January 5, 2016
Hello and welcome to my weekly blog in which I will be sharing with you my experiences using Rowheels and how they are affecting my quality of life. Just a little background on me, I have been a T-7 paraplegic, the result of a spinal stroke when I was 15 years old back in 1985, for the last 30 years and have always used a manual wheelchair. When I was first introduced to Rowheels I had a mixed reaction. On one hand I said, “Hmmmm…very interesting concept.” On the other hand I said, “No way, no chance, and no how am I going to change the way I push my wheelchair. I have already been through enough changes. This is not worth it.” Now based on those two reactions, you may think that I just would have given up on even the thought of trying Rowheels out. Well, guess again.
You see, I am the type of person that if I can get a feel or even a taste of a desirable end result, I will do whatever it takes to get there. Yeah, there may be a learning curve, patience, and some failure that is involved, but that’s life isn’t it? Knowing that Rowheels offer me an opportunity to greatly reduce the wear and tear on my shoulders, improve my posture which includes my scoliosis, and strengthen my upper back and shoulder muscles…that is enough for me to at the very least, give Rowheels a chance. Like anything in life, if you don’t have any clue as to an end result as well as the emotion or feeling that that end result will provide you, then you are not driven or motivated to even give something a chance.
Now just because I decided to give Rowheels a chance does not automatically equate to immediate success, relief, productivity, etc. in my life. Heck no. I recall having a conversation with my wife, who has her doctorate in physical therapy and has treated many people who use wheelchairs in their daily lives. She was even torn. Ever since we met almost 19 years ago, she has stressed the importance of “whatever exercise you do on the front of your body, make sure you do double for your back muscles.” She knows all too well the wear and tear that pushing a wheelchair puts on one’s shoulders. She knows about one’s posture, the rounded shoulders, and all the challenges that go along with the daily pushing of a wheelchair. Her immediate reaction to Rowheels was, “This is awesome!” As we discussed it more though, some doubt and disbelief entered the equation. “You have 30 years of muscle memory that has been telling you to push your wheelchair. How in the world are you going to change that?” she said. “One pull, one row at a time,” I replied. She smiled. She knows me well enough that if I put my heart and soul behind something that change is inevitable. Like me, she began to share that vision of an improved quality of life for me (and thus, for our family) and that quickly reduced any negativity or as I like to call it, “feedback.”
And the Rowheels journey continues…onward!