Medical Clearance

Baclofen pump



I have a baclofen pump installed in my abdomen. In 2012, I had the pump installed. I get very bad reactions to oral baclofen. Baclofen is muscle relaxer. By taking baclofen through a pump system, I avoid all the bad side effects.

Operation number one



The first operation was a really significant operation, where the doctor has to create the pouch for the pump in the front side of the patient. Then a catheter is placed up the patient’s spine. This surgery results in both front and back incisions to the patient. The second procedure, which I had is much less invasive. It is essentially a battery replacement, but they do not just replace the battery, they replace the entire pump.




In order to have the operation, the surgeon requires medical clearance. I can have the tests and EKG performed at home. I can also have the x-rays performed at home. The problem was that the surgeon wanted the x-rays performed at a testing center so that the x-rays would be on a disc. The x-rays taken at home could not be transferred to a disc.

Bad blood pressure and EKG



So off to the testing center I went, which means I transferred from the hospital bed to the power wheelchair with a patient lift to the van. Apparently, my blood pressure was too low, and my general practice physician had to adjust my blood pressure medicine. What they didn’t tell me at the center was that my EKG was bad. I canceled an appointment for an EKG, because I didn’t know why they would have me take two EKGs in one week. My general practice physician saw me and told me that I had done badly on the initial EKG and a second EKG was ordered.


I rescheduled the EKG and I apparently passed. I got medical clearance and I was a go for the operation.

Standard walkers and Rolators

I have been using walkers for many years and I want to give you some insights into my experiences with walkers.

Standard walkers without wheels

These standard walkers do not have two front wheels. While these walkers are not necessarily heavier than walkers with two wheels, they are more difficult to move. I have found that walkers with two front wheels make the walker easier to move.


My walker without wheels was located in my den, and I would use it to help me maintain a fish tank that I once had. Ironically, the walker had one leg that was shorter than the others, which made the walker somewhat unbalanced. At first, I almost fell with the walker, but in time I learned to compensate for the short walker leg. It may have been possible to get a spare rubber walker foot for the walker leg. Typically, the walker feet have a metal ring that helps to maintain the walker’s rubber feet. Adding this may have helped balanced the walker, although I admit that I never did this.

Hand grips

All walkers, both with or without wheels, have rubber or plastic grips. I found that the rubber grips gave me a more secure grasp on the walker, however, rubber grips after a few months were notorious for moving to an inconvenient place on the walker’s handle bar. They could be moved back in place, but only with a substantial effort.




Household walkers with and without wheels cannot be used for a substantial amount of walking outside the home. The rubber feet get worn out very quickly on concrete and asphalt. You will find that you are almost constantly putting on new rubber feet. A task which is neither easy nor convenient because the rubber feet are typically tight around the legs of the walker. Invariably, you will find it necessary to purchase a rolator. They come in different colors, sizes and styles. They often have four wheels.



How do you get any stability from a device that has four wheels?  The answer is that they have front and back brakes. When you need stability, you grab the front and rear hand brakes for dear life, otherwise you are likely to fall. The hand brakes are very similar to the hand brakes on a ten speed bicycle. Unfortunately, as the wheels wear down, and they will on concrete and asphalt, the hand brakes, like the hand brakes on a bicycle, often need adjustments. This is why you grab both hand brakes for dear life. It is likely that one or the other will be misadjusted and you will need all the remaining brakes to stop.




Rolators are often useful for shopping. I have used a rolator many times to do shopping. However, when one or more of the brakes became misadjusted, it was not unusual to find some or all of my bags on the ground. This was a common occurrence for me at the local CVS. It was not easy for me, or any disabled person, to adjust the brake system, but I often adjusted the brakes.


Inflatable items


Since we are on the subject of similarities to a bicycle, it is timely to note that the wheels of a rolator do not have to be inflated. However, some power wheelchair tires do need to be inflated. My wife and I have a son, and believe me, it is difficult for a disabled person to inflate bicycle tires, footballs and basketballs (all of which I have struggled to do).




Another issue is getting up and down curbs with a rolator. This is where good brakes are essential. You need to grab the hand brakes and balance yourself with the rolator. If everything does not work just right, you are likely to fall. I recognize that you should find the curb cut to enter and exit the street. I realize this is often easier said than done. Just be very careful.


I hope this post has helped people understand the trials and tribulations of dealing with standard walkers and rolators.





