Another day dawns and another days news. I have noticed a repetitive thread within local and national reports – if the subject includes key words such as disability, spinal cord injury (SCI) or wheelchairs – the common issue highlighted is lack of access. As many media reports focus on this aspect of life regarding disability, the general public might think that this is all people with disabilities have to say and that saddens me as there is so much good stuff! Continue reading
Spinal cord injury (SCI) isn’t a game but in an analogy it would be the snakes and ladders board game played in my childhood. Considering SCI there can be more snakes to slip and slide down than helpful ladders when manoeuvring towards a goal. The best ladder for us has been establishing some mentors. Our mentors are experienced carers and wheelchair users, they shed light on some complexities and the shortcuts that help life roll a little more smoothly. Mentoring is another word for friendship with a practical aspect to conversations, someone to bounce an idea off, someone to ask, someone to confide in or share in a joke.
Relaxation can be the last thing we think about during our busy day but crucially important for us all. Without a moment to remember ourselves within the daily routine we can loose perspective. Relaxation readjusts my psyche so that I am calmer and surprisingly more energised.
So here I am at the Singapore Grand Prix. I know nothing about cars and absolutely nothing about F1 but I am addicted to the noise, the shiny roller skate vehicles and the extreme speed. I think there is some thing raw about watching powerful cars race. I surprise myself by loving F1 and yet I couldn’t recall any detail of our family car.
My youngest daughter is 21 years old. We hosted a celebration lunch for her. I am not a professional chef so quite unprepared for the demands of event catering. I figured out the quantities to cook, some mathematical assistance from Martha was required! And just as I conquered the measurements I realised I won’t have to cater for such large numbers any time soon. The experience reminded me of Martha’s HSC year – just as I got the hang of the examination stress, trials and revision schedule it was all over. I suppose this dawns on every parent with their last babe. Just as we perfect our supportive roles our children leave the nest.
It is a good thing that we are delivered babes that grow slowly, whose needs change subtly so as parents we adapt and manage accordingly. No-one can be totally prepared for life as that would be preposterous as well as dull. Everyone has to learn, grow and adapt to meet the life that evolves around them, revising aspects throughout their lifespan, on the hoof! Revising a recipe for a family celebration is fun, revising life’s goals after a SCI is devastating and more challenging but achievable and deserving of celebration just like any other life success.
Martha’s 21st celebrations made me reflect on Emily’s 21st party, we had no idea that 18 months later Emily would be quadriplegic. If we had any insight into the future would we alter our life’s course to avoid harm and accidents and would we live life to the full? I am glad we can’t read the future as it enables us to push boundaries, experience exhilaration and expand ourselves without being totally consumed by fear of the approaching twists and turns of our life-time. Yes we risk injury but life demands we cross the road, we drive cars, we dive into cooling pools and enjoy the exhilaration of snow skiing.
I pushed myself to host Martha’s 21st and prepare the quantities required for our guests – I decided early on to over-cater rather like Christmas. I enjoyed trying to rise to the catering challenge and I see that this trait runs in the family whether party food or SCI recover. No-one is prepared for these one-off events so I aim to exert myself to the challenge and endeavor to enjoy party catering just as I facilitate Emily’s SCI recovery.
September is SCI awareness month, it is difficult to make people aware of spinal cord injury as it’s usually traumatic, unpredictable and quite unimaginable. SCI is difficult to contemplate or be prepared for. Even if I advised everyone to lay still for a while and imagine not being able to move, after a time you’d get up and put the kettle on. SCI awareness is a challenge as uniquely incomprehendible so I blog with the aim of showing an insight into our lives and making people aware that life goes on and there is hope and happiness with disability. I’d like to make more people aware that wheelchair users are regular individuals – see the individual not the disability. That’s being aware!