Surviving With a Disability: The Wheelchair Prepper



This is a guest post by W. D. Sultemeier

When MD asked for readers’ help I responded with a suggestion for an article about and for the prepper who finds himself in a handicapped situation. I really meant the suggestion for MD to take the ball and run with it but he turned the table and challenged me to prepare a guest post.

I was diagnosed with a syrinx on my thoracic spinal cord in 1996. I was a teacher/coach at the time at a local public school and due to a stroke suffered by my dad in ’93, I was also operating the family cow/calf business. I was, while having earned a pair of college degrees , someone who preferred a physical, outdoor lifestyle.

The prospect of spinal surgery was frightening to say the least but the option was limited. The cyst was removed but the damage to the spinal cord was already done due to its lack of elasticity. Thus began a slow debilitation.

Let me say I seek no sympathy and have looked at this episode as a challenge. Pain management is the biggest part to my altered life. A gradual change in my mobility required an “adjustment” to my lifestyle. I went from a limp , to a cane, to crutches and walker, to finally a wheelchair. I had time to make some preparations to the changes that were coming. Those who find themselves faced with an abrupt physical change have a daunting but do-able task before them.

Making the structural changes necessary will challenge many depending on the individual’s situation. I was able to make my surroundings more easily manageable due to the length of time involved. Construction of ramps(not ADA approved), installation of handicap bars in the shower and at the toilet, making room to access the bed and closet space, were all things I was able to deal with.

Early on I was able to build and improve pathways around my house, shop and barns, using hard-packed granite gravel from sources from the ranch. I was fortunate to have access to equipment and even unto this day have some ability to operate that machinery. I have to remind myself daily what can be done, or should not be attempted, with safety being paramount.

I never leave the house without my cellphone. I sometimes feel a slave to that concession to my wife. I am very lucky that I have access to a battery-powered scooter and a power chair. These are used at the house and around the place. I do not take off out into the pastures with the scooter ( even though I would love to ) but do use it in the yard and to the shop and barns. When we go somewhere, i.e. church, doctor, store, etc., I use a handed down traditional wheelchair for ease of handling into and out of the vehicles.

Like any of you, my wife and I stockpile canned and dry foods, store potable water, maintain first aid supplies, add to the ammunition stores, and do many of the things we have learned from MD’s blog. The point of this missive is to make one see that preparing can be done regardless of one’s physical abilities. Contributions can be made by pretty much anyone.

I come from a very tall family. I stand 6’5”, the wife is 5’10”, son is 6’8” and my daughter and her husband are both over 6’. Our house was built with that in mind 20 years ago with cabinets and pantry shelves reflecting our stature.

Today I need a “grabber” to reach some of the items and a careful balance to get others. We raised the kitchen table (hand-made by my grandfather) to allow me access in my power chair. Since my wife still works off farm, I do the meal preps and try to keep the house (not very good at that). Because I can get to the table to help cut up meat, process fruit and vegetables, we have been able to keep our freezers full.

Gardening has been a tough one for me. I grew up with a seasonal garden at least a half acre in size .I would still love to get out into the middle of one but riding a scooter into a plowed garden would not be too simple. This year I had my son plow strips with space for packed ground to drive between rows. I have been keeping my hands dirty by container gardening.

Because I cannot get out among the cattle easily or safely to feed them, I began feeding them using 250# tubs of molasses lick. When empty, with perforated bottoms, these tubs make great container beds and are a good, easily accessible height.

I have gone from a short hoe, to tractor and tiller, back to a short hoe for my gardening tool of choice. This past spring-summer I grew okra , beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers. I still have various herbs and shallots growing in these tubs.

After reading ONE SECOND AFTER, my wife became more supportive of the idea and efforts of being prepared for different situations (she recently broke her right arm). My adult children are like-minded and contribute as they can, be it with the butchering, vegetables, or keeping a good supply of firewood up to the house. Of course they help with the regular ranch work as much as they can since they have been exposed to this life from the time they were little and not afraid to get a bit dirty.

We put together a rig for me to haul firewood to the house by pulling it with my scooter. I have moved my target range closer to the house so I can practice shooting. My kids are both shooters and better shots than I.

