As I was sitting at the dealership waiting for my van to be serviced I was texting back and forth with one of my friends. She was on her way to bring me lunch. Unfortunately, right as my van came, I had to text her and let her know I could not meet her because I needed to get home to use my own bathroom. Ah the woes of a life after a spinal cord injury.
Driving home I am now thinking about how am I going to get on the commode myself. I have not been able to do that in the eight months since I was diagnosed with generalized Myasthenia Gravis. David is at work, my older son is at his summer job, and I haven’t had my attendant come in months.
By the time I arrive home, I have a plan. I park my van in my garage and go inside my bedroom where I grab my super light sliding board. I get an old pillow case and slip it over the sliding board. I proceed to the commode, and make sure my charged cell phone is in a reachable spot, should something go wrong. I tug on my pants and use the board to slide on the commode. The motion should be easy because it is "downhill." The therapists trained me at the rehab facility to think critically in situations like this. I have also been using this same method to get on my bed from my power wheelchair.
Now that I'm here, the problem is going to be getting back up. I am hoping that I am going to be able to do it.
Unfortunately my wheelchair isn’t able to go any lower than it is, so I decide I will go one scoot at a time. This way, I am not fatiguing my arms, and putting the majority of the pressure on my hips. I put the board that still has the pillowcase over it under my hip and place my hand on the far side handle bar of my power wheelchair. I pull myself up and over the board, put my hand on the board itself, push my hips on to the board, and then up on to the cushion of my wheelchair. I pull myself from the handle bar until I am completely positioned on my chair, pull my sliding board out from under me, and pull my other handle bar down. I make my way to my bed and slide on to it to fix my pants.
I did it! I have reached another milestone since regaining my independence all over again after this new diagnosis.
Whle refelcting on this small victory, I reflect on this whole journey. After being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, I was more equipped on an emotional level to handle the struggles and changes coming in my life than I was after my spinal cord injury - because of my spinal cord injury. I have also incorporated spiritual healing into my routines, inlcuding yoga, balancing meditation and hypnosis (which I read has a good success rate in helping with recovery from Myasthenia Gravis.) Lately, I have not had any problems with my speech or vision, and I am noticing a decrease in the side effects from my medications. I am at the point again where I no longer need to have help with my own self-care and grooming. I am even cleaning my house (though I have a wonderful lady that will come whenever I call her to assist!) I know each day is a new day of achieving and accomplishing - such as washing an impossible dish, working on my books and blogs for an extended amount of time, or picking my son up from his learning center for the first time in eight months!
Life is going to throw us curve balls, but it is up to us to decide if we are going to get angry, and use our energy on that anger, or alternatively, use these moments to figure out how we can achieve goals we ultimately wanted in the first place. I chose freedom, and that’s what I call a victory!