Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Little Support

Last night, Robb and I did something that I had been wanting to do for quite some time: we attended a support group for people with spinal cord injuries (and their families). The speaker last night was from Accessible Events, and he brought along a film he had made about local scuba diving opportunities for wheelchair users. We were pretty jazzed about all this.

I think we were both a bit nervous, too. Robb and I are both quite shy, and we really didn't know what to expect from a support group. We had decided to make a night of all this, and went out to dinner, which caused us to arrived a bit late. (No, the two vegetarians really don't want the beef dinner, can you please bring us what we ordered?)

Robb was the only person with spinal cord injury who was not using a wheelchair, and he was also the most recently injured. We arrived during introductions, and it was very eye-opening to see the different situations and points-of-view. We met people who had had their injuries in the 1970's, and people who were still grappling with adapting their lives. Several people spoke about relocating to the Bay Area some years after their accidents, because of the great support systems in place here. The woman sitting next to us was the director of a dance company with disabled and able-bodied dancers. Christine's friend Nadia who we met about a year ago after she and Christine went skydiving, works with them from time to time.

Many of the injuries were textbook cases (car accidents, diving, ocean swimming) and most people spoke about the long periods of anger and not wanting to leave the house that they had experienced following their accidents. We haven't had this. I'm wondering if we've bypassed all that, or if we'll get that some time later on. (I suspect the former, knowing Robb. But if he has a dark, bleak period, I certainly wouldn't blame him.)

Robb had been at the Berkeley YMCA pool yesterday, and was trying a new exercise. I think that in the weightless environment of the pool, Robb over-exerted himself, and what with sitting at the restaurant, and sitting in the uncomfortable chair at the meeting, he went into painful spasm. We ended up leaving the meeting very, very early.

Even attending for a short time gave us a lot to talk about when we got home. We really haven't had much contact with other people with spinal cord injuries since Robb left the hospital. Not surprisingly, the people at the meeting were understanding of our situation. We'll be back next month.

6 comments:

ericaflory said...

*hugs for you both*

Anonymous said...

I suspect you and Robb will find that the support group is made up of nice people eager to reach out - not unlike folks you meet in your work and hobby communities. We all are just trying to make the best of our limitations, no matter what they are. How super that there are those who can truly empathize with both of you!

You might be shy but you both have so much to offer those you allow to know you. Don't be afraid to blossom a little bit!
Susan (Grinch)

Anonymous said...

I hate those spasms, since you are in California surrounded by free-thinking peoples, you can always say the spasms come from your alien implant acting up. Maybe the implant wants to be fed some beef, eh? The human body can use some protein when its healing, you know, eating a big mac wouldn't kill you, Robb.

I'm glad you went to the meeting, it's time you get some support if only in learning how other people cope and deal (either well or badly) with LAI (life after injury). It's does continue, you know, and I suggest joining the dance troop and letting Robb go wild with the spasms, thus starting a new dance craze, eh?

I saw something on TV lately about how the US military is trying to do more for its troops who return horribly physically and mentally damaged, part of me thinks that those military guys may join your group before long, since it sounds like you got in with a unique group of people.

I suggest telling people from the group about your blog, it will help others to be more open about what they themselves are going thru, and you may get info that you were unaware of before.

PS- We went to a tractor festival last weekend, I don't know where they use these old tractors anymore, cause it's all developed suburbia around here now. I especially liked the Jehovahs Witness- sponsered tractor that was there (yikes!)

Good luck to you-

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

PPS- For Gods sake- if they don't have comfortable chairs at a support meeting for people with spinal cord injuries, where else can you expect it at?

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

i'm so proud of you guys for trying it!

leslie

Anonymous said...

http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20070224/RECREATION01/102250037

Come out for a visit and ski.

Ziska

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