Imagine your life changing drastically in an instant. Imagine that the choice to get up out of your car meant everything was suddenly different? No this isn’t the start of some fantasy novel, this is the reality faced by one young woman from Gatineau.
Winter driving is always a hazard and this particular December was bad enough to sky-rocket Ottawa into first place for Coldest Capital in the World. Gatineau is just across the river and in many ways, practically the same city, even though it’s actually in a different province.
This young woman fell into a slide which propelled her car into a Hydro Pole (Hydro is what we Canuckistanis call electricity since a large percentage of our electricity comes from hydroelectricity and so the power company is called Hydro). When she got out of her car for fear of fire, she was electrocuted.
This is where the story becomes particularly devastating – bad enough that she was in an accident, bad enough that she was electrocuted, but had this been the end of it, she would have lost possibly just her foot.
But what happens to a human body that has been electrocuted? What happens to a human body when exposed to some of the coldest conditions in the world. For four hours.
Physical Impact Trauma. Electrocution. Frostbite. Shock. With that level of determination to survive that would have been necessary to still be alive four hours later when she finally made it to the hospital thanks to a good Samaritan, is it any wonder that when given the choice between a peaceful end and a huge change, that she chose change?
I found out all about this tonight while attending an event at In The Air Guild, being put together to help raise money for this young woman to help ease some of the barriers that she has just been dropped behind.
I found this out after a day of being beaten raw with reminders of how little this society gives a fuck about people like me. That scoring political points is more important than the millions of people who are dying because of fucked up rules aimed at not only hurting disabled people, but pitting them against each other so that people who should be able to work together to address mutual concerns should instead have to fight it out – quite literally to the death. That maintaining a functional grey market that is more profitable is more of a priority than the countless people who already cannot get access or accessibility for their meds. That escaping the system itself is a Sisyphean task that involves making the impossible happen every month over and over and over again until finally this time you can’t make it happen and the card-house all comes crumbling down and you are left with less than nothing. (Yes. I’m ok. Well, actually I’m not, but I’m not the point of this post so for all intents and purposes… I’m ok)
I found out about this at a moment when I am most aware of the mountain of hard labor this young woman is about to be forced to climb.
In the speech given by this young woman’s sister, she says that her sister has been the positive one. The cheerful happy one keeping everyone else’s hopes up. That she does this, aware that the hardest part is still in front of her.
My heart broke when I heard those words, because they can’t even begin to understand how right they are… and what makes it so much worse is how unnecessary that suffering will be. Let me be clear. The hardest part that she will face won’t be learning how to live without limbs. Having to relearn how to function in a whole new way – faced with the challenge of learning what baby must, but with an adults stubbornness and resistance to change – that’s difficult. It is a big struggle and it shouldn’t be underestimated or glossed over.
But she’s GOT that.
No, in my opinion, the hardest part to face will be trying to relearn how to live when the necessary tools to make it possible for her to adapt are kept away from her for no better reason than profit. The hardest challenge so many of us face when we reach a certain stage of impairment, is the level to which SOCIETY DISABLES US.
Accessibility is possible. There is no reason why someone, even without any of their flesh limbs still intact, shouldn’t be able to have a full and fully functional life… but… it’s expensive.
The more accessibility you need, the more accessibility devices you need, the more medical professionals you have to deal with (regardless of whether medical care is covered or not), the more medical tests you need, the more medication you need, the more it costs.
Having money, will make it possible for her to concentrate on learning how to do things again. Having money will make it possible for her to survive until the paperwork can process to get her on disability. Having money makes it possible.
Today is this young woman’s nineteenth birthday.
Her sister was really hoping she could surprise her sister by having their fundraiser reach their goal. Realistically, given the number of prosthetics, the changes to home necessary to accommodate the process of rehabilitation, the assistance needed in the meantime, this is just the start of how much will be needed to make everything possible.
I don’t have much to give except for maybe a signal boost, but I’m hoping this will help push things a little further.