Don’t take the little girlApr 05 06:35
Today I woke up in a foul mood. I awoke bemoaning my current health woes - annoying bladder sediment causing heavy autonomic dysreflexia, and I barely slept because of the pain. I was not happy. My PCA helped me get dressed quick, and we barreled down to my van, off to the urologist for some much needed bladder-rinse fun. I had to skip my beloved morning cup of Joe because we were running late, and I had loads of work to do that the pain was making it impossible for me to finish. w00t my Tuesday was rocking (not):/
Despite the day’s awfulness, everything at least was moving along: We had parked at the doctor’s office, about to get out of the van (at least the van worked this time), when all of a sudden a young girl in a manual wheelchair, about 9 years old with purple streaks in her hair came by, being pushed by a wild-eyed older woman, white hair flying behind her.
As they passed I thought nothing more of them until I heard them yelling back at me, “HEY lady in the wheelchair! We have a question to ask you.” They were running back in my direction. Or at least the old lady was, jogging, as she pushed the girl. “Uh-oh,” I thought, knowing I was about to be corned into being polite to strangers. “This is not what I needed right now,“ I thought. The dysreflexia was getting worse and we were running late to my appointment. Now I had to talk to random people about what was most likely going to be disability drivel? Good Lord PLEASE not on a day like this.
But no, before I knew it they were in front of me, and the woman started right at it. “We have a question for you. We see that you can use your upper-body some. Why do you use a power chair?" She explained her Hannah uses a manual chair, but may switch one day. What are the benefits?” she asked. I responded, “Well, If I pushed all day I’d be tired by 3pm, and I have too much work to finish for my job to get exhausted so early on in the day. Plus,” I added, “I don’t want to ruin my shoulders by the time I’m 40.” I finished off my response by saying the girl may be a perfect candidate for power-assist rims. I think they were satiated.
As I was answering their question, I began to feel my icy veneer melt just a smidge. It always feels good to help others, unless you’re 100% evil of course. Hannah was quiet, demure, and a total doll. I asked her what her disability was. She answered Spina Bifida. Then the woman mentioned their real problem: Hannah was suffering from renal failure, i.e., both of her kidneys are failing, and they were just leaving the kidney doctor. They’re desperately searching for a match, and are planning on testing a distant male relative who's about to go to prison this month to see if he can be a donor. The woman said that if I pray, she asked if I'd pray for Hannah. I told her I would, and before I knew it they were gone.
The moral of this bizarre happenstance meeting in the parking lot of my urologist? Always be grateful for what you DO have no matter how craptastic things may be. You can always wallow in your own unfortunate circumstances, but where does that lead to, except lonliness and despair?
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1. Shark7 | Apr 06 01:43
Awesome blog! Thanks for the great reminder. I have a good friend that has a great saying: "I help people because I'm selfish. Helping people makes me feel good."
2. Tiffiny | Apr 06 03:53
@Shark - your friend is right on! :)
3. Tara | Apr 06 05:39
Since I grew up with a disability I saw so many kids worse off then I was. Many were my friends who I still have today. I've always tried to remember that there is always someone worse off then you so just hang in there move on and try to enjoy everyday. Helping people does make you feel good and I've had similar experience as you not wanting to be bothered when I had other things to do.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.