When speaking of being thankful, it’s easy to say I’m thankful for my supportive family and friends, an accessible condo, my van, good health and a job I enjoy. But it’s sometimes necessary to remind myself of what I need to be thankful for versus what I am thankful for. Having worked in developing countries alongside individuals with disabilities has convinced me there is more to be grateful for than meets the eye.
I was recently involved in a car accident that was not my fault. I’m incredibly grateful I’m seemingly okay (without sensation it’s hard to tell!). Being without a van has completely taken away my independence. In these moments of frustration I have to change my focus. I’m thankful that the van will be replaced as a result of the incessant phone calls over the past few weeks. It’s been frustrating, but I’m thankful. I am grateful I was able to take an accessible taxi to work and get to know my taxi driver whom I otherwise never would have had the opportunity to meet. (Yes, we have accessible taxis in Louisville!)
When bill time comes rolling around, I can get grumpy over medical co-pays and insurance premiums. As much as I hate dealing with insurance companies, I am thankful for the health insurance that covers the services and supplies that I need. I have a wheelchair. Actually, I have two wheelchairs (a power chair, a manual chair and a power assist device). I have seen numerous people who have lived their entire lives on the floor of their house, scooting on their bottom, being carried by family members or pushed in a wheelbarrow when going anywhere. Yes, I am thankful I have a wheelchair that gives me freedom and mobility.
For me, an occasional UTI is a fact of life. I need to remember to be grateful that they are only occasional and that I am still alive due to advances in medicine. I’ve been told and seen that in some developing countries, the average life expectancy with someone with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is shorter. This can be due primarily to the lack of urological care. I am thankful that I “have to” intermittently catheterize and have the supplies I require.
Some things I never give a second thought to until I speak with the refugees I volunteer with or friends from foreign lands. I am thankful that I live in a country where, as a woman, I have had access to education, health care, and work opportunities. I was not forced to marry at the age of 12. My city is not being bombed. I have not experienced the atrocities of war firsthand. I am free to worship the God I choose without being in danger of my life. I am grateful for the country I live in, despite its problems, and the freedom and opportunities I have.
Yes, I am honestly thankful for many things. But sometimes I need to look at the bigger picture and be reminded that I have so very much more to be grateful for than what I see at first glance.
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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.
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/1015/0070