I slept in a little, at least for me, this morning. Iím usually up by 6:30 AM every morning unless I have something that requires me to get up even earlier. When I woke up and put my glasses on I was surprised to see that it was almost 8:00 AM. I felt very rested and eager to get on with my day. I threw off the covers and as I looked down at my legs, I noticed that they had hardly moved even though I had gone to sleep on my right side with my left leg in front of my right. During the night I had rolled over onto my back as I often do but my legs had not moved hardly at all. In the past when this happened my feet would turn up somewhat; however, both feet were lying on their sides just as I had placed them when I got in bed. Iím a little surprised to see how much more flexible my ankles are now than before the surgery. I laid in the bed for a couple of minutes just thinking about how comfortable I felt with myself now that I was permanently a paraplegic, confirming what I fully believed would be the case prior to the surgery.
I moved my overnight bag to the side so that I wouldnít knock it off the bed and transferred to my chair, putting the bag in my lap I headed to the bathroom to take care of my morning routine. I emptied my bag and placed it on the seat of my chair between my legs. I washed my face and brushed my hair, not bothering to get dressed just yet I headed to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and confirm our plans for the day with mom. I knew that dad had left early this morning for meetings out of town and would not be back for a couple of days so there was no need to get dressed before going to the kitchen.
I found mom at the table having breakfast and reading. She, like me is an avid reader and is seldom found without a book nearby. She looked up as I entered the kitchen and grinned at me and said, ďI hope you are not going to carry your bag there when you go out in public.Ē I looked at her and replied, ďMom, you know better than that. When have I ever displayed my bag in public?Ē She grinned again and said that she was only jerking my chain a little as she was very aware that I would never do something like that. Then she told me that I might want to put my right foot on the foot rest before I ran my toes into something. On looking down I noticed that my right foot only had the heel on the footrest and was hanging over the edge of the footrest pointing straight down and nearly scraping the ground.
I thanked mom for telling me as I pulled my foot back onto the footrest where it belonged. Mom got up and asked me what I would like for breakfast, I told her that a cup of coffee, a container of yogurt and a banana would be great. As she brought my breakfast to the table she told me that she didnít mind serving me today but that going forward I was welcome to get my own breakfast myself. She further told me that she didnít want to spoil me so that after Rob and I were married that I would think that he needed to wait on me. I looked at her and she was grinning again, I asked her what got her going and jerking my chain so much? She replied that she was just very pleased to see me so happy and looking so comfortable that she wanted me to know that she had no reservations or concerns about my having the surgery because she had come to realize that I really needed to have the surgery and to be a paraplegic. She also said that she didnít understand why I needed this but that it was OK because she could see how happy it had made me and that was all she cared about. She also said that she realized that it was important for us to be able to laugh at each other and at ourselves because that was the best way to have a positive attitude and she knew that I was adamant about having a positive attitude because I had always been that way.
We talked about our plans for the day; the first order of business was to visit the mall to do some shopping for the wedding and honeymoon and to get some things for the house that Rob and I were buying. We had found a house not far from mom and dadís house that was perfect for our needs. Itís a 3 bedroom on one level which was built for a disabled person so there are no modifications that we need to make for me to be able to access everything. It even has a study/office that I will setup as my study room so that I will have a quiet place to study once school starts. The person that built the house was in a wheelchair so everything is wheelchair accessible. It even has a roll-in shower stall like I have at home, only larger, so Iíll need to get a shower chair since I donít want to take the one at home in case Iím staying there for any reason it will be here for me. After we finish at the mall we are going by the house to see how the painters are doing, Rob and I decided that we wanted to have the walls painted different colors than they were and that it would be much easier if we did it before we move it. That decided I headed to my room to get dressed.
I decided that since it was pretty warm I was going to wear shorts and a light top. I found what I wanted and proceeded to transfer to the bed to dress. Since I had not had enough time to be sure that my bowels were still working according to my program I decided that a diaper would be a smart thing to use for a while, so I removed my gown, changed my bag for a smaller one and put on the diaper. I then put the rest of my clothes on and transferred back to my chair. The next thing on the agenda was making my bed so I set about doing that after which I went to the closet and chose a pair of wedge heeled flip flops and put them on. I went to the bathroom and put on a little makeup, brushed my teeth and brushed my hair again. I opened the drawer where I keep my glasses and chose a pair that went well with my outfit, chose some jewelry and I was ready to go. I rolled into the kitchen to find mom so we could leave, she was back in her book waiting for me.
