Someone asked me the other day what I would be doing as a career if I wasn’t involved in computers. The first thing that came to mind was something math-related, like a statistician. But can you imagine how much work would be involved in analyzing data without having access to computers like we have today?
So that got me thinking about some of the supporting technologies we have now that allow me to live a productive and happy life despite having muscular dystrophy.
1. Power wheelchair
Without a doubt the most important technology I use is my wheelchair. I am using it every waking hour. I can go places independently, meet with clients, take trips, do my daily routines at home, and virtually replace my legs. Without it I doubt that I’d be very happy.
2. Computers / Internet
Being able to work in a field that uses computers as the basis for everything is really a huge perk of living in this day and age. It is also a prime example of the perfect job for someone with muscular dystrophy. The physical workload is not terribly high and the majority of the work is produced by the mind. In an age without computers there would be few menstally challenging but physically non-demanding jobs I can imagine myself being able to do.
3. Cell phones / smart phones
These really could be lifesaving devices if the situation required me to make an emergency call or get help. But there have been many instances where having my phone on me has come in extremely handy. Take for example the time my truck doors got jammed with me inside and nothing else but a carton of ice cream fresh from the grocery store! I would have happily eaten the ice cream but I would have been stuck there all night too!
4. Vehicle technologies
From the advancements in accessible vehicle modifications way back to power steering and brakes, the technology in vehicles have made it easy for people who use wheelchairs to get around on their own. I can’t imagine having to rely on shuttles or others to transport me like before I was 16. It is do-able but restrictive!
5. The microwave
Cooking with a stove is still a possibility for me, but the convenience, combined with the safety of cooking with a microwave definitely makes a huge difference for me. I can easily heat up frozen vegetables or pre-cooked foods and also heat up water for tea or coffee. I don’t have to rely on anyone to do simple cooking tasks for me.
6. Remote controls
I can’t imagine a world without remote control technology. I am not just talking about television remotes either. I love my remote control that operates my van ramp and locks. I am also looking into remote vehicle starters for those cold days when you want the heat to be warm before you get into the car. Throw in garage door openers, remote light switches, and the new things that can be controlled by phone apps and it has never been easier to have a disability!
What “lifesaving” technologies do you appreciate?