Refinishing life

When I first became paralyzed, I thought my life would never be the same.  I was in tears when my physical therapists or occupational therapists would tell me to sit on the edge of the bed.  I didn’t think I could do it.  I had no faith in my body or what it would ever begin to do again.  Slowly, as time went on, my recovery progressed.  And I had a newly discovered faith in what I could do.  And what I could try to do.  I’ve always tended to be a cautious person, not one to really go out on a limb trying new things.  So when my body traitored on me, I was worried about pushing it too hard.  When I would sit there crying about sitting on the edge of the bed, some people would look at me, then the floor, then back at me again and try to figure out why a two foot fall would scare the living daylights out of me.  But when you’re injured and vulnerable, it can all be overwhelming.

So cut to today when I was out in the garage refinishing some dressers which my mom gave to me to use in the baby’s nursery.  They were her parents dressers, which then became hers which she then used for my brother.  They sat unused for a bunch of years and became chipped and cracked.  The hubs spent yesterday fixing the cracks with wood glue and clamps.  He then planned on stripping away the varnish, sanding and staining in the next few weeks.  I decided that since he does so much already, I’d surprise him with stripping the varnish and sanding myself.  It was half because I wanted to surprise him and half because I didn’t want to tell him in case I couldn’t actually do it all myself.  And since today was a court holiday but not a school holiday, I actually had some time to get to this project.

I was able to get all of the drawers out of the dresser (which for those of you who are able-bodied, this is actually somewhat challenging to a person who doesn’t have complete core strength), take all of the hardware off, paint the stripper on then sand it off.  By the time I was done, I was a sweaty, dusty mess.  But, I did it!  I couldn’t get to the front of the dresser because it was facing a wall and I couldn’t get in front of it.  And, when I tried to move the dresser, I was worried that I would re-split some of the sides which the hubs fixed yesterday.  Plus, a solid wood dresser is heavy and my spine is finicky.  So I left that to do when he’s home to help.  While I can do a lot of stuff, I have to be honest and know that I can’t do it all by myself.

sanding drawers

I took that picture and sent it to the hubs so he could see what I was up to.  And to get the proper amount of accolades, of course!  He was super surprised and excited.  And worried about the mess I left and whether there was still room on his side of the garage for his car when he gets home from work.  I tend to not clean up after my projects so well.  But, part of the surprise was that I actually did clean up after myself.  Yes, I’m very thoughtful.

So, it’s kind of fun to think that the snively scaredy-cat who was afraid to sit on the edge of the bed is now pushing limits and attacking projects that I never even did before I was paralyzed!  If I could go back to that cry baby in the hospital I would tell her that life rolls on and that she will adapt.  It’s amazing what we can do when we have no other choices!

5 thoughts on “Refinishing life

  1. helensamia says:

    I am still a scardy cat!!! Six months into being paralysed…. I get better and stronger all the time but so scared of falling or getting stuck… How long did it take you to feel confident??? I try not to let it stop me but in my head I’m scared!!!

    • Honestly, I’m still kind of a scaredy cat about a lot of things! It’s a constant challenge! I didn’t start driving until a year after I became paralyzed because I was afraid. And now that I’ve been driving for a little over a year, I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner! I’m super cautious in a lot of things that I do though. Like, I try to only shower when someone is home just in case I have an issue when transferring. Or if I have to when my hubs or someone else isn’t here, then I text him before and after so he’ll know if I have an issue. Try tackling little things to gain confidence. Then when you tackle smaller things, you’ll feel better and you can move on to bigger things. But, again, I’m not the throw-caution to the wind type. I don’t jump off curbs and do wheelies and whatnot. But, who knows what I’ll be doing in a few years. 🙂

      • helensamia says:

        I think it sounds like I am on the right track… You see people doing so much and I have to remind myself that they have been doing this for years and I am new to it all!!! I got my Medical learner licence which I needed to pass here in Australia so when I am ready I could start to drive…but at the moment that is just way to big!!!!! Helen

    • Also, if you have core and upper body, get those as strong as possible, cause that will help you feel more confident! And, if you have access to a pool, then I find that helps me feel stronger cause I can move more freely in a pool. And a lot of it is getting over mental hurdles!

      • helensamia says:

        Yes my paralysis is from hip level so i work hard on upper body… There is a pool I can use with a swing seat to get me in so I must get my hubby or friend to help me with this… I imagine it must feel nice and good for circulation …. 🙂

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