Bob & Lisa Heinle

Bob & Lisa Heinle

Numerous studies tell us that severity of disability often has little to do with the way a person perceives his or her quality of life, and that people with severe and even near total levels of paralysis (such as C3 or higher quadriplegia) are often just as happy and satisfied with their lives as those who are less disabled. Are these people in denial, or is happiness and life satisfaction — like love and contact lenses — all in the eye of the beholder? Here are some observations from those who live every day with the view from C3.

Most of the people interviewed here define quality of life as how they fill their time and who they fill it with. In other words, for them, quality of life often boils down to family, friends and what they do from day to day.

“We can still be ourselves,” says Bob Heinle, a C3-4 quad, speaking for himself and his wife Lisa, from Missoula, Mont. “We do what we like and what we want