...sitting in a wheelchair is not the end of the world.
It’s different, for sure, and it’s BADLY misunderstood, but it doesn’t mean that your life is at an end.
Yes, my life was different when I could walk well. But those walking well days came to an end, and it reached a point when every step was a struggle. I was a prisoner of what my legs were able to do, and that sucked.
Then I got my first lightweight, rigid frame wheelchair. Not one of those old, heavy, fold up the middle, footplates falling off, rattles when you move, nursing home models -- a shiny, purple, sleek, swift, goes-15 feet-on-one-push sporty model made by people who sit in wheelchairs for people who sit in wheelchairs.
It took me less than five seconds after sitting down to realize I was FREE!
First thing we did was go to the mall. I covered all three levels, under my own power, "walking" next to my husband. I had never done that with him before.
From there, we just went. First stop, Las Vegas, where we got married. No pics, though -- I was on steroids at the time, had moon face (in which your face swells and looks like a full moon cartoon), and weighed about 50 pounds more than I was used to, so I vetoed any photos.)
From there, we went to Disney World, and London, and back to Vegas, and then Kauai, and then St. Thomas to snorkel. The year after that, we moved to the USVI. Not one of your Top 10 (or Top 1000) accessible islands, but who cares? Life is for the adventurous!
We haven’t been on vacation since -- not for any reason except where do you go when you already live in Paradise (and have a dozen cats you need someone to take care of when you’re gone? ~lol~)
I may prefer being healthy, but you know what? I’m not. So I deal with it, I make the best of it, and I find ways to do what I need to do. It’s not the end of the world, or the end of my world.
What’s hardest, for me, is listening to people tell me (indirectly, of course) that they’d rather die than be me, or that their greatest fear is becoming me. I know logically that it’s fear of the unknown speaking, but what statements such as "I’d rather be dead than use a wheelchair" make me think and how they make me feel are two different things. They make me feel bad, They make me feel angry. I mean, how would it make you feel if someone looked at one tiny piece of your life and said, to your face, "Geez, I’d rather be dead than be you." Not good, right?
So the next time you’re tempted to say, "I’d rather be dead than X" stop and take a good look at your life. Wouldn’t you rather roll into the stadium to see your kid score that winning touch down than not be there at all? Hopefully, the answer to that question will make you understand why my life looks, on most days when the pain isn’t too bad, pretty darn good to me. Different, for sure.
But as the Arby’s commercials say, Different is Good. At least to me.