Archive for ‘SCI’

March 14, 2013

hello, tilite.

IMG_5583My new chair is fantastic. Normally, I don’t get excited about equipment that has to do with my spinal injury. Most of it is more of a pain than any kind of excitement. But this, this is exciting.


+ It fits me. When I was injured (almost 10 years ago!), my dad’s insurance didn’t really want to help with equipment. I guess they thought that paying my medical bills for 4+ months was enough. So the manual wheelchair that I had was one that was donated to me from Craig Hospital. And it didn’t really fit me very well. I used it and made due, but it wasn’t right for me. This one is fit for me though.

+ All over flat black. 14 tiny inches wide. NaturalFit hand rims. Between the narrowness and the shape of the hand rim, it is a million times easier to push (although some grip on the hand rims will probably be something I will be adding). I didn’t really think much of pushing around a chair that was 18 inches wide, but looking now at my old chair, it was a tad bit ridiculous. My arms weren’t made for that.

+ New back. Comfortable, shorter, and more contoured.

+ Hard-surface tires. Previously, I used knobby tires, more for outside terrain, but the new tires work much better for where I am going.


March 13, 2013

12 on 12: march.

mosaic66d2ae1172e4529171be3c5173dc4daabdf1665eI first saw the 12 on 12 on Dear Lizzy’s blog, and of course, what’s a better excuse to snap random photos of my day without any pressure? Such a good idea. Good job, Lizzy girl.

Yesterday was a good day. My new manual wheelchair finally arrived, and it fits like a dream. Much, much, much better than my old manual chair. Probably because it is 4 inches narrower and has wheels that work well with my hands. Anyone who uses a wheelchair for daily living can understand just how important it is to be both comfortable and functional in your chair. While I do have to get used to this chair, I think it is going to work well for me. *fingers crossed*

Work was pretty normal. Nothing new there.

I had dinner with Maria, and we discussed all the things that best friends discuss. Our relationships, work, my wedding, her schooling, just life in general. We both needed a good girl dinner, I think.

I managed to get some Project Life time in after dinner. Another stress-reliever. I am really liking the one-side-of-a-spread-per-week format that I have been using. It takes so much pressure off of me to “fill up” the pockets with things that do not really matter or need to be shown. Plus I can use more inserts, which I love. Especially coin pocket inserts. Who knew 2×2 photos could be so cute?

I am thinking that 12 on 12 will be a monthly thing for me. It was such fun this time, and a good alternative to Day in the Life, which for some odd, unknown reason sort of overwhelms me.

Ah, life.

December 15, 2012

life is squares: road trip to craig.


Mom and I took a short road trip last week back to Craig Hospital in Denver to pick up my new power chair, and it was, in one word, exhausting. We drove all day Tuesday, had appointments and chair evaluations all day Wednesday and Thursday morning, then headed back home. The chair is similar to the one I currently have, with a few differences. The main one is the width. It’s a few inches wider, and it might pose a few problems with doorways and such. Ugh, I hope not.

I am excited about ordering a new manual wheelchair though. I’ve never had a manual chair that actually fits me. Believe me, it makes a huge difference on pushing around your body weight when something is set up the way it should be. I’ll be getting a TiLite Aero Z chair, in flat black. I could have gone with pretty and flashy colors, but really, that isn’t me. The black is good–and flat black is even better. It should be here around March, I’m guessing.

I had never been to Craig Hospital around Christmas. It’s almost always warm when we plan our trips, so seeing snow and Christmas lights was a welcome sight. So pretty. As good as it was to see a few of my favorite people there, I was more than happy to come home. I wanted to be close to home, to my family, to Greg. Craig always makes me appreciate how far life has progressed since I was a newly injured patient, and it always makes me want to soak the goodness in my life so much more.

With that quick visit and the horrible things that have happened to those children in Connecticut, it makes you want to hold the good things close.

April 27, 2012

the day after.

Yesterday wasn’t bad. It wasn’t particularly hard.

It was just another day that happened to be April 26.

And I couldn’t be happier that not one tear fell.

April 26, 2012

nine years.

Can you believe it? Nine years.

Nine years ago, I was paralyzed. Doctors were trying to xray and draw blood and keep me awake and stabilize my blood pressure. Basically, trying to keep me alive. But here I am. What a crazy thought. Unsettling and unreal.

