The longer I am involved in the limb difference world, the more I realize how easy it is to become a member. Not only are children born every day without fully formed limbs, but children and adults have accidents every day that lead to amputations. Farm accients, car accidents, lawnmowers, heavy things… You never know when your life changes and you are suddenly a member of a special needs community.
I had lunch with a good friend yesterday who is supporting her wonderful husband through early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I used to work with him and marveled at his brain. That same brain that allowed him to solve complex server problems and manage crazy digital workflows is now allowing the rapid release of all things that make sense. My friend is guiding her husband through the good and the bad of this experience. Their path through Alzheimer’s is no where close to what they planned to do in life. But they are making it work by finding ways to support others in the Alzheimer’s world and working hard to find more research that can help put a stop to this cruel disease.
One of my favorite students in the whole world is currently battling cancer. He is not the first former student to battle the big “C.” But that doesn’t mean the diagnosis was any easier. The cancer has forced him to completely live life differently. It may not change him forever, but it was an unexpected blow to his 20-something life and lifestyle. I just want to give him a hug.
And then there’s Miles O’Brien. He’s a journalists who I have appreciated for a long time. His journalism has focused on aerospace, science and technology. I especially have enjoyed following his adventures through Instagram through the years. Less than two weeks ago, he had an accident while he was wrapping up a work trip in Asia that injured his arm. The injury led to the amputation of his arm just above the elbow. I’m not sure why it affected me so much other than the fact Jordan was born with an arm that stops just above the elbow. She’s an expert in this one hand, one elbow world. I’ve felt the need to reach out. So I’ve left a few messages and shared his story online. I know there are possibly others who are recent upper limb amputees who could use support as well. But for some reason, O’Brien’s experience is just another example of how you just never know. Thank goodness there are others who can help offer tips and perspective when life takes these sudden turns.
I told Jordan about what happened to O’Brien and asked her if she had any tips on how to figure things out with one hand. She took a happy picture showing off her little arm to share with him. And then she told me she figures things out by “watching others and finding different ways to get it done.” It seems simple from her, but I know it takes patience and an inner acceptance to figure out those different ways at times.