Kary WrightWay back in my first life, I loved being in or on the water. I used to enjoy canoeing, water skiing, fishing, scuba diving, boating, swimming and so on. A friend and I used to camp at a local lake and swim to a nearby island for exercise, about 500 yards away.

Since becoming a quadriplegic in 1986, I always wondered if I would float or sink, and could I swim? The thought of resuming one of my favorite sports was enticing. A quadriplegic friend let me know that she swims regularly, so it seemed like a great thing to try.

To test my buoyancy, my wife Terry and I rent a vacation house with a pool and hot tub in the back yard.  She places our aluminum wheelchair ramp at the edge of the pool so it slopes into the shallow end. She walks up and down it to test it — safety first! It looks like it should work fine to get me in. Thoughts of swimming great distances for long periods of time flood my mind. I imagine leisurely paddling around, effortlessly gliding in the nice warm water, enjoying the hot sun. It is going to be so much fun!