Random musings / spinal-cord injury

Standing and pregnant? Not quite.

I hate this photo

I hate this photo.

At first glance it looks like I am standing, and I am. I am participating in a study that requires me to stand on a tilt bed for half an hour every day, held by straps at my knees, waste and chest. The research is trying to determine whether standing assists in bowel movement. To be honest, I am not sure of the point. If it normally takes about 20 – 30 min for the nurse to help us do the business, then it seems odd to stand for ½ hr to save 10 min or so. Anyway, given the difficulties of sci and poo (brutally attested to on this blog) I am sure whatever they learn will be of some value.

But I hate this photo.

My carers, who have only ever seen me lying and sitting, were shocked at how tall I am. My head reaches over the end of the table and, given the contraption is elevated a few feet off the ground, when upright the roof is close indeed. It is certainly an odd feeling to stand again. It leaves me somewhat lightheaded, my blood pressure dropping to 87 on 52 tonight (our blood pressures are ordinarily lower than normal), but it is nice once again to be able to see the top of other peoples head.

Even so, I hate this photo.

Yesterday, my delightful Pakistani carer leaned over when I was standing and put her ear to my tummy and laughed and laughed. My excuse is the absence of tummy muscles, which results in what is called the “quad pot”. Seriously, I am careful with what I eat since I get no exercise but; I have either sprouted a beer gut (without drinking beer – and surely the occasional Scotch shouldn’t have that effect), I have an alien in my belly, I am pregnant or dammit all I am just plain fat! Curse those useless tummy muscles.

and what is it with that hair? Off to get it cut!

and the camera adds 10 kg, but…

I hate this photo.


About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • Joohee
    June 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

    U look so serious Shane!!!! Miss you heaps!!!!!! So… Does this make u poop better?

    • Shane Clifton
      June 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

      it’s a serious business! Miss you to Joohee. One of these days I’ll work out how to travel and get to your place in LA

  • shirlmo
    June 2, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Shane I have a young friend in the States, who is in a similar state to you, except he cannot talk. He also has “locked in” Syndrome and he also spends time in a tilt bed for the reason.It has worked wonders for him and I am sure it will for you allso

  • Clare Harrison
    June 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Ha ha Shane, what a face! Pardon the grin, but I can relate all too well, I have the same belly on my right side, which we have christened ‘baby Richard’ after the surgeon who created it; which pleases everyone except him. Don (my husband) hates his ‘quad belly’ but it quivers and wobbles spectacularly and we’ve never known him any other way. In a few years all the other guys your age will have bellies and skinny arms and legs, and you’ll be the only one with an excuse! Thank God for all the photos of our youth.

    • Shane Clifton
      June 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      well, Clare, a brilliant new way of looking at things. Thank you

  • Elly Clifton
    June 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    You’re holding your breath and pushing it out for effect – I can tell!

  • Elly Clifton
    June 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Oh, and I’m laughing at the ‘fat burning hormone’ ad that’s popped up at the bottom of your hate blog!

  • Sonya Cavanough
    June 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    You’re very brave Shane!

  • Kurt
    June 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Your not the 1st guy to go for that look Shane. The Governator had a go in “Junior” so you tough guys can get away with the baby belly!


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