As we left the house I told mom that I would drive my car to the mall. Although she has a disabled hang tag to use when I am with her, she doesnít have hand controls so I canít drive her car and it is my preference to drive and she really doesnít care if she drives or not. I transferred to my car, disassembled my chair and put it in the back seat. This time it was behind the passenger seat, not mine, where I could reach it. When Iím by myself I prefer to put the frame in the passenger seat; however, I can easily put it in the back seat by leaning my seatback down a little more. I noticed that the frame of my new chair is a little lighter than my old one.
We headed off to the mall, found a disabled parking place near an entrance and headed inside. After wheeling along for a while I realized that my new chair is easier to push and seems to have a little better balance as wheelies are easier to perform. Part of that is the ďNatural FitĒ hand-rims on these wheels and perhaps the OT at the clinic adjusted this chair better than my other one. Iíll have to investigate that, Iíll take the old chair one day when I go for therapy and have her look at it.
Our first stop was a shoe store; where else would a girl begin a day of shopping? Both mom and I found a couple of pairs that we liked. One pair that I found was a white 4Ē slide that I had been looking for to wear for the wedding. They look like some of the popular sling-back styles with open toes except without the sling-back straps. I love the very simple look of the shoes and when I tried them on I had no problem keeping my feet upright. The second pair that I found was black mules with 4Ē heels. Iím really into slides, I have always preferred them to pumps and other shoes with backs on them because I think they look really sexy.
From the shoe store we went to the boutique where I had found my wedding dress. Some alterations were needed, especially for a girl in a wheelchair. One of owners is also a seamstresses and a wheelchair user so she totally understands how a dress should be modified for wheelchair use, she told us that the only sewing for the shop that she does is modifications for wheelchair users. They had called to tell us that the dress was ready for me to try which I did and it fit perfectly and looked amazing. The modifications that were made were perfect; when I had tried it on originally it didnít drape properly and looked like it didnít fit me at all. Since I had the shoes with me I put them on to see the full effect, I really loved how the outfit looked on me. They asked if we were going to do any further shopping before leaving the mall, we said that we were so they offered to box up the dress and would meet us at the car if we would call them as we were leaving the mall. We thanked them and mom paid for the remainder of the cost of the dress since we had only put a deposit on it while they were altering it.
From there we headed to a home furnishings and kitchen supplies store were we picked out a few things that were needed for the house. We arranged for a couple of larger items to be delivered to the house the week before the wedding when Rob and I would be there getting things moved in and setup, the rest we took with us.
After a stop at the food court for lunch we stopped at the optical store to pick up a new pair of glasses that I had ordered for the wedding and a couple of other pairs that I had the lenses updated in. I recently had my annual eye exam which resulted in a slight increase in my prescription. I also dropped off a couple of other pairs, including the ones I was wearing to have the lenses updated in them as well. I had finally decided that I would try myodisc lenses in a couple pairs of my glasses to see how I liked them. My prescription has been strong enough for the last couple of years to have these special lenses recommended as an alternative to the very high index lenses that I have in my other pairs. For those that are not familiar with a myodisc lens, it is a lens that has the prescription ground into a circle in the optical center of the lens. By doing this the lens can be made from substantially thinner material and doesnít appear to be as thick or as strong as a normal lens would be for a prescription as strong as mine. In my case, I was not as concerned with the thickness of the lens material as I was with the index of it. I had been told several years ago that with lower index material the eyes donít have to work as hard to see as they do with the higher index material. I actually have a couple of pairs of glasses that are made from the low index material which are super thick, I often wear these around the house especially in the evenings when my eyes are tired from a busy day. There is no question about the fact that the eyes donít have to work as hard with these lower index lenses, when I put a pair of them on in the evenings I can notice that my eyes are more relaxed and the tiredness seems to vanish after an hour or so. Rob has seen me wearing these thicker glasses and tells me that he loves the way they look on me; I canít wait to see his reaction to the myodiscs. I have a suspicion that either a pair of the really thick lensed glasses or a pair of the myodiscs will become my bedroom glasses after the wedding. After the optician had adjusted the frames for me I chose one of my old pairs with the regular lenses to wear home, I was very pleased that everything was so clear and sharp again. The small amount of fuzziness that I had been noticing was gone.
After doing a bit more shopping, I called the boutique and told them that we were headed to my car and told them which entrance we were parked at. As we arrived at the entrance one of the sales girls from the store came walking up with the dress box in tow, she offered to put it in the car for me which was really great since we had a number of packages with us.
All of our purchases loaded, I transferred into the car and loaded my chair. We then headed to the house to see how it was looking, I called Rob as we pulled out of the mall and he met us at the house. The painters were just about finished; they had a little more trim work to do which they would complete the next day. Rob and I were both very pleased with the results and told them so. I asked Rob to unload the packages that were for the house and leave them in the utility room so we would not have to haul them back here later; after doing that he gave me a kiss and headed back to work, he would come by later after work and we would take mom out to dinner.