These days the practice is mostly with 22’s but the occasional feral hog still meets the business end of my 357 mag. I am still proficient with my other pistols, rifles, and shotguns. I don’t really foresee myself clearing the house at night with my wheelchair and Glock 21 but it would not be wise to enter our house uninvited. I have not thought too much about renewing my CCW permit , but I am determined to do so.

For those who think there is little hope or usefulness left to them due to a handicap…they are wrong. I have and continue to acquire source material on many topics covered in this blog. When tshtf providing information will be a major contribution to keep you and yours safe and prepared.

Being a keeper of knowledge (sharer of knowledge) is and always has been a revered place in society. One can still work in one’s shop, doing projects, limited only by one’s imagination. After making room to navigate around the workbench and various tools, I recently began working on a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine using the heavy lids from the same feed tubs as the wings.

Getting power to make our lives easier when tshtf is now a bigger concern. I will need something to charge my mobility batteries when the grid goes down. Solar panels and a bank of batteries are on the “someday” list. Money is always a factor for most of us.

The concept of bugging out is a bit more difficult in a wheelchair situation. I still have bags for my wife and myself in case we have to get out in a hurry. Preparations have been made setting up a site away from the house if the need arises.

The thing that disturbs me is being able to get back home if something catastrophic occurs while away. I keep emergency bags and firearms in each vehicle that sees time away from home. My fear is making a 30 to 60 mile trip in a wheelchair. I cannot jog but do try to keep the upper body fit.

There are assuredly many things I have omitted and others’ situations will be different, but one must remember that just because one is in a wheelchair or is in some way handicapped, one must still do what he can to prepare and help himself and his loved ones survive.

If you have tips, advice or survive with a disability I would love to hear from you in the comments below…

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Comments

  1. Great post W. D.

  2. Listen we are all handicapped.
    Some physically some in just plain stupidity.
    Seems that you are doing very well. And seems you have a setup that would be nice to fortify. In a handicapped situation I would fortify the place. I would make the place to where I could get the livestock closer if things get bad. I would fortify the house to where it would be very hard for them to enter. I know some of the European houses of old had the barn attached to the house, mainly because the winter’s were so hard.
    But I think that is because bugging out scares me worse than staying put, and it IRKS the heck out of me thinking that someone else could benefit from my things, what I have and what I have done to prep.
    My late husband was juvenile diabetic. He lost his sight. He never stopped doing. I think in a SHTF situation he would have even used a gun, the only thing is we would have to yell the clock position’s out to him. (there’s one at three o’clock, etc). But he would have been game for it. And he knew guns from growing up with them. The only thing that made him give up his fight for living is that he was so,so, so, so tired from the wear and tear the diabetes and the insulin had done to his body.
    He told the doctor and our kids I was a tuff ol’ bird and that I would make it. I intend to do so, I intend to give his words legitamacy. (altho he did not know about all of this coming about, but I believe he had some kind of insight that made him say this.)
    Your doing very good, excellant to superb. Keep it up.
    The ablebodied should take lesson’s from you.

  3. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    W.D., sounds to me like life dealt you lemons and you made lemonade. You’ve accomplished quite a bit, including as a prepper. Kudos to you for going forward and not letting your circumstances deter you in that endeavor.

    My grandfather used to put down a couple pieces of 10″x1″x10′ unfinished lumber between the rows of his vegetable garden so there would be a firm, flat surface for him as he walked around his pole beans, trained berry bushes, and other vertical plantings. This may not work for a wheel chair, but it worked well for him when he got old and used a cane. His raised beds and container gardens enabled him to continue growing veggies until the last year of his life. Where there is a will, there is always a way.

    I’m making changes to my home now, before I get older and cannot do it for myself. I’ve sold off lots of furniture and acquired very sturdy pieces for daily use, for added hardening of the house, and as support pieces as I shuffle along in old age. The house is scooter-friendly in case that becomes necessary. I’ve already got one of those long reach grabber thingies, and I’ve bought and stowed away a seat for the shower, a low stepstool so I can reach the higher kitchen cupboards without much effort. And I’ve got good outside lighting so I can see where I’m going if I have to go out at night, to reduce the likelihood or a trip-fall accident. Much more needs to be considered, but all in due time.

