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Catherine M MacDonald-- Spiritual Psychic Medium

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Member Since: Aug, 2001

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Adventures in disABILITY: Membership has its Privileges!
By Catherine M MacDonald-- Spiritual Psychic Medium
Saturday, April 06, 2002



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Looking back... Memories of dealing with disability...

Adventures in disABILITY: Membership has its Privileges!

In my 32 years I have had several surgeries and endured many hours of physiotherapy so that I could first learn how to walk and then maintain my mobility, as I got older. Considering that I did not walk until I was seven, it is amazing that I have the mobility and freedom that I do. I firmly believe that this is do in a large part, to the excellent medical and therapeutic programs of which I was a repeat participant.

Now for those who have endured this "wonderful" experience of physiotherapy, you'll be able to relate to the excruciating pain that you experience in the name of recovery. Couple this with a grudge match of wills between you and the therapists that makes the WWF look like child's play, and you have the ingredients for an amazing adventure! Now bear in mind that these professionals are assigned to you to ensure that you perform exercises that would put most contortionists to shame and, in any other realm, would be aired on the television show "Ripley's Believe It or Not"!

As a kid, I was absolutely convinced that physiotherapists were part "sadists" and part "slave drivers" with a twisted sense of the world. After all, in what other profession do you have to convince patients (as you are banding them into pretzels) that these exercises are necessary for their recovery? Even so, I must admit, that in spite of the grudge matches and many contortionist feats, I do genuinely respect and appreciate the hard work of these individuals. I think of them as the ultimate in personal trainers because they have a direct line to your doctor and your surgeon and your parents... you can run but you cannot hide, and in my case running was not an option (at least not until after they were done with me). But in a wheelchair, that was a different matter I thought of it as leveling the playing field. If I was their pretzel, then their feet and shins were fair game!

The wheelchair is a wonderful tool of power to a young kid. I remember my chair-- it was pink and made to fit me. It meant that I could go places without getting tired (because I had the best seat in the house) and there was always a family member who was assigned the job of "bipedal chauffeur". The attention that a kid could get by being cute and in a wheelchair was amazing! Those where the good old days...

One particular wheelchair adventure that sticks in my mind is going to Canada's Wonderland (an amusement park outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada) on a final school field trip in grade 8. I had just had an abduction release surgery, so I was afraid to go because I know that I would not be able to keep up with the other kids. I was, by this time, discovering that being different was not as advantageous as it had been in my younger years. I was the student who was always the last to be picked for group activities because I was physically slower than all the other kids.

On the trip to Canada's Wonderland, however, I rediscovered that I had the best of both worlds. At Canada's Wonderland, patrons who use wheelchairs are allowed to get on the rides by going in the exits and are allowed to stay on the ride with a friend for 3 consecutive turns. Needless to say, not only did I have the best seat in the house, that seat ensured that my friends and I got to do all the rides in the park several times over! No waiting in the sun and standing in long lines for me! As the commercial for American Express advertises "Membership has its privileges!"

Edited: April 18, 2002

       Web Site: Disabled Voices

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Reviewed by Alec and Debbie Summers 7/10/2007
I've been disabled since childhood, although I use a walking stick rather than a wheelchair. It's good to see a positive article about mobility problems for a change.
Reviewed by Jennifer Holly MacDonald 10/17/2003
Inspiring stories like yours are in great need. I thank you for this one and for the reminder that it's our attitude that changes our experience.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/17/2003
excellent!....as the mom of a 32 year old CP kid i am delighted to see your article
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 5/26/2002
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I am disabled myself (arthritis, walk with a crutch), so I can KIND of understand how you feel. Great piece!!

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