This is a comment I got a while back from someone anonymous. I decided to answer all the questions at once.
Hi Jenni, I stumbled upon your blog the other day and have been enjoying reading about your life. I have so many questions! I don't mean to pry, but I am curious about your life. It looks like you did a segment where you answered questions. Maybe my questions can be part of a segment like that.
1. Does it get annoying having a nurse 24/7? Do you manage to get alone-time or is your nurse with you all the time?
I wouldn't exactly say it gets annoying. However, it is difficult to have somebody by you constantly or at least an earshot away. Sometimes I get frustrated that someone always has to be with me. I am able to get alone time in my room if the nurse is sitting at the desk in the other room. But that's about the extent of it. If something were to happen to me, for example, my tubes popping off, there would need to be a person here that could put them back on so I could breathe. That person may be my mom, dad, sister or a nurse. If I get sad, frustrated, mad or even annoyed, I just remember that they are my hands and that they are here to help me not hurt me.
2. After the accident were you angry at the driver of the car or was it a type of accident that was purely accidental?
I have never once been angry at the driver. I have forgiven them completely and in my view it was just an accident.
3. Do you still have the same friends from before the accident? Has it been difficult to maintain those friendships since you might not have the same things in common (basketball, other sports, etc)?
I still have some of the same friends as before the accident. Some I talk to on a regular basis and see frequently and some call or come around when times are convenient. Yes I would say that it's definitely more difficult to maintain relationships with friends because I'm unable to do a lot of the same things. Most of the times my friends have to come to me to hang out and send me going to them or meeting at places. But as long as they're willing to adjust then it usually works out okay.
4. Is it tough to make new friends as a quad?
I think it is tough sometimes to make new friends, but it isn't impossible. It seems hard for others to approach someone with a disability because people are afraid of the unknown. I guess I would say that it is harder to find new friends who are able-bodied versus disabled because I have more in common with someone who has a disability. I have made many new friends since my accident including past nurses and people from school.
5. At school, how do you take notes about your professors' lectures and take exams and things like that?
If it's a class that requires a lot of notetaking, someone will come in from the office for students with disabilities (OSD) at the beginning of the semester and ask if someone in the class would be willing to take notes on carbon copy. That way I can get a copy of the notes without someone having to write twice. If the tests are online, I can do them myself using speech recognition software. However, if I have to take them at school then I usually do it either outside the classroom with my nurses' help or in the OSD with help from the staff.
6. How are your nurses and other things paid for? Does your family pay or are they covered by insurance, or some other method?
Everything that I utilize or use that needs to be paid for first gets submitted to my insurance company. If they deny it, which is very common, then I have Medical Assistance that takes over. This includes nurses, PCA's, medications, and all the supplies and equipment that I require.
7. Are MN sidewalks difficult to navigate by wheelchair during the winter? Is a snowy and icy climate a tough place to be disabled?
Minnesota sidewalks are difficult to maneuver around even in the summer, let alone the winter. I don't usually go cruising down the streets when it's 0°F with a 30 below windchill. That can be a little cold. If I go outside in the winter it's usually from the house to the vehicle and from the vehicle to the place I'm going and vice versa.
It is somewhat difficult living in a cold, snowy place with a disability. Although I think there'd be challenges wherever I went. One of the harder things for most quads living in a cold climate would be temperature control, since it's hard for people with SCI's to regulate their body temperature. Luckily I don't have that problem very often since my injury is incomplete.
These are all great questions and I'm glad you asked. I'll most likely answer any question posed to me, with the exception of a few. If anyone else has questions or comments, feel free to share them below. If you'd like to, you can e-mail me with them instead. I look forward to what you have to say.