Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on March 30, 2021# Lifestyle
Daylight savings occurs on March 14, when we turn the clocks one hour ahead, providing one hour of additional sunlight. The transition is always a weird one for children and adults alike, depending on sleep schedules, work and school, and early mornings, etc. But after a week or so, the EXTRA hour of daylight at day’s end along with the warmer sun is a welcome friend. The darkest days of cold winter are behind us and safe socializing with friends, especially as more of us become vaccinated, is easier to resume outside. Our friend Greg Durso, the Program Director for the Kelly Brush Foundation and a paraplegic and athlete, visited to get some help fitting into his new monoski. Suddenly, my husband Geoff and good friend Matt become little boys again, completely jazzed to be wielding power tools and talking shop– monoski shop– that is.
They spent hours getting it right because when you are only on one ski AND sitting down, the right fit matters– a whole damn lot. There are so many variables in terms of the level of one’s spinal cord injury, height, core strength, etc. Greg has abs, which means his bucket can be lower in the back. They had cut the back of the bucket seat down earlier in the winter, but it wasn’t quite right. They took their time doing the job together as a team, which is always impressive. Of course, there were things like extra abdominal belts he asked me to look for, which sent me into storage. I provide him with three differently sized and textured ab belts that I found, and he needed the other one, the one I could not find in storage because it would be a better fit for Greg. I tease Geoff quite regularly about being a little like the “Goldilocks of folklore” because, for a man who can’t actually feel half of his body, he can sense EVERYTHING in terms of fit. Perhaps I’m confusing him, maybe with the Princess and the Pea? But I digress…
He has had the same pair of Sorel boots since he was paralyzed back in 1995, and although he doesn’t wear boots out the same way walking people do, they still need to be replaced as they are really packed. “What if they don’t fit the right way? What if they are hurting my feet, and I don’t know it? I’ll just wait until next year, so I can shop around more,” he says. This has been ongoing for some time. I’m tempted to buy him the same pair of boots in the same size and hope for the best. But then I figure when the time is right, he will just find the right pair of boots since shoe technology has no doubt been improved in the last almost 30 years.
But it feels like many of us have spent moments this past year really thinking about how we wish to spend the time we have, and even more specifically, what time and experience has taught us about the way we choose to live our lives. Earlier in February, I read Allen Rucker’s piece “Old and Resilient.” I love reading Allen’s work, not because he is older and also resilient, but because what he writes about speaks to me almost always. If you haven’t checked out his work, please do so. If you can think of someone in your life, maybe even someone who isn’t paralyzed, consider sharing with them as well. Teamwork is about helping one another through challenges and problem-solving together– able-bodied and disabled alike, young and not so young. Finding common ground is an essential life skill, and it does take time.
Then I read Kristin Beale’s blog about finding good news out there in the world and redirected myself to her website, The Chirpy Times, where she collaborates with her fiancé to bring more positive news to the world. Immediately, I thought about the journalism class I teach and sent the link immediately to my students, who were super interested and impressed. One doesn’t need to have a spinal cord injury to read, appreciate and support those with spinal cord injuries or the work they do in the world. Thank you, Kristin, for taking those kinds of risks and being willing to share them with the larger community that is the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Bridge those gaps people! Time and teamwork can do wonders for us all.
Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta, who are 11 and 9, respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website http://www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.