Being on bed rest, for me, has been frustrating over these last couple of months. You see, I’m typically a very active and independent life coach on wheels. I’ve been a paraplegic all my life. I’ve had plenty of time to learn to adapt without the use of my legs. However, a temporary setback occurred with pressure sores on my upper legs and my left heel. My wheelchair cushion and the way I was sitting is where the problems began and continue. I’ve changed the wheelchair cushion to be more supportive, but until my wounds heal, I am limited to bed most of the day. Now, I must adapt to being on bed rest, tossing and turning to alleviate too much pressure in one spot. I hope another lesson in adaptability is something I can bring to the table for my clients and you readers as well.
I’m enduring the monotony of periodic turning in bed to relieve pressure, long days of rest while on antibiotics to fight infections as they ebb and flow from my body. As I do this, I blog, connect with contacts by phone and internet and build my business acumen. No grass is growing under this life coaches wheels or rear. Yes, I occasionally sneak out a little while for fresh air with my husband’s help, but most of the day I am in bed, legs outstretched and raised above my heart to promote better circulation. I’m on endless fluids, healthy food and supplements to keep the systems well-tuned. And, even on bed rest, I exercise my upper body to keep me limber.
Thoughts of amputation of my left foot sometimes creep in as I see little improvement in my left heel. I refuse to allow it to happen, but if it does I know that the sum of who I am is not tied in how many limbs are attached to my body or how well the limbs I do have work. I am who I am regardless the number of appendages I have. I’m still a wife, friend, life coach, speaker, blogger, writer, and motivator.
A starfish is still a starfish even when one of its legs is cut off. Granted its appendages have the power to grow back, but we have the power to grow other things from the inside when something from the outside is taken. In the absence of one physical appendage, I know the extension of my intelligence, attitude and the impact I make on others, continues to have a ripple effect for each person in whom I instill a little more self confidence and power through my friendship, coaching, speaking and writing. Those are just a few of the hooks from which I reach the people who need my example and experience most in order to refocus their perspective on self.
I’m reminded of my father-in-law who is spending his golden years of retirement after many years climbing power poles for DukeEnergy going on periodic fishing trips. He’s no longer limited by the power lines stretched across the neighborhood horizon, but freed up by the fishing lines he tosses in the water. And yet, I see that going fishing, sitting in a boat relaxing, is just as electric and powerful experience for him as keeping on the power along the length of a neighborhood street, but in a different way. There are no midnight calls, no neighborhood dogs chasing him. He’s the one chasing the quiet on a stream or lake with a line and a wish to catch “the next big one”.
Then, I’m reminded of master bass angler fisherman Clay Dyer from a video a friend sent to my via YouTube. You see, Clay was born with no legs, no left arm and only part of a right arm, yet he’s fishing the FLW professional bass tournaments and making a living doing it. There are no metaphorical hands out begging for more out of life, he’s grasping and shaping it for himself, as it should be. Never mind the obstacles you might see from the outside. Clay does what he does for the sheer passion–as I do and my father-in-law does. None of us is hyper aware of any bodily limitations, or of time.
Clay and I still have some amount bodily function and we use what we have, just as one might on a fixed income. We use the resources we are given and create new resources where there once was none. We are not wired to give up. None of us is. Did you realize that? It’s no special power to not give up. Giving up is a choice, not a natural instinct. If giving up was natural, the fish Clay and my father-in-law catch would simply go limp once caught. They wouldn’t fight against the line and the hook.
In a video of Clay Dyer found on YouTube http://tinyurl.com/cdg822 Clay reminds us, “Remember to focus on the resources you have versus the resources you’re missing.” You have a mind and heart to figure out how to focus on the resources you have. Clay ties his own lure, baits his own hooks, all without fingers or toes. He has drawn a little blood using his mouth to make up for what lacks in hands and fingers to tie lines and lures, but he has the dedication and perseverance, as we all do, if we’ll just fish for it. Clay may taste a tiny bit of blood as he prepares lures and hooks, but that outweighs his taste for the love of fishing, his taste for survival and victory over any obstacles. It’s nature’s way if we pay attention to it.
The next time you feel fear or something negative, what was that feeling just before it? Did that tiny voice say, “I can handle this!” or “I will survive!”? Stop. Listen inside yourself. You might be surprised what you hear floating in that sea of affirmation that’s already ebbing and flowing inside you.
You are no different than me or Clay or some other source of motivation. Be still, listen and let it wash over you. Hook on to it and ride it with all your might. The storms of negativity and doubt will pass and you will be left with the strength inside you to be the best you can be. Catch that fish and don’t let it go.
