77 minutes | Jan 13, 2021

A Life-Changing Moment

Great way to find a husband? Bed shopping. Teaching in the time of COVID (in Arizona). It's okay to be different. In a wheelchair for 20 years (not thinking she'd make it through the first year). Serving as an example to her students in what can be achieved. Going from an independent 15-year-old to feeling like a 15-month-old. Rebuilding brick by brick. Challenges of being a new teacher (it's never a 40-hour workweek). Nothing "is what it is". Taking "I can never" out of her students' vernacular. Growing up instantly after the accident. Evaluate challenges for what they are (hold onto the lesson; let the emotional shit go). Inside Out. Mental noise. Learning patience and perseverance. Brain injury, spinal shock, induced coma and two months in rehab relearning everything. Constantly tired for two years. Patient teachers/cheerleaders. Showing her students that people in wheelchairs are equal. Family patience and trauma. The energy it takes to have a disability. Women are amazing. Technology and vehicle are big help in getting access to the world. Expense of disability ($10k for a manual wheelchair). Clothing—learning what works. Listening to vinyl. Love/hate relationship with disability. Inability to regulate body temperature. Intentional in what one does because of the time and energy involved. Forty-five minutes to get ready/dressed, one hour for makeup. Travelling. Going downhill backwards.  The pain-in-the-ass (and expense) of renting a car (getting stuck with a minivan). Hating the word "handicap".  Not a whole lot of accessible taxis. Shoulders going to shit (eventually).  Having to "prove" your disability in Phoenix. Abusing the system. DON'T PARK IN THE HANDICAP SPOT. People don't think about how long it takes a person with a disability to do something. DON'T USE THE HANDICAP STALL IN THE BATHROOM, do not pee on the seat, flush the toilet and it's not your changing room. DON'T USE THE HANDICAP CHANGING ROOM. Cost of modifying vehicle (a $100k minivan?!?). Mentoring with her mom. Wheelchair rugby/murderball. Empowerment of playing sports. Grief with acquiring and managing a disability. Being non-traditional. Thriving outside of the home. Being a doer.  Finding your fit. Being treated like a person. A wonderful son. Loving her little family.

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