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Up in the air

Flying as a wheelchair user is never easy. Airlines damage many wheelchairs every day, something I worry about every time I travel. Here’s what I’ve learned from experience that helps reduce the stress: 

• As soon as you book, call the airline directly with the details of your chair. Height, weight, length and width along with whether your battery is wet, dry or gell cell if you’re a power wheelchair user. Also mention your personal boarding needs as well. 

• Know your rights regarding boarding and getting help off the plane. 

• Store any removeable parts such as headrest, knew supports a joystick that can be unplugged in a tote bag. I always carry my cushion with me and place it on my seat. 

• Bring a backpack with quick-fix supplies.  Straws, zip ties, duct and masking tape and, bubble wrap. Extra Velcro can also come in handy if you want extra support in the aisle chair. And, consider bringing a transfer sling or a lift  

• Plan for restroom needs. While not ideal, consider dehydrating and cutting back on greasy meals the day before. Consider wearing a brief or as a man, bringing a condom catheter or a urinal jug that you can cover with a blanket.

Celebrating optimism 

While every month offers us an opportunity to move towards a practice of grounded optimism, any month can be a time to take a look at how we’re thinking and the many positive benefits in life including health, happiness and longevity. 

Experts suggest that optimism is usually inborn but that thinking patterns can be developed during your life that can lead to a more positive, rewarding focus. This is great news because research finds that those who are optimistic tend to have more to be happy and gain more from their optimistic way of life including: less stress, greater success, along with physical and emotional health and longevity.

• Optimists notice good things
• Train their minds to believe they can make good things happen
• Don’t blame themselves when things go wrong
• When something good happens, give themselves credit
• Remind themselves that setbacks are temporary
• Notice how other people talk about themselves.

So celebrate optimism month (March 1). To truly become more optimistic you will perhaps need to consider examining your habitual thought patterns to see what you can change, try developing some new habits and finding a way to work on and focus on different actions over time. 

Men in the bathroom

It’s not just in your head—men really do spend more time on the john than women. In fact, a recent online survey conducted by a bathroom retailer confirmed that men spend a total of 14 minutes on the toilet per day, as compared to eight minutes for women. That’s nearly twice as long! 

The scientific research, however, does not suggest that there’s a medical or physiological reason for this disparity. On
the contrary, multiple studies—like one published in Gender Medicine—have found that in reality, women are more likely to suffer from constipation and other bowel issues that might account for an extended stay in the bathroom. 

Truth is likely what you’ve suspected all along: Men are simply retreating to the restroom to get some alone time…a chance to reset and catch up. And what exactly are they doing in there, you ask? Watching videos, scrolling through the news and even doing a little gaming. 

And hey, if someone comes to the door or your grandchild makes a mess or throws her spaghetti at the wall while they happen to be enjoying some alone time in the bathroom, well, shit happens.

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