SCI and The Law of Possibility

At one time or another, most of us have used a crutch or have used something as a ‘crutch.’ Whether as a prop or for support, I think when our lives are newly interrupted by disability, denial is as good a crutch as a crutch.

In the beginning—the first ten years—I used it (denial) to my advantage. I wasn’t going to be in a wheelchair the rest of my life and tried to live as if I were still able-bodied; but, obviously, needed help because of my disability. Others telling me how I inspired them wasn’t a help. My wake-up call, out of denial’s slumber, was realizing my pride and stubbornness.

Yes, I charged back into work, and being independent, but I look back at the foolishness of thinking I was more capable than I was, putting myself, and others, at risk.

There were several falls: a back flip off the toilet, a nose-plant onto my pantry floor, a “…tilt me over and pour me out” in my carport, and a semi-twirl off my back porch. The law of universal gravitation is especially cruel to those of us with effected muscular function/responses. Dead weight falls hard. Why hasn’t someone invented an ‘Iron Man’-like rocket boost for wheelchairs?

Anyway, the most dangerous denial was ignoring signs of autonomic dysreflexia (also known as hyperreflexia).

Autonomic dysreflexia in the SCI has numerous stimuli but most commonly results from an extended bladder or UTI (urinary tract infection), over-exposure in hot weather, constipation, and pain. I would ignore symptoms until a rocketing blood pressure-induced migraine escalated into distorted s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n speech, always requiring emergency assistance. If not treated, stroke, coma, and death can result.

Time, experience, and gained confidence work out the need for ‘crutches,’ but facing the truth on the wings of hope deals with denial.

Whether we improve physically or not, emotionally we can get better, day by day. If you lean on a crutch in the transition, that’s okay. If you’re honestly seeking to fit the puzzle pieces together for adjustment, this fellow SCI even recommends it. A little propping up, a little assistive support, goes a long way on the flight of optimism.

After all these years, those initial ailments have either changed or improved. More importantly, I’ve become wiser dealing with new ones.

I’ve learned: that opportunities are peeking out from under every weight of limitation, and that some things are “in our head:” Possibilities.

“The Law of Possibility:” the unaffected space of weightlessness in the aerodynamic mind where possibilities abound, and gravity has no influence!




Peripheral Visionary–Looking Beyond Disability

Is there any good excuse not TO BE THE BEST YOU?  I don’t believe there is. In spite of a body’s ability or disability, the imagination can see around obstructions, and envision friendly skies ahead, for miles and miles, even into the future.

When wearing contacts, I can see the world up close, from here to yonder, and peripherally. But, when wearing my bifocals, I can only see objects up close and at a distance. It’s when cutting my eyes to the left or to the right that my peripheral vision is impeded by that aggravating inch of blurry space unaided by corrective lens.

When distracted, frustrated, or hindered—taking your eyes off the goal, do you have a troublesome “blurry space” where your hopes and dreams seem to dim, even disappear?

Well, if you’re alive and breathing, most assuredly you will make some short-sighted decisions, take blind turns, and encounter reduced visibility from unplanned incidents of illness or disability. However, you needn’t lose sight of your dreams. With optimistic foresight, they can be the means to a restored vision.

Instead of seeing an obstacle—something limiting your potential, hindering your progress, or holding you back, readjust your focus to see the opportunity the test offers.

Yes. Initially, I was blindsided, as many of you adjusting to, and coping with, SCI. Life as we knew it ended; but, disability shouldn’t blind us to the opportunity to live out our dreams. It requires exercising the ability to envision, plan, pursue, and believe that good things will still come true.

It was when I began writing that I could see my purpose! It took a while before my ministry came into focus, but that blurry space did clear.

Just as a biennial eye examination checks your eyesight, neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination and more, exercising your ability as a “peripheral visionary,” will allow you to see beyond your blurry space of uncertainty.

You can!

P.S. My article is intentionally short in order to afford you 19 minutes to be inspired by another peripheral visionary looking beyond her disability: Caroline Casey: Looking past limits – YouTube


An Apple A Day and Disability Aids

With the prevalence of computers, laptops, ipads, mobile devices, and all their gizmos, it sometimes seems that the state of our society is grim.

By the radical technology of the 21st century, we (able-bodied and disabled) appear advanced and are technologically savvy. But, how can we read another’s honesty, integrity, or motivation by relating over a “device.” One-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball communications are being sacrificed. Learning to interpret interactive body language and the associative heart-mind connections is becoming a lost life-line.

Are we becoming a robotic society?

