How many times have you heard a television personality on a telethon or even your own doctor tell you the unexpected could happen to you? You hear it all the time as non-profit organizations try to raise money.
Cancer can strike anyone at any time. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, the list goes on and on. It does not matter who you are, how much money you have, how old you are, or where you are from. Any of these ailments could strike you or a loved one and change your life in an instant.
One day you could wake up and have some sort of life limitation. For all intents and purposes, you could wake up tomorrow, get in a car accident, and become a paraplegic or quadriplegic. The truth is we do not know what the future holds because we do not have a crystal ball that we can peer into on a regular basis. We do not have the answers to such mysteries of life, and I doubt we ever will.
In a single second, your life, as you know it could change… for better or for worse.
However, on the flip side, what would it be like if a person with an ailment or disability woke up tomorrow 100% healthy?
In considering how drastically different life becomes and how many simple things able-bodied individuals take for granted, I am going to pretend that I have awakened perfectly capable of every physical feat the average, able-bodied individual has the ability to perform on a daily basis. I’m not pretending to be a body builder, just your average, everyday Joe.
As I wake, I sit up in bed unassisted. No longer do I need the Hoyer lift and Ashtyn’s tugging and pushing hands and arms to get my body into that sitting position. I just throw back the covers and I’m up!
As I am sitting there, my Shih-Tzu, Oliver, comes up to say good morning. However, this time I can lift him up and actually hold the squirming ball of fur. He doesn’t have to sprawl out next to me just so I can pet him since he’s a bit too bulky for me to lift up usually.
Ashtyn is awake and as I spring out of bed, for the first time ever I take her in my arms and give her a traditional, non-adapted hug. She can slide in my arms quite easily without the wheelchair in the way and it feels very nice to hold her so close.
By this point, I would do what any person does when they wake up — go to the bathroom. With nature calling, I can easily walk into my tiny bathroom. Gone are the days of swinging from my Hoyer lift onto the bedside commode, since the bathroom is too small for even a Hoyer or little chair to get into at all. Instead of taking 10-20 minutes of moving, it takes a minute and then I’m up and in the shower.
Mind you, this is the first shower I’ve had since I was a young teenager that did not involve shower chairs, Hoyer lifts, or other assistive devices. A 30-minute process is reduced to five to ten minutes and I’m much cleaner because I’m not having to work around a shower chair to scrub soap on my body, nor do I have to work against uncooperative limbs that don’t want to bend or move to get under my arms, behind my knees, etc.
After my shower, for the first tine since age 15, I get dressed unassisted. Again, I am amazed by how short the process is. A 15-20 minute process is five minutes tops minus gelling my hair and brushing my teeth. Of course, I may just pop a cap on my head and be off after a quick brush through my short brown hair.