Coming to terms with spinal cord injury is a life-long endeavor. Lately I’ve noticed that my partner is talking about it simply as being unlucky–no one to blame, no need to find a reason why it happened. Just unlucky.
But we’ve also been talking lately about ways in which she’s been really lucky.
She was lucky that her mom is a disciplined, detail-oriented person who taught her the excellent self-care habits that have served her well through 30 years of paralysis.
She was lucky to meet a teacher who joined forces with her mother to fight the public school system for the things she needed as a student–things like making sure the sidewalks were plowed in the winter. Her mother and this teacher were my partner’s most faithful cheerleaders, telling her repeatedly, “Yes, you can.”
And more recently she has been lucky enough to find a master aircraft mechanic who was able to imagine that someone with paraplegia might actually be an excellent mechanic, who decided to give her a chance, and who was willing to learn from her about what it’s like to live life in a chair.
This is her boss last Sunday. He crawled into the laundry closet on top of the dryer, reaching down to the bottom of the dryer to attach the gas line, and up to the ceiling to attach the dryer vent. I didn’t get a photo of him leaping out nimbly from behind the washer (before we stacked the dryer on top).
We also had heavy lifting help from a new neighbor who has become a very good friend. My partner doesn’t feel comfortable with very many people–the result of a lifetime of being treated badly by people who can’t handle the chair. But this new friend is someone she has trusted from the moment she met him, and he and his wife have become treasured friends.
Lucky in love, indeed.