Monday, August 12, 2013

My Life with Paralysis

Why am I journeying into this world of blogs? There are many reasons but the two foremost are, one to create a site where people with disabilities can obtain information and feel a sense normality.  Secondly, to force me to write on a daily basis, because reading and writing have always been an important part of my survival throughout the years.

I am a 45-year old (46 in a week), Korean-American mom of 2 children, a daughter who is 14 and a son who is 12. I have been single for 2-½ years after a 20-year marriage.  I have been living with partial spinal paralysis since 1994, when I became one of the many causalities of a drunk driver who fell asleep at the wheel. The accident resulted in a fracture to my C5 and a burst fracture in the L1 region of the spine, when the car roof collapsed after being pushed off the freeway and rolling down the embankment. I am not an authority in spinal paralysis, nor do I hold any degrees or certifications, but I am writing based on my years of living with spinal paralysis.

Although my injury left me with many physical limitations, I am a much happier person now than before the accident. Call it what you want, divine intervention or whatever, but ever since waking up in a drugged haze at the hospital and finding out I could not move from the neck down, all the mental and emotional issues that made my life a never-ending roller coaster ride of emotional up, down and twists just faded away. The childhood pains no longer drove my life. The pain that drove me to seek psychologists to deal with my erratic emotions just disappeared. No, I did not see angels, bright lights or any other divine images. There was just awakening to voices in the pitch black as paramedics pried us out of our car to the voices of the emergence room staff as they try to get a tube down my throat. Finally to wake up in a drugged haze in my hospital bed listening to hissing and clicks of machines as I was rocked side-to-side in my hospital bed.

I never really went through the trauma of, “Oh my God, how am I going to live?” There was just too much things happening and being heavily medicated, the fact of being paralyzed from the neck down did not fully compute yet (not to say there was never any tears.) The first month I was in a daze of people coming in-and-out, of me being rolled from room-to-room and finally being transport to a rehab facility. During my stay at rehab, my spouse was there every day helping me all day. So, after my 4-month stay, I left rehab in a one-handed wheelchair. I had regained function to my right limbs and was able to stand and shift unto my wheelchair. I was also fitted with a KFO orthotics (leg brace that goes from above the knee to foot.) From that point, since I could not afford physical therapy, it was the gym for regular aerobic and strength training. Now, with eating right and regular exercise, I wear only an AFO (a brace that goes from below knee to foot) and I no longer have the wheelchair. I can lead a fairly normal life.

Well, this was just a brief story of where I am coming from. I hope that what I post and send out to this amazing place call the web, I can reach and maybe help, in any small way, to motivate another who is dealing with similar issues.

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