please keep on keeping your sense of adventure and your sense of humor. Let me know when you go to Kmart again, and I will pray for you!!! >>smile!<<
care and I am going to sit down in the library (where it is free) and really read your
PS--I know this email is silly, but my Mom just died July 16th and I am coping any way I can...
I do feel privileged! Thank you for your note.
My prayers are with you and your family in the loss of your mother. I lost my father 3 years ago and I still miss him a lot. The fortunate thing is that we still have family and a life ahead. The comments "God would heal you if you believed" is a pretty straightforward insensitive statement. I feel that the people who express this opinion are trying to find their own salvation. They just see others as part of their path. I just wish them well and I hope that someday they find it within themselves. Although, it would feel pretty good to choke the living daylights out of them and say "God would remove my hands if you believed." I somehow don't think that the courts would find that too funny.
I was just on your website and loved it. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us. I am 56 and was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. I do journaling myself and find that life goes on. Life has it's up and downs but there are more ups than downs. God bless you, my friend. Keep journaling.
Im grateful for your thoughts. Add a little humor to a tuff situation and youll find that its like putting a little grease on your wheels. Lifes push just gets a little easier.
thank you for these interesting stories. i must share them with my father. he recently became a paraplegic and is not taking it very well. he's fine on the outside and wants everyone to think so too, but he's not at all. i think that these stories will help him in the realization of his situation. show him that he IS ok and to just take the situation at hand, make the best of it, and not to be so hard on himself and feel helpless.
thanks again, sara in michigan
It sounds like your father has good support from you. And you are right, take the situation at hand. Keep in mind that its OK for you to get pissed once in a while too! Sometimes it can be harder on the people who love you and see you struggling. They feel the helplessness in a powerful way. Im not saying that your father has this situation easier than anyone else, but have you shared with him that you think the situation sucks and youre ready to make the best of it too?
Thank you for your article. On July 5th, I started dating a guy from work who is paraplegic. He was in a motorcycle accident 19 years ago. I want to let you know that there ARE people out there with open minds. We've seen each other six times in the past three weeks and I really like him. He's intelligent and fun. I don't understand the people who look at him as disabled. In my mind, they are the ones disabled, and are really missing out on special people by not having open minds. We have a lot of fun. I have wondered about the sex thing, though. I suppose we will talk about it when the time comes. You are right, it is what's inside that counts. Good luck on finding that special person.
Thanks for your thoughts and your openness. I hope that things are going well for you. That sex thing with someone whos paralyzed really isnt too different than what you get on cable just a little less acrobatic and a little less publicized. But I am hopeful! I know that Hollywood will call someday for rights to the documentary.
Hello, first of all I would like to tell you just how much I enjoy reading your site! My question to you is a rather complex one, but I'm just about at the end of my rope.
I was involved in a car accident several years about, which resulted in a c5 - c6 fracture. My spinal cord was not severed, but obviously injured. For the past year and a half I have been suffering from excessive sweating, I mean morning and night and as you may imagine this can be very frustrating, and embarrassing. I have been to countless doctors, and this one doctor prescribed medication to lower my blood pressure, thinking that this might be the cause of the problem...but my pressure is almost always low. I have heard of this condition experienced by some quads that have symptoms of sweating accompanied by headaches and a pounding pulse. The latter of the two I do not experience while sweating... I was hoping that you would know someone with the same problem so that you may give me a little advice? If not thank you for taking the time for reading this. Any response would be greatly appreciated. And by the way keep up the good work!
Thank you for your thoughts and taking the time to write.
I don't believe that you are alone in this situation. Most anytime I fly in a commercial airliner, I experience sweating and the cold chills that go with it. I can only offer you my opinion on the situation. I am definitely not a doctor even though I seem to be good at malpractice. When I have the sweats, it's most often the result of pain somewhere in my body. The higher altitude seems to cause my bladder to spasm and yep, it hurts and I sweat. My suggestion is to keep a diary of when this happens. You may need to look at the things you eat, sleeping positions, bladder capacity and bowel routine. I always try to rule out the daily living stuff before I consider stuffing pills down my throat. So now when I fly, I just make sure that my bladder is fairly empty before taking-off. It's also a practical thing to do. Crawling down the isle and skidding my butt onto the phone booth sized lavatory floor to take a pee in front of 200 other passengers is a little too much attention for me.
Good luck and I hope that you get it
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