    Thanks for giving us your perspective. It’s something to contemplate whether due to injury, illness or aging. Prepping doesn’t have to stop just because life changes.

  4. Schatzie Ohio says:

    Thanks for sharing. It should be inspirational to a lot of people. Having a can do attitude towards life at wheatever is thrown at you will carry you far.

  5. Peregrin Took says:

    Seriously, my hat’s off to you for keeping such a positive outlook on life and a good attitude overall. It makes me wonder if I’d “give up” being in the same position. Also, it’s a real blessing to have a supportive family that’s on board with preparedness. May God truly bless you in all your efforts.

  6. Thank you for the good post. I, too, am “handicapped” with hand, wrist and forearm deformities. As the remainder of my body “winds down” and gives me trouble, I find a statement I use to deal with those few that want to offer their “sympathy” worth sharing.

    I’m not bothered by the “bad stuff” you can see. It’s the internals that are giving me fits!

    As you and the others demonstrated, physical difficulties/challenges can often be overcome or at least mitigated. It’s the internal stuff, such as attitude and covert health issues, that really slow some of us down.

    God bless ya’ll!

    Gene, The Anglican Gun Nut

  7. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    1st of all, it definitely sounds like you decided to skip the pity party and face up to reality – congratulations on your good sense!

    I appreciate the advice given. I work in an architectural office as a draftsman, and for quite a while have been designing public buildings with handicapped access spaces. I offer a few suggestions which may help the wheel chair bound or upper body limited strength person(s) considerations.

    DOORS: Allow 12″ clear fron door strike (door handle) side if door opens away (push side) from you. Allow 18″ if door opens toward you (pull side). A space approximately 60″ square in front of each door will allow the wheel chair bound to turn around. Door hardware can be purchased that helps persons with limited grasping strength – lever type is often recommended.

    STAIRS: When designing stairs, there should be a full sized landing where direction of travel changes. Many contractors install an angled stair tread / riser to save space, but persons with hip / knee / ankle injury will be forced to slightly twist when negotiating these stairs, greatly increasing the liklihood of injury. Having a full landing that allows the person to place both feet at same level, THEN turn will help quite a bit.

    I hope this helps. It does pay to recognize that even if you are young, you may have an older or physically disabled person stay for a while. And of course, we all get ‘seasoned with time’, or old sports injuries come to haunt us.

  8. Jeannette says:

    Interesting post — first one I’ve seen about people with disabilities. I am disabled, use a mobility scooter & live in a senior building in Chicago. Am worried about how I would “bug out” if need be without a car or a van with a ramp. Most folks aren’t even thinking about this stuff unless you’re a prepper. Even a used van with ramp is too expensive. But you can’t expect anyone to save you — remember what happened to the disabled & elderly in New Orleans who did not evacuate cause they had no vehicles. Many of them drowned. So will have to continue thinking about it.

  9. Thanks WD. This is a terrific article and a must discuss topic. Ellen and jr bring up excellent points. Hardening the suburban house is an interest of mine. We are more likely to bug in in our situation but who knows… MD you are always the best! Could you review Surviving Argentina (or Surviving in Argentina) by a guy named Ferfal? He seems like a decent fellow as a human being, which says a lot in my book. Would love your take. Thanks again , Mimiq

  10. Tomthetinker says:

    W.D.: Does not sound as if you need much in the way of advise. You sound like my brother in law and he has more ‘sand’ than most any other man I know. He’s 51 with CF and does not back off from anything in life he feels needs done. He just stands back and figures out a way with what he has to offer.
    For what it’s worth from this reader, Good artical, good insight for me, good attitude, good example for the rest of us out here.

  11. blindshooter says:

    WD, you are inspirational! After reading your article I see that my troubles are nothing compared to others.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  12. WD,
    Im very glad to see you have kept your mindset positive and have worked to improve your lifestyle even with these challenges.

    i have been thinking since i started reading this over the past few months (this is my first post) that as a type 1 diabetic i am essentially screwed if what we prepare for ever happens but i have come to the realization that if society collapses and i have only a few months to live (my insulin supply) i will still be able to give my loved ones a better chance with my own preps and knowledge. my preps are small since i am in college so i have very little space and even less money but im far better off then most people.

    hope that you can continue to improve your lifestyle, good luck!