Mobility devices – the good, the bad and the ugly



I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since 2003. I have been struggling with this disease ever since Presidents Day 2003. My neurologist told me that I probably had the disease for 20 years prior to 2003 but it was undiagnosed. In 1985 I believe that I had optic neuritis, but most ophthalmologists told me I had a detached retina. The eye problem cleared up, and went on with my life until 2003, when I developed a limp. I continued my career until 2009 when I had to resign my position because walking became very difficult. I have learned a great deal about mobility issues and products and I would like to help others to choose appropriate mobility devices.

Wall walkingWall walking

I began my struggle to walk with wall walking. I would hold onto walls, doors or anything I could find to maintain my balance. I used walkers, rollators and other devices to get around. I would hold onto the sides of cars to get through a parking lot. I would hold onto shopping carts for dear life.


I would like to start with walkers. I tend to prefer walkers with two wheels in front. I have used both walkers with no wheels and walkers with two wheels. I have found that walkers with two wheels are easier to move and give me less fatigue. Walkers with no wheels are sturdy but are more difficult to move from place to place. If you find that you need the stability of the walkers without wheels, feel free to use them. The key is finding something that is comfortable for you.


I have used canes and they can be very useful. They provide the extra balance that I need to get around.


There are many types of wheelchairs, and depending on the circumstances, I have become familiar with all of them. Travel wheelchairs are light and convenient for the caregiver, but are a nightmare for the disabled person. It makes the disabled person totally dependent on the caregiver for mobility. However, it is lightweight and easier to get into a car. Manual wheelchairs give the disabled person more flexibility, and is an excellent source of upper arm exercise for the disabled person, but is a nightmare for the caregiver to get into a car. They often weigh too much and are too bulky for the caregiver to get into a car. Some power wheelchairs are designed for travel, but are often difficult for the caregiver to take apart and even more difficult to figure out how to put it back together. Power wheelchairs that are not designed for travel are often the only power wheelchairs that work in mobility vans, because they cannot come apart in the event of an accident. By the way, it is a good idea to keep the wheelchairs plugged in when not in use. I’ve had many technicians tell me that the power wheelchairs should be unplugged so as not to overcharge the battery. I have found that most power wheelchairs do not overcharge the battery and the battery lasts longer if it is plugged into the charger.

Lift chairsLift chair

The next subject I want to discuss is lift chairs. I have spent considerable time in a lift chair. It is important to get a comfortable lift chair. These chairs are motorized and electronically help lift the disabled person out of the chair. It is important to get a chair that is not too big. It should not be so wide that the disabled person cannot help push him or herself up and out of the chair. It also should not be so narrow that it is uncomfortable. The disabled person needs some room to move. Sitting in the same spot for an extended period can lead to ugly and painful sores. Also, the chair should not be so high off the ground that the disabled person’s feet are off the floor. None of these chairs move very fast and that is probably a good thing because you do not want the disabled person flying off the chair.

Hospital bedsHospital beds

As the disease progresses, I find myself spending more time in bed. There are a variety of hospital beds. You will need to find one that has comfortable and convenient side bars. The side bars are the only practical way for the disabled person to move up or down or side to side in the bed. The mattress and gel overlay also need to be comfortable. The gel tends to accumulate in one or two spots on top of the mattress making positioning and movement uncomfortable.

Patient lift

As time goes on, I rely increasingly on a patient type lift to transfer from place to place Whether it is a bed or chair, a patient lift is becoming more important. There are manual and motorized electronic lifts. The manual ones generally do not require any electric power, but the hydrolic part needs to be replaced periodically.


In conclusion, it is important to get a useful comfortable functional device that works well for the disabled person and caregiver.










About Me

I have a passion about products for the disabled.  Ever since 2003, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I have become more and more disabled by the illness.  I am now a paraplegic as a result of multiple sclerosis.

Therefore, I have gone down a path of using many products for the disabled to try to help me navigate my life with the disease.  Some products have worked better than others, and I want to help people find products that will work well for them.

I will also tell you that I am a lawyer.  I actually loved my law career, and if I had not become too disabled to go to court, I would probably still be practicing law.    I have been a lawyer for 38 years.  In 2009, I fell on a train coming home from work and I have never returned to work.  My injuries from that fall have healed nicely, but it soon became obvious to me that I could no longer pursue my law career, because the multiple sclerosis was progressing.

I live at home with my wife and son – both of whom I love dearly.

If  you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below and I will be more than glad to assist you.

All the best,

Alan Brill

Ageless Space