As you all know, I haven't really talked about my life and disability. So to change that and open the lines of communication a little further, I thought I'd start off by telling everyone what life is like in a wheelchair, the struggles, the fun stuff, and everything in between. I've said this a few times before but here it is again. I have a disability called Cerebral Palsy. 1 in 323 kids have it per year in the U.S. which gives it the title of the most common motor disability in childhood. It has affected my motor skills and obviously, my ability to walk. Due to this one microscopic detail, I've had been fitted for about five wheelchairs. In the beginning, someone else was always driving until my fourth one came along. This one was my first power chair and the one I have right now. Fun fact: Number five is going to be here in 10 days when I'm writing this!
Now let me be real with you. You don't just get in the chair and magically know how to run it. I think it took about 3-6 months before I felt truly comfortable and about a year before I was confident in my abilities. I learned very quickly that I had to be very diligent and aware of what was happening around me, especially in giant crowded areas like mails, fairs, movie theaters, parks, etc. You know, people are trying to get from place to place very fast in those situations and they don't necessarily like to pay attention so if I’m not watching, there isn't any way that I’m going to get through the throngs of people. My tip for you: If you see someone in a wheelchair, or walker, or crutches, or whatever it may be, step out of the way or maybe help to clear a small path. Trust me, that will make a world of difference in that person's life. That's one group. The ones that don't watch/pay attention. Then of course you've got group two. Your starers. I totally understand when little kids do it since they've never really seen a person in a wheelchair but when it's a grown adult or kid? I mean, come on! I'm fairly certain that I'm not the first person you've seen using one and I probably won't be the last. Goodness! They look like they've seen an alien or a ghost. Sorry to burst your bubble! Just a regular human here! Now I kind of want to scream that to freak people out. I'm putting that on my bucket list. Those groups of people are the most common. Except for the occasional, "Can I pray for you and/or your healing?" or my personal favorite, "I've got a doctor you should see!" First of all, I don't need to be prayed for because I'm perfectly fine. Don't treat it like an abnormality. Second of all, I've got great doctors that have done great things to put me where I am today and there are even things that doctors can't fix. So thank you but no thank you. What I’m trying to say in simple form is that obnoxious humans are the worst part but let me tell you. Finding parking is almost more annoying.
First of all, it’s very nice parking. Right up front. There's a cutout in the curb if needed. All is well. Except for a few things. A.) The person using the spot isn't actually handicapped and their using a relative's parking sticker (cause you need one to even be allowed to park there in the first place) or they kept one they had from when they sprained their ankle or something. B.) No one's in the accessible spot but someone's parked so horrendously you can't even get in the spot. Like, I don't know if it's just a really, really old person, or if they forgot how to drive and park, or they never learned how but I have seen some odd parking positions. There's those people who pull into the spot and don't back out and go back in to be between the lines. Then there's the ones that park crookedly! Don't ask me how because I honestly don't know how. In the end, either parking can be easy or it can be a really crappy time. Here's a little parking lot etiquette for your future knowledge. There are actually three different types of parking spaces. The basic spot where everyone can go. The handicapped spots for people who have handicapped parking signs that hang from their car mirrors or handicapped stickers on their license plates. The van accessible spots which are still for people with handicapped signs but it’s a little more advanced. You've all probably seen the no parking lines next to the accessible van spots and most likely thought nothing of it. Insider tip: they’re not there only for show. The lined spot is actually for a van that has a ramp that comes out of it. This is the spot that we have to use because we have a van outfitted with a ramp. So I ask, if you or anyone you know takes advantage of these spots to please stop because people like me really do need them. Ending this spiel on a positive note, a nice part is when you don't have to worry about getting tired when you're out and about all day long or wearing shoes. Although, I do still have to wear shoes when I go out to eat, or go shopping, or go to a movie. Society kind of gets crazy about shoes but we're not going to dwell on that. PS: I never wear shoes when I go for walks or into the park for stuff like Riverbend Rally. So ha society!
However, I'd say something that I've really had to get used to is all the pain. Here's the list of bad spots: My neck, shoulders, lower back, mid back, lower back, pelvis, hips, and occasionally my knees and lower legs because sitting all day really does a number on you. Right now I wake up between 9 and 10 am and I don't go to bed until 10 or 10:30pm and that's not even taking into consideration if we go somewhere. So right there a “normal” schedule is roughly 12-13.5 hours sitting all day. The school year is worse. I wake up on the weekdays at roughly 7am and don't go to bed until between 9 and 10pm which adds up to about 14-15 hours of more constant sitting. What’s the silver lining? I have been able to figure out ways to relieve the pain a little throughout much trial and error. I go to the chiropractor every 1-3 weeks for adjustments and acupuncture (the acupuncture does what my Botox did and loosens my stiff muscles but doesn’t make them degenerate), I get massages once a month which are wonderful, and between all that is a lot of ibuprofen.
