As we take this month to highlight spinal cord injury paralysis, I made a list of some things that you may not have known! If you are paralyzed and want to add to my list, leave a comment and I will add it in!
Did you know?
That paralysis that affects just your legs is called paraplegia (para=two)?
That paralysis that affects your legs and arms both is called quadriplegia (or tetraplegia in Europe)(quad/tetra=four)?
That paralysis that affects one side of your body is called hemiplegia (hemi=half)?
That your level of paralysis is determined by where your spinal cord was damaged at? The higher the damage, the more your are paralyzed.
That there is a difference between a completely paralyzed person and an incomplete paralyzed person? Complete usually means that there spinal cord was completely severed or damaged and they have no feeling or movement below their level of injury. Incomplete means they have some movement or feeling below their level of injury (that could mean just a toe wiggle).
That not walking is just one paralysis problem?
That loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function, temperature control, energy levels, spasms, pain, pressure sores and UTI’s can frustrate us more than not walking?
That 1 in 50 people live with some level of paralysis? That is nearly 6 millions people!
That we are capable of marrying, parenting and living as productive citizens?
That we do not find it amusing when you tell us that “you sure wished you could ride around all day”? We would have a hard time wishing this on our worst enemies.
That even though we would not wish it on anyone, most of us do not play the victim card and enjoy our lives?
That there are many wonderful inventions that have been made to make our lives easier?
That spasms make us look like we can move certain body parts? One lady told me once that she saw my toes moving and she was pretty sure I could move them and just didn’t know it. I just smiled. My legs and feet move when they want and I have nothing to do with it. No. I am not suddenly healed. Let me say, that I can get my big toes to move sometimes but it takes a lot of work and much concentration!
That our necks get really, really, really, really….okay, you get it….sore when we talk to a lot of you as you stand and talk to us? My favorite people are those who come to talk to me and sit down next to me. Well, maybe they are not MY favorites, but they sure are my necks favorites!
That we like to figure out our own problems. We are very used to barriers in our lives and we have become experts on how to get around them. You don’t have to solve things. Just ask us and we will figure it out!
That “bitter cripple” is a really bad stereotype and that few actually exist?
That many people whose legs are paralyzed, also have paralyzed abdominal muscles? We do not have very good balance at all. Our chairs our built to help us keep our balance.
That if you grab someone and push them wildly or tip them, you could throw off their balance and they could fall out of their chairs? Or you could cause their bodies to spasm and they could get hurt. Be sure to ask before you grab someone.
That we always appreciate prayers, but we do not want “prayed over” or hands laid on us, or called out in a service for prayer unless we request it?
That some of us desperately want healed, but others of us feel that paralysis has changed our lives for the better and would not change that? Let each paralyzed person speak for themselves on that matter, but don’t assume healing is our only chance for happiness.
That we are just normal people who laugh, love, dream and desire?
That we love each of you to taking this month to learn a little bit more about spinal cord injury?