Mom and I returned home and unloaded the rest of our purchases. I went to my room and changed for my therapy appointment. I put on a pair of gym shorts and a tank top and slipped my feet into a pair of running shoes. Running shoes you ask? Really? Well, a girl has to keep up her appearance and make a good impression. Right?
One of the good things about being a paraplegic is that one doesnít wear out shoes. Iíve several pairs of shoes that Iíve bought in the last year since I have been a full time chair user and every one of these pairs of shoes look as if they have never been worn, yet I have worn all of them many times.
After changing I left for the clinic and my appointment. Before leaving the house I transferred to my old chair and asked mom to put the new one in the back seat of my car. I explained to her that I wanted to have the OT check out the adjustments on the old chair thinking that since the new chair was so much easier to handle that she might be able to make adjustments to the old one that would improve its handling. I also told her that I was thinking about getting wheels with ďNatural FitĒ hand-rims for that chair as well because I liked the new ones so much. I wasnít sure that the adjustments could be made while I was at the clinic which is why I wanted to have my new one with me. After getting the chair into my car I transferred in, loaded my old chair in the front passenger seat and left for the clinic.
When I arrived at the PT department of the clinic I saw the OT and mentioned that I would like for her to look at my chair and see if there were some adjustments that would make it easier to use. I told her how much I liked the new chair and how easy it was to handle, not that the old one was hard to handle; the new one was just easier. She told me that she would be happy to do that and said that she would make the adjustments while I was doing my PT. She brought over one of the trial chairs so that I could use it while she was working on my chair. Before I transferred out of my chair she had me do a couple of wheelies and roll around the room to see how the chair was setup. After observing my use of the chair she asked me to transfer to the loaner chair and took my chair to the stock room to work on it and I headed off to do my PT.
At this point my PT consisted of the therapist moving my legs in various ways to insure that my range of motion was maintained, she told me that I should do this daily at home. We then spent some time further familiarizing me with the machines I would be using, doing only flexibility exercises, nothing strenuous yet. When I was done I noticed that my old chair was parked outside of the wheelchair fitting room so I headed over there. The OT saw me head that way and met me there. She asked me to transfer to my old chair and try it to see if she had achieved the handling characteristics that I was looking for. As I tried the chair I found that it was much better, although it seemed that the chair tilted back when doing a wheelie much too easily which I mentioned to her. She said that she had noticed that I didnít seem to be comfortable when tilting the chair back and that I had almost gone back too far one time. She said that she could easily fix that problem and asked me to transfer back to the loaner chair. She made a couple adjustments and asked me to transfer back to the chair and try it out; I did and was impressed with the changes she had made, the old chair was as easy to handle as the new one. I thanked her for making the adjustments and asked if I could get a new set of wheels with the ďNatural FitĒ hand-rims. She said that was not a problem and went to the storeroom and got me a set. She suggested that I keep the old wheels in case I should need them. I thanked her again and asked her to send me the bill for the new wheels which she said she would do. I transferred back to the loaner chair and she put the new wheels on my chair, after transferring back to my chair I tried it again and found that it was perfect. I thanked her for her help and asked her if someone could take my old wheels out to my car, she said she would get someone to do that and should have them outside in about 10 minutes. I wheeled down to the appointments desk to get an appointment to see Dr. Hamilton. I scheduled the appointment for the middle of next week just before my PT appointment. Having completed all that I needed to do at the clinic I headed to my car, as I arrived outside one of the physical therapists came out carrying my old wheels which she put in my car for me. I transferred and loaded my chair and went home.
When I arrived home, mom was working in her flower beds in front of the house. I asked her to help me get my new chair out of the car and into the house; she asked if I would like to use the new one which she would get out first for me to transfer to. I thanked her for the suggestion and said that I would like to do that so she got it out, put the wheels on it and brought it to the driverís side of the car for me to transfer to. While I transferred to my chair she got the old one out of the front seat and seeing the old wheels in the back seat got them and put them on the seat of the chair took it into the house to my room.
I followed mom into the house and thanked her again for her help. It was getting close to the time that Rob would be arriving so I needed to take a shower and get dressed. I set about getting out of my clothes and getting myself into the shower. As I picked up my shower glasses I realized that it was time to give them a good cleaning as the soap scum on them was pretty heavy. I keep a small soft brush in my bathroom with which I clean all of my glasses regularly to remove the body oils that build up on them and of course the soap scum on my shower pair. After cleaning them up I switched glasses, removed and emptied my leg bag and clamped the catheter. After transferring to my shower chair I was ready for my shower.
