Last night a friend who is a nurse kindly stopped by with supplies of a sort for the latest gadget du jour which will allow me to live independently as a quad. I know that years ago I would have been upset by having to make these changes, but not so much now.
I've learned to assume nothing when it comes to quadriplegia. And before anyone thinks that means I've "given in" or "given up", let me say that assuming nothing runs both ways. Not only am I more willing to make changes quicker when things go south due to (gasp) aging, but I've also learned that I shouldn't assume that things won't/can't get better. It's a two way street.
Usually when I introduce another gadget into my life I find that my quality of life increases dramatically. But every time this happens, some things need to be dealt with and I've found this list helpful.
1. It's not just a change for me, it's a change for everyone around me which leads to number
2. I need to discern and then monitor when/if/how/with whom this change should be shared;
3. I need to readjust my budget if necessary for the cost of the item, supplies, etc.
4. Make a step by step list of how you will get the gadget, how you will learn to use the gadget and where/when/how you will use it in your daily life
5. Check your spiritual reaction. Continue being of service to others.
In this case, I am happy to report that the cost is not as high as for many others, but if anyone else is new to dealing with a disability that costs a lot, number three has to be reckoned with so I added it. Believe me, it's a lot easier to get rid of cable to make a monthly payment in month 1 than to realize in month 13 that you should have done that in month 1.
As for the relationship issues, that is more difficult. People being people, all of them react differently to change and so you need to figure out when to tell some people who aren't good with change so that their overreaction doesn't impact your adjustment. Who needs someone screaming "the sky is falling" as you're trying to wrap your brain around a new way to go about your daily life? Not moi. There are also groups of people you just may choose not to tell. Ever.
As for number four, the step by step list comes in handy when it's a gadget I really don't want, like this one. (And no, sorry, blog readers don't fall in the category of knowing with this one.) Having a list keeps me from procrastinating or, worse yet, refusing to learn about the device and letting it sit useless. The less I want a gadget, the more precise I make my list. After all, there's no sense having others (and myself) investing time and money into something that I'm not going to use.
As for number five, as usual, God is good to me because it's a great liturgical season for change. It is now Lent and the gadget is about to arrive. This is not a time of the liturgical year where whining is acceptable or encouraged. Besides, during Lent, a number of Catholics are grumpy, so maybe I can fly under the radar for a few days.
And I pray that God will give me the wisdom to remain grateful (for this gadget) and patience (for those days when learning to use it may not go so smoothly) and continue to show me ways I can be of service to others.
As we all enter into Lent, I offer this prayer:
God, heavenly Father,
look upon me and hear my prayer
during this holy Season of Lent.
By the good works You inspire,
help me to discipline my body
and to be renewed in spirit.
Without You I can do nothing.
By Your Spirit help me to know what is right
and to be eager in doing Your will.
Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
[for the entire prayer, click here]