And What a Life It Can Be

One of the very few good things about Facebook is the ability to notify or update a whole bunch of people at once about something. Like a book release. Or the progress of someone who is sick.

I am currently keeping track of three kids on Facebook. Tripp, Tyler, and Olivia. Olivia and her brother Tyler were in a car accident four weeks ago. She suffered a brain injury but bounced back rather quickly. She’s doing great and will probably recover completely. Tyler’s injuries are more spinal. Essentially, his skull was separated from his spine and his spinal cord was stretched. C1 and C2 were knocked completely out of place. He just had surgery to put them back and they ended up reattaching C3 and C4 as well. Tripp was injured just over a year ago. He was just 2 and was playing at his day care when a limb fell and hit him in the head. Tripp recognizes everyone around him but cannot move much, nor speak or swallow. He is making progress, slowly but surely. The brain is a marvelous thing at re-routing itself.

But this post is about Tyler. Or, rather, the life Tyler may be facing. And that’s the life in a chair. Some say that’s not a life. Some say “He’ll walk again!” as if that is the only thing there is. For some people, that may be true. I wrote a post on his FB page, trying to gently say “no, it’s not the only thing there is”.

We were watching television the other day and it was about how those older science fiction writers (Asimov, Clarke, etc) managed to get some of it right. They had this guy talking about an exoskeleton. It’s a long way from being done but he can strap it on and basically “walk” with it. He’s basically a quadriplegic due to a bomb while in the military. But what he said struck me hard: “This will get me my life back”. I wanted to reach through the screen and slap the shit out of him. He owned a successful research company that, even though they had not yet reached their goal, their work had spawned patents that were now going in other directions and doing great things. He must have a brain because a lot of the planning he did himself. He tries all the prototypes himself first. He looked really muscular so he must work out. Yet, he says he had no life because he couldn’t walk. And that’s sad.

But he’s not the only one. I hear comments like that all the time. One’s life does not end when one’s butt is placed in a wheelchair. One’s view changes. One’s life changes. But one’s life does not end. Alterations have to be made, yes. But alterations have to be made for most any life change. Get married? You’ll need everything for 2 now. Have kids? Wow, now that’s a life alteration!

So Tyler, like I said before, having the goal in rehab of doing all you can to perhaps someday walk again is a good goal. But putting all of your mental eggs into that single basket is not a good thing. Have a life where you are. If your life means you will go from a power chair to a manual and then to crutches then to cane, GREAT!! If it means you go as far as the manual, that’s great too. Live life to the fullest wherever you are. And you are surrounded by folks who believe in the power of praying to God for healing. Sometimes, God’s healing isn’t exactly what you asked for. And sometimes God’s answer is No. God loves you even if you are walking, limping, or rolling. And if God thinks you can do what you need to do rolling, then, well, that’s what might happen. Trust me, I’ve gone rounds in the boxing ring with God on this healing and the lack thereof business for many years! He and I ain’t done yet but we’ve agreed to disagree and I’m allowed to stomp his right foot when I get there.

You’ll be fine, wherever you are, however you get there.