In the end, there’s a lot of stuff that comes with my life. Some things are really annoying/frustrating and other stuff I can’t help but laugh at. Remember, there’s so much in life to worry about so don’t let the small things get to you. Trust me. Totally not worth it.
Can you believe that it's been three years since my knee surgery. The four hour surgery that turned into a seven and a half hour surgery. I find it crazy...no insane that so much time has passed. Looking back, I never thought it would end. The pain, the tears, the endless stream of coloring books. Although much appreciated, I was very confused as to why coloring books were the choice of gifts. It's not like it's super easy to color in bed and the whole activity in general wasn't my forte back then. However, I now understand how useful they can be if you want time to pass quickly. That clearly wasn't my thought process at that point in time, that I know for sure. Overall, what I'm trying to say is that time is crazy. Use it wisely. It goes by much too fast. -Caroline PS: I'm great at spewing inspirational sayings, aren't I? Maybe I should give up graphic design and become a therapist. Thoughts?
Hey everyone! Welcome back on this wonderful Tuesday! Now this Tuesday is particularly important due to an exciting announcement. The announcement being that I'm getting a new chair! For those of you who don't know, I have a condition called Cerebral Palsy that has affected my ability to walk my whole life and because of that, I use a power wheelchair to get around throughout the day. Currently, the chair that I have is six years old and trust me when I say that it's been through the ringer. From getting it stuck to running into things. However, I am not getting just your standard power wheelchair but instead the corvette of power chairs. This thing STANDS UP and lays completely, as in 180 degrees, flat!! I should have the new one by the end of June which is definitely shocking. Normally the timeline is 18 months to two years. In comparison, getting this new one took around eight months. Crazy right? Even my parents are wondering if it's all real. Personally, I just think they're being too cautious but that's just me. Alright guys! That's all I have for today! Enjoy the rest of your week! Who knows, maybe you can have fun by catching up on old posts.-Caroline
My idea on what you might be thinking this very millisecond as you read my post, "Caroline, you never post this frequently. We haven't had enough time to recover and prepare ourselves for your insanity!" Well, you would be right but I have a special announcement for you all that trumps you being able to deal with my incessant rambling. I got a job! Yes, that's right, I am apart of the great big web called the workforce. Well, actually more like a tiny minuscule portion since you can't really do anything at 14 but it is a vast improvement from my previous summers which have been spent in absolute boredom and despair. Alas, we are not here to discuss my depressing mess of a life. Instead we're here to talk about my soon to be exploding social life. So if you would like to see me in the flesh many times a week head on down to the Iowa Falls pool! I'll be in the air-conditioning wondering why on earth you people would leave the cool comfort of your home for the blistering Iowa Falls summer heat. No judgements but personally I wouldn't go out in the months of June, July, and August unless a.) I absolutely had to and b.) we were going to be in cool building for a long period of time because sunburns, bug bites, really every annoying thing to do with nature is not my cup of tea. Anyhow, back to the discussion at hand: my job! I'll be hanging out in the concession stand if anyone would like to come pay me a visit! Who knows? You may even get free snacks if you're a nice human!-Caroline:) P.S.- That last part was a joke! P.P.S- Your Iowa Falls weekly weather forecast brought to you by yours truly will be coming later this week and if you would like a preview, check out my post from May 24th, 2018! It's there, just check the archives. Goodbye for real now!
Hey everyone! It's been a minute since I've posted so I thought we'd start back nice and simple by talking about our weekend adventures. Today my parents and I went to Aplington-Parkersburg for the opening game of the Miracle Field, a special field designed for wheelchairs, walkers, and more! I even got to throw the game's first pitch! Being there and seeing it all done was super cool. My family and I have been involved in helping this project for about four and a half years so to see everyone's hard work was amazing. The kids that are playing for them had a blast and that was really cool to watch. I don't know if I'll ever play but I do know it's going to be an awesome place. If any of you wanted to go check it out for yourselves and see if I'm telling the truth, there are going to be games every Saturday in June and September. Did I mention it's a whole sports complex too. They've got soccer fields, little league fields, and regular sand diamonds along with the specialized ones. Check out www.diamondsandfields.com to learn more! So there's your update from me! Let me know what you're up to either here in the comments or on social media. Have a good Memorial Day Weekend! -Caroline :)
The answer to that question is yes. Being stress-free more regularly is very possible. We just have to remember how to get there when we're actually in the stressful situation. To start off, I will admit that I can be pretty bad at managing my stress level and I'm sure all of you can say it as well. How each person deals with it is up to them but I think I've accumulated some good tricks that'll suit every situation and personality. First of all, don't take on more than you can handle. This is normally where the stress kicks in. Here's an imaginary scenario: You've got a lot of work to do that is non negotiable and then somehow you pile on more stuff to do. How it happens is unknown but it just does. Probably because your subconscious is running the show at this point. My tip to you is evaluate what you've got to do for sure then add on things from there. If not, you will drown in work and extra projects. Next, do something you love that'll make your brain go blank for awhile. For me it's music but for you it might be coloring, sleeping, cleaning, watching movies, etc. Whatever it is, just find something to escape to for a little bit. One thing I have to add is organization. I know I've gone off about this at one point or another but it really is a great tool in managing stress. Everything is laid out nicely, things are organized by the day, and it also gets rid of a lot of stuff rolling around in your head. The only annoying thing is sometimes it may not work the best. I mean just look at me. I have a planner, a desk calendar, stacks of notepads, every online organizer you can imagine and I still manage to lose track of what I'm doing. My final piece of advice is to try your best to not let school, or work, or whatever take over your mind. Not only is it stressful but it can also have a negative impact. When your brain is running a million miles a minute, there's no room to stop and breathe. So let it relax for a little bit. Let your body regroup before starting something new. You'll be thankful for it later I guarantee it. If not, feel free to yell at me later.
