Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

It was August 2023.  I was out late with friends, having fun.  I turned down the wrong street, and my life forever changed.  There was a crowd standing outside in the street.  I was just driving through, and they started shooting at my car – with a bullet piercing my back. I am now paralyzed from my chest down, and a wheelchair user.

I didn’t really understand the reality of everything until I was done with inpatient therapy and heading home.  I obviously knew I was paralyzed, but I didn’t understand what came with that.  I had to learn how to manage my bladder and do a bowel routine.  I had to learn how to move my body and how to take care of it.  My mood was up and down for a while.  I was experiencing a rollarcoaster of emotions – one minute I’m so grateful to be alive and learning how to take care of myself and the next minute I’m back to being depressed. Even though I was depressed, I still kept a positive spirit.  Then, things started getting a little easier for me the more I practiced in therapy and that helped my mood a lot.  I have accepted my situation while still working toward my goals and improving my body and my life.

I do suffer with PTSD from my accident, but I don’t let it affect my mood and getting out in the community too much. After some time has passed, I do feel better about living with a spinal cord injury and completing care tasks.  Time has a way of healing things.  And, now that its getting warmer, I’m ready to get out and about more in the community.

Early on, I allowed little things to get me excited.  Every little win I had in therapy, even just getting to go to therapy was a celebration.  Now I’m looking for more things to do outside of therapy to keep that excitement and celebration going. I give myself a new challenge to work toward every day.  I can’t sit around and wait for life to happen to me.  I have to move on and continue living life and making it what I want.  At first, I was super focused on therapy, but now I’m shifting my focus to what else I can do.  I do have a goal of getting back to work.

So, what’s next? I’m energized to do more now that I’ve built enough daily care tasks to be independent.  Things take time to heal and you must relearn your body and get your programs/routines down.  My advice is to take your time to do things.  It’s not a rush.  I understand my body way more now than 4-5 months ago.  

Finding a routine that fits your life is the best way to go. Take care of yourself and exercise. Maintaining your bowel program, bladder maintenance, and other routines helps you take care of yourself and lets you get out in the community. I would encourage people to take control of their lives and do as much for themselves as they are able.

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