Change – Not Always For the Better

“The times they are a changin’” so sings Bob Dylan. Normally, most people believe change is good, but in my case I’m not so sure. Earlier this year, I not only turned 72, celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, but also observed the 16th anniversary of the accident that left me with quadriplegia. These and other factors, I believe, are causing a very difficult change in me. I have alluded to it in a couple of my more recent blogs. I’m starting to feel limited as opposed to challenged.

Letting in rain take me away

Letting the rain take me away

Today it’s raining, so I donned my poncho and sat outside as I have a number of times. In the past, the sound of the raindrops on the nylon transported me back to a rainy day in the Five Ponds Wilderness area when the weather forced me to hold up in my tent. Usually, I could actually feel the warmth and security that snuggling down in my sleeping bag produced. Today I could only think about it, not feel it.
A rainy day on Grass Pond in 1989

A rainy day on Grass Pond in 1989

Lately, I have become more aware of the limitations quadriplegia places on my life. In an effort to help I read over some of the articles and blogs I’ve written on attitude and not giving in and wonder, “What the hell is happening?” I’ve had times like this before, but always seemed to bounce out of it. Maybe that will happen again, but I don’t get that feeling. It seems I’m relegated to a life of dependency. Dependent on someone for a ride to go anywhere or dependent on a group of friends that’s necessary for me to participate in an activity. I don’t have much socialization with other individuals who are disabled. I have no ideas what others experience so I don’t know if this is normal or not. I become depressed and removed very easily when like this. It seems harder now to rise above these challenges than it did just a few years ago.

When I taught mental health in high school, I was amazed how students thought their problems were unique and had no idea the person sitting next to them were struggling with similar issues. Or how relieved they were when they realized the problems weren’t unique just to them. This blog is written expressly for that reason.

Several days have passed since I wrote the above. I’ve come to realize I have to face these changes head on. My doctor has, at my request, adjusted my meds and is putting me in touch with a counselor. Some of this is probably normal for anyone who is aging and has a major disability. Also, redefining my expectations, activities and goals to reflect my age and physical condition is another necessity. I must remember I have control of this situation. I’m starting to feel better already!



5 responses to “Change – Not Always For the Better

  1. Rich,
    You have been such an inspiration for so many in those long 16 years. We can’t blame you for feeling down at times. But keep in mind all of those you have helped. When you need a pick me up “USE” your friends. If you are feeling up to it, please stop down to the 1812 one day next weekend. After the tourney is over we will be happy to get you out and about.

  2. Rich, you don’t know me but I have been following your blog for some time now. I am a quadriplegic (c4 complete) who lives in Texas, I just turned 60 and my accident was seven years ago. I definitely can relate to what you write about. Anyway, keep writing – there are people out there who look forward to what you have to say!

  3. Reblogged this on zuzusays and commented:
    Joe is right, Rich. It happens faster and in a more dramatic and limiting way for you and other quads. But as we get older the things we used to do become far less easy and painless. Add a chronic medical condition and you you have to adapt what your mind wants to what your body is able to produce. My mom told me when she was around 60, the age I am now, that she still had a 16 year old mind, but her body didn’t agree. Now with her spinal injury where she’s so dependent on someone for everything, life’s “just peachy”, as she puts it, in a totally sarcastic way.

    This paralyzed thing isn’t fair or easy. There are times when every adversity we face seems to be too much to handle day after day after day with no end in sight, then days that seem filled with such joy and meaning that we have no doubt what we are on earth to do.

    We know it sucks and is horribly difficult day after day. But your have so many ideas, so much good to share, give so much motivation for others who have similar issues. Keep blogging Rich, we need your voice.

  4. Michelle Zimmer

    I just found this website tonight and you have helped me so very much. Thank you! and yes others feel that way too, I thought I was over the depression, but it creeps back, but life is a gift, and we are loved,I love that quote you live by, I’m going to put it where I see it daily. I have been writing too, I don’t really know how to start a blog, but I do believe it would be helpful to me and hopefully others, thank you for all your help and your inspirering me.

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