Rolling Without Limits

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On the Verge of Normal
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On the Verge of Normal

This post is inspired by an article I read this morning by my friend Erika Bogan. She talked about the differences between acquiring your disability, or being born with it. She acquired hers.

Naturally, I had been drawn to this topic as I have always had varying degrees of disability. As a kid, I felt as though I was on the verge of 'NORMAL.' One more therapy session or the next operation wouldl do it, and then I’d be able to walk like everyone else. I learned how to walk short distances (from one counter across to the other counter) I’d walk around the room (Inside of course) showing off my skills and at one point; I was using one “old lady” cane. I previously had been using two, since they weaned me off my amazing rolling walker. Gosh I loved that thing! I was faster than any of my gimpy friends in school, ah memories!

I could control the way I walked if holding on to something steady and thinking really hard. I always say it was like I was preparing for the Olympics, but it was just my life. I wanted to walk; I knew what I was missing, and since I had always felt as though I was hovering on the verge of normal, I kept trying.

Imagine my horror when I started regressing. Losing everything one bit at a time, little by little, strength, balance and the back pain that I had always had, which would go away if I rested had turned into a chronic condition. It wouldn’t be long until I had chronic pain everywhere and my gait that wasn’t great turned into a very ugly stagger like a serious drunk trying to walk some place.

To put it in perspective my decline started at age fourteen after my last surgery. You can imagine how awesome high school was with the decline getting worse with each passing day. Doctors say they don’t know what happened, maybe one too many surgeries or my body just got tired of fighting but whatever it was, by the time I turned nineteen, I was living with serious chronic pain, and the owner of my very own wheelchair. Oh joy!

I was depressed and angry but then I realized that life was starting to take a turn I didn’t expect. Boys started asking me out, and I could go out with my friends without being in so much pain and the fatigue that had taken over my life.

I still feel like the little girl on the verge of normal some days, most days it’s a struggle just to stay pain free. I've embraced my wheelchair “chariots of fire." We’ve made peace over the years but something inside me still feels that I’m on the verge…


You can read Erika's story here


Leave a Comment

  1. Wheelzup
    I can see the dilemma between those who were born with a disability and those who acquired their disability of which is where I fall in this world. I can recall talking with a newly injured gentleman several years ago and he asked me how long ago was it that I broke my neck? I thought for a moment and told him 21 years and for some reason it dawned on me that my injury happened when I was still 21 so putting two and two together I realized at that moment I had spent half my life as an able-bodied young man and the other half needing a wheelchair and many different types of adaptive equipment just to get my days started. I never took anything for granted when it came to my disability, I'd try just about anything at least once unless I wanted to be able to do it really bad like going boating, camping, and fishing again. I guess part of that determination was instilled upon me from being raised on a farm when everything we did was not guaranteed to be profitable. All through my rehab, nearly 11 months, I set my sights on getting back to what I knew the farm despite knowing I would not walk or have complete use of my arms and hands again. Farmers are a different lot, always optimistic finding that silver lining and just moving forward learning from our mistakes. I did as my PT and OT asked and I actually got back out on the tractor again and what I learned in doing that carried over to learning how I could do my favorite activities. I guess you could say that the newly injured guy woke me up and realized that taking things in life for granted isn't an option. You make it what it is for yourself. I'm in my 50's now and still feel pretty young, as if I forgot what it's like to grow old but hey since I haven't grown old yet I haven't experienced it yet and don't know what to expect.
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  2. Tara Richardson
    Tara Richardson
    Thank you for sharing Wheelzup.
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