Monthly Archives: December 2012

Aging with a disability – paralysis


After a spinal cord injury, one of the last things you think about is aging with a disability. You think about other things – what kind of wheelchair you’re going to get, what your career will be, will you have your own family one day, will you find someone who will want to be with you romantically. Getting old, and all of the side effects that come with it, is one of the last thing on our radar.

But aging is one of the biggest things we go through in life, and those with spinal cord injuries are not exempt. However there are loads of things you must take into consideration  about aging with a disability. Everything from your skin to your overall strength is affected differently.

Here are three videos every person with a spinal cord injury should watch if they plan on living into their golden years (and you better plan on it gosh darn it!). People with spinal cord injuries are now living well into their 70’s and 80’s. It’s up to you to prepare yourself for aging with a disability.

The first video comes from one of the best disability channels in the world, Attitude TV. They have disabled newscasters and create disability-centric content. In this video, Aging with a Spinal Cord Injury, Curtis Palmer, a C7 quad, interviews five people with spinal cord injuries in Australia who’ve been injured for over 18 years, including his friend (and fellow quad rugby player) currently on bed rest because of a bad decision on his part (ignoring a scratch on his butt from a bad shower transfer).

And Curtis interviews a C5 quad who’s had to switch from a manual chair to a power chair at the 20 year mark, and what that’s meant for his life (including having to get a different vehicle). He also interviews a paraplegic school teacher who’s been paralyzed for 40 years, as well as Paralympian who is a firm believer in sport. Watch!

The second video is more of an educational-style video, but is just as important. It covers one of the most important things a wheelchair user should protect – their shoulders (which can take the brunt of so much we do). In this 1 hour video from the University of Washington, a clinician goes over all of the ways a person with a spinal cord injury can preserve their shoulders (which were not meant to be a weight-bearing joint). She also outlines the importance of staying active after a SCI when it comes to cardiovascular health. Watch her presentation

And last but not least, a 3 minute video covering one of the most important things a person with a spinal cord injury should know – how to prevent pressure sores, especially as you age. If you have a pressure sore for example, did you know you have to consume three times the normal amount of protein each day in order to heal your wound?  Learn that and more in this video from FacingDisability.

It’s quite the understatement to say nobody likes to get old, but we do have control over how we age, even if we have a spinal cord injury. Aging with a disability can be graceful, and these videos set us get on the right track.

What changes in your body have you noticed since aging with a disability?

Watch the videos about aging with a disability!

“Aging with a Spinal Cord Injury” from Attitude TV

Protecting Your Shoulders and Staying Active after Spinal Cord Injury

Diet and Pressure Sore Prevention while aging with a disability

SCI Superstar: Hydred Makabali

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A semi-pro pool player and a makeup artist. Can you get any cooler? It’s no secret spinal cord injuries force you to try new things, and that’s exactly what happened to Hydred Makabali. After breaking her back and needing a new outlet, this gorgeous diva discovered pool, and has gone on to become the only female semi-pro pool player with a SCI in the world.

From making a name for herself in billiards to becoming a  model and makeup artist, here’s how Hydred, the hard-to-forget face originally from the U.K. (with gorgeous Filipino ancestry to boot; great cheekbones mixed and a cool accent), has become one of the most exciting names in pool.

Why she’s fearless

It was a car accident in 1993 at the age of 18 that landed Hydred in a wheelchair, but it was her rehab experience afterwards that introduced her to pool (pretty sure every rehab unit in the world has a pool table; or if they don’t, they should). She fell in love with the game right away. It was both was therapeutic AND something she could do with able-bodied people. And the most exciting part – she was a natural at it.

After realizing she had more than an unnaturally awesome talent for pool, Hydred started playing at local pool halls. Soon she was competing in nearly every type of pool tournament under the sun, including all disabled players tourneys, all female competitors and full-on able-bodied tournaments that tour the country. In fact, she’s the first female in a wheelchair to compete in a WPBA (Women’s Professional Billiards Association) event. And Hydred is a stunner too, sometimes hysterically winning because the men she’s playing against get too distracted lol.

It’s not surprising Hydred is also a model. Before her injury, she worked as a mainstream model for the City Model MGMT modeling agency in San Francisco for 5 years and after her injury, she’s modeled for wheelchair suit maker LegaWear (check it out), Nordstrom and for Colours Wheelchairs (this is where I first saw her years ago, modeling their “Boing” chair).

What’s next?

And possibly one of the coolest things about Hydred is that she’s a freelance makeup artist for Shiseido, Lancome and H Makeup, with a talent in special effects and prosthetics makeup. She also has a Fine Arts degree and stays busy doing all sorts of glamorous shoots (check out her makeup page). Hydred does makeup for events from weddings and film shoots to fashion shows.

Hydred continues to play pool professionally till this day, and she’s also a member of the California Women’s Pool Association. She also stays busy pursuing her other creative outlet – oil painting – and has been known to showcase her work in the San Diego area where she now resides.

Have you discovered a sport you now love because of your injury?

Watch the videos!

Hydred Makabali in a tie-breaking match (against an AB player)

Hydred Makabali interviewed at the Abilities Expo (she’s at the 6:16 mark)

Hydred Makabali vs. Kurt DeKlerck (another wheelchair player)