Thursday, November 13, 2008

What do I miss about life before my injury?

In the last couple of months people have asked me what I miss about my life before my injury. The answer is everything! How could I not miss things, it changed everything about how I thought my future would turn out. I miss not being able to just get up and go. I can still get up and go, but it is more like get up and in a little while I will go. If you add all the transfers I have to do in and out of my wheelchair and extra personal care, it adds time to my day. I am not trying to be negative just honest because it is the truth. I wasn’t born with a disability, I sustained one when I was 17 years old. I miss things that we all take for granted when we are used to having it. When you all of a sudden wake up one day and realize you can’t walk it is life changing. I missed out on my senior year of high school. I missed out on being co-captain of my soccer team. I missed out on my dream of becoming a nurse, but who knows even if that would have happened. I was young and could not predict how my future was going to turn out, and no one else can either.

My disability impacted so many aspects of my life, and something that I miss the most is being able to talk to someone eye to eye. It is hard to carry on a conversation with someone when they are a lot taller. I miss my family because I chose to move away from where I grew up to get away from the snowy winters. I miss the friends I grew up with and seeing them now having kids. I miss the fact that it is not as easy for me to just have a baby. I know I can have a baby and have thought about it a lot, but my body has already been through so much. That is why I would love to adopt a child someday. I miss being able to get to know someone easily without having the conversation always turn to my disability. I miss just being in the crowd and not always being looked at because of my wheelchair. I miss not being able to feel my legs. So here are some answers to the question people have asked me about what I miss about my life before I was injured. Now let me tell you what I have gained because of my injury.

Being injured at 17 years old, I was already in a transition period in life and not settled into college, marriage, children or a career. I could plan the rest of my life around my disability. When someone sustains an injury later in life the results have not always been good. Unfortunately, I have seen these injuries cause divorce, or a disruption in their careers. I have also seen many good things come out of it as well because when something traumatic happens it can bring family and friends closer together. After my car accident I really found out who my true friends were. My life is still not as I imagined it would be, but at 32 years old I think that is normal. Disability or not, I think I can still relate to many women that don’t have a disability. There is such thing as a biological time clock and I have felt mine ticking. If marriage and kids are in my future that is great, but I will not plan my life around it and I will not settle. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. What I will do instead is live my life now and not stress about the future. That is one thing I am not sure I would have ever learned before I was injured. I can really appreciate the saying in life, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!” The life lessons that my injury has taught me is to live for today, enjoy what you have because you never know what might happen tomorrow.

Tammy Wilber
~Remembering to stop and smell the roses~


Nicole said...

Im a C7 quad and I completely agree:) you were being real no negative:) I'm so proud of your accomplishment :) You rock girl

ELHAM said...

what you said is so beautifully put & so realastic..
wish u all the best!

sahar said...

I loved it.

Elaine said...

As a disabled person with a progressive disability, I think the most important thing you have said, of course, is that we have to live in the NOW. That is everyone's life lesson, really, ablebodied or not.

What do I miss, something new with every passing week, month, year...and then a reprieve...after nine years full-time in a chair...a new medication and a bounce back to a life where I am "passing" - sometimes people can't tell that I am neurologically impaired so I am a ghost between the two worlds. I'm like a person of mixed race - not fitting into either culture any more....hmmm...