Saturday, December 10, 2011

Forward Motion

He cleared the bar. He usually does.

My son just called from college. He didn't say this, but I think he read my last post and wanted to make sure I no longer thought I was going to die. We had such a lovely talk about everything. He got a 92 on a paper he wrote about the need to redesign the wheelchair, how the typical design can cause injury in able bodied people, more so those whose physical limitations make it necessary for them to use that mode of transportation. He explained how the motions required to propel a wheelchair stress the shoulders and upper body (he used the correct anatomical terms for exactly what is being stressed but I couldn't begin to repeat them here), and how a system of levers and (something circular) would relieve that stress and allow each chair to be customized to the user, etc. etc. I didn't understand it all, but he did, that's what counts. He is back to wanting to be a rescue paramedic for the fire department. His experience with chemistry this semester is making him doubt his desire to go to med school. That might change again, or it might not. Meanwhile, from the time he was a one-year-old showing his grandmothers how to fold his stroller, and finally getting frustrated by his lack of words (or their lack of understanding) and just doing it for them, some part of me thought he would design something that allowed people with mobility challenges to move more easily. Or maybe he already did it in another life and he's building on that. He is such a student of the mechanics of movement in the human body, so I was fascinated by his wheelchair analysis. You never know, as Ms. Moon says, the path that awaits. You just have to stay open and keep clearing the bars in front of you.


  1. When I put up a less-than cheery post, my son always calls to check on me too. "How ya' doin'?" he says, as if I didn't know what he was about.
    Bless our sons.
    I think your boy might want to be a rescue paramedic but I think he might end up an engineer of some sort. Or both. Who knows? And isn't it thrilling to wait and see?

  2. Ms. Moon, that Hank is a good son. I can tell. Bless our boys. We are lucky mothers, aren't we?

  3. Indeed, you never know.

    At least your families read your blogs. My family ignores mine!

  4. I would love to meet this wonderful son of yours...I'm a wheelchair user, and I'm sure we would have a great conversation.

  5. Steve, I am so perplexed that my children and one of my nieces faithfully read my blog. I would have thought they would have little interest in the musings of this 50 something. instead they each have it bookmarked! i am touched by it actually. at the same time, i am very grateful that the rest of my family does not read my blog. sometimes i want to show my mother posts i have put up, but i refrain, because if she began reading here, i would really be inhibited from writing freely! back in the day (in my 20s) i consulted psychics, yes, yes, i know, some will consider me a crackpot for this, but one of the things i remember being told is that my children would know me really well. it could well be because of this blog! in any case, your blog family, me included, reads you faithfully! xo

    e, i think you and my son would have a wonderful conversation, he has not lost the art of mingling! my mom calls him the best companion ever. he has a natural curiosity about others. i know he would be curious about your experience as a wheelchair user and would question you about what works and what is a challenge. as a sidenote, because this is on my mind from my comment to steve above, a psychic once told me (did i lose you yet?) that my son was in a wheelchair in his last life (okay now, did i lose you?). it makes sense to me, given his intense involvement with the mechanics of movement in this life, both his wish to improve the mobility of others and to fully explore what his own very conditioned body can do. thank you so much for being here and for commenting. i would like to mingle with you more!

  6. I applaud your son's interest in redesigning wheelchairs---much improvement is needed and it seems there are few visionary designers in this field.