We needed help with something here where we live so we called Marissa to see if she'd come over to give us a hand. She arrived with the girls in tow and she and Joe set about doing what needed to be done. We would not have needed help if I wasn't a wheelchair user, but I am. This used to bother me. Not any more. People need help all the time. I need it much less than people think I do and sometimes much more than I'd rather. I wonder if we all have complicated relationships with being helped, probably so.
While they were doing that the girls and I went out to play basketball. We live on a circle, a little roundabout, with a basketball hoop set up at the edge of the circle. So we went out and tossed the ball around a bit. Then we set about shooting for a basket. We play a game. You shoot until you get a basket and then you count the number of baskets you get in a row. The one with the highest number of baskets is the winner. I never win, but I'm not always last. Since I was horrible at the sport in the school, I feel great victory when I score.
Another thing I do is time the girls, one at a time, running around the circle while dribbling the ball. Sadie didn't feel like doing that this time. Ruby did it in 17 seconds.This time for the first time, I wanted to try, sans dribbling of course, and it took me 50 seconds. I pushed hard and some of it was downhill.
After a while Joe and Marissa came out to join and I asked if someone would walk with me as I pushed over to the sidewalk and then up to the lights and then back along the running path to the entrance to where we live. I am planning a very long push in a couple of weeks and I wanted to see how I managed on the terrain. The uphill was a bit of a struggle, one that I was left alone to have, but I made it.
Why am I telling you this?
When I was first disabled and we had to call for help because I wasn't able to assist Joe with something, I went dark. Very dark. I felt useless. I felt unnecessary. I felt the weak link in the relationship. I hated it. Sometimes, depending on what the help needed was, it could affect me for days. I found it hard to make peace with interdependency even though I preached it in the lectures I gave. I wasted so much time.
Yesterday we needed help. We asked for it. While it was happening I played basketball. We were laughing, urging each other on, and competing hard to win.
I didn't come close to winning.
I came last.
But, this time, in life, I came first.
My iphone makes it hard to comment, so I'm taking advantage of being on my desktop computer at home to tell you how much I value all your posts.
Like you I had a background of working with people with disabilities before I became disabled. This helped me as I had a fairly positive view of disability and I knew that I would be ok. But I still grieved what I had lost, and that was so much more than being able to walk unaided. Not being able to do something you used to be able to do does not feel good, and having to ask someone else to do that thing for you? It makes me feel weak and useless. Even though I know that there are 100s of things I can still do, some of which my partner can’t do at all, I still feel like crap having to ask him to do something that is easy (if you can walk or stand). I deal with it better now than I did 6 years ago, but it still bothers me some of the time. You are further into your disability journey than me, so I am relieved to hear that it will continue to get easier and soon it won’t be an issue,
And here's where my experience veers from Dave's in one significant way - I am 42 and have been the same height I am since I was 9, what with my genetic condition and a very necessary surgery that halted my growth at that time. And before THAT I spent way too much time with orthopedists to think I was physically like my peers anyway though I don't remember it being an issue. I have never experienced NOT being different even if how I think about said differences has changed drastically over the years.
And it's still really f****** hard to accept necessary help sometimes. Especially as I've started on occasion needing more than I would have earlier in adulthood which is my only baseline for change regarding help. It makes such a difference in how help is offered and/or given - if it's in a spirit of "my fellow human needs some extra help" it's not hard. If it's "poor little thing, of course I should help her out!" it's horrid.
If I ask for help, you can be assured that I REALLY need it, because I know my body and my limits.
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