Sunday, June 7, 2009

Things You Don't Think About

Being paralyzed is difficult. Many people don't realize or think about some of the things that I go through on a daily basis. I struggle with not being able to do things for myself. Even simple, little things like not being able to feed myself, brush my hair, or wash my face become more complicated and daunting tasks just because someone else is doing for me. It is exhausting for me to sit in my wheelchair all day and not be able to just get up and do the things that I want to do. Unless someone is or has been paralyzed, there is no true way that they will ever know what it is like. However, I do encourage many people to try to experience as best they can what it is like not to be able to move.

I encourage all of you reading to take five minutes out of your day. My challenge to you is to sit still for those entire five minutes. That means no scratching itches, moving the hair out of your face, repositioning for comfort etc. After you have completed this challenge, whether you finished successfully or failed miserably, I want you to think about what it would be like not being able to move for the rest of the day, week, month, year or even for the rest of your life. Think about having other people (i.e. caregivers, your family, spouse) do everything for you.

I have proposed this idea before, but I'm not sure if anyone tried it. This time I want to hear feedback. I want to know what you thought about not being able to move for just five minutes, let alone for the rest of your life. I'm not saying that I'm not going to be able to move for the rest of my life. I'm just proposing the idea for others to think about what people with disabilities (especially those with paralysis) go through on a day-to-day basis.



Steph said...

great perspective dear. It really makes me thankful, and make more of an attempt not to complain about little things that shouldn't matter---i.e. being sore from staining the deck, having an ear infection (weird, i know!) or sitting in an uncomfortable chair.

I salute you Jenni! Ps. I have a few days off this week, I will make note to call you for a chill date after we get things squared away with my moms oncologist...she starts chemotherapy soon, the cancer did end up spreading. She is Stage 2A (it has spread to 1 lymph node)

<3 Steph

Elizabeth said...

Hi this is Elizabeth :) I liked this post. I think it would be cool if more people could experience the things that they take for granted. I don't know exactly how you feel because I can move a little, but I know how frustrating it is to not be able to move if I don't have any energy, or if I don't have my tray on, I can't sit up straight or lift my arms up to my face.
I think it would also be cool if people tried not talking for a long period of time. That's probably a little easier, but when my sister tries it, she has a hard time with it lol.

Anonymous said...

Jenni, I tried your suggestion. It is extremely difficult. My mind kept racing from one topic to another.

Thank you for your website. It is very inspirational. We all hope and pray that someday soon they will have a cure for people with paralysis. Thanks.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Jenni, I tried your test and was doing quite well until one of Thor's hairs got in my nose. I tried really hard to ignore it but when my eyes started watering and I started to sneeze I had to blow my nose and wipe my eyes. I failed miserably. Good for you with the cats. Grandpa Rich

Matthew Smith said...

This reminds me of Fanny Burney, the English novelist and diarist who served at the royal court (I can't remember which royal it was) some time in the late 18th or early 19th century. She wrote that basically the ladies in waiting had to sit still for hours, and that included no scratching itches or anything else that might puncture their decorum. One extract said that if your nose bled, you basically sat there and bled. (Not sure how that was any more decorous than reaching for the hanky.)

And if you think that's difficult, she also went through a mastectomy. Without an anaesthetic.