Monthly Archives: April 2013

SCI Superstar: Dr. Glen House

glen

There are only a handful of medical doctors in the world with a spinal cord injury, and Dr. Glen House is one of the fearless of them all. From being the first person with a spinal cord injury to graduate with a medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine to founding a pair of major companies, Dr. Glen House is a quadriplegic unlike any other.

Why he’s fearless

Looking at him today, a successful medical doctor in his mid forties, no one would’ve guessed this was where Dr. House was going to end up after his injury.  He was injured when he was 20 years old in a skiing accident and became a C7 quad, losing the ability to move his hands, but he was not about to let that limit him from dreaming big.

There are lots of paraplegic doctors, but how many quadriplegic doctors are there? He is definitely one of the few. After graduating from the University of Washington, he completed a fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine at the Kessler institute for Rehabilitation (like many doctors with spinal cord injuries, he decided to go into what he knows best).

Dr. House landed his first job as in 2001 when he joined the medical team at Penrose-St. Francis Rehabilitation Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and by 2003, he had assumed the role of Medical Director. He is known as the regional expert on spinal cord injury and brain injury rehabilitation (what I would have given to have a doctor like him when I was first injured), and he’s also the president of the Colorado Rehabilitation Physicians. Dr. House is no quiet family practice doctor.

But practicing medicine weren’t the only goals he wanted to achieve in life.  The art of business is another area he’s interested in, and he founded the medical device company FlexLife. And in 2008, he founded Disaboom.com (based in his home state). Creating a vast social network for people with disabilities was something he wanted to achieve, and despite Disaboom closing shop in 2010, what the site did for the community when it was around is pretty great.

What’s next?

With Dr. House’s main drive in life – practicing medicine – going strong, he also did something really cool couple of years ago: He climbed the famous Pikes Peak, a 14,110 foot summit located in Colorado.  The purpose of the climb was to knock down barriers and to show that people with disabilities can still accomplish amazing things. Read about his climb on the Huffington Post

And having a medical degree wasn’t enough for this over-achiever. In 2010, he graduated with an MBA from the University of Colorado. This most likely was to get ready for his next business venture (which is still going strong), Adapta Medical, a catheter manufacturer. Check out Dr. House in a series of their videos (explaining catheters, catheter-use, basic SCI knowledge, etc) for the company.

While Dr. House may not be all over social media anymore and is instead laying low in Colorado Springs, practicing medicine and running his catheter company, he’s still doing so much good for the disability community.  By living his life and being a doctor, he’s showing the world that people with spinal cord injuries can achieve anything.

Have you had the opportunity to be treated by Dr. Glen House?

Watch the videos!

Dr. Glen House talks about his accessible truck

Dr. Glen House talks about going inner-tubing with fellow med school students back in the day

Dr. Glen House explains the vast differences between C5, C6 and C7

Dr. Glen House explaining how tenodesis works

Green thumbs with adaptive gardening!

garden

When in a rut, grow stuff. That’s what I say. Growing things has been the zen-moment of humans for centuries, and when you have a spinal cord injury, there’s something even more therapeutic about adaptive gardening.

A sense of control, the peace from being enveloped by nature, all the senses are stimulated when you garden. Gotta love it. Here are four really cool gardening videos for wheelchair-users that show how to do it right and taking care of your plants once they’ve sprouted.

The first video is a great overview of a perfectly made raised garden bed and gives the tips on creating an easy garden bed at home. It also shows adaptive gardening tools like an extended sprayer w/ button hook, and easy dirt scooper and a kneel pad. Watch and learn

The second video is totally impressive. It’s a wooden wheelchair made for gardening. It sits very low to ground, has no front casters, and all your gardening tools are stored in a cart directly behind you. In this 17 minute video showing him doing his April spring planting in Idaho (making long lines in the soil to plant potatoes and beans). He’s able to bend over and reach the soil to weed and plant (this guy has got a serious green thumb). Check out his adaptive gardening video (including a close of his homemade chair)

And make sure to watch it all the way till the end. It shows the progression of his amazing garden through the summer (there’s also a link to his site at the end). And the best part of the video – he also shows how he’s able to keep bees (and transfer hives).

In our third video, prepare to get jealous. A favorite of ours – imbonnie – a lovely lady and quadriplegic from Florida, has already got a great start on her garden. And since she’s in Florida, she can grow some of the coolest stuff – mangos, bananas, avocados, apricots, every berry imaginable…her backyard is the Garden of Eden (can I live here please?). Watch and drool

Also, check out this video she just made sharing adaptive gardening tips and tools for quadriplegics (lots of good stuff here, including an overview of her dripper irrigation system).

Try and hone in on that green thumb of yours this Spring and Summer. Green thumbs are impervious to paralysis. If your spirit is in it, the plants will perk up and follow.

Do you love to garden? What adaptive gardening tools do you swear by?

Watch the adaptive gardening videos!

Adaptive gardening tips from a nursery in Portland, Oregon

Springtime planting and bee hive care (in a custom wooden wheelchair!)

Watch imbonnie give a tour of her tropical back yard

Quadriplegic adaptive gardening tricks & tools from imbonnie