My Facebook Thoughts

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy New Year?

Time flies and the blog sits still.

I've been completely seduced by Facebook. I find my "extra" writing time being spent in FB having great "conversations" about everything with friends and family. Sometimes the "conversations" are deeper than the blue oceans or lighter than a helium balloon on Weight Watchers.

I need to write out some feelings though. Please bear with me. I'm doing this to clear my mind and not to seek attention. My blog has always been there for this purpose.

Friday was another test of my fortitude or something, I'm not clear what though.

I work from home everyday. I am alone in my house from 8AM until 3PM while my wife and son are at school. This is a big deal because I am disabled. One of the biggest goals or achievements for a disabled person is independence. About 19 years ago I cracked the code of independence.

I could go to the bathroom by myself. That's it.

That simple action allowed me to be left alone during the day. This has been great. Then something changed to threaten my independence. I started getting caught in situations where for one reason or another I would be stuck somewhere in my house unable to move. Sometimes it would be no big deal while other times it would be life threatening. Friday was of the latter.

Over the years I had learned from each mishap. I thought I had eliminated every possible scenario that could hurt me. I was wrong.

I have the most awesome wheelchair I have ever owned. I can tilt and recline the seat for maximum comfort and functionality. It has a comfy headrest that I use when I lean back to rest my head. I have slept in this chair while traveling on vacation. I've got buttons for power, tilting and reclining. For safety I have one set of buttons on long wires so that I can reach them wherever my limited motion can reach.

Friday while exiting the bathroom my tilt button accidently hit the door jam. This caused my chair to tilt back uncontrollably. Now because I had just gone to the bathroom so independently my headrest was in a near maximum reclined position. A safety feature of the chair is that if the chair is tilted or reclined too much the chair locks down and you can't move. When the tilt button was accidently hit the chair went into shut down mode, for my safety.

The sudden tilting threw my body backwards with my head leaning back and perched against the uncomfy bottom section of my headrest. The tilted angle was too much for me to reach my one free hand to my long wired buttons (remember, the ones for safety?). I have a second set of buttons on the right side of my chair. I thought I would attempt to reach them with my free hand. I made the move, but again the tilted angle was greater then the strength in my weakened arm could manage. It was at this moment I knew I was stuck. It was 10AM and I wasn't expecting anybody home until 3PM.

This situation is seriously bad for a few reasons.

1. The spot where I was stuck gets zero heat and my old house is like a sieve for air and Friday just happened to be the coldest day of the new year. All that for a man who needs a sweater when its 74 degrees.

2. Cold temps make me need to use that all important independence-granting bathroom. I don't think I need to elaborate this point.

3. When my head goes backwards, as it did, it makes it very difficult to swallow. You never realize how much saliva and phlegm you process daily until you can't swallow it. Trust me, it's a lot. So in order not to drown or suffocate I was forced to spit up on myself. If reason #2 wasn't enough to strip me of my dignity I'm sure glad fate gave me a backup plan.

4. PAIN! I am not a wimp when it comes to pain. I once went a week with a broken femur before we had it X-rayed. I once had a doctor operate on my toe with just a local. I once even went to a Rick Springfield concert. The pain Friday was like a vice. My head was resting against an unpadded steel edge of my headrest. The tilted angle was just perfect for me to rest directly on my tail bone. All the while the cold temps were knifing at my hands.

All those reasons made for a bad day. If it had been a once in a lifetime event I could live with that. This was the fourth time I have been in that extreme of a situation. The longest was six hours and Friday was five hours. In those hours you start talking. You, well at least I did, start talking to God. I asked Him, "Why me?" Why did I need to be tested with this situation? Why did I need to be challenged four times? Growing up disabled I can't really remember asking God, "Why me?" I often thought about the mathematical miracle that I should be disabled out of the billions of people who weren't. But these challenges I can't understand.

As time went by I realized my son was going to be home first. Fathers like to be pillars of strength to there children. I guess maybe sometimes I try too hard. My son misses out on some traditional father-son type activities. He never complains though. Sometimes he'll say,
"I wish you weren't in a wheelchair."
He's an awesome boy. Sure, he doesn't listen every time and sometimes you have to almost tie him down to do his homework, but most often he's awesome.

As soon as I heard him open the door I yelled for him. He was so amazingly calm and cool. He had to climb on top of me to reach the buttons. He saw all the spit and junk and said,
"I'm going to have to clean you up."
He was careful to unwedge my head so as not to cause me more pain. Finally, we were able to right the ship and I was able to get to a heater and the phone to call my wife. My son went and got paper towels and proceeded to wipe the gross mess I had to create. Not once did he complain. He asked me if the pain had gone away. My son is 7.5 years old, but at times I wonder if there is a older person inside him.

We were finally able to reach my wife. The timing was terrible as she had just finished school. Her cell phone wasn't on yet and our home phone has been full of static lately so the message we left her was nearly inaudible.

My wife is an awesome person as well. She's been the one to have to clean up after my disasters. I never think it is fair to her, but she never complains either. We fix the situation so it wont or can't happen again.

I still don't know why I, or my family for that matter, have to be challenged. Saturday my son helped me build a solution so this will never happen again. His original idea involved about 20 various spring activated switches that would position a phone to my hand and auto dial my wife's cell phone. Our final design was a casino card tether attached to my buttons on one end and to my wrist on the other.

I realize how great my family is, but not because of these stupid situations. I posted a little blurb on FB describing my frustrations and my friends and family have already started posting supportive comments. How cool are my friends and family.

Thanks for letting me type this out, it helped me. I know you didn't have read this far, but thank you for doing so. If you ever need an ear to talk to I'm here for you too.


P.S.
The Packer stink!
Go Bears!

6 comments:

Jim Valek said...

Mark, I'm so sorry for your ordeal. It must have been terrifying. Rick Springfield is just god-awful. I hope you've recovered.

Keri said...

OMG, Mark. I'm so sorry you had to go through that horrific ordeal. I know how bad the cold affects you, too, and I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to swallow. I really hope you never have to go through anything like this ever again. I do agree that Jimmy sounds like a really cool 7 1/2 year old boy...can't wait to meet him one of these days!
I'm so glad you're okay. :-)
Keri

P.S. I can honestly say I do enjoy a little Rick Springfield every now and then, though. Just a little confession for ya. I have others and you may learn of them in due time if you're interested.

karen lindsey said...

hello,
just came across your blog as i was going through the 'next blog' section blogspot has; it's always interesting to see what people are writing/ thinking about. so this episode was 6 months ago. but i thought i'd tell you how moving it was, and that i hope things are better now; and that i'm glad you have such a great wife and son.

Mark Ploch said...

Karen,

Thanks!

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