When folks see me on the street they’re often curious (understandably) and also shocked to hear that with no hands or feet I can drive and go to the grocery store. Y’all, that’s nothing. Taste the made-from-scratch lasagna I made single handedly (well, no handedly…) and you’ll understand what I mean. Since so many people assume when you’re in a wheelchair you just stay home and watch Netflix, I decided to set the record straight with A Day in My Life! Keep in mind that my days vary with traveling, speaking engagements, and projects, so this is an approximation of what it’s like to be me!
5:00 AM- *soft windchime alarms rings* I yawn, consider pressing snooze, but effectively tap “stop” on my iPhone using the tip of my arm bone. After unplugging my wheelchair, I slide as gracefully as possible at 5 am into the seat before taking off into the kitchen. Belle, the black labradoodle, doesn’t budge from her comfy pillow palace at the end of my king-sized bed, but lifts one eyelid as if to say “Morning!? Already?” I remove the reusable filter from my Keurig coffee maker. The machine tightly clasps the plastic filter, so I pop it out using leverage from my fork, which is taped to a Velcro strap that attaches to the end of my arm.
5:05 AM- I don my prosthetic liner by inverting it and rolling it from the end of my leg, over my knee and up my thigh. Once it’s on, I step into my prosthetic leg and use the end of my arm to close the air valve. Rolling into the pantry, I scoop a cup of food and dump it into Belle’s bowl. Back in the kitchen, I fill a cup with ice water and pour that into the water bowl. Yes, my dog requires ice in her water.
5:10 AM- I use an electric toothbrush to clean my teeth, holding it between my nubs. A brush with another Velcro strap attached tames my mane with a few quick strokes. Next I turn on the sink, soaking my hair, covering it in coconut oil, and finally stretching on a swim cap. After using my Toto washlet, I pull on my bathing suit, pour the coffee and head to the front door.
5:30 AM- Before heading out, I plop onto my meditation cushion and take ten to fifteen minutes to sit for a contemplative practice, such as mindfulness awareness, contemplation, emotional freedom tapping, or loving-kindness/compassion.
5:45 AM- By pressing a button on my keyfob, I summon the ramp out of my accessible van and roll inside, sliding into the swiveling driver’s seat and turning the key in the ignition. A twenty minute drive down the interstate brings me to the local Atlanta YMCA. I swipe my membership card and roll into the locker room.
6:15 AM- I pull into the aquatic center and slide into the pool. Then it’s one lap after another for an hour straight – a full mile. I also enjoy time in both the steam room and sauna, and join a group of ladies in the pool for morning prayer.
8:00 AM- The accessible shower at the Y has a built in bench, which I transfer to so I can get ready for the day. I use a hair dryer brush (again, attached to my arm via Velcro strap) to get ready at the gym, then dab on a bit of make up before heading to the office.
9:00 AM- At Heartwork Counseling Center, I take part in meetings, provide psychotherapy services, keep up with paperwork and filing, and manage social media accounts. I use a pen attached to a Velcro strap for hand writing, and a Samsung Galaxy tablet for everything else, using the pointed end of my arm bone to operate the touch screen. You should see how quickly I type, just pecking out one letter at a time!
12:00 PM- It’s time for lunch and some Foundation work! I spend the afternoon planning programming and events, talking with board members, and writing and sending thank you letters to donors. This is the most fun part of my job! I love getting to use both creativity and logic in the spirit of helping others who struggle.
2:00 PM- Depending on the day, I’m back at work for sessions through the evening, writing a blog, giving an inspirational speech, or sharing my vision with potential friends of the foundation. Or some combination of the above! Life is never dull or repetitive for me! There’s always something new and challenging just around the corner. This keeps me on my toes!
6:00 PM- I already know what’s for dinner due to my weekly meal planning, so I start prepping and chopping veggies using my adaptive cutting board. Belle knows it’s dinner time, too, so I scoop another cup of food into her bowl and she munches away. I go ahead and pack lunch for the following day – salad or a protein bar and fiber drink. This keeps me from eating junk or making poor, last minute meal choices.
7:00 PM- Dinner’s ready! Stephen joins me and we wolf down whatever concoction I’ve created – roast or tacos or grilled chicken and veggies. We clean the kitchen together, washing dishes and wiping down counters.
8:00 PM- A final check of my email, the actual mail, and my to do list, and a little organizing around the house and it’s time for tea. I dispense water from my hot water boiler over a bag of chamomile tea and add ice after it has steeped for several minutes.
8:30 PM- My bedtime routine is no joke. Teeth and hair are brushed, skin is excoriated, and various goops are applied to the skin.
9:00 PM- I put on pajamas, prepare my work bag for the next day, and plug in all my electronics. The last thing plugged in is my wheelchair, once everything else is done and I’m in bed. I double check my alarm, scroll through Facebook, sip my tea, and reflect on my gratitude for this rich life and each glorious breath. I choose a book or Netflix episode for wind down time and curl up, relaxing and rejuvenating for the busy day ahead.
10:00- Sleep mask is on, nothing by Zzzzz’s!
Reading this, did you find yourself noticing similarities between our lives? I might look a lot different but I still work just like everyone else, make dinner, run errands, clean the house, and spend time with family and friends! What your feet do, my wheelchair wheels do (except stairs. I hate stairs!). What your hands do, my “nubs” do (except it’s more like two giant thumbs, or chopsticks). What your heart does, my heart does. We all do things differently, and figuring out what works for each of us is part of learning about ourselves. I love learning so much, I plan to never stop! Check out my other blogs and read the vision of ACF to learn more about my dream of creating an accessible, holistic therapy center for people of all ages and abilities.