Author: Codi Darnell

Disability Sucks! And I’m OK with That

“We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing.” – Stella Young

It never ceases to amaze me how one short phrase can evoke such a strong emotional reaction. When I read the above quote on my Instagram feed the other day I was overcome by a lot of feelings. But high on the list were disbelief, annoyance and anger. I don’t think that I am often speechless, however when I tried to explain what I was feeling to my husband, I came up blank. Over the next couple of days, the phrase wandered in and out of my thoughts: “We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing.” Really, a lie? Call me crazy but I don’t think it’s a great thing. I wouldn’t even say it’s a good thing. No, I would definitely say that disability is a bad thing; I would say that disability sucks!   Continue reading “Disability Sucks! And I’m OK with That”

From Standing to Sitting – How Parenting Toddlers Has Changed with My Injury

From my faded C-section scar to my newly found first grey hair to the ridiculous number of unmatched children’s socks scattered around my house, it is fairly obvious that I am not new at the mom-game. Parenting is full of stages – all different and all difficult! With every birthday our children celebrate it is like we, as parents, advance on to the next level. I felt like we ‘levelled up’ big time with the start of Kindergarten and the school routine (I hear it happens again around puberty so that is something to look forward to). But before school came the toddler stage. I have managed to get through it twice relatively unscathed. But I just have to say that parenting a toddler from a wheelchair belongs to an entirely different realm of childrearing than anything else I’ve experienced. Continue reading “From Standing to Sitting – How Parenting Toddlers Has Changed with My Injury”

Finding Christmas in My Recalculated Life

Christmas is gearing up around my house and I’m pretty excited about it. Honestly, I love everything about the holidays. From the anticipation to the decorating to the traditions to the music, it’s the time of year that I feel the most grounded. For six weeks or so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect out of life; it is predictable and it is comforting. So yes, I am one of those people who breaks out the Christmas songs and decorations in November because it allows me to breathe. I can think to myself “OK, we did it. We made it to another Christmas”. With all of the change that has happened, the holidays are still familiar and welcoming; a feeling of coming home again. And even though I still get so much joy out of this season, I can’t help but feel moments of loss as well for all of the reasons that my favourite time of year is now different. Continue reading “Finding Christmas in My Recalculated Life”

Relinquishing Control

I like to be in control. I always have. It’s probably part of the reason why my mother-in-law and I took so long to forge a meaningful relationship. If there’s one thing you don’t want when you are a bit of a control freak mama, it’s a control freak daughter-in-law; a recipe for potential disaster. But somehow we make it work (love you Grammy). But beyond that, control has always grounded me and helped me to navigate through the fog of anxiety. Believing that I was consistently in control of my own situation allowed me to feel safer in a world that has continually left me trembling. I think it is part of the reason I hate flying so much – the lack of control. Then there were the aspects to control that I never took time to think about because they were – as I believed – non-negotiable; the control of my own body. To relinquish control of something can be challenging. But to have it taken from you is like having the ground disappear from underneath you – trust me, I know the feeling all too well. Continue reading “Relinquishing Control”

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 2: The Vacation

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury

We are home!  We returned from our trip to Disneyland just over a week ago and I’m already suffering from California withdrawal (the unseasonably freezing-cold weather and isolated flurries here at home are not helping!). I was pleasantly surprised that our trip went so smoothly. We were all good and exhausted by the time we got home; you don’t go to Disneyland to relax. The trip was wonderful! Being able to still have these special vacations and memories with my family means the world to me. I’m excited to give you the rundown on our little getaway. Continue reading “Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 2: The Vacation”

Lost in Anger on the Path to Acceptance

Anger. The second stage in the infamous five stages of grief. I always assumed you travelled through the progression of grief only once until you reached acceptance: the light at the end of the tunnel. I have since learned that grief is not neat and tidy like that; it is messy and unpredictable. In saying that, I seem to cycle through all five stages repeatedly and, frequently, out of the expected order. I imagine that one day I will settle on acceptance but, for now, I continue to ride my grief out in waves and currently find myself stuck on anger. Continue reading “Lost in Anger on the Path to Acceptance”

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Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 1: the Planning and the Packing

Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury - Part 1: the Planning and the Packing

Travelling with your children is a very different experience from travelling without them just as travelling with a spinal cord injury is a very different experience from travelling without one. Travelling with both children and a spinal cord injury is the Mt. Everest of travel scenarios. As we prepare to head out on a family vacation, I thought I would give you the run-down on how this all works now that my spinal cord injury is part of the equation. After we get home I will share the good, the bad, and the (hopefully not) ugly parts of our actual travel experiences. Continue reading “Going to Disney with a Spinal Cord Injury – Part 1: the Planning and the Packing”

Recapturing Lost Moments

Recapturing Lost Moments

When you have children, there are a countless number of firsts. As parents, we carefully document every first as though our little ones’ childhoods depend on knowing the exact date that they first smiled. We track everything from their first teeth to their first steps to their first day of school. I find it sort of funny that we tend to document the firsts of things that will continue on for a lifetime but neglect to document the firsts of childhood and parenthood that are more temporary: the first time we hold hands, the first time our child falls asleep in our arms, the first time we carry our child on our hip. Unlike a smile that will (hopefully) last a lifetime, these are the things that will inevitably end. The part that breaks my heart is that most of these “mommy and me” moments end without warning – we never know which time will be the last time. For me, some of these things ended earlier than anticipated. Continue reading “Recapturing Lost Moments”

Spinal Cord Injury 101: Talking to Kids

One of my favourite things to witness is the look on a parent’s face when their child starts asking me questions about my wheelchair. As a parent myself I know the exact feeling of dread that they are experiencing. The unpredictable nature of a child’s curious mind can be a stressful thing. I am not easily offended and love having children ask me questions while they try to wrap their brains around what they are seeing. I have yet to meet another wheelchair user who discourages questions from a child. Even so, I’m sure a lot of people have walked away from me wondering exactly how to explain a spinal cord injury to their child and answer their questions in a way they will understand. Continue reading “Spinal Cord Injury 101: Talking to Kids”

An Uninvited Dream

I had a dream a couple of nights ago – a dream I’ve had before. I was still in a wheelchair but could easily walk when I felt it necessary. For instance, I would wheel up to a staircase, proceed to stand and walk up or down the stairs and then continue on in my wheelchair. I’ve said before, the inability to walk is the easiest part of dealing with a spinal cord injury (it really is!). However, the sense of relief I feel in those dreams is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s like realizing you can breathe just when you thought the oxygen had run out. And for a few moments, while I convince myself that I am not dreaming, life becomes easier. Continue reading “An Uninvited Dream”