Hospital stay and Spina Bifida Awareness

It is never good to have to be in the hospital. Or at least, in my experience, it’s never been a good thing, having to be in the hospital.

Yet with my most recent hospital stay, the timing for it seems sort of … fitting.

Now how could the timing for any hospitalization, be “good” you might ask? Well, the neurosurgeons all initially thought my shunt was malfunctioning. Shunt malfunctions, while not as common an occurrence for me can quite often be the cause for my having to be in the hospital for an indiscriminate period of time.

From the evening of May 31 until June 4, I remained in the hospital. June is National Spina Bifida Awareness month and as such, therein lies how the timing for my hospitalization seemed “fitting.”

As someone with a disability, I do try to be an advocate for anyone with any type of disability whether learning disability such as dyslexia or a.d.d; physical disability such as Spina Bifida or developmental disability.

Yet I will admit, raising awareness for Spina Bifida holds special meaning for me. This very common disability, in my experience, is also one of the least known about or understood. To this day I still come across the misconception that everyone with Spina Bifida is in a wheelchair. I, for one, am not. I do have challenges with my mobility but am still able to walk.

Throughout my life, I’ve had to deal with reactions as varied and extreme, as our own Alberta weather climate. Disdain, indifference, begrudging tolerance, acceptance; yep I’ve pretty much encountered them all. I’ve dealt with depression as a result of feeling very unwelcome and at times isolated, growing up.

At the moment however I am winning the ongoing depression battle. I have overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. As a young child I had a speech impediment that was, not the worst it could have been, but still gave way to a lot of misunderstanding. Now however, I have had the speech therapy and most people I speak to seem to think I have an accent. For the most part, people can understand my speech perfectly well now with some exception. I still have trouble with words, names, etc that have Rs in them.

Putting it in perspective; I once asked a friend to repeat back to me, what he “heard” me saying when I said a name such as Carrie. (He said it sounded like I was saying Callie).

I have done yoga in the past; something of which others did not think I could do. What is, my proudest achievement? I graduated high school and obtained my high school diploma. In my life, I had a good many naysayers telling me I was too stupid to do this. I’ve furthermore been accepted to Grant MacEwan University for the Fall and am looking forward to the experience and challenge of studying to become a journalist.

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