    • mountain lady says:

      RW: Read some articles on using Jerusalem artichokes for control of diabetes. They are supposed to be easy to grow. I have been doing some reading and am going to try to get some in the ground this season. I have Type II, but even that has to be controlled.

  13. mohave rat says:

    I will be a real friend and not sugar-coat it for you. There is NOT always a way. Sometimes part of making adjustments is knowing and acknowledging the things you CAN’T do anymore. Facing this realistically will save you many hours of anger and frustration. Dealing with ever-increasing disability is about living in the present.Don’t waste time thinking about what you used to do. Live Now! Don’t worry about what you can do tomorrow. Live Today! If you absolutely have to, ask for help-with a smile.

    the rat

  14. Bubblehead Les says:

    Not a major Handicap tip here, except for those who need it. In a TEOTWAWKI event, or a Major to You SHTF (your house burned down while you were at work, for example), for those of us who need glasses 24/7, what if what was on your face was the last pair you could ever get? And then they got broken? Here’s my suggestion. A) If you haven’t had an eye exam for awhile, spend the money and get one. B) If your Prescription has changed, get new GLASSES,not CONTACTS. Popping in lenses while in the midst of a Bug Out is not a good idea. C) Get 2 pair. If you can get one of them as Safety Glasses with side shields, even better, but 2 pair minimum. D) Get a good, hard metal case for the spare pair, and put an eyeglass repair kit in it, then put it in you GHB or Bug Out Bag or on your Stay Put Shelf, whatever works for you. E). This may look Goofy, but, hey, no one in the Sheeple World really cares. Go to the Drug Store and get two of those String or Chain Eyeglass holders, put it on your frame, and drape it over your neck. Put the Second one on the Spare. That way, if you ever have your glasses go flying off your face, they’ll still be around your neck. Trust me, for a couple of bucks, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

    Downside: Several hundred bucks for glasses every couple of years? Kinda Pricey, ain’t it? So how much is Food, Guns, Ammo, Radiation Detector, Water Filters, etc going for nowadays? And How much is your Vision Worth? Also, you don’t throw away your last Prescription, because that’s your Backup. When you get to the NEXT Prescription, and you have 6 pairs, then go ahead and make an eyeglass donation to Charity of the oldest pairs, or save them for the Unexpected Guest who MIGHT be able to use them. If nothing else, you can always take the lenses out of the Frames and make up Solar Powered Fire-starting Kits with them.
    Hope this helps.

  15. I am glad that you did this post. I am diabetic and have severe neuropathic pain in my hands and feet. It puts me in a wheel chair about half of th time. I use the power wheel chair when I know I will have to be on my feet for longer periods of time or I am required to do a lot of walking. It defiantly changes how you look at prepping. I am on quite a few different medications to control the pain in my ffet and hands along with the may med’s that I have to take to control my blood sugar and nerve damage that this causes. There are still many ways people with disabilities can prep and survive just like non disabled preppers do. Great post. This is a subject that needs a lot more coverage in the prepping world.

    • BadVooDooDaddy,

      You might find this post useful…

      • mountain lady says:

        M D: Thanks for posting that link. I just read the article, but it is late here, so will read the other linked articles tomorrow. Thank you again for all you do. Where else would we find all this information.

      • M.D. Thanks so much for the link I am emailing them to see if they can send me a review copy for my blog I think that this info would be a great thing to share with everyone that has diabetes and those that know a diabetic. It might just save a few lives.

