Disability 101: Darn stubborn and proud of it
February 28, 2010
So maybe I am stubborn. Maybe I have a good reason for it.
Maybe I am sometimes a bit obnoxious. Maybe there is a reason for that as well.
While in my wheelchair, I push a full-size cart through the grocery store. I get to the checkout and the bagger places all my bags in the cart and asks me “Can I help you out with that?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.” I say. He says, “Are you sure? I can help you out with that.”
as he assertively grips the cart handle. I wheel around and assertively pull the cart from him, “I’m fine. Thank you.”
Stubborn? Yep. Obnoxious? If he keeps insisting, probably.
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“Oh, Sandy, this is quite the hill. Let me push your wheelchair for you.” Again I respond, “No, thank you. I’m fine.” She presses, “But Sandy, you are going to wear yourself out. No point in exhausting yourself.”
I speed up and roll away from her reach. “No, actually I do quite well on hills.”
Stubborn? Yep. Obnoxious? If she keeps insisting.
But let me tell you where my stubbornness has gotten me. I just got back from attending the annual monoski camp at Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC). This is my fourth monoski camp I’ve attended at BOEC. It’s held every February and provides a good barometer to my overall functioning. I mark my health by how I do at each monoski camp.
Monoski camp lasts four days, with four consecutive days of skiing. Usually on the first day I ski really well. On the second day, I do pretty good. But by the third day, generally my MS hits hard. Yes, anyone would get tired skiing four consecutive days. This is beyond that. By the third day, I have no awareness of where my body is in space. I can’t get my body to move the way I want it to move. I think about lifting my left elbow or rolling my hips to the right, but nothing happens.
By the third day, I’m spasming and I’m experiencing pain. So usually on the third day I have to really pull back. I’m still on the mountain skiing, but I’m on the bunny slopes, barely moving. Usually on the fourth day it’s all I can do to crawl away and head home.
That didn’t happen this year. This year was downright miraculous. This year I was safely skiing blacks on Peak 10 on the third day and I was landing jumps on the terrain park the fourth day. I was tired, an average tired that anyone who has skied four days in a row will feel. But MS crashes did not rear their ugly head this year. This miracle will fuel my hope for an entire year.
What created this miracle that allowed me to do so much more this year? I think, in part, it was my stubbornness and obnoxiousness and insistence that I do things for myself. I am stronger.
Thanks to every instructor at BOEC who has allowed me to propel myself, in my monoski, up that hill to the Quicksilver lift. Thanks to every instructor at BOEC that has challenged me. They are always focused on safety, but within that realm of safety, they let me push myself further and further. Thanks to every instructor who has told me that I’m doing well.
I think they know I’m fighting for my life here. I am blessed to have their encouragement to push myself farther. That’s what creates my miracles. That and my stubbornness.