When It Rains a Raincoat Won’t Do.

In Mind, Body & Spirit, Pushing Forward by Daniel Early

So here I was with one month left before summer break from school, the dreaded finals drawing ever closer, my wheels were rolling right along, and I had that ever-growing desire for the dreamy and sunny days of summer until the horrid collapse of “western civilization as I knew it,” well maybe not that bad, but plenty tough enough for this ‘capable quad.’

The truth is, it wasn’t just raining on me, it was pouring and I needed to find a way to cope with it ALL.

In late May, and for no reason that

I could ascertain, it all starts off with a sore-throat, followed by the inevitable runny-nose, and then of course the coughing ensues, what we have here is the dreaded cold of late spring!

For me, being an eight-year post-accident quadriplegic who strives diligently to maintain his health [100+oz. H2O-daily/great exercise program/ample daily vitamin intake/near-sterile caregiver environment], was soon to realize just how bad the timing could be.

So, I went to my doctor and he prescribed an antibiotic that in combination with my previously mentioned daily routine cleared me up enough to return to school; or so I thought.

I live in an Adult Family Home (AFH) with four other guys in my age group [30’s, 40’s & 50’s, respectively] and we are all taken care of by an assortment of caregivers (CG). During the beginning of May, the main CG up and quit–no warning, no notice, and no explanation–just left us, so the owners had to scramble to find a quick-fix.

The remedy came in the form of two untrained teenagers who spent more time on their cell phones, than they did in the kitchen! In addition to these two ‘new adults,’ was a third gal in her forties who currently had three youngsters with colds. Although her kids were at home—their germs had made the trip.

The result, inevitably, had me reversing my plans to return to school; instead having to go to the local hospital for further treatment where I would languish for several days.

The hospital visit lasted five days and while I was at their mercy, the unthinkable happened. Somehow, during the transfer for a C.T. Scan [from the gurney to the table, and/or the other way around] my supra-pubic catheter became disconnected, and I was the only person to notice—45 minutes later back up in my room!

It’s a ‘no-brainer’ that my problems now, had escalated to a full-blown U.T.I. “Good thing that I didn’t have to worry about school”—Yeah, right…!!!

My teachers, who were both understanding and forgiving to my predicament, allowed me to turn in my assignments later than my fellow classmates.’ The domino-effect which resulted here, and coupled with my diminished mind of frustration and angst, did allow me to pass my classes,’ but with a personal worst and sacrificed G.P.A.

Next up on our poor-timing list was my two year-old power chair. The gel-seat gets a puncture which leaves me leaning sideways, and the power box keeps shorting itself out, all the while I’m trying to maneuver through: the campus, to and from medical appointments, and other common A.D.L.’s.

My wheelchair guy was on vacation and his temporary replacement knew more about the weather than he did about disability equipment. All of the ‘homemade sure-fixes’ which I would try and employ: towel placement for seat equilibrium, or my brother in-laws guidance for any mechanical solutions, and finally trying and failing to get a service loaner, were most sadly all, to no avail.

Ya know, being in a chair 24-7-365 with a quarter million other Americans sure isn’t easy, but when life gives us all—able bodies too—a mountain to climb, or an unforgiving hurricane to withstand, we need to dig deep within ourselves to find a way to endure.

For me, I have truly been blessed with wonderful parents and five other siblings, who have taken enormous amounts of their time, money and efforts, to see my through anything.

Along with these irreplaceable angels’ in my life, is my endearing belief in God. My steadfast belief that God; through His holy and marvelous networking of: His Son Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, All of the Angels & Saints, and us; His children here on Earth, leads me to believe that anything or task, can be overcome. It’s the simplicity of spiritual phrases like the one my wall that keeps me going forward, and says:

“Do Not Pray For an Easy Life, Instead Pray To Be a Strong Person”
The spring temperatures have now given way to the mid-summer heat and I have put my umbrella back in the closet; but it would seem to me, that I should’ve sought shelter in an enclosed stadium, or at least consulted my local weatherman’s crystal-ball, in order to fully comprehend the monsoon that would befall me.

I’ve learned quite a lot about myself during the exhausting ‘tour de Seattle,’ but the two most important things have to be: that my faith never wavered, and that you have to keep hope alive.