© 2009 Monica J. Foster and The Life Beyond Limits™ Blog. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Monica J. Foster and The Life Beyond Limits™ Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
First of all, let me apologize for being a model slacker and not meeting your expectation of a weekly deadline. I have no excuses. No “dog ate my homework” line. No “well, Martians kidnapped me and they broke my computer” cover. I may be on focused bed rest at the moment and making a lot of online and phone contacts, but that’s no reason to neglect my goal of a bi-weekly if not weekly blog post to you. So, you will get no excuses. And you, too, should stop making excuses and make the commitment to get back in action in whatever it is you’ve been meaning to do. Show appreciation to others who have been waiting expectantly and proceed. You can multitask. I multitask, even from bed with my legs propped up. Last time, I wrote about remodeling your state of wellness—not just from within the body, but from the outside. Work on your outer wellness in the form of restful clothing, creative and easy methods for cleanliness, and polishing your outer glow to draw in those inner wellness vibes (or even a few more visitors) as you’re going through whatever illness you are facing. Once you have your sacred body space shining, you just might have some energy to either do-it-yourself or make a to-do list for someone else to help you create a healthy haven where you are on bed rest. I don’t care if it’s your bed room, your living room. Even if the kids have been mean enough to sequester you’re ailing body to the attic or basement, it is pay back time by making the space better than ever. Put yourself and someone else to work on redecorating your space so it’s easy to get to everything you need, fun, restful and a wellness magnet. Here are some suggestions: Being on bed rest for you maybe a short-term, long-term or permanent endeavor. Regardless of the length of time on bed rest, it’s important to keep your mind stimulated and use this time to let your creative side blossom while creating your healthful haven of rest. Who knows? You might end up helping another friend on bed rest when you yourself are more well. When decorating your wellness haven it is important to think about surrounding yourself in restful (as well as stimulating) colors, fabrics and objects. You may find yourself staring up at the ceiling a lot. Using colorful posters of interest to you, or dangling 3D art objects and mobiles to the ceiling will keep you stimulated. Mobiles aren’t just for babies anymore! The posters can be rotated on a regular basis, to offer a change and keep your eyes and mind stimulated. When affixing a poster to the ceiling it is important to place them outside the boundaries of the bed below. They may be placed toward the foot of the bed, or along the sides. CAUTION: Do NOT use staples, pins or other objects over the bed. If they become detached, you may be harmed by falling sharp objects. Your favorite artwork may also be added to the walls around the room and placed in frames from a discount store or old frames you’ve had in storage. Place shelves around your room, approximately 12” -18” below the...read more
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been what many would call “homebound” and “bedridden”, but I refuse to completely succumb to those necessary terms for medical and insurance purposes. I’m also a feisty, certified, life transition coach on wheels armed with wit and a “chipped glass filled to overflowing” view of my life and yours. Life is never perfect, but it can so be filled to overflowing with good things to sustain you. Even from bed with legs propped up, I am growing and nurturing a thriving motivational, educational business. To me, “home-bound” sounds like I’m tied to the bed like some dastardly, handlebar mustachioed villain has me, the damsel in distress, captured at the railroad tracks. Not true! I’m unable to get out and about independently right now due to a temporary chronic illness that will surely flair up again at some point, but I’ll deal with it when it does. For now, I deal in powerful self-healing. My prescribed position is that I lie in bed with legs propped up to stimulate healing circulation through my legs. In truth, I’m on temporary leave from the usual routine of being “on a roll”. The term “bedridden” conjures images of a mattress with a maniacal face and clawed fists bearing down on me. In fact, I am really “bedriding”! (Copyrighted term 2009 by Monica J. Foster. All rights reserved.) Uh uh! I saw you trying to get at that term. No, no, no. Don’t touch it. Just read. Part of my healing process is going to be about turning the concept of being bedridden on it’s ear, taking control of my wellness in an active and humorous way. I’m like a cowgirl bedriding the range of health statuses, ready to wrangle full body and spiritual well-being to the ground. Yee-haw! I am riding the wave of wellness on TOP of the mattress, not beneath it cowering and smothered by fear of the unknown. Sure, I’m afraid and upset by all of this some days, but fear isn’t a stopping point. Fear is my open opportunity to lasso strength and wellness for myself and others around me. I will not crawl under the bed and cower in fear. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s where my other sock is? Anyway, I am riding as high as possible (without pain pills, thanks) with my mind firmly knotted in the reins and a whip to keep it in line if I have my way. Does all this bed rest annoy me? YES! I’d much rather be rolling down steep ramps to feel the wind in my face, networking or out with friends. Until then, I’m bedriding, attempting to buck the stale, conventional images of ill, having as much fun as possible to spite the powers that be and the negativity minions trying to seep into my little gray cells. While I’m propped up in body, so is my mind and spirit and I’ll use this time to really work my coaching services in a way that will benefit you and I even more when I’m well. The body rests, but the mind and spirit are fully active. Whoa, sounds a little like astral projection! Tries to astrally project to Starbucks across the street for a venti, five-pump caramel macchiato and bumps into a Canada goose. Oops! We’ll try again later. I’ve even been looking the...read more
Hello, and welcome to my blog! I hope you find many things from this blog. I won’t be just writing about life with a disability, although my life IS colored by my disability experience. Yes, I am a vibrant amputee on wheels, the wife of stroke survivor, the daughter of a disabled veteran and a retired educator who deals with chronic pain and illness. Still, that’s not what I’m all about and I want you to see that about yourself as well. You are more than a person with a disability, chronic or mental illness diagnosis. You are more than a disabled veteran. You are more than the service provider, caregiver or loved one of any of these people. We are more than our various diagnoses and labels, right? So, while I will discuss advocacy tips, share motivational passages and ideas to keep you going, celebrate milestones in disability and mental healthy advocacy and lament how far we have still to go, I will also share my perspective on every day things in my world that I hope you’ll find educational, inspiring, thought-provoking, annoying to the point of action, and so much more. Would you like to link back to my blog or quote something in your articles and journals? Just ask first and attribute appropriately, please. Would you like to be a guest blogger or have me be a guest blogger on your blog? I’d love to! Let’s talk more about what you’re looking for. So, again I say welcome! And thank you for reading and sharing my posts so that others can experience what you have as I share with you my perspective, ideas and experiences living a life beyond...read more