  16. OhioPrepper says:

    People cannot help being disabled because sometimes stuff just happens; but, being handicapped is most often IMO a choice. I have a disability, but most people don’t notice it, because it has no outward manifestation like a wheelchair, and I refuse to use it as a handicap. I am visually impaired, not to be confused with being blind. I’m nearly blind in my right eye, and have some vision limitations in the left. What this means mostly is that I can’t see well enough to drive a car on the highways & city streets, but can maneuver quite well on the property. I can’t read small text, which means I can read newspaper headlines and column headings but not the stories, and I don’t really have great distance vision, which means shooting a rifle over about 40-50 yards, and shooting a shotgun at a moving target have pretty much been removed from my skill set.
    What I can do is most close up work with a magnifier. Most anything on a computer with text to speech software and a second monitor running a screen magnifier, and most any close quarter weapons situation from basic martial arts weapons to knives and most firearms. As an engineer I mostly use my brain, and have been a self-reliant and independent person most of my life.
    The hardest thing, at least for me, with being disabled, was asking for and accepting help. Most often the help is getting a ride to a meeting or event, and I have found that many people are willing to swing a little out of their way to pick me up and drop me off. When I teach classes, my fellow instructors on the team are more than willing to do the reading of the small print, which lets me still be a team contributor.
    In short, my advice for the disabled is to not allow your problem to be a handicap (as much as possible), and to accept the help of friends and family, who do it out of love, respect and friendship, and not out of pity.
    From my perspective, it sounds like WD has already figured out most of this.

    • Dear OhioPrepper,

      I am in the same vision situation as you are. Thanks for your positive post.
      You said it well – in close quarters we are deadly, and if we can see it we can shoot it.
      I find that in a familiar environment I have an advantage because I can move totally unimpeded in the dark, and can even use it to my advantage.
      Bubblehead Les makes valid points about eye wear – things I have already implemented into my prepping.
      As far as the use of technology is concerned, I also need to rely on enhancements and magnifiers.
      To prep I have built Faraday boxes to store and shield a full working setup of the previous generation of hardware and software that I use and need (laptop, printer, etc. with Windows 98 and other software on mini disk, CD and DVD.). I’m counting on the fact that some of the grid could still be available or become available again after a major SHTF occurrence.
      What I need to work on is putting in place alternative sources of energy generation ti power my setup. (Little limited in the budget area at this time.)

      As for the other essentials of prepping, that is a nobrainer and should not be skimped on even when one faces a “challenged” situation.

      As Ellen said often the worst handicap is stupidity. Sharing knowledge and know-how has put me in the position that I am able to help friends and family, teach the ignorant and build a strong friendship network of like minded folks.
      As a slightly less able member of the community, I believe prepping also requires building strong reliable networks.
      When all goes to heck in a hand basket, we will only have ourselves and our friends to rely on.

      Thanks for your great contribution!
      Have a great day now

    • Dear W. D.

      Just wanted to thank you and applaud you for your GREAT attitude, and positive contribution. You are an example for most able bodied folks, let alone those faced with physical challenges!
      When TSHTF I believe we will all be surprised to see who is ready and who is not. Attitude will determine who has the will to overcome and survive and who not.

      I have some vision challenges, but few know it. I do not allow this to hold me back. My vision issue is related to a congenital condition that affects joints and muscles. I pray I never loose the ability to at least walk.
      However, reading your post has positively encouraged me. Thanks for sharing

      Hey, judging from the posts there are a ton of folks like us who are just getting on with life irrespective of the challenge! Maybe MD should start up a section in the archive dealing with prepping for the physically challenged!

      All of the best to all preppers!

  17. Just a thought for those in wheelchairs… as a P.T. assistant I have worked with a lot of people with mobility problems, and one of the coolest things I have seen are balloon tires for wheelchairs that will even let them negotiate a sandy beach right down to the water’s edge. (You see everything in So. Calif.!) Should work great in a garden. Where there’s a will there absolutely are ways! Keep hanging in there.

  18. Richard Muszynski says:

    Greetings. some really good advice in the comments on this post here. i am not a physical speciment to be admired. i have curvature of the spine and low grade diabetes as well as some diseases that i picked up in my younger days in warm climates that don’t even have names much less cures. so medically my time is limited if all goes to hell. might last a long time with no meds, but who knows? for those of you with vision problems I have my right eye almost useless from shrapnel damage that tore up the cornea, which is now mostly just scar tissue but just enough sight left to be able to detect movement to the sides so i still have a drivers license. with only one good eye you do not have very good distance judgement. with a firearm there are things you can do. one is a thermal detector that was developed in Vietnam for night patrols that detects human temperatures even in total darkness. mount one on your shotgun and you simply aim where the buzz is the loudest and you will be aiming at the main body mass of your target. shoot and they are guaranteed dead. of course you have to let those in your family know you use it so you don’t shoot them by accident. and it is a great idea to have people selected ahead of time to take your supplies in case you get taken out. have them where who took you out can’t find them,but the people you have chosen to carry on the fight will know where to look. not everyone can afford to stock up on supplies, but sure could use them if it comes down to the wire. I would hate for a looter to get my stash. Especially my rifles. I converted them to cripple sighting so i can shoot with my left eye but from my right shoulder. was easier then making cripple stocks for all of them. best of luck and carry on.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      @Richard,
      You state: “I converted them to cripple sighting so I can shoot with my left eye but from my right shoulder”. What is cripple sighting? Left eye & right shoulder is exactly what I need to do and a Google search returns everything except what I’m looking for, Is this something you built yourself or a purchased product? TIA.

