When I found myself a new quadriplegic in 1993, I was told the resources and equipment available to me were the best yet. And they were…for 1993. But that was 18 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. People finding themselves injured now have access to so much more, from better treatment options when they’re first hurt to amazing new wheelchairs and other devices (like amped up standing frames) that take mobility to new heights. And this blog you’re reading is an example of the biggest thing new injuries have – the internet.
The internet can do so much. It can be the best library in the world on spinal cord injury information, giving people access to the best articles, news pieces and medical journals available. And the amazing videos that are out there now
on sites like these, everyone is making them, are like the best OT in the world. Educating new injuries on everything they need to know about their new bodies and showing them all the awesome stuff they can still do, and how to specifically do it.
And then there’s the social aspect of the internet, being able to meet people going through the same thing, gain advice, insights, new friendships, be inspired. Sure, all the cool new gadgets that are available now are incredible, like the arm implants that help people move their fingers again to iPads and 4x drive chairs that get quads and paras out in the wilderness independently. But the internet, oh the internet, is 100% pure gold.
I was SO in the dark after my injury. All I had were some pamphlets and the number of a local woman who’s been paralyzed for years. That’s it. “Ok, let’s see how we’re going to do this…” I told myself, and I made it work. I was alone in dealing with it and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had no hope for a happy life the first two years and was deeply depressed. If I had had the internet, life sure wouldn’t have felt so hopeless. I know that for a fact.
Despite all the great things that are available present day, don’t fool yourself, it’s still difficult getting used to living with a permanent disability. Even if you’re a billionaire and have everything you need, getting used to being IN a body that is paralyzed is arduous and takes years. Can’t chocolate-coat in. BUT at the very least anyone who is injured now, like paralyzed high school hockey player Jack Jablonski, don’t have to make it through the wilderness alone. They’ll be better at moving on, and that is priceless.
Newly injured – what resources do you find most useful? Wheelchair vets – do you agree with the awesomeness of the new technology that is available?