What the hell am I talking about with THAT title? Well many of the first to read this know the situation, but I admit I am hoping to draw in a few more readers and some attention to this new life I am now adjusting to with the help of so many good people. The adjustment of changing one’s life to relying on a wheelchair.
It’s been about seven months since my second spinal cord surgery in two years, and third in eleven years. For the curious who may be wondering about the boring technical details, I was diagnosed with Brown-Sequard Syndrome in 2000, after a bicycling accident that took place in 1990. I may write about that accident another time, but the important point is that I have nerve damage from that injury at the T9. This left me with legs that slowly began to deteriorate, until we find me where I am now. A proud Geek who relies on wheels to get himself around. Now if I could just get my damn chair finalized so I could geek it out…but that’s a whole other story.
Since my last surgery, in April of 2011, I’ve had to get used to life in a wheelchair for anything other than short distance walking. To say the least, this is NOT something I ever expected to happen before I have even turned 40 (not that I expected it to happen AFTER I turned 40 either…now that I realize what a stupid statement that is). It took a while to accept that a guy who was 6 ft 2 inches tall was going to be seeing life from much lower. While I’ve never been an athlete, I had always taken for granted the ability to bound up steps two or three at a time, that my walking pace was always faster than others (something my amazingly supportive wife use get after me for making her sprint all the time to keep up). Now, I spend most of my time outside the house in that wheelchair. And life is pretty good.
During the transition, there have been a TON of eye-opening, jaw dropping, frustrating and just plain WTF moments that I have shared with family and friends. Last week, after one very unexpected issue when the weather got down to -15 C, someone suggested I really should get back into writing and talking about these things. The stuff that one never expects as they transition to life in a wheelchair, the things I used to take for granted, the places, the chair itself, hell even something as simple as bathrooms!
Thus, Geek on Wheels was born in my head. Let’s be honest, the wheelchair isn’t going to change how much of a geek I am or how much I embrace that as I get older. Yes, I was the guy last week trying to balance a 19 inch Galactus in my lap as I wheeled into my office. You may have seen me desperately trying to open doors while not letting his Purple Dressed Awesomeness fall off my lap. He’s on my desk beside me now, proudly proclaiming the might of his Power Cosmic! with the push of a button (I was informed he WASN’T staying in the home office…hmph)
The chair has changed a lot of the rest of my life though. So this is going to be a start of a blog, that might one day transition off the Obvious into a life of its own. Some days this will be just short little one sentence thoughts, sent from my trusty blackberry (or my new toy of a Playbook), other times they will be longer thoughts. I intend to share these on Facebook and twitter and encourage people to share them out and comment. I can’t promise I’ll always respond, or that I’ll be very politically correct (as those familiar with the Obvious will already know), but they will be honest and I HOPE entertaining and, just maybe, get you thinking.
Whether is my angry shout at people in malls to watch where they are going, or my private joy at shaming someone making me wait outside the disabled bathroom, I hope this grows into something more.
It’s funny, and I bet most of you don’t see it, but I know I now belong to a bit of a club. When people in chairs, and I mean the custom ones, not just the renters, see each other and pass by, you can catch a nod, a little wave of fingers. Sometimes you’ll get in a conversation…as we realize that while you don’t see us out and about often, there are a lot of us out there.
Our lives haven’t ended just because we need a wheelchair. If anything they are just starting all over again with a whole new series of adventures to come.
This is going to be one story of that.
Now do me a favor…tell your kids to stop staring at me like I’ve got 3 heads when I wheel by!
Lots more to come.
Lore on Wheels (better known as Jason)
(note edited since I did the rookie mistake of relying on spell check…think I never went to journalism school or something…nerve damage, not never damage)