I am Thankful I am a Polio Survivor

I haven’t posted anything for a couple of days due to, not so much writers block, but more because of spaghetti ideas.  And what is spaghetti ideas you might ask?  Well it comes from my old programming days when we talked about spaghetti code.  That was programming code that was so convoluted by the time it was finished it wouldn’t do what it was designed to do.  My writing ideas have been the same lately.  To many thoughts running together but to disjointed to create a focused article.

Last evening I went to my mother’s supported living residence for Thanksgiving supper.  Although she has her own suite she does attend the dining room for suppers.  And there dining room is no cafeteria.  They enjoy sit down table service with linens, fine dishes and silverware.  There food is cooked onsite and the meals are well balanced.  Any of the residence can bring guests for a meal at a minimal cost (like for last night it was $7.50).  For an event like Thanksgiving there are lots of guests but where else can you get a full turkey dinner with dessert and beverage for $7.50.  Most of the residence I have met are very nice people and where else will people refer to me as “this young man”.  But then it is an assisted living centre so most of the residence are over 80.

I was talking with a few of them before supper (many go down for a little happy hour before the meal, yes they have a little bar) and was fielding a lot of questions regarding life in a wheelchair which got me to thinking.  So keeping with tradition here are some of the things I give thanks for.

I am thankful that I am a polio survivor and not a spinal cord injury survivor.  As a polio survivor I have the luxury of having sensory feeling which most spinal cord injuries don’t.  This means I can avoid pressure sores, have no need for catheters and can get out of my chair to walk on my knees if needed.  This is a handy ability to have when you take a look at some of the architectural issues one faces throughout life.

I am thankful I am a polio survivor with a complete set of senses.  There is to much beauty to see in the world to have to be dependent on described video.  There are to many fantastics sounds from music to crickets and loons to not have the ability to hear.

I am thankful I am a polio survivor with full cognitive function.  Many years ago I came to grips with the fact that I will never be totally independent but I will always be able to self-determine.  To me self-determination is far more important than total independence but then very few people, disabled or not, are completely independent.  That’s a marketing myth but it works.  Being able to self-determine means whoever I have to be dependent on are doing what I want them to do and not what they want me to do.

I am thankful I am a polio survivor who had parents that would never let me be “disabled”.  If they had I am not sure I would not be where I am today.  Having survivor polio at age 3 I have never known anything else.  I have never had to deal with the whole “before and after” mental battle that goes on in a persons head following a major physical trauma.  This has always been life so, to me, it is quite natural.  My parents contributed to that by not making me disabled.

Having a disability should never be a competition over who is the “most” disabled.  I don’t care what you can’t do but I am very interested in what you can do.  If we based the concept of disability on what one cannot do then everyone would be disabled in one way or another.

Overall I am thankful to be a polio survivor and the definitive word there is survivor.  Many kids I knew never made it out of the hospital and never made it out of their childhood.  Overall I am thankful I am alive!

Just one man’s opinion!


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