(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Beth believed that everything would be okay. I had no injury and felt sure that nothing would ever be okay again. I blindly followed her lead and pretended there was hope when I saw none.
I watched as experts measured Beth for her own chair. Quadriplegics primarily used heavy power wheelchairs, and then for back up, a smaller, lighter push version. Big motorized chairs required a van with a lift, while manual chairs fit in most cars.
Beth had one question: “Will I get stronger faster using only a manual chair?”
Our favorite physical therapist, Laraine, paused and smiled before answering with a simple yes, clinching the verdict. No motorized chair. We replaced the car in the accident with a hatchback station wagon instead of an accessible van.
I let Beth make all the decisions about her care since between the two of us, she was the emotionally stable one.
I also thought that she should feel in charge of her life, especially with most of her body out of her control. I did raise questions, though, when she ordered a manual chair when she could barely push one. I wasted my breath.
Beth weighed every decision on the metric of possibility, on whether or not it might advance her goal to be less dependent.
My goal was to get through the days without crying in front of anyone.
“You don't really have time to cope with things,” Beth said. “You just kind of get thrown back into the world.”
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