I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio during high school, and I remember how exciting it was to attend a major league athletic event. Whether it was the Cincinnati Reds or the Cincinnati Royals, (NBA forerunner to today’s Sacramento Kings) I was always amazed how smooth these athletes looked no matter what they were doing. I had such an appreciation because I knew how smooth I didn't look in trying to execute some of those same plays. Whether driving the lane or diving for a sinking line drive in the outfield, I knew how it felt to get stuffed attempting a layup or having that sinking line drive scoot by you for extra bases. Not the pros however, they made it look easy every time, their natural talent coupled with years of experience being the difference.
What is not so obvious however is what the pros do to support each other. Setting that tough pick to free up a driving guard, running at full speed to back up your outfielder in case the ball gets by him, those are some of things that are often missed, yet which are key in allowing your team to play well and have an opportunity to win the game.
In one of my books, I talked about how overcoming obstacles is a function of your upbringing, your faith, and your support network. A good support network makes things look easy for the disabled the same way it does in sports. People often comment about how healthy I look or how I managed to do this or that. The truth is however it is my support network that makes this possible. Showing up prepared and on time for any event is taken for granted, but what people don't see are the hours of work behind the scenes in order to make that appearance look routine or even possible. So many people are incredulous when they hear it takes two hours to get me ready every morning to face my day. They just cannot envision what all is involved.
The ultimate recognition however comes from medical professionals who know what it takes to stay healthy and keep from getting debilitating pressure sores, infections, or lung issues. The difference between an in control versus out-of-control pressure sore or the difference between an inconvenient UTI versus out-of-control infection can simply be a matter of hours. While disruptive to everyone's schedule, whenever there is an issue that threatens my health or well-being, my wife never hesitates. That kind of commitment over the past 13+ years is what keeps me healthy and out of the hospital. We are constantly being told by medical professionals that I am a prime example of doing things right. We are also told they have not seen another individual with my level of injury who has had so few health problems. When I hear these comments, I revel in the respect and understanding offered by someone who "gets it." In these conversations however, we both know they are not talking about me; they are talking about my better half. That is whom I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Noticeably absent when we all left rehab was the instruction manual for dealing with the myriad of situations we would find ourselves in. Ask This Old Quad articles serve to fill in that vacuum, because we have all developed tricks of the trade that we believe would be valuable for others. Share your ideas and experience with us at firstname.lastname@example.org