On the other hand, one can travel faster than a cheetah’s 60mph in three seconds with the touch of a mouse; can explore foreign lands without making reservations…deciding what to pack…waiting in lines, risk, hassle, and expense-free; earn a degree; have a world of knowledge at our fingertips.

As well, today’s mobile apps not only afford mindless amusement but can provide driving directions for travel and beyond to expand horizons.

For those of us living with a disability, there are iphone apps for providing helplines and medical care, apps for functional movement and alignment of prosthetics for the disabled, language learners for learning new languages, as well as providing expressive vocalization for the nonverbal, blind, and physically paralyzed.

The first bite out of the apple wasn’t such a good idea. However, that company with a bite-out-of-the-apple logo is a good thing!

Here I am talking to you on a lighted screen. Via whatever device, you’re reading my letter at home, at work, in transit, or as you wait.

I’m grateful to be communicating. I’m thankful I have a message. And, like many of you who are confined or shut-in due to SCI, illness, injury, or disease, I’m blessed to have a worldwide avenue where my words can travel into cyber space with an echo you can hear.

I hope you’re not just reading my words. I hope you hear what I’m saying in my letters to you, because Conversations with Cynthia aren’t conversations until you reply.

Let’s talk. I miss hearing back from you.  

R.S.V.P. with your “comments,” questions, and reviews on my books.

P.S. Don’t forget to enlist for my monthly newsletters with health hints and humor for whatever ails you! (After enlisting by adding your email address, remember to confirm my email to you.) 




Proportional Relationships

You’ve all heard of, know someone who has, or have experienced sleep walking antics (in my dreams!), even the Ambien-induced zombie driving, cooking, eating, or whatever activity undertaken during/after the drug’s kick-in. Well, pathetically, I have no excuse. I was awake!

It had been a l-o-n-g day in my wheelchair: my back hurt, my boo-tā needed relief, my feet felt like stuffed sausages, and my face screamed, “Nourish me!” If a CSI quadriplegic can hurry, I was trying to!

Whether or not you’re living with a life interruption (my coined expression for SCI, a prolonged illness, injury, or disease), you know the urgency of a getting horizontal reprieve. It’s more expedient than a need; more urgent than a must; more demanding than a have-to. It’s an emergency!

In the throes of discomfort, after tending to the boys, turning back my sheets, preparing my bed with my nightly supplies (if you’re SCI, you know what I mean), and turning off all slumber-robbing lights and electronics, I remembered seeing a white tube of face cream next to my stash of Young Living’s medicinal, therapeutic essential oils on my kitchen table.

Okay, I’m on that side of sixty. Get a grip! You’ll be there in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, assuming it to be my anti-wrinkle-undo-sun-damage-of-my-youth cream, I squeezed its emulsion into my palm, and slathered it generously upon my face—around my lips, cheeks, eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, and forehead.

Instantly, I was distracted from its odd, but vaguely familiar, scent. OMG, did it burn!

Still in the dark, I wheeled to the bathroom to administer a soothing gel. After a couple of minutes of no soothing, I smeared on a hefty portion of hydrating lotion. Still, no relief. Hmmm.

I reasoned that my face was extra sensitive after washing my hair, head down, in the sink, rather than in the shower. I figured, “Oh, well; overnight, my skin’s pH will balance.”

In the night, I had a rememory of something work-related I had forgotten to do. In the morning, in spite of a tight, itchy face, my feet hit the floor running (in a manner of speaking) to my office. After a while, a growling stomach reminded me I hadn’t eaten.

Back to the kitchen table in daylight, I noticed the writing on the tube of “face cream:” Sally Hansen® Crème Hair Remover for face. OH, NO!

YES, I do have facial hair…it’s peach fuzz…and is only noticeable in sunlight…if you’re using a magnifying glass…sort of.

In horror, envisioning the hikimayu practice—shaved eyebrows, I skidded to a screeching halt in front of my bathroom mirror to see if I still had eyebrows, or eyelashes. Disability is one thing but a bald face is another.

Amidst scattered red splotches and snake skin scales were two brows. Below, circling both eyes, there were lashes.

Through extreme gratitude, I can’t explain why those hairs defied removal, but it did explain the pain! Oh, and yeah, “…the vaguely familiar scent.”

I believe my oft’ recurring missteps are directly proportional to the air in my wheelchair tires, not to the air in my head.

Are there any mathematical geniuses out there that would agree?

(“In pre-modern Japan, hikimayu was the practice of removing the natural eyebrows and painting smudge-like eyebrows on the forehead. Hiki means “pull” and mayu means “eyebrows.”