When the 34 turned into a 35 on my clock, I knew I had to take action. To be brutally honest, I knew this at 11:16 but I didn't want to face reality too soon. I had a plan of action. I would press my emergency button. My emergency button was going to call my family or the police. I knew Mom or Dad would know I was in trouble in an instant or the police would figure it out in five seconds. Now, pressing the emergency button is not an easy decision. It is literally saying all hell has broken loose and I need help NOW. I was in bed, comfortable, not in pain, but regardless all hell had broken loose. I press the emergency button, it doesn't cooperate. I rip it off the wall praying it wouldn't fall somewhere I couldn't reach. Thankfully, it fell right where I could handle it. I press it, it does not work. I try a few more times, it does not work. So, my only other option is to crawl to my phone.
I lay in bed picturing how this is going to go. After being in therapy all my life, I know I'm ready for this. I flip over to my stomach and manage to have my legs stiff and off the bed. I scootch until I'm kind of in the squatting position. This is the terrifying part. My knees aren't on the ground, I have to let go of the bed. I don't have balance; it was taken away from me at birth. So, my knees are two inches from the ground and I have to let go of the bed. Closing my eyes and wincing, I let go. Gravity serves me right. I comfortably kneel at my bed all limbs in a place providing balance. My left hip decides to go to the left and I don't mind the decision my body made for me. I gently go into side sitting. I practiced side sitting in therapy all my life and the bed was supporting me. I was safe and comfortable. My hands are slipping very slowly to the floor. I go with it. You have to understand that I'm shaking because I am so emotional. I am now on the floor. This is actually a blessing. I have time to really think about what is best. I have to travel about 3 feet which seemed like the length of a football field.
Now, every pediatric therapist in America would probably guess that I resorted to getting on hands and knees. I looked around and knew it was not the right decision. I saw a window sill, my night stand, and my dresser. These are all things I could have hurt my head on. Instead of crawling, I roll to the night stand. I try to reach the phone from the floor. I couldn't. It was a long shot and I knew it. I looked at the three legs supporting my night stand. If I tugged at the right one, my phone would drop to the floor. However, my clock radio could also fall...on my head. God, don't let the clock radio fall on my head. Gravity, work with me and let the phone fall. I am able to cover my vulnerable body with some pillows. I grab onto the leg of the table and very gently tip the table so the phone is on the floor and the clock radio stays on the table.
I have my phone! I don't call Mom or Dad because frankly I want to get in my chair! A lot of people have asked about that. It's simple math! Tiffany lives 10 minutes away and Mom and Dad live 40. Who do you think I am going to call? I love my parents and I will have all day to get comforted. Right now, I have to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, not to mention, take my medications. I decided to call Tiffany.
"Help, help, help"
"Why aren't you using your DynaVox"? You can imagine my incredible frustration at this question.
"Help, help, help"
"Hannah, I'm on my way but text me if you can"
My text said "I fell'. Now, this obviously wasn't true but it was easier than explaining everything and it got the message across that I needed help NOW.
After I knew Tiffany is coming, I started to cry. I cried because I am frustrated, angry, scared, and I cried because I was proud. My body and my brain had worked in unison as well as God and gravity.
"You poor baby" Tiffany exclaimed! "Did someone come this morning"? I looked at her as if to say "that is a stupid question". Tiffany apologized and asked if I was in pain. I was not. Tiffany, skinny as a toothpick now has the challenge of carrying me to my chair. We decided to forego putting on my shoes because I was so upset and my body was so out of control. "Hun, you have to calm down for me to carry you". She told me this was part of her Certified Nursing Assistant training. She finally got me in my chair.
Tiffany called my mom. We got her voice mail. "Jean, this is not the time" Tiffany yelled into the phone. I had to laugh. We called her work number and got to talk to her. As you can imagine, the three of us were both pretty angry.
The woman who was supposed to come didn't know she had that shift. She thought I was referring to the night shift in my text sent the previous night. She then proceeded to do some other things that my family and I got upset over. We did fire her. It really worked out because now I have a wonderful woman named Courtney in my life. Were already good friends after two days of working together!
I have exciting news! I did get a paid internship four days after this ordeal. It's interesting to critically think about the fact that I can't get myself dressed but I can get a job. It's interesting if you really think about the paradox in that fact
I will be working for River North Business Association. It's an association for Chicago professionals and we create opportunities for members to network. I'll be managing their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn accounts as well as writing articles for them. I'm ready to be a trail blazer in the work force. At this time, I have to acknowledge the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and all the other individuals with disabilities who opened doors for people like me. I will be a trail blazer in my own way but I wouldn't be able to get a job if they hadn't been pioneers. I end my internship with Easter Seals on June 7th. They have been nothing but supportive.
Julie? She is really struggling with her stomach. The good news is she is going to North Carolina and seeing the world's best doctors when it comes to transplants and their side effects. This will happen tomorrow. I ask for your continued prayers and positive thoughts. I pray that they can help Julie because this is awful for her.
To end on really good news, I have a roommate! I know. Hallelujah! Her name is Rita and she is a sweetheart. I thank everyone-especially my parents for searching so hard. I know many of you tried and all of you were in my corner.
Last year at this time I was graduating. This year has been a roller coaster! I’ve been through so much with my health problems, assistant issues, the roommate drama, this journey with Julie (wouldn’t trade it for the world), and learning how to be a productive citizen of the world with a disability. It’s hard! I really wouldn’t change anything about my life because the rewards are so rich. One of the rewards is this blog. You give me so much support throughout the year. I’m absolutely humbled because you don’t have to read my stories or follow my life, but you do and that is an incredible blessing.
I love you all!
P.S. Next time I write, I’ll be 23! It means another year of good stories! Can’t wait.