In my last post I informed everyone that we were going to organize a 5K Fun Run/Walk for October 24, 2009 at Canyon View City Park, here in Grand Junction, CO. That event is undergoing the initial planning review, but it is going to happen, we just have to work out the bureaucratic details before we announce it publicly and begin advertising. Right now it is just Kathy and I, along with a couple of close friends and family, but we are going to need help from a lot of people. As far as the race itself goes, we need a race director, (someone who can keep every thing focused and moving forward, and also has some previous race experience, we don’t know spit!), people to help with registration, race marshalls to help keep the participates on the course and provide time details to the runners, individuals to record the finishers’ times and placement at the finish line, a race starter/announcer, door-prize announcer, and all the other volunteers needed to put on a race. Suggestions on what we need would be greatly appreciated.
Next. We need volunteers to organize the door-prizes. This would entail getting the door-prizes donated from individuals and businesses. I hope we can get cool things like; whitewater raft trips, time-share vacations, health club memberships, sporting goods, services (like massages, facials, chiropractic adjustments, spas, car care, house-painting, plumbing-heating/cooling, etc), golf prizes, guided fishing trips-hunts, gift certificates, art, pottery, wine tours, ski passes/equipment. You name it, we want to be able to give it away, If you have connections that could help us obtain door-prizes, we want your help, please! It is going to take a lot of effort and help to bring this off. We also need sponsors to donate goods, services, and help pay the associated costs of putting this event on. If you can help, please contact me at; 970-241-4595. Whatever you can do would be greatly appreciated. We are not very organized at this time, but it will come together with your help. Do what you can to help us out. Thanks.
The other fund raiser we were going to do, through Facebook, is still moving forward too. Right now the people developing it, Nattana Johnson and her people at Monument Graphics, are finalizing the details of how to stage this Internet cyber-fund raiser. I can’t give you details because I don’t know squat. Even if I knew, I probably won’t understand how this is going to happen, too computer illiterate. Kathy, is going to have to post these details. She is very sharp and computer savvy. I do think it is going to be awesome when it happens, so when I know more I’ll let everyone know what’s happening. Stay tuned.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me about my injury and when I accepted the fact that I was going to be a paraplegic the rest of my life. Also in that conversation, I was asked about hope, and any false hopes I suffered, and what they meant to me. After I reread what I’d written to my friend, I thought that maybe I should post those thoughts here, letting everyone read them so that maybe I could provide some insight into what it means to me to be paralyzed and my hopes for our future, so here are my comments to my friend. “You asked about a pivotal moment where I arrived at acceptance of my situation and I told you it was when I regained consciousness in the ICU and saw my family standing there around my pivoting bed. At that moment i accepted the circumstances of my situation and resolved to do whatever was necessary to get out of that bed and become a functioning member of society again. The driving force behind my resolve was to provide for my family, to go back to work and perform the job duties I loved even though I was paralyzed. I would prove to the world that I could still do the job I did before the accident and provide for my family as I did before my accident. “
“Until I met you and saw the changes you experienced from your first trip to India, I never allowed myself to have hope. To look into the future and see the possibility that things could change if I had the courage to try was an abstract concept, unacceptable to my logical mind. Before I was resigned to the fact that this was my life and I just had to make the best of the circumstances surrounding my condition. If I allowed myself to have hope, it could only be crushed by the bureaucratic red tape surrounding our health care industry. An industry consumed with the concept of profit, not in helping people, but where everything is about the almighty dollar and nothing else. Therefore, I never allowed myself to be self indulgent and contemplate a situation where I could improve my quality of life. Not just for myself, but for my wife and family. I am extremely lucky to have a spouse, Kathy, who has stood by me and supported me. Providing for our family when I was unable to and helping keep our family unit from deteriorating under the stress brought on by my injury and society’s burdens placed upon us because of the stigma of being a paraplegic. Kathy picked me up when I fell and pointed me forward when I didn’t have the strength or courage to help myself. Without Kathy and our children, Megan and Kari, my life would have ended years ago.”
“I am also extremely lucky in that I have a job which allowed me to continue working even though it burdened my co-workers with covering for me because of my physical limitations. To be able to still perform the job duties that I loved has been a god send to me. Without being able to go to work and feeling good about what I am doing, I would be but an empty shell of a man. Unfortunately, not many people with SCI’s can re-enter the work place and work at jobs that aren’t menial. I also returned to college and obtained a two year Associate of Science Degree, fulfilling a life long dream.”
“I think I’ve explained what acceptance is for me. It is unique for every one, you know this. Hope means exactly that, having the ability to hope that things can change for the better, regardless of the circumstances. Without hope and dreams we are nothing, empty. I don’t think I have, or have had, any false hope, ever. I’m too much of a realist to allow myself the luxury of false hope. I have too many other things to have to deal with than to waste my time, efforts, and well-being with false hopes. False hope is for people who can’t accept reality and want to live where they don’t have to face the truth of their situation. These people make excuses for not trying to make the best of the hand life has dealt them, thus they don’t live their lives to the fullest of their abilities, dragging down all of those around them. How does one live with both? You just have to do what you can on any given day. Getting out of bed and facing each and every day, making the best of each. Accepting that you are doing the best you can, and taking chances in order to try and be happy. I don’t know how to do any thing except to try and move forward, day by day, and accept what God has in store for me. I do try to make my own luck, but there are circumstances beyond my control, so I just accept the fact that I tried.”
“Maybe I’ve given you a glimpse of the kind of man I am, and my philosophy on life. We are who we are, we can’t change that. Would you really want to? The only thing I would do differently, if given the opportunity, is to go back and never put myself in the situation which caused my paraplegia. This would allow me to not subject my family to the circumstances surrounding my injury, condemning them to the life we now live. There are so many things that we had hoped for in our lives together, Kathy and I. Now some many of them are not obtainable, period. There are things you just can’t do, and places you can’t go, being paralyzed.” That is the essence of my conversation with my friend. It is what it is. This life is not an easy one, but all lives have tragedy in them. I just move forward each and every day, I can’t do any more than that.
The rest of my time has been dedicated to continuing my therapy, forcing my body to relearn it’s ability to walk and go to the bathroom. We have tried walking with one of those 4-wheeled walkers with the hand brakes. It was extremely hard to get upright as the built-in bench hits me right in the knee and I can’t hoist my body upright without some support from the rear. Once up, trying to get the walker to move forward, stop it, and take a step is extremely tiring. Every time I push it forward, my lack of balance pulls it back. After working at it for a while I could move the walker forward when I’d stepped with my left foot with no problems, but when it came time to extend the walker forward off the right foot, my coordination seemed to evaporate. I felt like a fish out of water, almost too afraid to move because of my poor balance. I can only hope there will be improvements if we continue doing this otherwise I’m all for staying with the walker. Whew! All of this maneuvering did cause me to remain standing for longer periods of time than if we had been using a walker. This is good and I’ll accept the progress for what it is. By the time my hour was up I was soaked and glad for the reprieve. God, my progress is slow. Sometimes there are tangible results, but at other times,it seems like we regress. Maddening. Patience hell, I want to be able to stand and take steps without my arms wanting to fall off from the pressure and pain, and pee when the pressure in my bladder tells me I need to. I look forward to going back to India in January for more stem cell treatments, Maybe this is what my body needs to make that one little connection that will make some thing click, making my efforts less tiresome and lead to further progress. I can only hope and pray it will happen.