All in a day’s work sounds pretty simple, right? It is not quite that easy. My day always starts out with the hope that today I will not "fall on my face”. With anticipation of a safe day, I transfer out of bed and into my wheelchair. After that, a mad chaotic race begins. I use the bathroom, transfer into the shower, then get dressed. In the midst of doing all that, I have a ten-year old and six-year old whining about not wanting to get up for school. I lay everyone’s clothes out the night before. My husband is a tremendous help. Between throwing clothes on and eating breakfast, somehow we get it done.
The amount of energy it takes just to get myself up, showered, to the bathroom and dressed is exhausting. With my lower body dead weight, I shift from side to side to get my pants up. To use the bathroom, I have to cath myself about four times a day. I transfer in and out of my chair throughout the day. At any given time throughout the day, a doctor’s appointment for me or one of the kids could be thrown in the mix. I try hard to stay focused and positive.
Once in the car and on our way to school, I usually hear “Mama, I forgot to brush my teeth. Mama, I left my book bag or I forgot to eat.” Never fear, super mom is here! I may throw a toothbrush or pop tart into the back seat. Once the kids are dropped off, I start to work where I teach 22 children that are four years old. That alone deserves some kind of gold metal. In all seriousness, I absolutely love it! I arrive at work around 7:30am. I roll down the ramp of my modified van usually with an armful of bags and one shoe off. My coworkers are usually outside the door to help me with my shoes.
I push a manual wheelchair all day long. My day moves quickly with responsibilities of teaching these precious children. By lunch time, I’m usually questioning, “Have I used the bathroom today?” The last school bells rings at 3:30pm. From the start of my day until the last ring of the bell, I invest my time actively instructing and keeping the students engaged. There is no down time with this age group. It’s hands on all day, every day.
At the end of the day, I pick my children up from their school. One to two days a week, I have to get Dylan to ball and Rylie Brooke to dance. I also drive 30 minutes after school two days a week for therapy. I lift weights or walk on my leg braces with my legs that I cannot feel. They remind me of wobbling Jell-O.
When we arrive home, we are all wiped out. The kids get started on their homework while I get started on dinner and getting things ready for the next day. We usually have time for a swim or basketball before dinner. After that, my husband helps out with showers and bedtime for the children. I take another shower because you just never know what kind of little kid hazard you might have encountered throughout the day. By this point, I’m so exhausted that it takes every bit of energy I have left just to get my pajamas on.
Once I’m in bed, I try to work on lesson plans for school. At any given point during the night I wake up in pain and restless. Despite how chaotic my life is, even on my very worst days, I’m blessed more than most. It’s all in a day’s work.
Editor's Note: Maria was awarded the 2013 Teacher of the Year Award for the School District she teaches in.
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0815/0014