YOU NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE, UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE!Author Unknown
Wanted to share with you some of the times that I remember between Feb 1996-Feb 1997! It was a time when I had the most physical independence that I will ever have due to my progressive disability. It will take me 4 or 5 posts to finish this as I do not want it to be extremely wordy! Like on the TV show Friends (which was and still is my favorite) when Rachel wrote Ross the 18 page front and back letter that he fell asleep to as it was so long! I was also going through my pictures and I do Not have many (Guess I was too busy being independent, YOLO right?) but I will share with you what I do have!
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU!
After spending the week with Mindy and Wendy in Oct 1995 (Check out the blog I wrote on here about it!) the 3 of us decided that we should be roommates! Both Mindy and Wendy began looking for ADA compliant apartments. I figured this would be a lost cause, and it was until Mindy found some affordable apartments in Jenks OK. During this time I was so saddened to find that Wendy was not going to be able to be our roommate. With her backing out I figured it was a matter of time for Mindy to back out as well. It was just going to be Mindy to lookout after me, and I was a lot of responsibility for a 21-year-old who was wanting her complete freedom as well. But I was wrong as she did not look at it that way, and I am so glad that I was wrong ! There has always been something about Mindy even in high school that made me feel comfortable around her even though we weren’t the best of friends in high school. At that time she was in the home health nurse and she definitely understood about accessibility issues, and my disability. The kicker was (When it comes to something that is needed to be accessible there is ALWAYS a kicker!) that we could not find affordable apartments that were already fully ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. These apartments in Jenks were no exception. The 2 main things that I needed that were not there is the fact that there was no ramp for me to get up on the sidewalk to go into the apt., and that the bathroom door needed to be widened to fit my wheelchair. So Mindy signed a year lease for in it was stated that these 2 things would be taking care of before or when I moved in.
IT’S MOVING DAY!
I was extremely excited, and began buying some things that I knew we needed and Mindy had and was given some furniture for us to use. Jerry and Mindy both came to Fort Worth to help me move stuff in his truck (my bed, shelf, curio cabinet) while Mindy drove my car that was packed to the gills! I cried when I left as it was scary for me to leave my comfort zone. I began doubting on whether or not I could do it without my parent’s. Doubting leaving this house that was already accessible for me. These kind of doubting thoughts kept coming into my mind. This is where I learned to take my fear and turn it into fight! It did not take me long though to get over that with Mindy comforting me while Jerry was making me laugh! It was snowing on the way there so I was all but to happy to see Mindy driving my car! I bet everyone was, LOL!
I had a few things already, we bought, figured out, or rigged everything that needed to be adapted. Mindy and Jerry went to Home Depot and bought a couple of grab bars to go in the bathroom. Funny thing was that the room I took, which was the smallest one, already had a bathroom but there was no way to widen the door to fit my wheelchair. So I ended up using the main bathroom which was across the way from Mindy’s room! Her room was much bigger and I wanted her to have that one as she paid more of the rent & bills! She was also going to be helping me out physically! So she would come in my room to use her bathroom or to take a shower!! Good thing I didn’t talk in my sleep or who knows what I might’ve said, LOL! Or did I?? Mindy has still kept that one secret if so!! Jerry and his dad rigged up a piece of rope that tied to the handle of the front door, and it had a rounded hook with duct tape that you would hang on my door. That way I could grab it and pull on it when I opened the door to go outside! Genius I tell you! I ended up using that thing when I moved, in my dorm room in college! I have no idea where it is now but if I ever find it in my garage I will take a pic to show on here for you!
We (I should probably say they as I was more of the supervisor then the mover!) were exhausted as we got everything in to its place! It probably took a couple of weeks to completely get everything put away! Some things you just cannot rush, LOL!!
IT IS ON THE TOP OF OUR LIST!
I was not surprised to find neither one of the ADA issues taken care of. during moving day, but Mindy and I learned to make do. Mindy would call the front office and talk with them about where they were at on making the changes. Their answer would always be, “It is on the top of our list!” So the cement ramp was completed the 1st week. This did not stop Mindy from calling them as they still needed to widen the bathroom door so I could get my wheelchair in. Mindy was having to stop in between her clients to help me in the restaurant, ugh! Thank God that Mindy had a flexible job to where she could help me! It was hard on her because she worked 12 hour days, and it was hard on my bladder because it was hard,! So finally Mindy got mad, and marched herself down to the office with the lease in hand to tell them how the cow ate the cabbage!! The next day my bathroom door was widened! That’s what I’m talking about, LOL!
Looking back I can definitely see how God orchestrated his hands through everything, and for that I am so grateful! I can also see the times when the devil tried to squirm his way into making my life miserable, but what it did was only make me stronger! If it was not for Mindy and Jerry giving their friendship support, and love to me I would not have been able to “live on my own” during this year! Thank you both so much for helping me to have the most physical independence ever!!
Rolling on, Stephanie