Living After Becoming Disabled
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.