WHO, WHAT, and HOW vs. WHY? (Now there’s a vague heading)

WHO, WHAT, and HOW vs. WHY? (Now there’s a vague heading)

I suppose this first one’s for me. I’ll take it.

Like every other wisdom-toting, hot-shot twenty-five year old, I have a story to tell. Perhaps coincidentally, as I find myself approaching the 6 year mark of paralysis (having confessed my spinal cord injury testimonial to sweet little old ladies, church prayer circles, pseudo-concerned college professors, and awkward first date subjects ad nauseam) I also find myself stumbling upon a platform. Regardless of its size or prominence, I have a platform. Not a platform of authority, reverence, or of fortuitous counsel (not yet the wheelchair-yoda I aspire to one day be), but one of interested and empathetic eyes that I may have never been privileged to reaching otherwise. Read more

I Can’t Compete with the ‘Super-Quads’

I Can’t Compete with the ‘Super-Quads’

It all started with Tom. He was the recreation therapist at the rehabilitation facility I was living at. He was also a complete C5-6 quadriplegic and roughly 20 years older than me. I was 19 when I knew him, which put him around 39 years old, and despite nearing 40, Tom by far was the most independent and strongest quadriplegic I had ever met. Read more

4 Ways to Chop Veggies When You Can’t Move Your Fingers

4 Ways to Chop Veggies When You Can’t Move Your Fingers

“But but…what about the chopping part?” I asked my OT nervously as I sat in the rehab kitchen while an inpatient at rehab 18 years ago. She didn’t have a ton of options to give me back then, except to use a quad cuff (a sturdy piece of plastic that Velcros to the hand) to insert a “normal” knife or, or to use my tenodesis splint (see here for more). Ug. Read more

The Stigma of Chronic Pain

I’ve touched on the stigma of chronic pain in an article previously, as well as the “Super Crip” complex that I’m desperately trying to rid myself of. I have yet to address the stigma of taking medication for said pain though. So many people do not understand how spasticity works. Hell, I’m still learning about my disability and I’ve lived in this body for twenty-six years now. I have had to turn down Vicodin, and many other medications due to my own fear of becoming too reliant on these medications and leading down a dangerous path. I have some family members that talk about “Big Pharma” and preach yoga as though it is the be all, end all, neglecting to remember that I take over five medications every day to function as my truest self. One who is relatively free of pain, and happy. I know that my loved ones mean well, but it’s rather insulting. They fail to understand that while I agree some prescription medications are pushed onto patients with too little thought, medication, physical therapy, yoga, and meditation can and do coexist rather peacefully within my life. Read more

How to Tell the Story of Injury, From a Writer's Perspective

How to Tell the Story of Injury, From a Writer’s Perspective

If you’d seen me just after my boyfriend’s SUV crashed into a tree and destroyed two of the vertebrae in my spine, you probably wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. I’d been lying across the backseat, sleeping, when the car slipped on ice and began hydroplaning across I-495 E in upstate New York. I was lying in the exact same position when I came to some seconds later, chest feeling tight but no sign of injury otherwise.   Read more

Blood Clots and Spinal Cord Injuries

Blood Clots and Spinal Cord Injuries

Blood clots are a serious complication that can arise from dealing with a spinal cord injury. I suffered from two recently and I need to take blood thinners because they are a reoccurring issue for me personally. Blood clots are especially dangerous in paralyzed patients because we are numb. We are not always aware that a physical problem such a blood clot or a pressure sore is developing due to a lack of sensation in the affected area. Standing can help to promote better circulation in the legs and may lower your long term risks of developing blood clots in your legs. Read more

Autonomic Dysreflexia – My Friend, My Foe

Autonomic Dysreflexia – My Friend, My Foe

There are times in life where you can do nothing but respond to what’s happening to you. Things just happen no matter how much you plan. You’re not God for crying out loud. And one big thing that many people with spinal cord injuries try to avoid from happening to them is autonomic dysreflexia; one of the nastiest side effects of being paralyzed. Read more

Pneumonia in SCI Patients

Pneumonia in SCI Patients

Pneumonia! The leading cause of death for spinal cord injury sufferers! Yes, the leading cause of death! That should be enough of a reason to take prevention and treating of this illness with the utmost seriousness. Read more

How to Survive the Winter Blues

How to Survive the Winter Blues

Soon, winter will be upon us and for a lot of us with disabilities, that means a decrease in the ability to go out due to mobility strains or health concerns and occasionally a mixture of the two. This can be a very isolating time for some. This is how I’ve been able to cope with the winter blues and shift of weather, some of them may seem like a given, but I hope that they can be of some help to you. Read more