On the Horizon

I believe it is important to live in the present moment as much as possible but it is necessary to think about the future somewhat in order to succeed in our society.  I admit that I have trouble thinking about my future and what it has in store for me.  I honestly have yet to accept my paralysis even as I sit here so accepting a future state of paralysis is even more difficult.  But at some point I must make the decision to stop waiting around and find a way to succeed in life so that I may overcome the situation I have been given.  I believe it is possible to wait for miracles while moving forward.

Moving on with my life is not going to be an overnight process.  It is going to be a gradual and slow process of steps, each one being a learning experience to be absorbed as it unfolds.  Each step may be scary, intimidating or embarrassing but I must strip away my ego and let the course of my life flow smoothly towards the direction I am chosen by God to lead.

The latest step on the horizon in my life is a pilgrimage back to the land of spinal cord splendor.  Back to the mecca of rehabilitation and community integration, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.  I departed from the Shepherd Center back in October of 2004, leaving with high hopes of recovery and the goal of returning once my trace muscle movements gained strength.  My thought was once my wrists were at full strength and my scapulas stopped winging so much then it would be time to return for more rehab.  The time frame would be no more than four months tops.  But life never goes according to plan especially when it comes to time and my perfectly planned out scenario of recovery has not occurred.  The months past with trace movement becoming stronger trace movement and only continuing signs of future recovery.  Each sign seemed to tell me, any day now, but any day did not come.

It has now been a year since I left Shepherd Center and my current state of recovery is nowhere near where I thought it would be.  However, over the past year I would say I have probably tripled in strength as well as gained some weak but functional movement in my wrists.  My scapulas still wing but have shown significant improvement and I believe will continue to do so.  A year ago my mental approach to the situation was completely focused on recovery, putting goals of independence on the back burner.  I am now more mentally prepared to tackle goals of independence such as self cathing and community independence.  Going back to Shepherd Center was a step I told myself I was going to take and even though life has not gone according to plan I think this is still a step more than worth taking.  I’m hoping a stay at Shepherd Center can energize and motivate me to accomplish small goals in life that may be difficult and tedious but have the potential to propel me forward.

It would have been smart if I had made this decision earlier than now for the next slot open for the day program isn’t until after Thanksgiving.  I don’t particularly want to be staying in a tiny apartment, once used as a hotel, during the Christmas holiday.  This leaves me thinking I could go down in January but I did have plans of trying to take classes so I might have to make the choice between class and Shepherd Center.  There’s also the problem of insurance and questions of whether or not it will pay for another visit to Shepherd.  So there are some slight conflicts to deal with but I’m confident the pilgrimage will take place soon.

Another life-changing step which has been taking place recently is my dealings with the Community Assistance Program of North Carolina or CAP.  This is a program which provides assistance to people who cannot take care of themselves and helps them maintain a certain level of independence so that they can remain in the community.  The service would help me by providing nurse aides to assist me in my daily living.  A certain amount of hours will be provided for me and I can pretty much use those hours however I please as long as the assistance I’m asking for falls under the guidelines of the agency being used.  Since the middle of August my dad has been handling most of my care, getting me up in the mornings, giving me showers, helping me work out, and driving me to my various appointments.  In the midst of all that he does for me, he continues to work from home.  This arrangement was supposed to be a short-term deal until we could find other options.  We sort of got comfortable in how we were doing things and grew slack in our plan of action.  Getting strangers to help me with my daily life is not something I am jumping up and down about but I believe it is a step I need to take in my process of moving forward.

Last week my parents and I met with my caseworker and social worker from the CAP program and discussed what my options were.  Both women were very nice and seemed excited about working with me.  The meeting was very comfortable and actually went much better than I thought it would.  Rumors I have heard of limited care from people provided by the program turned out to be false and I learned that nurse aides provided by CAP can almost do whatever I want.  They can help me with everything I need in the morning as well as take me to my appointments and assist with my therapy out in the community.  It is up to me where I would like to focus their assistance towards.

I really have no idea how all this is going to work out but again I believe it will be a process to work through.  It may take a while to find the correct person who suits my needs best and it also make take a while to find the direction I wish to point my needs.  It may never completely work out but if anything it is providing a change in my life.  To me, change is a wonderful thing because change leads towards creation.  Performing the same routine every day, waiting around for lightning to strike leads you nowhere.

I’m also working with Vocational Rehab and Independent Living of North Carolina.  Vocational rehab focuses on bringing people back into the workforce and Independent living much like CAP, focuses on people becoming independent in their home and community.  Right now these two organizations will be working together to provide some modifications in my home.  One modification will be a ramp leaving off of the back deck and connecting to a sidewalk which will go around the house and connect to the driveway.  They will also be working on the ramp leading to the front door and modifying the door handles so I can open and close the doors.  The focus of these modifications is so that I can get in and out the house freely to improve my independence and to ensure my safety in case of a fire.  There also going to be modifying my bathroom some to hopefully improve my independence.  The idea is to provide a workstation of some sort so I can access and prepare necessary items for bathroom care.

Shepherd Center, the CAP program, and the home modifications are three major events occurring in my life at the present moment.  I would feel much safer and secure if I explored none of these options but I must push past my fear and find ways to create wonderful experiences in my life which lead to spiritual growth and understanding.  Part of me believes physical recovery may actually improve as I push forward in life and find happiness beyond my physical limitations.  Refocusing my mind on other areas of life so that the natural process of healing can occur without my scatterbrain conscious getting in the way.  Only time will tell.

