My name is Jenni Taylor and I am 22 years old. On November 1, 2002 I was in a car accident. I broke my neck at C1-C2 and injured my spinal cord. I am a quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator to breathe for me. Although I am paralyzed, I have feeling everywhere. I am also able to move several fingers and toes and my arms and legs with assistance. I have 24/7 nursing care that helps me with my every need. My independence is lost but my spirit is still here. I feel as though this happened for a reason and that I am able to make a difference.
I love my EasyStand Evolv standing frame because of the health benefits it gives me. I used to have chronic back and neck pain before using a stander. Standing has strengthened my back and neck, decreasing my daily pain. It also helps me clear my lungs more efficiently because of the upright position. My standing schedule is fixed at this time. I stand twice a week for about 15 to 30 minutes. The amount of time I stand is determined by my blood pressure. It drops significantly while standing. My body is finally learning to compensate for the change from sitting to standing, now as soon as my blood pressure drops, it slowly begins to rise again. I am hoping to increase my standing time and number of uses per week.
I remember back when I was in the hospital after my accident. The nurses put me on a flat wooden board that they called a stander and strapped me in almost like a mental patient. Then they cranked me into an upright position. It was the most uncomfortable contraption ever. I wasn’t confident and my self-esteem was lowered while strapped in, lying on a board in an upright position for everyone to view. I knew there had to be something different out there; something that would allow me to stand with ease without feeling the way I had in the past. That’s when I came across the EasyStand Evolv. I had never seen anything like it before. I knew right away that I wanted to have one – no, I needed to have one. That’s when I began the process to bring the EasyStand Evolv stander home to me.
My stander was paid for by my County’s CAC waiver. There were many obstacles along the way before receiving my stander. I started the process about a year and a half ago. It first had to go through my insurance and was denied. The next step was to put it through Medical Assistance (MA), they also sent out a letter of denial. I held off on pursuing it because of the possibility of loss and disappointment. After a while I decided to ask the county to see if they could pay for it. They said yes! However, January 1, 2008 I switched insurance companies. That meant that before the county could pay for the stander they had to resubmit it to my new insurance company, get a denial, resubmit it to MA, receive another denial from them, and then go from there. Needless to say I finally got my stander paid for by the county and received it in October of this year. I have been standing ever since.
I believe standing is very important for independence, health, strength, self-esteem, goals, and daily activities. I am a very active quadriplegic, if that makes sense. I have a busy life. I have a physical therapist come to my house four days a week, 45 minutes each time. I also have a massage therapist that comes once a week for one hour. I am taking classes at a local community college with the hopes of becoming a motivational speaker. I also volunteer whenever possible and speak at local high schools and events telling my story. I’m an advocate for others with disabilities and an inspiration to those without. I also feel as though I am an inspiration to those who never thought they could stand. What I would like to say to those people is to never give up, believe in yourself and your dreams, and know that anything is possible. Hang in there and you too will be standing soon.
Learn more about Jenni on her blog, “The Site that Breathes“.