Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Redefining Disability Project ~ Post #7

Okay somehow I've got the numbering all screwed up for this thing. Last week I pulled question #6 instead of #5 so I'm backtracking a bit. So if you feel kind of lost, you are not alone. Anyhow here my answer to the question.

What are some significant moments/events in your life that connect to disability? 

Once again they are too numerous to count or pick just one. Whether it's facing raising five children under the age of ten from a wheelchair or being a caregiver for my terminally ill  husband after after my stroke are two of the biggest hurdles. I did fight my way back to standing on my own two feet again after my accident.  Although if you asked my family doctor, it was telling me I had arthritis of the spine after a decade of me raising my #2 daughter with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis).

My most current event was my stroke. Although no one told me I'd had a stroke until three days after I was admitted to the hospital, I knew on some levels. But then again, it could have just been a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). This was me in denial, because the full paralysis took that long take hold. I had weakness and uncoordinated movement in my limbs until then. Once the blood vessel in my brain burst, there was no denying a stroke, because nothing worked.

I had some major concerns once it became evident that it was paralysis of the whole right side of my body...
  • How is this going to affect me in doing in the long run? (Care of others)
  • How could I take care of my husband now?
  • How could I make my deaf husband understand mutual needs and wants with a droopy face and no voice. I had to be able to form the words for him to read my lips.
I guess that has always been my saving grace when facing another disabling event, my ability to focus on others instead of myself. I mentioned it to family members just this past Thanksgiving. I possibly would not have achieved so much in adaptability and recovery if I only had me to think of.  But that's me, always putting others ahead of my needs. So in hospital therapy, I focused on these problems. I worked harder towards a solution. I'm still working harder for solutions for a way around what I can't do yet.

To date, I have not recovered the use of my arm, elbow, wrist and hand. Neither have I recovered my ankle or foot usage.  That's not to say, I'm not still working on these goals because I am, but they are lower in priority than my ability to communicate with my husband or being able to move around and care for my husband. Or for that matter, living independently. 

Sure there are hundreds of things I can't do yet single- handedly even with adaptation, but they are just not that important for me to do, or mind asking for help. For example, cutting my rabbits or guinea pigs toe nails. That's a two handed if not a two handed and a leg job. But I'm not ashamed to ask someone else to do it like the manager of my local Pet Supplies Plus, or my kids to do. It's not like asking someone to wipe your butt after defecating like with my husband. That is somewhat ego busting to have to ask someone to do for you. There are tons of things my husband can no longer do for himself so in terms of disabling events, he's got it worse than I do. See there's always someone worse disabled than you are. Count yourself lucky.

At times, I'm too tired to fight. Yes, you heard it here first. I'm not strong or super woman. I'm like everyone else facing a hurdle...do you jump it and go on, or do you stop. Sometimes it's really hard to cling with my fingernails to hold onto hope, optimism, and a positive attitude. 

Sometimes, I loose my grip on these things. It would be so easy to just give up and give in to the negative side. I call it my pity pot moments. I do try to put a time limit on these episodes, but sometimes, it will go on for days. See. I'm only human too. It's a cathartic break against overwhelming odds that I face daily. I'm not really giving up as much as letting things be. I tend to be depressed during these times too and spend most of my waking hours in prayer. 

Therein lies the difference between what I go through during this time and the way others go through a time like this. It has an end. When I come back to myself, my usual self, I'm reborn in spirit and rejuvenated to fight another day. I jump the hurdle. So what if I see another hurdle in my path. I'll jump it when I get to it not before. If you've ever watched this sport, occasionally you'll see a runner stumble and fall. If asked later what happened, they'll say they jumped a second too soon. Yes, I ran track in high school too... back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Significant events or moments that connect to my disability, there are a ton of examples spanning forty years. These moments are only important because what I did to overcome it. In that, I rejoice and remember. Focus instead of what you are blessed with because it could always be worse.

Disability is a physical thing that alters your state of mind, don't let it.


  1. Just as long as you never get stuck in those down moments and really give up.

  2. Never! Remember I'm too stubborn to give up.

  3. I love the photo of the Stop sign. It is a graphic display of how insurmountable a disability can feel at times.


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