Living After Becoming Disabled

Last Update: July 04, 2015

This may sound like a strange subject, to those of you that have never experienced what it is like to go from a healthy normal person, to a dependent. Since this is now what I am going through I feel I can speak freely to those who are or feel that they are a burden to those around them!

It has been 4 1/2 years now since I woke up, unable to move my body as I always have. After a fun filled day of riding and working cattle. We went to bed at the usual time, around 10:00 pm. I woke up at 12:30 pm reached down to touch my leg and could not feel anything, I tried to sit up, but could not, reached over and shook my husband and ask him to get me an aspirin, "I think I am having a stroke" I told him. I heard him pick up the phone and call his daughter and tell her to call 911, that I thought I was having a stroke!

That was, Dec.19, 2010, those were my last memories, until around Jan. 5, 2011. I was told that I talked and visited with people that came to visit, etc. but for the life of me I have no memory of anyone or anything until Jan. 5, 2011. On Jan. 13, 2011 I was moved to a nursing home for rehab and went back to my home on the last Friday of April.

Now, I am telling you all of this just to lead up to the mental state of a disabled person, and I hope that you can gain some understanding of why they often say and do things that irritate you or unset you or sometimes make you think they are a bit on the crazy side. The truth is, I think most disabled people would agree that there are more than a few days in our lives that we do feel a little crazy.

About this time in the adventure into never-never land, family is in and out kids are hovering around, unable to imagine that they almost lost Mom. All of the extended family and others are trying to get ready for your great home coming. Making ready for that wheel chair and all of those extra things that go along with having a disabled person in the house, not easy, I assure you!

So comes the big day, you just can't wait. Of course you are fully aware that you are going to be moving to a room alone, so things will not be the same. You arrive, but things don't really feel the same. Your new room that you had fixed as a guest room, is now your room, but it does not feel like your room, you just feel as though something is missing.

You know what, part of you is missing and at this point you don't know what or why. As I said in the beginning it has been 4 1/2 years since all of this happened and I did not realize until this morning, when getting ready to go ride in a parade, just how much is missing.

I had a ring that you use to hold your scarf on. I had not seen this piece of jewelry since before my stroke, in fact I had completely forgotten about it. The jewelry box it was in was still in my husbands room, it had never made it to my room. Of course at this time in my life, going places and doing things has been cut to a minimum!

No one who has not been in this situation can even start to understand what it does to ones dignity to learn to ask for help, all of the time. Of course you can convince yourself that you are not going to bother people by asking for things. So you don't and when everyone is gone you try to do things on your own and many times it leads to even bigger problems, in case you fall etc. The thing is that the more you stay inside and do not go and visit and shop and get dressed up then the slower you become even if you spend a lot of time in a good rehab, which I highly recommend. In fact it is a must, the more you move the stronger you become.

You see I learned a very important thing today. By avoiding asking for or hiring a person to help me get my life back to as near normal as possible I was avoiding starting my life back again. That little piece of jewelry was part of me and who I am. I need all of me to be the real me. Yes I need help, yes it bothers me to need help, but it is a fact of life that I have to learn to live with. People as a rule are very willing to help a person that is in need of help and I think most realize that one day that could be them, and they are right, it could be.

My message to those in need of help, GET IT! Don't wait. When the medical problems are fixed to the point that, they send you home, jump in with both feet. Learn to do things you never thought you could do. Get as much of your personal belongings as possible and surround yourself with who you are. Get dressed up in your Sunday best as often as possible. The more you do, the stronger you will get, and the stronger you get the closer you will come to being the real you. May God lead you through that door to your new life. May God Bless.



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Larry_T Premium
Thank you, Sharon for telling us your story. I have medical issues but compared to you, I am blessed. I can only wish you the best and tell you how much of an inspiration you are to many of us out here who have issues that are dwarfed compared to yours. Hang in there Sharon, you are an inspiration.
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SamiWilliams Premium
Thank you Sharon for the view of your side of the story- We all need a peek at how it is from time to time- God bless and good luck.
Sami
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That is truly inspirational to me in more ways than I can type here!!
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Quincy17677 Premium
Dear Sharon,
Thank you so much for sharing your story and revelations. A few years ago, I ended up in the hospital icu with diabetic ketoacidosis on three occasions. During each of the first two times, I also had a heart attack. Up until those hospitalizations, I had my own law practice but I was sent to cardio rehab to recover from the heart attacks and to gain back the strength I had lost while in the hospital. That meant going to rehab daily and it meant that I could no longer keep up with my work although I really tried.. By the end of that year, I was so exhausted that I had to close my office. Many people offered to help but I was a stoic and believed I could do everything by myself and that I could deal with the depression I felt when I gave up my clients, let my paralegal go, and sold the furnishings and books from the office. When I finally realized, several months later,how I had withdrawn and isolated myself, I did get help. Without that, I am certain that I would not have come to WA and I would not have been "in the swim again." Your message is a strong one and very much appreciated.
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TonyRidgeway Premium
Sharon,

I understand your pain from a couple of perspectives. First, I suffer from something known as complicated migraines.

Basically, since I was 12 years old, I have had headaches that mimic "mini-strokes." They leave me paralyzed on half of my body for anywhere from 2 hours to 3 days.

On the other hand, I've been a nurse for a little over 4 years now, and I have helped to rehab many patients who have suffered from strokes.

With those things said, I wanted to wish you the best in your recovery, and also offer a piece of advice.

I know that you can often feel like a burden, but it is critical for you to ask for help while also trying to do as much as possible yourself. I have seen dozens of patients over the years do just that, and they are able to slowly do more themselves.

Your therapy is important, but you seem like a very strong willed person and I truly believe that with patience, determination, and acceptance of help, you can rebuild to a higher quality of life than you have dreamed of in the last few years.

Best wishes to you!
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