Hey guys! I hope you're all having a fantastic evening and a great New Year! Today I wanted to touch on something I haven't really touched on and that is positivity. Positivity is a big part of me because it is how I've survived all the crazy things life has thrown at me. Most people really don't get how I can be happy or uplifting. Lots of people always ask, "How did you get through it?" or "Aren't you angry?" My answer to the first question is not only is my family the best at being supportive but they're also the funniest, craziest group of people I know. No matter the situation or my feelings they always make me laugh or smile. Even if they said the dumbest thing in the world. My answer to the second question is, "No." People's minds are very strange things. It's like they expect you to be mad or confused. Granted I am sometimes but that's natural. Overall, I am not mad or confused because I know I was made and given this life for a reason. I've never talked much about religion here but I think it's important in this instance. The Bible says that God never gives you more than you can handle and I believe that. If He didn't think that I had the strength to live this life, He wouldn't have given it to me which is a very big part about why I always answer no to this question because I know that's true 100%. Overall, staying positive comes down to this in my eyes. Remembering that you were made and given this life for a reason, always finding the good things, and not staying angry for too long because that alone could consume your whole mind for a very long time.
Everyone talks about the great things that come with the new year. A restart, a second chance, a time to set goals and dream of things that you want to happen in the coming months. But no one ever talks about the difficulties. Maybe you're in debt, or you lost your job, or just struggling to find your footing in life. Whatever the reason, no one should miss out on the great things because the great things make up for the bad things. If you're somebody in this spot I'm going to tell you something. It gets better. The good will outweigh the bad and the difficult times will pass. This is only one story in your life's book. It doesn't define the rest of it. Remember that as you go through this month and the year. Before I wrap this up, I'll leave you with a final thought. If you're wandering through the dark, all you have to do is believe in yourself. Because believing in yourself is the most important thing you can do to bring the light back into your world and the peace to your soul.
What's up guys! Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for coming for another weird/interesting topic. It's greatly appreciated by the writing team and by writing team, I mean me. Today I wanted to talk with you about the blog and what you all want to see going forward. Warning: There might be (WILL be) extreme rambling and nonsense which, as you all know, is to my very all over the place mind. So I would appreciate it if you could just hang in there with me for a little bit. Can you do that? Great! Let's get started with this. For a little bit I've been in a bit of a writers funk and I've been struggling with finding new, interesting topics to write about. I can still do it but I don't know what you all think about them. If you like them and think they're funny or if you hate them and you think they're boring. This leads me to what I would like from you all. I would love it if you could give me some feedback on posts and some new fresh ideas that I could write about because your opinions, as my audience are very important to me and I want to do stuff that you actually like and want to read. Here is how I envision us doing this. You can let me know your thoughts and ideas on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc via instant messages, comments, and tweets. Again this is just a preliminary plan, it might not be permanent but I would like to try it. After you all send in your thoughts between each post I will pick a topic that I think is cool and write about it next time. I will also look at any feedback to try to fix, add, or remove things from posts. All of my social media info will be in the link section of my site if you would like to say something to help me in the future. That is all I have for today! I hope you will all participate in this impromptu plan coming up. So with that, I'll write you all later. Bye!
Hey guys! It's been a hot minute since my last post so I thought I would kick things off by telling you what I've been up to for the last few days. Starting off with one of the more exciting parts of the last week, which is... Ryan is home! We picked him up on Thursday of last week and we couldn't say anything until after Friday morning because he wanted to surprise people but the jist of the story is that he's home and we're all really happy. The next order of business is that we went to the Abilities Expo in Schaumburg and it was super cool. We saw a lot of cool things: chairs, cars, equipment, etc. My wheelchair also got fixed up and cleaned for free, which was really nice because what they did might've been a couple hundred bucks if it was done like normal. During this little tune-up we also learned that I had a lot of pieces missing and/or broken, so now we will have to pay money to get everything fixed which is fine with me because it's not my own money being used! Okay folks! That's all for today I hope you enjoyed this weekly update and if you would like to see all the photos that I took at the Expo, I will be posting it on my new YouTube channel in about a day or two. So with that, I'll write you all later!