      • Richard Muszynski says:

        greetings. cripple stocks were common in the old days, especially on shot guns in England. what it is actually is the shoulder section of the stock does not remain centered on the barrel as is normal. it can be angled or as they called it cast off to whatever side is needed. cripple stocks are hard to carve yourself and impossible to get. i have never seen one for sale come to think of it. In the Marines I found that i could shoot right shoulder with my left eye by contorting the blazes out of my neck and head and pushing hard into the stock of the Garands we were using. but due to the loading system for ammo on the Garand the scope mount for snipers had to be put on the side of the action and not above it as is normal. that offset the scope to the left which for me was perfect. they had cheek piece for the Garand that moved the shooters head over so they could still use the right eye to shoot. without the pad it worked beautifully. What i did on my firearms here is to first install a scout scope base in my rear sight base. remove the rear sight and mount the scout base there instead. then I got pistol scopes, the ones I got are 2 X 6 variable and mount on the scout scope base. which takes the scope and puts it forward enough so i can shoot some of my firearms with just that change since my eye does not have to be right on at the 3″ distance from the scope. Works that way great on my Mosin Nagant. On my SKS though I could not sight in without using the rifle mounted on my left shoulder even with the scout mount. so i bought a set of accessorie mounts that were offset to the left for use on a multiple scope mount. this is the standard 1″ that is used for a light or whatever, so fit on my pistol scope. found on mountingg it that there is not enough adjustment room on the scope body to be able to fit the scope to the mount. so had to take one of the offset mounts and file it thinner so i could get the necessary mount point. now my SKS has the pistol scope mounted using the rear sight base to mount the Scout scope mount in and the offset is far enough to the left to allow me to use my left eye with no troubles. throw it up to my shoulder and the scope ends up right where my eye wants it to be. and my sight is no longer the 20/15 it was when i was in the service and now have to use reading glasses. So for me a scope is very necessary. one military piece that i am familiar with is the British Bren light machinegun that because of the magazine sticking right out of the top of the action has its sights mounted on the side of the reciever and offset by about a inch on the end of the barrel to the left. I’ll dig out where i finally found the scout mounts for my pieces and the scope offset mounts as well. it all came from the same company and they offer them in a pretty fair variety. but unfortunately not one that will fit on my Hakim rifle. using the offset pistol scope with the variable magnification makes it possible for me to shoot without bothering with glasses, though it could well be used with glasses as well of course. the variable scope was the hardest to find that they didn’t want a kings ransom for. best of luck.

  19. Hey been there done/doing that, I am 58 and went from walking stick at 50 to walker at 53 to chair at 55, the old body just was broken to many times and fought back. I taught my wife and children to shoot and fix things, even my youngest is helping me build a new duck pen for our new born. They with my instructions remodified our house so I can get around in my chair. Went from in the ground gardening to reaised beds, YES the disabled can do more to help themselves if they wanted to. MOST just give up, and so will most of the able with it comes down.
    God Bless

    BIGD

  20. Very good post. I am in the same boat(MD Power Wheelchair) but don’t live on a farm. I try and keep a positive attitude though I realize that I have limitations. I don’t plan to just lay down and give up. Power to charge our “wheels” should be a priority since it is our primary means of mobility but the cost is always a concern. Glad to see others with our “limitations” preparing to survive.