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12 Responses to On the Horizon

  1. Patricia says:

    GO Colin!!!! What you have written here takes my breath away. You got it- keep living and keep up all hopes – don\’t miss time – adapting and finding new ways as your body does what it will. You have so much going for you. You are an amazing person through and through. Your wisdom, the words you write, your sense of things has continually shown me what a remarkable person you are. You have inspired me constantly like a remarkable guide helping me to see things or wonder about things myself. You have helped very much in looking at life differently and finding the things I have fought with internally for years following my accident with inspired wisdom to notice some of the positive following my injury. This allows me to free up some of my mind and go for dreams while yes, soaking up the present moment where the dream resides. You have sort of woken me up from a slumber of sorts and made me remember myself and the choices I make. I don\’t know how to thank you except to let you know these things. MSN is strange – I didn\’t come here with any knowledge of even what a blog was yet, here I find my life so enhanced! Thank you for being you -patti

  2. mtcutie says:

    Hey Colin,I wish you luck in the journey ahead of you. No one said it would be easy?… that\’s what I keep telling myself anyway.I love the hair by the way… looks great!mt

  3. Tricia says:

    Seems you have alot more plans with your life than you give yourself credit for…I am really happy to see finishing college is in your list of things to do.

  4. Tricia says:

    btw…I have worked in social systems for quite sometime now and can tell you DO NOT BELIEVE the rumors. As you start off alot of people are going to tell you that state programs (fed funded) will not do certain things, but it is not always true. Promise, I always hear some much crap that DARS (the TX verson of what you spoke of) does not do somethings, and I am think funny, I just has a consumer who got that from them…so keep your head up because nothing is more misunderstood that state programs that deal with healthcare (I know, I work in one)…its one of those times when the old adage comes into play, "don\’t believe a thing unless it comes from the horses mouth.." Thats it, sorry to get up on my soapbox, but you kinda touched on my passion and job…Thats it, have a great day Colin…

  5. Tina says:

    Hey Colin,Thats awesome that you have decided to take steps to further your recovery right now. I can understand why taking these steps might be scary at times, but I truly believe that taking these steps will help your physical and spiritual growth. I am really glad that you have decided to back to school as well. I could almost see your face light up when you spoke of your trip to Belize with the biology students in your previous blog.I love the pics that you added. I see you went for the full mohawk instead of the partial one that you had in some previous photos. I like it. It works on you (of course I am 40 and I have no idea what the 20-somethings are doing these days – so dont listen to me! LOL!)Glad that you have been keeping us updated on what is going on with you. You are truly an extraordinary person and I cant wait to see all the great things that you do with your life!Tina

  6. Unknown says:

    It\’s so good to hear you taking steps forward. Keep up the progress!I like the mohawk. It looks great on you!Question: why are the wheels tilted on the wheelchairs ya\’ll are in?Take care and have a great day!

  7. Patricia says:

    Hi Colin – I already commented on this entry. Guess what, my mom is coming to visit! She hasn\’t been to this place yet. I\’m excited but nervous. 🙂 Hope you are well today. My best -patti

  8. Colin says:

    The chairs are specialized rugby chairs. The wheels are set at what is called a camber, for stability and easier turning. Most sport chairs have wheels like this.Colin

  9. Patricia says:

    Hi Colin – hmm… I am glad that you felt some peace and calm but sorry you don\’t feel "chipper." Why does the word chipper make me feel that you are feeling angry and sad – not just sad? I think when I use the word not chipper – I feel those two feelings. It is okay Colin. I think and you didn\’t ask my opinion but I think you\’re great, so take my words with a grain of salt that I can only view things from my own perspective and that I care and have gotten to know you just a little bit. It seems that during times of making plans and change can often make me less then chipper. It is almost like growing pains. It will pass. During the times of not feeling chipper be kind towards yourself, give yourself a break, but also allow the slowed down momentum to give you resolve and determination- this resolve and determination is what allows me to locate where my feelings are coming from, the root of it, then make positive plans. And when making those plans from the most loving part within myself I learn my dreams and what I want to work towards – the things that really matter to me. I have trouble during this time period with frustration but remember to be kind to myself. You are one in a million -know it – know that you have purpose and goals and are dear. Know always that you are growing. know always that it is worth it. know that you will find your way. know that chipper is right around the corner. When I feel frustrated somehow it helps me pinpoint what emotionally is in my way. Sometimes I\’m just plain frustrated that things aren\’t different – then I think of the things I can do to make it different that will help me. Yea, I wish I could get rid of my brain injury but I can\’t. So what is it I want to do anyway? In my quiet moments I find that I wish I was a better photographer – I look at photo books. I come up with a list of how I\’m going to do that -what I want to study -and what I need to get there – I make a list- I write my goals -goals for the year. I then make goals for the first month, then the week. I forgive myself when I make the list too big to accomplish but having it written helps. Sometimes I just dream about it. Sometimes the goal changes and I allow that because that is wonderful when that happens. I get led down a road to a new adventure. You seem to have a list of goals written down here in this entry. I looked at it again – a year since rehab. Is this what you are thinking about? man, it is too hard to write all this down here – you could be feeling a million things I have no idea what you are feeling and it is too hard to guess and probably none of my business to boot. I do wish I could help or listen. I think I\’m messing up in the process of guessing what you are going through or even what it is that is on your mind. I shouldn\’t guess and I apologise. Please know I\’m here and care tons -you can write me at any time. I believe in you Colin. -patti

  10. Patricia says:

    oh darn I\’m a jerk I should not have written, I should not have guessed at what you are thinking I should have minded my own business. I\’m sorry. I\’m so sorry. I just care. -patti

  11. Iman says:

    i love your hair…and even though i dont know u , i am proud of u because u try not to let your disbility get into your wayyou have great writing skills as well keep it upbye

  12. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin!Getting a chance to read some entries now…great pics! I think you need a guitar in your hands and to start rocking out to some punk music! heh. Gonna spray the mohawk any funky colors?Shannon

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