Walk It Out

28 Aug 2019 4:09 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

There are many things an average person will want in their lifespan like happiness, to meet a partner, or landing the dream job.  Or if you narrowed it down to the person specifically, maybe it would be wants of good health, being a good friend, or going on a trip. Will those wants be the same between an average person and a person with a mobility disability?  Probably pretty similar for the most part.  Now, if they switched and wrote wants for the other person.  What do you think would be at the top of the list for the disabled person from an average person?  I bet I know. 

Walk again. 

There is an obsession by people with the ability to walk to think that’s all that matters.  I get it.  That’s all you know.  The ‘Abled Life’. Yet, when I talk with other people with SCI, walking is often far from the top of their list.  Talk to Quad’s and Para’s popular choices are:

Quad’s

Para’s

  • 1.  Hand and finger dexterity

Bowel/Bladder Control

  • 2.  More functional muscles

More function

  • 3.  Better sensation

Walking

These lists will vary depending on the person’s length of injury and also their injury level.  But, notice where walking shows up on the list.  At the bottom of Paraplegic’s want list.  In the long list of things we can get back, our walking legs typically isn’t the foremost thought.  For the most part, anyone using a mobility device can get through the day.  What we want is simply to speed up our day and make it easier overall.

Another aspect I never thought of prior to my injury were social norms and how they may be impacted.  For you men out there.  How were you taught for a good introduction?  Walk up, look the person in the eye, introduce yourself, and give a good firm handshake.  Something along those lines?  As a Quad, shaking hands is something I hate.  Simply because I can’t shake hands.  Instead, I’m extending the dead fish attached to my wrist for the person to awkwardly hold.  Plus, looking up at people all the time gets old.  Especially you really tall folks, would be nice of you to find a chair or take a knee if we have a conversation.  Just a little common courtesy for the next time you encounter someone in a chair. 

Daily life in a wheelchair is not as bad as everyone imagines.  No, it is not the ideal scenario and likely never crossed your mind as a possibility.  However, there’s no going back and life goes on.  You will quickly notice how UN-accessible the built environment is, have to wait while people take the big stall in bathrooms or the accessible parking space, but things can always be worse.  Day-in and day-out, no matter what is going on, the lack of ‘normal’ hands is by far the hardest/most frustrating part of Quadriplegia.  EVERYTHING takes longer and the likelihood of dropping something skyrockets.  That’s why I don’t have nice things, I have dropped everything.  At least now I have the #Awareness of knowing my limitations when holding items.  In fact, it has probably been a good couple of hours since my last drop so I need to wrap this up before the laptop takes another tumble down to the ground.



disAbility Connections, Inc.      409 Linden Ave.  Jackson, MI   49203      Phone:  (517) 782-6054      Fax:  (517)  782-3118

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