Darlene was a horse breeder and trainer before a horseback riding accident left her with a C-4 incomplete spinal cord injury. However, being paralyzed from the neck down has not stopped her from being independent. She uses a wheelchair that allows her to drive and adjust her chair with her mouth. She has been injured for five years now but is determined to stay active. Since her accident, she has been traveling over an hour multiple times per week to her therapy sessions at Beyond the Chair. Read more
Henderson H. is a war veteran who was injured in a motor vehicular accident several decades ago. He is now a C5/C6 incomplete spinal cord quadriplegic who has a hard time sitting and standing in an upright position. Despite his limitations he remains very positive and is dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Henderson also suffers from heterotopic ossification (HO) which requires him to increase weight bearing actions. Read more
Being paralyzed is no joke, it’s no living Hell either (contrary to popular belief). I have a pretty great life despite the whole quadriplegia thing. But I won’t lie – there are days when it gets really hard. Maybe it’ll be a flat wheelchair tire or a PCA not showing up that sets it off, but there are moments where I don’t think I can carry on one more day. It can get that bad. Read more
It gets tiring being judged for this wheelchair I’m hauling ass in. But when you’re in a society where being disabled is the minority, it’s bound to happen. Humans are more comfortable being around what’s “normal” (well most are this way). When you fail to fall into their “norm,” you make them uncomfortable, hence being judged. It’s an unfair gut reaction. Read more
Throughout life you will learn
that sorrow will not remain.
You will see that it is
like a butterfly emerging
from its cocoon to make way
for greater things.
When a caterpillar spins a chrysalis, does it know its life is going to change and that it’s going to turn into a beautiful butterfly? When a baby is born, does it know the path that it’s going to live and the life-changing moments that may occur? Change happens every day whether it is good or bad. People die, give birth, change jobs, graduate school, etc. Some changes are small while others are life-changing. Like an accident that changes you from an active teen to being paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Read more
Dating with a Disability
“For my interpersonal communication class I have to write a personal ad for myself. I’ve never done one before, so I’ve been searching the Internet to see what other people have written. I have to say, I found some interesting people out there. I’m seriously considering going on one of those dating websites. Not that I’m really looking for anyone right now, but it would be kind of interesting to see how it works. I’ve heard of many people meeting on the Internet and actually getting married.
The only thing I’m worried about is if no one responds or tries to contact me. I mean, there aren’t many people who would actually seek out a quadriplegic on a ventilator. The statistics for me finding someone who can see past my disability are low. This is one of the things I struggle with the most. The future and what it holds. I’m trying to be optimistic though. I don’t really tell a lot of people this, but it’s easy to talk to a computer because it doesn’t talk back. It’s hard to explain these feelings to other people. I’m sure there are other quadriplegics or people with disabilities who feel the same way.”
I have 24/7 nursing care because of my trach and ventilator. If my injury was any lower, I wouldn’t have nurses. Many times I’m glad that I’m on the ventilator so that I can have nurses to do all the care that comes along with being a quadriplegic. I don’t think I would be as healthy or come as far as I have without nurses. On the downside, I’m never alone. This is one thing that I struggle with. Even if I’m alone in my room, there is always someone within hearing distance of me in case something happens. Read more
This Saturday will be the first time I’ve flown in over eight years. It’s hard to imagine that regrettable crazy four-day trip I took with a man much older to Vegas was so long ago, but thank God it’s been that long (#BadDecisions). Read more
I’ll never forget the one time I was outside a Target on my cell phone. I wasn’t doing anything except talking and sitting there, but apparently I was doing a lot more. In the middle of my conversation I was interrupted by a stranger asking if I needed help, and then I realized what was happening. My wheelchair was speaking much louder than I was, and the message it was sending out – this girl needs help. Read more
After a spinal cord injury, it can be hard to figure out what to do next. After rehab and going home, you have two decisions – do you re-enter life as a wheelchair-user or do you wait until a cure is found? In the spinal cord injury community, this has long been a dilemma even though most of us know what the right answer is (to go out into the world and live again). Many of us just can’t do it.
Years ago I met a person online, a quadriplegic from New York City, who had been paralyzed years prior but never left his house. He was obviously depressed, admittedly so. When I asked him about it, he said he wasn’t going to go out into the world until he was “normal” again and he was willing to wait as long as this took. Read more