Wheelchair Athlete Todd Robinson Says You Can Have Kids and Travel with Your Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Paraplegic Athlete Todd Robinson of Alpharetta, Georgia, is a sales representative for At Home Medical, based in Suwanee, Georgia, which specializes in urological products, incontinent supplies, wound-care, ostomy and general medical supplies for patients who are making cash purchases.  As a follow-up to Todd’s interview about his IronMan competition, we also talked with Robinson about some of the concerns that people in wheelchairs have.  Part 4 of a four-part series entitled “The 10 Most-Often Asked Questions about Living with Disabilities.
Todd Robinson shares his thoughts from the perspective of a wheelchair user.
Todd Robinson shares his thoughts from the perspective of a wheelchair user.

Question: What would you say to folks who ask about getting married and having kids if they’re in a wheelchair?

Robinson: The answer to this question varies, depending on your disability and your body’s functionality after your injury. In-vitro fertilization is one solution. However, when my wife and I married, she had a 1-1/2-year-old son who’s now my son. We later decided that there were so many kids who needed good homes, and we adopted a little girl. There are all types of options out there for having children.

 The next question inevitably is how to take care of children when you have a disability. I always tell people that they’ll figure it out. I have a friend who’s a quadriplegic. He and his wife have a little girl, and he was concerned about how to hold and change a child without full use of his fingers.

But this guy’s a real hands-on Dad. He’s just figured out a way to do it. He’s learned his limitations and has determined what he needs to do to adapt to take care of his daughter. He wanted so badly to be a dad that he didn’t really care what he had to do to take care of his daughter. He made-up in his mind that he would be hands-on and enjoy every moment with his daughter, and he does.

I was scared to death the first time I held our daughter Lydia, because she was tiny when we brought her home. I was afraid that if she kicked or arched her back, while I was in my chair holding her, she’d throw me off balance.  I made sure I was as stable as I could be, and we never have had an accident.

So, if you have kids, just jump in, and do it. Do all you can, and ask for help if you need it. Enjoy your children. Live life to the fullest and enjoy your family.

Todd believes the key to success in parenting is to actively participate- jump in and do it!

Todd believes the key to success in parenting is to actively participate- jump in and do it!

 Question: What should people who use wheelchairs know about traveling?

Robinson: I had a fellow ask what I do about my catheters when I get on an airplane. If you’re going out of the country, I recommend taking all the catheters you’ll need, as well as a prescription for the catheters.

I went to Guatemala once and didn’t have any problem leaving the United States. But on my way back, they asked to see my prescription for my catheters. We didn’t understand each other’s language, so we went round and round for about 45 minutes. They eventually let me on the plane.

To prevent any problems at the airport, carry your prescription with you for your catheters and other supplies you may need. I’ve never had a problem inside this country, but going overseas, you’ll need all your documentation and prescriptions.

Todd doesn't let his disability stop him from going anywhere, and you shouldn't either...especially to the beach!

Todd doesn't let his disability stop him from going anywhere, and you shouldn't either...especially to the beach!

I’m also often asked how I get on an airplane. Before I get on an airplane, I tell the airlines about my disability, and what I’ll need to get on the airplane. They have straight backboards, wheelchairs and other devices to help you get on and off an airplane. Let them know ahead of time of your departure and return times and your flight numbers. Delta and American Airlines are really good to work with you. I’ve flown with both of them.

Having a disability doesn’t prevent me from flying anywhere in the world, but the secret to being able to travel is to plan ahead. Call the hotels where you’ll be staying, and have your wheelchair measurements on-hand. Then you can tell them your wheelchair or device measurements. Have someone measure the hotel doors to make sure you can get through them, especially out of the country.

I went to a race in Washington,D.C., and I made my hotel reservations two months in advance. I made sure the door going into the bathroom would accommodate my chair, because I would be getting into town at the last minute. When I reached the hotel, they didn’t have the size room I required.

When I asked the desk clerk what happened, he said that the 800-number routes to a switchboard, which didn’t know exactly the size of each room in each hotel. So, I was recommend calling the motel or hotel directly to make your reservations. Don’t just say you want a handicap-accessible room. Make sure they measure the doors.

I’ve found that most places are helpful, if you call in advance and let them know what you need. You can go anywhere you want to go. Just plan ahead, take plenty of supplies, and carry your prescriptions with you.

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

2 Responses to Wheelchair Athlete Todd Robinson Says You Can Have Kids and Travel with Your Disabilities

  1. Pingback: How Wheelchair Athlete Todd Robinson’s Life Changed When He Realized That God Is in Control « UroMed Catheter Health Blog

  2. Pingback: How Wheelchair Athlete Todd Robinson’s Life Changed When He Realized That God Is in Control

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