Living With SCI

My Accessible Beach Day

Our most recent trip to the beach was much more inclusive for me than the one I wrote about a couple of weeks ago here. I felt defeated and a bit heartbroken after that trip to the beach and I wanted to see if there was a way to be more involved. I know a beach day now will never be as it was before my spinal cord injury, but I had hope that it could be better.

After a quick Google search I found a few small articles that pointed me in the direction of Feral Boardsports on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia. I couldn’t find a lot of info, but it looked like there was a beach wheelchair available. I phoned the store on the morning we were planning to go to White Rock and was excited when they confirmed that they had two beach wheelchairs available by donation. Continue reading “My Accessible Beach Day”

Living With SCI

Battle Scars

Every scar tells a story. Some stories are more interesting than others; some more intense. Some people have very obvious marks of trauma that can be seen without effort while others are well hidden, under the surface, without a visible reminder. While a scar from an extra vicious mosquito bite or rollerblades that didn’t fit properly (both me) won’t require a lot of emotional processing, other scars can be quite different. And I have found that the obvious scars heal a lot faster than the invisible ones.

Before my accident I never broke a bone or done any serious damage to my body. I had a few stitches on my foot once after I walked into some sheet metal (very sharp stuff). Evidently I subscribed to the ‘go big or go home’ mentality with my first real injury. Until my accident, the only sizeable scar I had was from my three C-Sections and it wasn’t exactly in a location easily seen by the masses and it definitely didn’t have negative memories attached to it. I had all kinds of experience with the invisible scars of mental illness but I had no real understanding of what it was like to have a permanent marker on my body that holds such a massive and painful memory. And now, well now I have this little line down my back which really doesn’t look like much at all. If anything, it doesn’t seem significant enough to represent the injury I sustained or the substantial change it brought to my life. However, it is a reminder nonetheless; reminder of everything from my accident to the rods and screws stabilizing my body, to the ongoing process of healing. Continue reading “Battle Scars”

Grief · Living With SCI

Momentarily Defeated

The thing I hate most about the grieving process is everyone else’s expectations of its progression. That, and the ability it has to hit you without warning. It has been a difficult week for me; there have been a lot of tears and a lot of ‘why me?’. I don’t know why I plague myself with that question when I know there is no answer. I do not believe everything happens for a reason; I do not believe there was purpose in my accident. I believe life changing moments can happen to anyone at any time and there is always a choice in how one chooses to cope. Still, it’s unbearably frustrating some days to think about all of the people in this world who choose a life of hate or crime yet get to roam the world as they please. The days I try to understand why are never easy days. Continue reading “Momentarily Defeated”

Living With SCI · Parenting

Finding the Happy in What I Have

Summer is in full swing around here. We had an exceptionally snowy winter and a very wet spring, so to say I was looking forward to some dry warm weather would be an understatement. Summer in British Columbia is a beautiful thing – there are lakes, trails, beaches, long days and beautiful sunsets. It truly takes just one sunny day in BC to make up for the days upon days of rain we endure. Last summer my injury was still very new and most of our summer was spent simply trying to figure out this new life and how to be back at home. We didn’t venture out much or attempt many of our usual summer activities. We didn’t so much enjoy last summer as we did survive it.

As I was looking ahead to this summer I was filled with excitement, trepidation and sadness. I knew we would be more adventurous this summer as we are all more confident at the wheelchair game, but I also knew there would be limitations to our adventures and, like with so many things, a sense of loss where the experiences are changed. Yes, I knew I would swim more with my children this year, take picnics to the park near our house and wander through the most accessible trails we could find. However I also knew the waterslides were no longer an option for me and that a trip to the beach would look vastly different than before. But if you’ve been following me for a while now you would probably guess that I’m going to try and participate in whatever I can, however I can. So off to the beach we went. Continue reading “Finding the Happy in What I Have”

Grief · Living With SCI

The Child Paralysis Stole From Me

I often play back my life like a slideshow – moments upon moments of what makes up my story all waiting to be put together for when I choose to reminisce. The slideshow I play inside my head changes with each part of my journey I recollect. The emotions that they arouse are varied and can change depending on the season of life I’m currently in. In many scenarios, my accident is a part of that slideshow – it changed my life forever and is a tough detail to overlook. In most cases I can include that crazy turn of events and move past it into the life that has unfolded since. I can see good in my life and recognize my accident as a major event but not an ending. However, there are a few scenarios where my slideshow stops abruptly – a few scenarios where I get stuck in my post-accident haze and place blame for certain things it took away from me. Recently one thing in particular has been at the forefront of my thoughts: baby number four. Continue reading “The Child Paralysis Stole From Me”

Living With SCI

My Accessible Home

A major aspect of wheelchair living is accessibility. After my accident, I began looking at the world (my world) through vastly different eyes than before. Places that I often went – restaurants, movie theatres, parks, beaches, schools, other people’s homes etc. quickly became more of a challenge. Stairs seem like the most obvious obstacle, but there are issues with bathrooms, door openings and steep inclines (to name a few). Venturing out into the world all of a sudden got much more complicated. So when it came to our own home, we wanted to make it as comfortable and accessible as we could so that my time could be used efficiently.

We were fortunate that our house was already mostly one level (rancher with a partial basement). We had moved in only seven months before I was injured and were planning an addition for my parents but were not going to renovate our side of the house. My accident took place at our home during the process of putting on the addition and when I fell through that hole, our plans for not renovating fell out the window. Continue reading “My Accessible Home”

Living With SCI

The Pain in My Paralyzed Legs

For the first time in over 470 days, I am not taking any medications. After spending such a long time setting mental alarms to take pills, it feels strange to have gone even a few days without taking any at all. I imagine this medication-free period will be somewhat short-lived being as I already have a new medication in my cupboard just waiting for me to finally decide to take it. However, I wanted to acknowledge this strange journey through medications that I’ve found myself on and shed some light on the invisible ailments that cause me to seek out relief.

It is pretty much a sure thing that suffering a traumatic injury leads to taking medications of one kind or another. Initially there were a lot of meds for pain management. This may come as a surprise but breaking your spine and a couple of ribs is a really painful exercise. And apparently when you break said spine and are no longer walking around, your risk of blood clots increases. I combatted this for a few months by injecting myself with a blood thinner twice a day. Even though I couldn’t feel the injection in my thigh (another ‘para-perk’), I never got used to stabbing myself with those little needles and was pretty relieved when I was allowed to stop. I have been on medications to try and help with bladder control which was essentially useless. Botox has worked so much better (as I detailed here and here in my posts on bladder control). There have been pills to try and regulate bowel function and antibiotics for various infections. But all of these medications have come and gone. Continue reading “The Pain in My Paralyzed Legs”