What are your everyday thoughts, questions, concerns, successes, and challenges?
THANK YOU so very much for sharing this; I hope everyone takes a few minutes to read your reflection. I suppose simply because you didn't realize all these lessons immediately, doesn't mean they didn't exist. All are equally important.
I also want to thank you for sharing Rich. One of the most important things for me through my 10 years of being a para is to never take things or myself to seriously. Your list is right on!!!! Personally If I had to put them in order #20 would be first for me. Over the years. I have never lost my sense of humor. Whether its falling out of my chair, a really sarcastic but funny "gimp" joke or comment someone would tell me, even when they meant it to hurt me, I always found time to laugh at myself and others of course. Laughter is the best medicine after all right?
So well put Rich.
For those who don't know me, I too am a C6 Quad 7 years post injury. I was introduced to Rich through this web site just writing to each other about our experiences. We talk often which is always enjoyable because we have so much in common and can relate to each others struggles.
One of the things that I really relate to is the relationship between strangers helping the disabled. Like Rich I truly believe most people in this world are good and want to help. I venture out often times knowing if I get into trouble there is always somebody there to help. I could stay at home for instance because I can't pump my own gas or swallow a little pride and ask somebody for help. I have met some pretty interesting people at the gas station. It doesn't get much easier asking for help either.
One thing Rich did not expand on is being active. Some times on days when my nerve pain SUCKS if I can man up and push through that pain and do something or talk to someone life has a tendancy to improve. Today I was leaving the hospital because I have an infection in my leg and need some antibiotics through an IV. My body is not feeling very good anyway and it was 10 degrees this morning. When I was leaving the nurse says she is always impressed with me because I am always smiling. There are all kinds of things that can make you happy but you are not going to find them unless you look..
Thanks Rich for always getting us thinking
thank you rich for sharing your ideas. i am a c6 quad 7 yrs post sci. it's easy to pity oneself, i found your thoughts very positive.
That's great. It will get easier. For some useful ideas check out my forum Learned Empowerment.
I'm just my wife's caregiver, but it has definintely changed our lives. I'd add the following to your list:
1. Allows us to see the world from a different point fo view. Sometimes, that is physically (cathy sits lower- so she sees things we don't) and sometimes it is mentally. By that I mean the walk a mile in my shoes sort of seeing. I can say I definitely look at handicap parking differently than before. hah. But its more than that- its the realization of what a whole grou ofpeople have been dealing with since the beginning of time.
2. Reveals things about others you know in how they deal with issues. Several abandoned us, others came to the rescue. Som simply didn't know what to do.
3. Makes you more curious. I always stop other handicaps, and talk to them about what they are dealing with now that I know that they like to talk about it. Most people are afraid of handicaps and the conversation in general. It's amazing how different everybody's injury level effects them both mentally and physically.
4. Makes you more helpful. I'll go right up to a handicap person and lend a hand wthout asking, because I know that they are often afriad to ask, but also knowing how much they appreciate when each of us helps each other.
5. Life changes every day- if you switch jobs or if you go to a new town, or move to a new house, life changes. Handicap is bigger than those, but somehow similar- you just learn to deal with it like all the other changes that life throws at you.
6. Technology is awesome. As engineers, my wife and I both appreciate what technology has done for the handicap state in the last twenty years. We always look forward to more and better.
7. You choose the attitude you will have. You can look at this badly, or you can look at it with a smile. Everybody on this planet is dealing with something, and to some a severe quadriplegia is less damaging to their outlook than a dead battery or a rainy day is to others. It's all in how you take it. Quadriplegia once fought through makes you realize you can deal with most anything life can throw at you.
As a qualifier to that last point, I'd say our journey was perhaps easier because we had dealt with many other things before this happened. I suspect it's more devastating to a 15 year old who has not lived much life than it is to a 47 year old who has dealt with raising kids, and jobs and all the other stuff life has already thrown at you by that age.
Rushing in to help can be a double edge sword. It can be mistaken for "I don't think you can do that so I will help you do it." Read my blog If I need help I'll ask. Just a thought.
Yes, that could have been better stated. I do always ask if it's OK for me to help, but I make my self immediately available, not being afraid to jump in if I see a hand is needed. I didn't sued to do that before, as I didn't understand that most folks don't mind being helped when they really beed it. I have certainly had enough give me a hand, so it's just paying back.
That's cool! My point was able-bodied people need to understand that disability does not mean inability. At times, my wife will ask if I want her to do something for me and sometimes I accept. When I don't, sometimes I'll say to her joking "You'd be amazed what us handicap folks can do." I know the terminology is not acceptable and I would never use it anywhere else but I'm also sure you understand my implication.