Andy, my wife Marge and me having lunch on the river
Andy’s visit was everything I expected and more. I have not written about it prior to now because of a health issue I began struggling with before Andy returned to Utah. I have not had a lot of personal interaction with other disabled individuals. I only know a few personally and none who are quadriplegics, so I was really looking forward to this time. If you read my last blog “The Visit” you know the story about how he and I met and the development of our friendship. I was amazed when Andy and I had a chance to talk how much more we had in common than originally thought. I had always been impressed by Andy’s independence and his fierce pursuit of the lifestyle he loves. While we are both C6 complete quadriplegics he is able to do a lot more for himself. It is obvious that he has taken good care of himself, has put on little weight and retains quite a bit of strength. My post-accident stature was pretty well summed up by Andy when the elevator door, in the airport, opened and he came wheeling toward me. He said “Boy you’re a big one” and while I’m not proud of it, it’s the truth.
On the boat
The time we spent together was full of laughing; sharing of information and some very serious discussions about the challenges we face daily. So many the struggles, frustrations and aggravations we experience were understood without ever communicating a word. As the guide, that took us fishing, said to me there isn’t anything in your lives that is unaffected. My opinion and respect for Andy did not change it only deepened. Unfortunately, because of the problem that developed, with me, and continued until now much of the mental stimulation of his visit has escaped me. I find myself sitting here searching for words that can convey what this special time meant to me but the words just aren’t there.
The first Catch
We shared days of activity followed by a day or two of rest and relaxation. I think Andy would agree that the day we went fishing was the highlight of his visit. Dean Meckes
, our guide, secured the use of a different boat so he could accommodate both wheelchairs. We spent the better part of the day on the St. Lawrence River moving from one scenic area to another, as Dean sought out schools of fish. We also visited the Antique Boat Museum
and The Wild Center
in the Adirondacks while Andy was here.
What will remain with me, from the visit and Andy’s attitude, is that despite a pretty serious disability it is possible to not only go on but to continue to pursue a robust and meaningful lifestyle.