Tag Archives: Shopping

My Favorite Shoes Got a Makover

Cliches are something that as a writer, I have always despised, both on the page and in real life. Unfortunately  cliches wouldn’t be cliche if they weren’t so dreadfully hard to avoid. As a human, I have to succum to many of the cliches that define my gender, age, race and class. Some of these were phases, like in college I smoked, I wore pajamas to class and I was usually at the bar on a Thursday. Others I managed to avoided for years until one day I realized that I had become one of those women.

Case in point. I love shoes. LOVE THEM. I never cared about shoes at all in high school or college, but back then I had believed that the only shoes I could wear as a person with a disability were the boring sneakers I wore with everything and the annoying, painful dress shoes I wore for special occasions. A few years ago however I realized two things, the first was that many shoes I assumed were not possible, like flats, actually worked fine; and the second was that as the human race gets lazier about laces, more shoes are becoming accessible.

I have had a love affair with Converse shoes for many years. I love them, the colors, the style, the comfort. I own two pair. One in mint green and one with wheelchairs on them. (The latter of which I will never give up. EVER!) However I rarely wear these

shoes because the are so hard to get on without help.

Well imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that converse now makes shoes with zippers! You can even customize your own pair for under $100 dollars at the converse website. While I have not gotten a pair yet (they are now on my decidedly short Christmas list) The double zipped on the sides seems like it would make it pretty easy to get these on and off and the back zipper, I know works because I have had other shoes with this feature.

I guess the next question should be, when are you too old for Converse? Certainly this discovery allows me at least a few more years, right?

 

Amazing Disability Garage Sale and Craigslist Finds

Like any true Midwest girl, I go crazy for a good garage sale. Tables lined up with treasures just waiting to be discovered, musky garages deep with God knows what, nothing makes me happier than dedicating a morning or a afternoon to garage saleing. Well almost nothing; scoring a deal on Craigslist comes in a close second.

And these cheap shopping venues become a million times better when you find something you really need – an item related to your disability. Yes, finding a deal on a product manufacturers would otherwise love to stick it to you on feels good. We all know upcharges abound on medical products.
From wheelchairs to automatic beds, you can go house-poor just getting what you need. Here are four items I’ve either bought or sold on Craigslist or at garage sales that have completely improved my life as a person with a disability.
Rolling overbed table: You know these tables well if you’ve spent any time in a hospital, rolling bedside/overbed tables are lifesavers when you’re in the hospital, but they’re also pretty great when you’re at home and have a mobility disability.  Nothing beats having everything you need on a rolling table right by your bed. 
I would be lost without mine, and I wouldn’t even have it in the first place if it wasn’t for a garage sale I went to nearly 18 years ago (a person with a significant disability died down the street from my family and their family had a garage sale). When we went, this is where we found the rolling overbed table. 
We got it for $5 and I’ve been using it every night since (I don’t think I’ve spend $5 on anything better in my whole life). 
Trapeze bar: Not as cool as the circus trapeze, a bed trapeze is one of those must-have items if you need it – it helps people sit up in bed when they can’t move their torso muscles. This is a great thing for people like myself who can still move their arms, but not their torso muscles.
A trapeze is basically the cheapest alternative you can find to purchasing an automatic bed. While it’s not as cool and definitely not as easy to use, it gets the job done. And we found this at the same neighbor’s garage sale mentioned above too. We got it for $10, and since they’re made of steel, they last forever. 
I don’t you use mine anymore since I upgraded to an automatic bed, but we still have it just in case. 
Automatic bed: Back in college I made one of my biggest used disability equipment purchase – a full-sized automatic bed. I had been wanting one for awhile, but could never afford it. I was still using a twin hospital bed my sophomore year at Augsburg College. So I finally I got smart and looked online, Craigslist of course, and found a used bed that was just in my price range and exactly what I was looking for – a full-sized automatic bed for $399. Something bigger than a twin, but not too big for my britches.
That bed served me well for almost 7 years and it was extremely comfortable. Sure, it probably came from someone who had died (let’s just hope not in it lol), but it was a huge life enhancer. Sigh…I still miss that bed. So comfy.
Hoyer lift: Now we’re talking an extremely important piece of equipment for millions of people with disabilities – the Hoyer lift. This is literally the bridge for people when getting from their bed to their wheelchairs (and vice versa). I had a Hoyer lift I no longer needed and felt I should send it back into the world and sell it on Craigslist.
So that’s exactly what I did, selling it to a middle aged couple who were taking care of an elderly parent. I was more than willing to give them a deal and pass along the good juju vibes.
So the next time you’re about to stress out because you need to buy medical equipment you just can’t afford, pause the freak out session and check out both Craigslist and garage sales to see what you can find instead. And when all else fails, remember to visit DisabledDealer.com; a not too shabby site that can sometimes lead to some pretty interesting used disability equipment finds too.
What awesome deals have you scored on disability equipment?
Products Mentioned
– Hoyer Manual Hydraulic Lift

Photo courtesy of Vivmilano

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