The 8th year was a trying one, I won’t lie, but it was also one full of personal growth. Maybe you all can tell from my posts, but this year, I found happiness. Total, true, real and whole happiness. Not just because I found a great man who puts up with me because he wants to. But happiness within myself. I am happy because this year I learned how to forgive the people who don’t matter. I learned how to dramatically and quietly cut out negative and fake people from my life. I learned that keeping yourself fully busy with work, family, friends, and hobbies is tiring but totally necessary. I learned that real adult responsibility is such a stressful but rewarding thing. I learned that I need to give myself time to think and to care about me too. I learned that trust is not hard with a deserving person. I learned that you have to be the kind of person you would want to have as a friend. I learned (and I’m still learning) how to be good at being a part of two, instead of always on my own. I learned that I don’t always have to be so tough. I learned that I don’t have to give up any of my strength to be a softie too.

I have learned that simplifying life makes everything much more clear and focused. I thrive on clear and focused, and I plan on continuing that into my future.

Bring it on, year nine.

April 25, 2012

i’m alive.

This song sums up pretty much everything for this entire week.

April 21, 2012

sometime, it doesn’t matter.

I have a shuddering pain
that leaves me
blinking back tears
choking back words
holding onto a kind of anxious
that grounds me
and tells me to stay.

Slowly, it passes,
the calm circles
its way back
and sets itself in my lap again.
The colors return to normal
and smiles are easy.

But oh, that pain,

it is called worry.

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February 21, 2012


As cruel as a blistered sunburn,
a stubbed toe,
an invisible paper cut,
tired eyes,
a nagging hangnail,
a banged funny bone,
a pulled muscle.

This is all of those things,
only worse.

October 18, 2011

a few things.

First, thanks for the comments and emails from everyone worrying about me after my surgery.  I really am okay.  Even went back to work today. It wasn’t a major surgery, just one that left me with quite a bit of pain, but that is getting better and better with every day. I didn’t tell anyone (besides my family and a few people at work) because I didn’t want anyone to be too worried. Not even my best friend knew I was having it done. Maybe I’m just too tough for my own good. Anyway, I’m on the mend, and the thoughtful concerns were nice. My coworkers also sent me a plant for my office as a get well present. How sweet. Thank you, all of you.

Second,the land is officially all mine. I signed the rest of the paperwork yesterday, and we are planning cleanup and grooming (taking out the ugly hedge trees – I hate them!) soon. I am always a regretful buyer of anything big, but this is different. I am sort of proud of myself for seeing this “dream” through, even if it isn’t done yet. No going back now.

Third, fall. It is still lovely. The trees are still changing, and the weather was much cooler today. sigh. I love it.

September 27, 2011


It’s just me
and the frustrations
and the decision
to push past
and get the day
started off

Just me
and the promise I
intend on keeping
to myself.

September 14, 2011

there you are!

Meet John.

John is one of my favorite people EVER. I met him at Craig Hospital after we were both injured. My car crash. His boat crash. And we became friends right away. It’s hard not to bond with people who are going through very similar situations, especially when you’re just down the hall from each other for 3 months.

He was one of the guys who were concerned and encouraging, and I think they all looked at me as the “little sister.” I was the only girl, and I had my own dynamic among the boys. As a group, we always laughed, and laughter is a powerful thing when things seem to be falling apart.

His family is awesome. His wife, Amie, and kiddos were regulars at Craig Hospital, of course. His youngest boy had a scooter, and the nurses weren’t too thrilled that he liked to ride it in the hallways. I never cared; he was a kid. Let him have some fun. And I remember the first day I saw his cousin. It was definitely a “wow” moment. (I can’t believe I had such a crush, ha!)

Over the years, John and I have kept in touch pretty regularly. There are times when we go a few months between phone calls, but when we do talk, it’s the same ole John. He still teases me, still asks about boyfriends, still wonders about my injury and any changes. He is one of those people I can talk to all day about being handicap, but never actually feel handicap around. There aren’t many people I can say that about. Maybe because he has been there for the entire “ride,” and we saw each other when we were new to this. Maybe because he understands that being normal is important to me. He gets me that way.

I am so glad I got to see him. I actually thought I was going to cry when I saw him walking up (he regained a lot of function post-injury, and you’d never realize just by looking at him that he was at one time in a wheelchair!). He looks so healthy and happy and tall and just John. Even his teasing about my lip ring was worth it.

I forgot how much I missed him.

sidenote:  He is also the one who always calls me “Little Carrie,” which led to the new “Dear little Carrie” series. So, thanks John.

