Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Starting to evolve

Last week I wrote about coming home to live after my car accident and what my life was like. I wrote about watching TV all day, every day and how I felt kind of lame for doing so, but I was happy, so I didn't want to do anything different.

After about a year of watching TV 24/7, I started feeling restless and bored. I decided to get a laptop computer since my voice had strengthened and was now loud enough for me to be able to use voice dictation software so that I could use my voice to navigate around on the computer. Being able to use a computer again was liberating, and it felt good to be able to do something independently. At first I would stay on my computer for a few hours, three or four days a week, but now I'm always on my computer—between 10 and 12 hours a day most days of the week!

I also started incorporating other things that interested me into my life. I've always loved books, and although I couldn't hold a book and read it the way most people do, I had my mom start reading to me. We read lots of books together, and we still read together quite a bit. I also listen to a lot of audio books. They are great because they provide me with a lot of entertainment when I'm not busy doing other things.

I still watch a lot of TV, especially compared to most people who work or are in school or have their own family to take care of, but most of my TV watching is done while I work on my computer. (I like to multitask!) I don't watch near as much TV as I did the first few years after my accident because I have other interests take up my time now.

I also wrote about how my older sister Annette moved back home so that she could help our mom take care of me. A few months after Annette moved home she met her future husband, Joseph, and they got married about a year after Annette moved home. My mom and I were happy that Annette found her husband, but that meant that she would be leaving us since Joseph was going to school in Alabama. That meant we would have to find some other way for my mom to be able to care for me since Annette had been the main person who had been helping my mom with my care. We weren't sure what we would do, but a few months later, my sister Miriam and her family moved from Texas to St. Louis (up the street, actually) and she was able to help my mom got me dressed in the morning and was able to stay with me when my mom went out to run errands and things like that. Miriam and her family lived here for two years while her husband worked on his schooling, but then they moved away in the summer of 2007.

In the times between when my family has lived here, or now that my older sisters have moved away, my mom and I have been lucky enough to find neighbors and friends to help my mom with my care. My younger sister Chandra started college in the fall of 2007, so she also had more time to help with my care. Although she was in college, she only went to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so she stayed at home with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that Mom could go out and run errands or have time to herself.

Chandra is now working full time, however, so that means that she can't help Mom and me near as much. My mom and I don't have a permanent #2 caregiver to help us with all of the things that require two people, but we've always had someone to help us. I think it's harder to have faith that everything will work out when there isn't a clear solution to how your needs are going to be met, or when a solution doesn't manifest itself as quickly as we would like. However, I know that the Lord is mindful of the needs that we have, and that He won't let us down. He hasn't let us down yet, and I know He never will. My mom and I have definitely learned the importance of having faith through this trial, even if it's only "blind faith."

One thing I really struggled with after coming home to live and something that I still continue to struggle with is feelings of guilt. I feel really guilty that my mom has had to give up so much so that I can live at home. My mom was in graduate school at the time of my accident, but she had to quit school in order to be able to stay home and take care of me. I also feel guilty that my younger sister Chandra has had to help my mom care for me, too. (Chandra was a freshman in high school when I had my accident, so there was a lot that either she had to miss, or my mom had to miss, because of me.) Mom and Chandra have had to make so many sacrifices on my account, and I feel so badly about this. It's hard not to feel like a burden on them. I know that my mom wouldn't have things any other way, but I can't help but feel guilty for all of the sacrifices my family has made on my account...especially Mom and Chandra.

After my accident it seemed like people were constantly asking me when I was going to go back to college. I hated it when people asked me this because I felt a lot of pressure that people were expecting me to go back to school, like it was the only thing I could do to make my life productive and meaningful. I did not want to go back to school! Although there wouldn't have been anything wrong with going back to school, I didn't see the need for it. My feelings were and still are that even if I got a college decree it's not like I could go out into the community and get a job. However, people just didn't seem to understand. I actually did take a couple of college classes in 2007 and 2008, but it was just for fun. My mom and I went together since I obviously couldn't go alone, and we both really enjoyed it, although I definitely didn't want to go back to college full-time. I took a few classes that interested me, but it was purely for entertainment. (We took General Psychology and Human Development.)

I've definitely become much more comfortable with my situation in the past six years, and I'm constantly amazing myself at the things I'm willing to do. There are so many things I've done in the past year or two that I initially said I would never do again. What I've realized is that I just wasn't ready in the beginning of my "new life" to jump back into everything that I used to be involved in. I've slowly incorporated things back into my life as they've started to appeal to me again, like going out and doing things in public. It sounds foolish, but I was so proud of myself the first time I went back to the mall, or the first time I went to Walmart again, which was one of the other places I vowed I would never go again.

4 comments:

Kathe said...

Definitely a lot of things have happened since then and a lot of learning. Life is a journey that's for sure and you have always found what makes you happy..that is what really matters!

Laura said...

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that any sacrifices we made for you, Heather, were more than worth it.

222 said...

Regarding books and how you love reading books, the invention of the Kindle must be a blessing for you.

candice said...

Hello there. My name is Candice and I'm 25 years old. I live in South africa. Last year August I badly sprained my right ankle.. With the help of incompetent doctors at the time not being able to diagnose me properly I suffered until december last year. I had to have a open reduction and internal fixation on an ankle that was in a bad state.. This operation lead me from being told by a doctor that the pain I'm feeling is not normal.. And I should have it checked out further.. I was booked in for surgery the next day. I went through a lot since last year august.. Feeling pain everday.. Not sure what was going on.. Spent a week in hospital.. I fortunately had great nurses and care. I am wheel chair and crutches bound until march this year. I've got screws placed in my ankle.. I have had many down days.. When I look at the shower and feel sad that I need to be sponge bathed.. When I look at stairs and difficult places to get around even with my wheel chair it makes me sad. But gleams of joy fills my heart when I see 'wheel chair friendly' :):):) there have been days when I look at my ankle with the cast and all and think to myself how my independance has been taken away.. And plans for december holiday spending it swimming in the ocean was taken away from me.. And I only found your blog tonight.. I read it from the beginning to the end.. With tears of sadness and joy for you at the same time.. It has made me feel positive that whatever you've gone through.. Your alive and shining! I thank God for helping you, for showing you the light, answering your prayers.. And what I'm going through is nothing compared to what you've been through. I will wake up with a smile tomorrow and will be thinking of you! God bless you and your wonderful family. And well done to your mommy who has been your pillar of strength! That's what moms are for! I couldn't have gotten through my injury without my mom too. Lots of love and keep well!

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