Monday, November 10, 2014

Rolling With Dad

Some would feel having a parent with a disability would be tough, but I feel as if it has only made my life more interesting.
When I was four years old, my father was in an accident and broke his neck and is now paralyzed. Even though there were many sad things going on around this time, in the long run there are many positive and hilarious things that have happened as a result.
Our first family vacation after his injury, keep in mind this was our first and LAST time on an airplane, was quite an adventure. Everything was going well; they let us board the plane early to make sure we had enough time to get situated. They helped my dad transfer into a special “aisle” chair and wheeled him onto the plane. This is where the fun began. When they arrived at where my father was being seated on the plane, without knowing my father’s lack of capabilities, they unknowingly unbuckled him without any support. My father then started to tumble like a weeble wobbles, but in this case, he fell down. As my mom saw my father start to fall she attempted to reach him as fast as she could, hurdling the seats like Usain Bolt.  Unfortunately, she is not Usain Bolt, and she did not make it to my father before he crumpled face first onto the aisle floor.
The attendants in a panic grab a hold of my dad and try to flip him like how you would flip a pancake so they could lift him back into his seat. As I’m sure you can figure out, it is not possible to flip a human being with a dead weight of approximately 280 pounds in an aisle that is approximately two feet wide. My fathers head continued to be whacked against the base of the seat like he was a mole in a “Whack a Mole” game.
Eventually, they came to the conclusion that what they were doing, wasn’t going to work out. They decided to call in paramedics for assistance; their plan was to roll my father until he was upright and could lift him into the seat.
Before I continue, let me explain that my father wears tear away pants. These pants are designed with snaps that run the full length from the waistband to the cuff of the pant leg. This makes it easier for him to get dressed with assistance. However, they are not ideal pants to be wearing when rolling on an aisle floor of an airplane.
The paramedics begin rolling my father, grasping at anything they can to assist them. As they went for one last tug, the snaps let go, and my dad was now sitting upright. However, his pants were now in one of the paramedic's hands. My mom was quick to take the pants and get them back on my father before everyone received a show. With the pants returned to their proper place, the paramedics were able to place my father into his proper seat. This was the last time we ever flew on a plane.
Our family has several stories similar to this, some of them even more entertaining. When people ask if it’s difficult having a father who is disabled, I say no because I have actually gained empathy for others, ability to adapt to any situation, and a great sense of humor. In fact, I feel I would have missed out on a lot of moments and memories that have  brought my family closer. Learning to accept what I can’t change and working through difficult situations with humor has molded me into the person I am today, and I would not have the optimistic outlook I have on life without the experiences we have had.
(Picture of my father and I in 2010)