August 23, 2011


I can never get very far
away from that day
or the breath-taking panic

because everyday
I wake up still,


August 21, 2011

rewind. playback.

I usually would be excited to go to Colorado, but this year, it just seemed like a chore. Like I don’t have time for this! I definitely didn’t have the energy to deal with the nerves that go along with a week-long doctor’s visit. And physical therapy. And occupational therapy. All of it is exhausting with the hurry-up-and-wait, and I just didn’t want to do it at all.

But I went anyway.

I forgot how sad Craig Hospital can be. So many people newly injured. So many who don’t have any idea where they might be next year at this time. So many who muster all their strength just to make it through one day, just to wake up and do it again the next day. I can hardly believe that at one time, that was me. I was the one that probably looked at and thought “Oh God, poor kid.”

I’m no paralysis expert, but in 8 years, I have learned a thing or two. Sometimes figuring things out for myself is the only way, and I think that it is one of the hardest things I had to learn. What works for me might not work for someone else. So when I go back to Craig and they ask me to give someone a little pep talk about how good life can be after injury, I always feel like I’m lying a bit. MY life has been good post-injury, but my life is completely different than what it was before too. I have times where I am angry or jealous of “walking” people and all that they take for granted. I despise people who stare like I am some kind of alien. I have an ache in my legs when I think hard or long enough about running because I miss it so much. I can’t explain those feelings to a new patient. They’re still fragile, and I know they need encouraging words, not some girl telling them to buck up because it’s hard as shit. And that being happy might take some work every single day, but that it is totally worth it.

This time, Colorado was something new for me. A time to be thankful that I have come to this place, where knowing that I was that fragile is almost foreign. It’s like the girl I was when I was newly injured is so far behind me. I knew I had things in life to accomplish, and I was going to be damned if a wheelchair was going to stop them from happening. I never thought of myself to be quite as strong as people take me for, but maybe deciding that happiness will be an everyday part of my life is the strong part of me.

More pics to come later.

April 27, 2011

back to normal programming.

Yesterday wasn’t a particularly hard day like I had half-anticipated. In fact, it was much like any other Tuesday. I was busy at work with scripts and videos and meetings, and I was exhausted by the time 2 o’clock rolled around.

I think that worrying so much about the anniversary of my wreck had me so stressed and pre-occupied over the last few weeks, I didn’t really recognize the stress at all. I never know exactly how I will feel on April 26 of each year, and that uncertainty makes me question the importance of the day. Maybe I make too big of a deal of it, you know? Maybe I put too much importance on it and should brush it off.

Either way, I am glad it is over, and life can resume to normal for another year.

April 26, 2011

affirmation for my eighth year.

I am strong enough to handle it for another year.

Even when I doubt myself,
I am strong.

That part I can never let myself forget,
even when it would be easy to.

Onto year number eight.

Let’s get it!

March 9, 2011


I am honored to call this woman my friend. She is an amazing person, and she says it just how it is.

March 5, 2011

hello, weight gain.

I wrote once about wanting to gain some weight. Well, when Mandy came back from maternity leave, we started our little “weight chasers” group at work. There are about 6 of us, and I’m the only one trying to gain. ha.

So far we’re doing well. I’m up 7 pounds from where I was in August! I didn’t quite realize how hard it was going to be to gain weight without gorging myself full of horrible fatty foods. I want to still be healthy when I reach a good weight, instead of having my veins full of crap. The thought of that sort of turns my stomach.

It’s an ongoing process, just like weight loss. The only thing that is good about weight gain instead of loss is that I can eat when I am hungry. Lately, that’s a lot. My body has definitely gotten the breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule down. It’s grumbling if I’m ever too late for a meal. My own reminder. :)

January 31, 2011

I can remember
just like I never forgot

like it was just yesterday
and I’ve only had one
chance to sleep it away

like it is so real
that it never even happened

to me
or any of us

and time doesn’t fade
the memories,
just makes it apparent
that they are a little bit further
away than they were the day.

January 10, 2011

that feeling.

Sometimes I’m glad you don’t have to understand, and other times, I wish you could.

Sometimes I just want to go backwards and change such little things.

Sometimes the frustration is the absolute hardest part.

December 29, 2010

random moment.

I watched Eat, Pray, Love.

And I cried. Not because the story was particularly happy or sad, but because I realized that I had no idea who I am without this pain that I hold onto, without the strength that it gives me. I am afraid to give it up because I like that strength, but I don’t want it to make me get lost in myself. I can’t lose me.

