Let us deal with the second one first. I really have a obscure view on this because the experiences I have to go by is the few friends contact I have had, my family, and the employees here at the nursing home.
First the employees. It is hard to get a true read on them about how they feel about people in wheelchairs. For the most part they are sympathetic and you would have to be when you are around it most of the time you are at work. But even talking to them, they tell me when they have to put on the fake motivational and sympathy for those who really don't need their chairs and use it as a crutch. These people kind of also make me feel a little made. Mainly because of the fact that they have the ability to walk and use their legs and chose not to, but chose not to because they are lazy and would rather sit down. I would think with a facility full of people who can't walk, that they would be even more motivated to do so. What I wouldn't give to have some of these people's legs for an hour.
Second is how my family deals with me being in the chair. First this is God Bless them for trying and spending money to get me in the house, even for just a little while. My Mom and Dad go to great lengths to try to get me out of the nursing home and to make things as normal as possible. But sometime they go too far and try too much. There is no “too much” in their eyes, but I can see when they are going and trying too hard. Such as trying to modify other people's homes so I can go over for holiday like Easter, whom my sister-in-law is hosting this year. But I am more than happy to bow out because I know how much trouble it is around the nursing how or at home. I can't fault them for trying but if you try, it is that they try too hard.
Third are my friends. So far of my friends, they have been supportive. They write me letters, emails, phone calls, and such But I have found who my core friends are and who have fallen by the waist side. There were many who I thought were really good friends who now don't call or email me. But through these blogs and sites like Myspace.com, facebook.com, and twitter.com I have reconnected with people from the past and have old friends come back and give motivation when I need it and help cheer me up when I was down. Even come in and play some Taboo. Thank you my friends.
Now on to how I perceive the chair and me.
I have come to terms with the chair and being in it. I see it as an extension of me. It is my legs, method of movement. With that I know that I am pretty mu going to be in it for a long time. At first when I was in it, I thought as myself as a hospital patient who wasn't allowed up and being pushed around. But couple of weeks into it they started making me push myself around. It hurt and helped to build up my arm strength up. But it wasn't until recently, that I started to changed how I looked at ,or rather forget that the chair was even there.
I, over the last few months have been coming to grips with the whole not walking thing, and with people telling me that I should give up hope and that there may be a chance. Well I have looked into it. There are a few new things in stem-cell research but it is a long way off and for now, please can we all agree to stop it with the, “Oh, You can't give up hope that one day you might walk. You never know.” I know this and I am not giving up hope, but I am being a realist that for right now and the fore see-able future, I am not going to be walking and going to be in the chair for a while. So please can we stop with the hope talk of walking and just accept the situation like I have. It will make me and all of you better able to deal with and accept this life that I now have.
Now, what has really started to happen is when I am rolling around, I am aware that I am pushing myself around in the chair. But recently, I have been noticing that when I am doing something, like grabbing something and wheeling around my room. Mainly small things and while I am distracted or have my mind else where, I don't notice me pushing myself. I don't notice the chair. It seems it is becoming more and more apart of me. When I do notice after that, it hits me that I just didn't noticed it and get two feelings. One is a feeling of depression because no matter how much my life may feel normal -- I am still paralyzed. The second is sense of acceptance and amazement that this is happening to me. It is a level of disbelief and hard fact that this is actually happening and is likely to be for life.
It is very strange to get these feelings and not paying attention to pushing yourself and accepting your lot in life. I am going to be writing more about my perspective on “Life in a Wheelchair” and how I am adapting. Later guys.