Friday, September 7, 2012

All Disabilities are not Created Equal

This morning I heard of a friend who won the bronze  in the Paralympics -- in the women's 100M wheelchair race. Besides thinking how amazing a feet that was and admiring all the athletes who competed in the games, my mind started wandering. That is no surprise, I am a thinker!

This is the chair my friend used. Look at the strength in the athlete, the arms so strong the face so determined. Wow besides that chair being so powerful on that track, it is downright itimidating to compete with that fierce determination! I am happy that the world has now come to recognize that persons with disabilities don't need to be put away but are to be reckoned with.
Look at this runner! What it must feel like to run on something that is not your own body. Personally I can't imagine. They are like all other athletes except that they are missing limbs. Missing limbs has it's own problems. I hear about phantom limb syndrome where the brain has trouble dealing with the missing limb and there is a great deal of pain associated with this. Isn't it amazing that humans can still use the remaining parts to do what is needed. 

There is a man in my town who is an amputee from the thigh down who uses crutches to walk up and down Main street. More power to him and although he continues to ask for rides, he is young enough to make his journey.

Now I want to show you my non paralympic mode of transport and explain why I am not like those athletes. People are interesting and they see a handicapped individual and may not have enough information to understand why some people can't just put on those legs or use a wheelchair with prowess.

My situation is not the same as those athletes. My brain is involved in this  neurovascular/degenerative condition. My brain  has been the target of attacks that have rendered some parts of my body quite hopeless. In other words, I can't wish my body to do certain things. Sad, I know. I won't go into lengthy clarifications but suffice to say that some "signals" are not reaching the brain so that it can tell the body what to do, i.e. lift the leg or quickly extend an arm to break a fall. Balance is affected, so is vision so that it is almost impossible to do some things too quickly or with flair and finesse. I just want people to understand this. I could don those legs but not have the balance required to walk on them. 

Life is not fair and I suppose if it was, we wouldn't have much to think about! Remember there are always shades of gray in most everything in life. When you get upset or angry at someone or something, stop and try to see the lines and what is between them. People always say that there are two sides to every story! Maybe there are more. Sometimes it is not about winning a race but about making some sort of race possible! My cricket takes me where I want to get to -- that might be my race. We always think of races and athletes but sometimes there are ordinary people with ordinary races who are also athletes. They may not look like athletes or win medals. 

The point here is that, I can't train to make something "stronger" that cannot be strengthened. I need to work within my limits and feel the power of what I do have, making life easier and better and be a good sport while doing it! Whatever my race for the day, which today the plan to go shopping did not work out simply because it's too hot and muggy and I chose to sit at my computer instead. I also want to go out on my cricket and pick some tomatoes. Is that a race? You bet it is. So, I have used my daily race to make my life better, possible and above all, enjoyable.

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