I can’t lose me, even if I don’t know who I am yet.

December 23, 2010

tis the season.

Craig Hospital. It was my home away from home for nearly 4 months. Months that looking back were horrible and weakening. It became my safe haven, a place that made me feel like I was the normal one and all the walking people were outnumbered.

The therapists, counselors, doctors, patients and their families all became a part of my family. They supported me at a time when I don’t think I could have handled things by myself. I thought I was so tough back then ( and to a certain point, I was), but I realize now that without their friendship and encouragement to be as independent as possible, I would probably be a very different person today. Probably less outgoing, less independent, less happy and definitely less driven.

And I want to “give back.”

I want anyone who has to go through anything close to what I did to have that same support and encouragement. The same opportunities and care. I want them to be pushed and held up and loved and hugged, just like I was.

I have given to charities before. I walked for the March of Dimes the very night I was injured in fact, so it’s not just something that being paralyzed has opened me up to. Children’s Miracle Network was the organization that used funds to fly me to Craig in the first place. There are so many that need donations, but I keep mine close to home I guess you could say.

Sending money directly to Craig, knowing that it is helping someone in a situation that I unfortunately know all too well, makes my heart melt with love and empathy. There is a selfishness in charities I suppose. That feeling that you are helping someone else is intoxicating.

I plan on feeling it quite often from now on.

December 11, 2010

plain and simple.

How I wish everything was simple
How I wish everything didn’t end in lies
How I wish I could just keep turning back time
How I wish I could be more like me
When I didn’t have to worry about myself
How I wish I could just keep turning back time

“Don’t Cry” by Olivia Broadfield

I haven’t cried in a long time. Not about being paralyzed anyway. There seems to be times when paralysis and everything that goes with it gets me down, for a week or sometimes a little longer. It’s all I can think about. All the things I miss, all the things I can’t do, all the things I wish were different. It sort of consumes me like exhaustion, and it makes my heart weak and sensitive. Once every few months, I cry so hard at night from frustration and anger that it hurts. It builds and builds until crying is the only way to get it out of me.

And then there are other times, like now, that I’m not concerned much with any of that. I do what I want when I want, and I do it with a smile on my face, enjoying every single minute of every day. I forget sometimes in those small dips of depression that I really, really do have a pretty fantastic life. One definitely worth living to its fullest.

I am happy. And I am because I said I would be. I told myself from the very beginning, when I was the one trying to cheer everyone else up, that this would not make my life any less happy. I just have to remind myself every so often.

So here is to another few months of happiness and no tears. And jingle bells and twinkly lights!

October 9, 2010

the search is over.

And a new van will be mine next week. After a stroke of luck (extremely good luck), I found one in town, and for a super cheap price for what the van is actually worth. I swear, you’d think this thing is brand new. Only 13,000 miles and smells super clean and new. I went and talked to the man who owns it. His wife died around a year ago, and he no longer needs such an adapted van. Apparently I make an impression or something because he is selling is to me for what a dealership considers wholesale price.

Some people as young as me who are handicapped don’t want to drive a van, but frankly I don’t care either way. It’s easy to get in and go, do what I want by myself, get wherever I want to go. Who cares if i look like a soccer mom? I sure don’t.

I’ll get pics of it as soon as I can. We’ll probably pick it up Monday or Tuesday, and then I have to get tags, insurance, and all that crap. Then I have to get an EZ Lock installed so I can drive it.

So excited! Check another goal off the list.

October 8, 2010


They love me. Obviously.

October 4, 2010

on down the road.

One of my goals for 25 was to buy a new van, and the process has started. Beside the fact that my van now is on its last leg (that trip to Colorado was its last for sure), I have income now and am much more confident about payments. I mean, I could have done it before, but it’s easier to justify buying something so big when you have a decent amount of money coming in each week.

Handicap vans aren’t exactly cheap, and I am cautious about buying anything without seeing it. I am making sure that whatever van I find is within driving distance so I can see it, and probably drive it, before I commit to buying. The first van, my current one, was bought without seeing or driving it, but I didn’t really know what all I needed then either. I was as new to the SCI and handicap driving thing as our banker was, who was the one who actually found the van. We got lucky that it was pretty perfect for me. This time is different.

I don’t just want to jump into it without looking around and finding the best fit and price for me. That’s the part of my dad I definitely got. I have to research everything first. I found one that seemed to fit everything I want, but they had sold it the day before I called. Damn the luck!