Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Nov 20, 2013 1:51 pm


as I age, quadriplegia becomes more difficult and I get more weird symptoms. I spend a good deal of my time watching doctors shrug or begin sentences with "I don't know, but I would guess that…"
So I comment that this quadriplegia business is not as much fun as it used to be!

But that does open a different line of thinking. Maybe using the word "fun" is pushing the envelope a bit too much. But there are many things I can be grateful about:

My girlfriend gets up sometimes 3 times a night to go to the bathroom. I don't, thanks to my little buddy Foley the catheter!

Good parking spaces. And I get the great opportunity to make someone feel guilty when they've used the space they don't need. Given my ethnicity, making someone like that feel guilty gives me great joy.. ( I actually engaged in that practice when a policeman stopped me for speeding many years ago. He caught me dead to rights as I was going 10 miles over the speed limit. At the end of our brief encounter, he actually apologized to me! I know I shouldn't be talking about the, but I just can't help myself.)

Children – mostly they ignore adults, and often because they have good instincts. But when they see me, they are endlessly fascinated about my wheelchair. So when adults are engaged in boring grown-up talk, I get to hang out with the kids.

I get great seats at the Phillies games. Okay, I don't have a great team to watch, but I have great seats!.

I don't have to be embarrassed about my horrific short-term memory. When people encounter me, they assume I have a little bit of brain damage so they remind me of their name and about previous conversations we may have had. I just smile and nod.

And on a more serious note, quadriplegia has set the bar very low on what brings me joy. This past summer, I needed something at the pharmacy. I drove myself, picked up what I needed, was able to get my wallet out of my side pouch thanks to a pipe cleaner and paid in cash. When I returned home I felt so happy and grateful that I was able to do that by myself. I thought how many people have the opportunity to experience such joy with so little.

Sometimes I grateful that my catheter stayed on all day or that my blood pressure was stable.

And every day, almost every hour, I am grateful that I love and them loved.

What are you thankful for?

RE: Thanksgiving

Posted by Joseph Groh on Nov 21, 2013 4:00 pm

Great blog Dan, I can relate to everything you said except the part where you drove to the drugstore – I'm paralyzed below the shoulders.

When my wife is to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night that presents me with an opportunity – adjust the temperature, scratch what itches etc.

Your point about the simple joys....  Near our house is a 2 acre nature sanctuary.  I go there often and was there yesterday admiring the changing leaves.  We generally don't get much color change here in Texas that this year it's as good as it gets.  At one point I encountered a young mom entering the trail with her dog.  She was talking intently on her phone and barely acknowledged me as she passed.  20 min. later I encountered her again as she left the trail and she was still on her phone.  I doubt she took in any of natures grandeur because she was in such a hurry to live life in the moment.

I also understand about aging with quadriplegia, I am just thankful for drugs that can contain the effects that come with some of these issues.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

RE: Thanksgiving

Posted by matt_1801035 on Nov 25, 2013 12:04 pm

Dr. Dan I am thankful for your blogs. I am also thankful for the use of my hands, mind and the limited ability I have to get around. I see so many folks so young and with so little. I am thankful for my bride who has been there every step of my recovery and then some. My family and grand children who light up my life and have poured out their support in ways I will never forget. Things in life could be so much worse so I am thankful for what I have and will continue to try harder. Matt B.

RE: Thanksgiving

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Nov 27, 2013 3:28 pm

both of you  talked about simply  noticing and experiencing the world around you.  There is something we learn  from  tragedy. Paul Simon once said "the way we look to a distant constellation that's dying in the corner of the sky". All of us who have experienced  that light of lour lives flickering,  after  the shock, the disbelief,, the shame and the grief, we come to realize  how fragile and held precious this thing called  life  really is..
You guys have literally smelled the roses!

I recently told a friend of mine that I was going to take the PhD away after my name and replace it with: NYD. When he asked me what that stood for, I said "not yet dead!". Of course it was a joke but it's also a reminder that  I am grateful to still be  living (of course, I'm not so sure my insurance carrier feels the same way!)

Happy Thanksgiving

Tag Topic

Subscribe to Topic

Would you like to be notified of updates to this Discussion Topic? Subscribe and you'll receive email updates of new posts.