18 months. Today marks 18 months since I was my able-bodied self; 18 months since my accident. In a lot of ways, I can’t even remember what it’s like to live my life that way: to walk, to leave the house without worrying about accessibility, to park my car wherever I want, to be spontaneous and not have to plan my life around a bowel and bladder program. My life was a lot simpler before this injury but going back is not an option. To think that my children are all one and a half years older than they were at the time of my accident is mind boggling. To think that only a few short years ago I had a baby, and then another baby in almost the same amount of time (19 months) is even harder to comprehend. Time feels stagnant sometimes but then all of a sudden it is gone. Continue reading “18 Months of Paraplegia”
Every year I dread Labour Day and the blunt transition it brings: summer vacation to the school year. On the last Monday of summer holidays, as I was getting my boys ready for bed, that all too familiar feeling of bewilderment crept up on me as I thought about how quickly they are growing up. They are beginning to leave interests and other aspects of their younger years behind them. I have mixed feelings of excitement, trepidation and longing as I think about the new school year. I’m excited for the adventures they have yet to embark on but I’m nervous that they will stumble down the wrong path. I long for the simple days of toddlerhood, which admittedly were not without many challenges, but I was more in control of their worlds and what they were exposed to. Their questions could be answered simply without the constant noise of the world around them and the knowledge that quickly comes to them when they have the ability to read. But as I sang them a song before bed, the same song I have sung them almost every night since they were born, I started to think about the small amount of time they have been here on this earth and how much life they have already lived. When I think about the challenges these two boys – at six and seven years old – have already overcome, and the way all three of my children have handled themselves since my accident, I find myself amazed by their resilience and capability. And I realize my children have taught me about what is truly important in life and what is truly important in people. Continue reading “Mommy Is Still Mommy – How Our Children Have Coped with My Spinal Cord Injury”
Life is busy and I think everyone looks forward to an escape. Travel was the furthest thing from my mind for many weeks after my injury. Initially, I assumed that it would be too difficult to travel with a wheelchair and a spinal cord injury. What I have learned about travelling in the almost 18 months since my accident is that it is different and there is more planning involved, but it is most definitely not impossible and can still be awesome. I have travelled by boat, plane and car since my accident and while we come up against big and small hurdles almost everywhere we go, there hasn’t been much we haven’t been able to overcome. Continue reading “Our Summer Mountain Getaway”
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”
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. Continue reading “Battle Scars”
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”
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. I wanted to enjoy this summer. I wanted to live in the moment. Continue reading “Finding the Happy in What I Have”
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”
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”
I was going through one of my old journals and came across this poem that I wrote a few months after my accident and I thought I would share. Seemed like a good post to end off June.