Here is what I wrote when I was asked to speak at the 2010 Jasper Arthritis Walk Kick-off Luncheon
January 15, 1990 is a day that my family and friends remember well. I, however, do not. It was the beginning of a 12 day stay in the hospital. I don’t remember the first 9. It was the day, I fractured my pelvis, broke both legs, two bones in my right arm, my right wrist and kneecap. Following the removal if the hardware, my right leg broke again.
Before the wreck I thought the only function of the kneecap was to protect the knee. It did not take long to learn the kneecap acts as a pulley for the leg and keeps everything inline. My right knee has to be twice as strong as the left to do the same work.
I have also learned that every pound you weigh puts three pounds of pressure on your knees. A doctor told me I needed to lose weight. The best way to lose the weight is to walk but until I lose the weight I should stay off my legs. Some day I will get my right knee replaced. Because I avoid using the right knee, I have worn out the left knee. The left knee now needs scrapping.
I have been waiting for my daughter to turn 15, get her permit and drive me after the surgery. I depend on her a lot. She helps around the house. She started doing her own laundry years ago. When we go to town she may walk ahead of me because I am so slow. However, she stops at the curb to wait for me and help me step up onto the curb.
There are laws about having handicap parking. I have noticed they are getting farther away from the doors. I may find a closer parking space but to avoid the curb I have to walk twice as far. Businesses around Jasper have moved into house without handicap accessibility. Some have handrails but they are not sturdy. Most people I visit do not have handrails to their front door.
I wanted to get involved with things about arthritis to help raise awareness. In the past 6 months I have learned, I have a lot to learn. There are many forms of arthritis. It affects people of all ages through bones, nerves and eyes. It also targets dogs.
Arthritis has limited my abilities to advance in the Drafting field. It made it difficult to find another job after a lay-off. I went back to school for an accounting degree. I worked as office help for a year and faced another lay-off. I got another Drafting job but after 3 years, I broke my wrist and begin working part-time. The week before I was released from the doctor, I was fired because they did not want part-time workers. I filed for family assist and started a job-training program, which offered my current position. I have worked, or gone to school or both all my life. I hope to be able to stand here next year much more educated about Arthritis having made a difference in someone’s life.