  21. Thanks for the comments and encouragements. If you know someone with a disability “push” them to keep on keepin’ on. As MD prompted, one might check out the post about seniors and the ideas to help prepare for when tshtf. wd

  22. SrvivlSally says:

    W.D., I am so glad that M.D. placed the responsibility upon you to discuss “wheelchair” (disabled person’s) survival and that is because only those who are disabled actually know how it is to be limited and how those limitations will affect their survival. Your story is most interesting and truly inspiring. Just a little about me: I was rear-ended by a vehicle that was going over 45 miles an hour about ten years ago, just about a month after graduating college/looking for a good-paying job, while waiting for a pedestrian to cross at a designated walk. As a result of the accident, several places along my spine were “popped”, resulting in my legs trying to collapse under me when I would try to stand upon them, nerves cut off, swelling of vertebrae at the base of my neck and between the shoulder blades, a right mid-rib that was loosened caused pain when trying to breathe in. I won’t go into the rest of the details because I want to keep it short. I have since healed pretty well minus one low-back vertebrae that pops. I took up Chi Lel Qi Gong about a year ago, after trying everything else that I could think of which did little or nothing at all, and it has been a big help and healing force for me. I am still not where I was prior to the accident but that does not matter because I am content with my life. Like you, I had to find new ways of managing, maneuvering and so forth just to do anything but I succeeded and nor was I willing to give in to what ailed me. If I were worse off, I would get a motorbike, a quad motorbike or a side-seated motorcycle that I could ride in comfort while someone else did the driving. Even a moped with side kickstands added on for non-tipping-over stability might be something for you to consider having built or building on your own. Simple but (possibly) effective transportation. One kept at home and one kept at a survival location with a few gallons of stored, take-along, gasoline on a dolly or other wheeled carry device might help to get you home or wherever it is you might be desirous of heading. A deer cart has big wheels and can go over some pretty good terrain and I was thinking that, because they can hold the weight of a deer, if there is the possibility that they might be big enough for you to sit upon, one of your family members might be able to haul you, or everyone could take turns hauling you around. A moving dolly with a sort of seat built onto it for you to sit, strapped in with a good belt, could also be a cheap but inexpensive alternative for you to be able to get around. Some kickstands to the back would stop the contraption, and you, from falling backward and landing on the ground if the moving person were to get tired. A go-kart is another option but, if I were more inclined, I would raise the wheels off of the ground several feet so that I could maneuver a few small pot holes and put some type of fat tires on it so I could get through mud holes better. I would never leave home without a small piece of plywood, a good hydraulic jack, a lug wrench, a thick rug just in case I were to get stuck, and a bottle of water. Whatever motorized equipment I would be using, the engine would be in excellent or good condition, tuned up and ready to go at a moment’s notice with spare parts and tools in a bag or little compartment to the side, or within grasp of where I would be sitting. If the entire family were going to be together, they could get a three-seater bicycle and add a pull-along trailer for you to ride in. If there are a lot of hills where you live, you could always have a small engine attached to help give your chauffeurs the extra boost that they might need. Oh, and do not forget to get a pair of goggles and a scarf for your mouth or a helmet with windshield so that you will not have to eat flying protein on your way. Everyone would carry a high-voltage zapper that will literally knock some criminal on their behind or make their crotch tingle very painfully, a mini-torch to give a perp burns to their eyes, face, hands, ears or proive them with a nice hot crotch and/or everyone could pack a cane with hidden sword inside.

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      greetings. BudK, a knife dealer with catalog and on the net at budK.com has a number of sword canes at various prices, some as low as $9. have a cane that comes with a LED flashlight in the hand piece to see where you are walking and on the bottom end of it a 1 million volt stun gun! just jab the one attacking you and shove and automatically knocks them off their feet. no having to unscrew the sword cane apart or even know how to use a sword. just poke them with the canes bottom and they will get the idea not to bother you any more when they can get back up. it runs $89.99 though, but would be a better bet then a sword cane if you are not mobile.

  23. Kudos! Excellent perspective and attitude,refreshing after listening to all the whiners who are better off than you tell me how the cant do it cause its so hard and they have a handicap…well they will have to adopt your attitude or end up dead…best to prepare because anyone can get in a wreck or be shot and crippled by a hooligan after your preps…people need to think!

  24. Luddite Jean says:

    Great article, WD! And much-needed, too.