When I had finished my shower, transferred back to my chair and dried my hair I rolled back to my room to get dressed. As I was leaving the bathroom I noticed myself in the full length mirror and smiled at what I saw. There I sat in my wheelchair with nothing on but my glasses, my feet somewhat askew on the footrest. I saw the real me that my mental image of myself had been for so long. I realized that I really liked what I saw, a really nice figure that included a well-toned upper body with fairly large breasts and a lower body that had no sensation or movement at all. I felt giddy and very pleased with the image I was looking at.
I rolled to the closet to get the skirt and blouse that I was going to wear. I had decided that I would wear a black mini-skirt and a light pink blouse. Because this skirt is so short I canít hide a leg bag under it so I have to leave the catheter clamped shut. On the way to my bed I got my underwear, black panties and a pink bra, out of my dresser. After transferring to my bed I proceeded to put on another diaper and get dressed, after transferring back to my chair I went back to the bathroom to put on my makeup and jewelry. I selected one of my new pairs of glasses, a black rectangular frame with myodisc lenses. When I looked in the mirror I really liked the look of these glasses. The circle which contains the prescription was larger than the height of the frame so there is no evidence at the top and bottom of the frame that they are myodisc lenses. At the sides there is a small amount of the lens that has no correction; it is not wide enough to be really noticeable. I chose to have these lenses made of a fairly low index material and by having them done as myodiscs they are not nearly as thick as they would be if they were the normal style of lens.
Except for a pair of shoes I was ready to go, I rolled out of the bathroom and picked up the new mules I had purchased today and slid my feet into them. I have already learned that the safe way to do this is to pick a leg up and cross it over the other at the ankle, put the shoe on and place the leg back on the footrest. By putting shoes on this way I donít have to lean down and risk falling out of my chair. After putting both shoes on I crossed my left leg over my right and rolled to the front of the house to await Robís arrival.
I had not been out of my room more than 5 minutes or so when the doorbell rang announcing Robís arrival. He was about a half hour earlier than I had expected. I let him in and we went back to the kitchen where mom was reading again. Rob noticed my new glasses right away and complimented me on them. Mom put her book away, Rob sat at the table and I turned to position myself next to Rob. As I executed my turn I heard a thump on the floor in front of my chair, we all looked down and discovered that my left foot was no long shod and that the shoe was sitting on the floor in front of my chair. Rob gently pushed my chair back a little bit and reached for my shoe which he slipped back on my foot. To slip the shoe back on my foot, Rob pulled my leg toward him just a little and put the shoe on. He released my leg and it swung back to where it had been and there was another thump on the floor. The shoe had slipped off of my foot again so it appeared that these shoes were going to be a problem as they were a little too loose on my foot. After Rob slipped my foot back into the shoe I asked him to place my foot on the footrest and said that I would not cross my legs again while wearing this pair of shoes.
Knowing that I like to cross my legs and liking to see my legs crossed Rob said that we needed to figure out a way to keep the shoes on my feet. I told him that I had no idea how to do that and that either a smaller size or narrower shoe would not fit my feet properly so I would not be able to exchange them for a pair that fit better. Rob said that he thought he had a way to resolve the problem, he asked if either mom or I knew if dad had any foam tape. Both mom and I said there was a good possibility that he did but that we had no idea where it would be in his shop. Mom told Rob that if he wanted to he could go out back and look to see if he could find any. Rob walked out to the shop and was back very quickly with a roll of tape. He said that as soon as he entered the shop he saw the tape hanging on hook on the wall. He picked up my left leg and extended it out where he could see how loose the shoe was, then he cut off a piece of the tape and put it in the shoe just above my instep. He put the shoe back on my foot and asked me to cross my leg again to see if the shoe would stay on my foot. I was pleased that it seemed to work; Rob pulled my foot toward him and let it go, it swung back into position and the shoe stayed on my foot. Seems as the problem was solved so he made the same modification to my other shoe and we tested it to find that it was working just fine.
We chatted for a few more minutes and decided that we would head off to the restaurant. We went outside, I decided that I would allow Rob to drive so we went to his car and got in. Diner was great; we all enjoyed it very much. After diner we went to a coffee shop and got coffee. We sat there for a while and talked about the wedding and what needed to be done before the date arrived. It turns out that there are only a few more items that need to be taken care of so mom and I decided that we would start on them in the morning. Upon finishing our coffee we decided that it was time to call it a night so we went back home, Rob and I spent a few minutes together before he went home.
I went inside and mom and I discussed our plans for the next day, dad would not be back until just before diner so we had all day to get some of our wedding chores accomplished. That settled I headed off to bed, I realized that I was really tired and needed to get some rest. This is exactly what Dr. Hamilton had expected would happen.
Go to the previous part Day 1