Two years later…

Yesterday was my two year anniversary of being in the wheelchair. Two years ago today I was miserable in the hospital, spaced out on pain killers. Trying to make sense of the fact that my legs weren’t working. This year’s anniversary has hit me a lot harder than last years. Last year I was high on the hope that I still had a chance for recovery. That this was all a major inconvenience and someday I’d laugh about what I went through as I tried to remember what it was like to be in a wheelchair. But this year’s anniversary it’s hit me that this is all permanent. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I have to be realistic now and know that no matter how hard I try, there’s nothing I can do to get my nerves back to work. It’s not a muscle you can rehabilitate or something you can train back into working. It’s something you just deal with.

That’s tough.

This is my life now. Running out to the store involves having to load and unload my wheelchair. Taking a flight involves me having to transfer onto a narrow little aisle chair and strapped in like a belligerent inmate. Being invited to a party involves me having to ask friends if there are obstacles like a step or high threshold and asking them to measure their doorways. “Now, the bathroom doorway is 28 inches including the door or the door clears that?” Having a baby means I have to figure out how I can get the little bundle of poopy joy in and out of a crib. Being asked to go to the park with a friend means I have to tell them that grass isn’t so easy with a wheelchair.

I’m not sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I’m normally very upbeat and positive about everything. But, this year is just hard. I just need a couple of days to think about how much this sucks and then I’ll be fine. I guess I’m just overly emotional. Like, I can’t think about my bike without tearing up. I remember when my parents got me my adult tricycle a couple years ago and how stoked I was. I rode it from the bike store to my house, which was several miles. The hubs followed behind me like a nervous dad because he was worried I’d fall off. He said I had the hugest smile on my face the entire time! From that moment on, I rode it almost every day. Sometimes a couple times a day. It made me so happy. And now I can’t do that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have my bike attachment for my wheelchair, but it’s so not the same. I miss my bike and it breaks my heart seeing it sitting in my garage collecting dust.

my bike

(This picture was the day I got my bike.  See the smile??)

Maybe I am whining. But I’m confident I will feel better soon. I’m already feeling better than I was yesterday. It was a rough day yesterday. A couple days of sadness doesn’t mean I’m giving up on life. I know that I’m lucky in so many ways. And I know that I can still do so much these days. And in some ways I can do more than I did before. So please excuse me while I wrap up my pity party and I promise to be back to my normal, optimistic self in the next couple of days.

You making fun of me, Riz?

You know that moment in Grease where Rizzo makes fun of Sandy and then Sandy comes back into the bedroom and catches her?  Sandy says the infamous line of “You making fun of me, Riz?”  And Rizzo says “Some people are so touchy.”  I had a moment like that yesterday.  And let me tell you, it’s not that fun being on the Sandy side.

I was in court yesterday morning and my client was in custody.  In this particular courtroom, the bailiff places the in-custody’s in the jury box to await their turn in front of the judge.  We attorneys have to try to lean over the railings to talk to them.  To have any kind of privacy, this requires leaning over or standing on the sides and having the person moved to the end of the row.  This is normal protocol.  For obvious reasons (read: wheelchair) I can’t do that.  So the bailiffs let me wheel into the jury box opening to talk to my client.  Other attorneys normally aren’t allowed to do that.  For me, it’s the only way I can communicate with my client.

So yesterday I talk to my client then we have our minute in front of the judge.  I leave the courtroom with the family after my client is escorted back into his holding cell.  I’m outside in the hallway when the District Attorney tells me we need to bring him back in to see the judge one more time.  I go back in and see two female attorneys joking around near the jury box.  I don’t think they were expecting me to come back.  One of them says “Oh, we were just joking about how you’re allowed to roll in there, so maybe I should try staying in this rolley chair and she’ll push me and see if we can get away with it.”

I know there was nothing inherently mean spirited in this comment or in their jokes.  But, it really does suck.  I’d much rather be able to walk over and have to talk to my clients in the same way they do.  If they want to find a voodoo witch doctor and we can switch bodies, then by all means, let’s do it.  They can roll into the jury box and I’ll skip on down the road.

Maybe I’m touchy like Rizzo claims Sandy to be.  Or maybe some people just aren’t as funny as they think they are.  Or maybe I should sit back and really wonder why they’re jealous that I get to be up close and personal with my clients.  But next time I have a Sandy moment, I’ll be prepared to tell Rizzo to shove it.

Kitchen Remodel

In 8 days I hit the 2 year mark since I became paralyzed.  In the beginning, I was determined that I would be walking.  Now I’m more hopeful, but also realistic.  Will I ever walk again?  I hope so!  I’m going to the gym and trying to get stronger in the hopes that it will help.  But I’m also working on getting as comfortable and strong in my wheelchair as possible because I need to live for the now while keeping my eyes on the future.

So with that being said, it’s time to remodel the kitchen.  I’m lucky that my house has a very open layout.  Getting into the kitchen was never an issue.  What was at issue was the sink. (Well, and the stove, but I can deal with that.)  With the counter at chin height, it was always awkward trying to get the dishes done or wash my hands or anything.  The hubs was always having to clean up behind my cleaning as I would leave remnants in the sink and not know.

That was all fine but not ideal.  But, now that we’re having a baby in a few months, we decided that it was time to make a change.  I need a place where I can wash the baby and prepare bottles and do dishes easier.  I will be taking care of the kid as much as I can, so we needed to make this change.

Luckily, my dad is a contractor.  He builds houses from the ground up, so this little job was easy for him to plan.  Instead of tearing out our enter island and reinventing the wheel, he decided it would be easier and cheaper to install a mirror sink.  (I doubt that’s what he called it, but that’s how I interpreted it.)  Our kitchen island had a bar overhang which was going unused.  The plan: chop the overhang granite off, and install two cabinets and a sink at ADA heights there.  The new sink will back up to the existing sink and be just one large basin sink.  Then the hubs and I can have cleaning races.  Though, I did have to promise the electrician that we wouldn’t have garbage disposal races.  Something about broken circuits and power failures and meltdowns or whatnot.

The best thing about this remodel is that if we go to sell this house, it will be easy for the buys to rip it out if they want.  I guess most people don’t want lower sinks and cabinets.  This will be easy to take out and patch up.  Then it’s like “What handicapped sink?”  The cool part is that the granite guy is going to make a cover for the sink so you can still use the entire length if needed.  Or you can take the cover off and surprise, there’s a sink!  I guess it won’t be a huge surprise as the faucet will still be evident.

kitchen remodel

Here is what it looked like in the morning before installation begun.  I’m so excited that I can hardly stand it!!