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.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
There is a story in the Bible about Jacob wrestling with and angel all night. The story ends shortly after daylight. Although Jacob’s hip was out of place he continued to struggle with the angel until he got the blessing he wanted. The struggle caused Jacob to walk with a limp.
Whenever I hear that story I think of the struggles I brought upon myself and my limp. The wreck was a major turning point in my life. Twenty-one years later, people still say, “I don’t see how you made it. It was God’s grace”.
We all have struggles. However, our reactions vary. We can move past them gracefully. We may drag our feet through them. However, some choose to let the struggles get the best of them. Each day may be a challenge but we can rise above it to do anything with courage and determination.
The American eagle is strong. It fascinates me for some reason to watch an eagle in flight. It goes where and when it wants. It soars high and drops to the ground in seconds.
This is why I have titled the blog, “Walk like Jacob, soar like an Eagle”. Encourage One Another and shot for your dreams.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Do you know that Arthritis affects one in five people in the United States? Arthritis affects people of all ages. It blinds and steals the lives of children. Great research is being done to prevent, control, and cure Arthritis. Because of past birthdays, a wreck, and a divorce, I ask for your help raise awareness and fund for Arthritis.
Most people cannot wait for their birthday. I have dreaded so many of mine. One was spent chasing a pig in the rain that got out of its pen. A sleep over was interrupted by a snowstorm. My sweet sixteen was canceled because of a tornado warning. Some people may say, “At least you have memories.” One life changing birthday memory is the day I signed divorce papers.
The marriage did not stand much of a chance because of unresolved issues we both had since childhood. Three months after the wedding our lives were complicated farther by a wreck. After a two weeks hospital stay, I was confined to bed for three months at someone else’s house. A few years late we attempted a new adventure. We purchased land and a house in Arkansas. While preparing to move to Arkansas, the house was burnt as strangers attempted to stay warm during the 1993 blizzard.
For the next year, as I tried to savage dreams, he was creating new dreams of his own. I have often joked, “He liked the Glamour Shot pictures I had made for him for Valentine Day so much that he gave me a divorce for my birthday a month later.” The following birthday, I began to do one nice thing for me and someone else.
This year I would like to plan an event to raise awareness and funds for arthritis research. There is so much to learn about arthritis. I got involved with the Arthritis Foundation to understand how the wreck caused my arthritis and how it affects me everyday. Now I know arthritis is not an “old person” disease, and that it will take many people to prevent, control and cure it. You can help by donating time/talents, and of cause money.
By giving time, you can raise awareness in your community, be an advocate or volunteer in other capacities. A volunteer may sew rice bags, be a RN who gives shots to neighbor or show support to a parent feeling defeated. Donations could be in the form of money, but also materials to a group such as fabric or rice for the rice bags or DS games for children to play while getting infusions.
If you want to learn more about arthritis, arthritis research or support groups please let me know. I will share my resources. Any ideas or suggestion to raise awareness or funds will be appreciated. If you would like to help plan an event send me a private message with you contact information.