    It seems that there are more disabled amongst the survival community than might have been thought (I’m one of them) and that a survivor attitude is what has brought us all through our trials and tribulations.

    WD, you are right that pain can be so difficult. I have had some success with a course that helps you deal with it, but the most useful adjustment I made from this course was the ability to treat pain as “just another sensation”. Of course, I’m no black belt in this skill!

    The other thing that helped me was to withdraw from the disabled “community” as it seemed to achieve nothing except a downward spiral in both health and outlook. Self-help groups were little more than a ‘my symptoms are worse than your symptoms’ competition. I decided I could do without that!

    Finally, I decided that I would have the best health I could. I researched my various problems (car crashes don’t just cause one problem) and tried various therapies, rejecting those that didn’t work and sticking to those that did. I determined that even if I ended up only able to move one finger, that one finger would do the best it could.

    If the SHTF, I don’t know how I would fare – but I do know that I may fare better than my neighbours, and fare better than if I didn’t prep at all.

    God Bless all who struggle in hard times.

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      Greetings. one thing I tried that helped a lot with pain was good old Zen Buddhist training. it is simply changing your reaction to sensors that shout pain to your brain to your brain being in control and surprisingly it can cut your need for pain killers down to a minimum. you find you can tolerate more pain then you ever thought possible, and not even notice you are doing it. and it is not actually a religion, so no matter what invisible God one believes in this does not contradict that belief. doesn’t take long to get benefit and no mobility is required. just mind exercise.

      • Luddite Jean says:

        Thank you, Richard. That is almost exactly how I do it, except I didn’t know about the Zen Buddhist aspect. I’ve gone from heavy-duty morphine patches to popping a couple of paracetamol occasionally when I’ve overdone it.

        • Richard Muszynski says:

          greetings. don’t mean to imply that people need to become buddhists to be able to use the ideas that they use. just that it was from them that the concept came. note the Japanese also use the same mental control for pain in their form of Buddhism. it is taught to their military for use in battle.

  25. Thank you for the excellent article. Each person has their strengths and weaknesses. I and my children have a degenerative genetic disease. For us this means mobility issues, and medications needs. My husband and I have also decided not be a victims.
    We plan. We prep. We create a plan that works for our family and our needs.
    God bless

  26. Thank you W.D. for sharing. I am the female spouse of a w/c spinal intractable pain patient. I think I have babied him for too long. I am emotionally exhausted from trying to play catchup with where many of you have spent years prepping. I think it may be time to delegate some responsibilities. It should teach me patience at the same time. I’m in this alone, as our children are far away at college. I’m too proud to ask for everyday help. (Just an occasional large helping hands request from others.)

    For anyone else like me, http://www.freecycle.org is a great way of acquiring items. You can put in your needs request, other members can connect and even take your needs to their neighbors. In turn, share what you don’t need. Everything must be for free. I have an outdoor 4 wheel scooter and a massive stand-up zero radius chair, that I need to get listed in our local county freecycle. Both need batteries.

    We have learned that w/c batteries are the most expensive requirement when it comes to prepping. We keep the old set and use a standard auto 12 volt charger. Add a ac/dc converter and we pulled through a temporary power outage this past winter. We even jump started the van when someone left the interior lights on. Just have to remember to attach the charger every month. Like you, we need to do the backup power, for us it must be solar panels as we live in a village that has more regulations than people.

    For our bug-out it would probably be caused by fire or the silent volcano erupting. I keep telling myself that I’ll get that bag prepped, yet still it isn’t. Thanks for the kick in the …. I shall try harder this next week with less whining.

  27. Kind of inspirational article, kind of not.
    I don’t want to get old, or injured. That thought kept running through my mind as I read. It’s just a thought though. I miss being 22.

    This article is right up there with the teen-aged girl I used to see who lost an arm or two (I forget) and a leg or both (again I’ve forgotten) as she went about town with her friends. I was always inspired by her as she still kept at it as I don’t know if I could have done the same. I haven’t seen her in awhile, I hope it’s because she moved.

    The only other thought I had was, the guy is lucky to have a field to look out into and wish to enter, many others don’t have that.

    Wish I had more to add.

  28. MindyinDS says:

    W.D., you’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of intestinal fortitude. I admire that.