Guest Authors

See what are Guest Authors are writing about by viewing this section for a complete assortment of disability topics. Many of our guest authors tell about their personal experiences in dealing with their own handicaps. Their stories of the trials and tribulations they endure to achieve personal satisfaction are astonishing. Their un-candid ability to provide unrestrained access to their thoughts and emotions while dealing with their disabilities is unmatched. It provides a source of support and inspiration to people of all types.

Wheelchair Vans for Sale at AMS Vans

Father Forgive Them…

After being cursed at in the Wal-mart parking lot, this verse of scripture spoke to my heart. I had heard just a few weeks before about two ladies having their purses snatched off their shoulders there and about a man on a handicapped scooter being attacked and robbed. I’ve been using a scooter for fifteen years, and I cannot let statistics or fear dictate my life.

I “scoot” my scooter all over Salisbury and when the weather is as nice as it was that day in October, I rejoice in the Lord for those “freedom” days. I have learned it is best to get in the traffic lane there because if I’m right at the tail gate of cars, they may not see me when they start to back out of the parking spaces.

Most people (with common sense) might toot their horn and go around me (slowly) on the left, (if they are in that big of a hurry) but not on this day! Three young men, probably between 16 and 20, flew up behind me, swerved way out to the left and one yelled out the window, “You better get the —-(four-letter word that I despise) out of the way!”

Since I have never had anyone talk to me like that, my “righteous indignation” caused me to put the “pedal to the medal” and I caught up with them as they were getting out of the car. I could hear my kids (and friends) telling me to “ignore it…let it go…you might get hurt, etc.” but that is not my nature. Since I couldn’t whip this young man or wash his mouth out with soap, I replied with “You need to clean up your mouth.” He yelled more obscenities as he walked in front of me. I couldn’t help thinking about what we all were once taught so I said, “You need to keep to the right.” He spouted off again so I warned one of the managers to keep an eye on him as he is “trouble waiting for a place to happen.”

Should I or should I not have responded? This reminds me of “the other side of the coin” when I’ve had to ask many young men to help me. Everyone I have ever had to ask has been courteous and respectful and for them I reply, “You should read a poem called ‘Somebody’s Mother’.” It’s about a young boy playing with his friends when he notices a little old lady trying to cross the busy street. He leaves his friends and rushes to help the elderly lady cross safely. When he returned to play, he explained to his friends,

“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know, and for all she’s aged, and poor, and slow. And I hope some fellow will lend a hand to help my mother, you understand, if ever she’s poor and old and grey, when her own dear boy is far away.”

And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head in her home that night, and the prayer she said was “God be kind to the noble boy, who is somebody’s son and pride and joy.”

Well, boys that act like that have mothers with reason to be proud. I never had a son, but if I had, I hope that mine would not have been like the one in the parking lot. I think he even embarrassed the other two boys with him. But may God forgive this young man for he has no idea how his conduct and filthy mouth “ruined my beautiful day.” And may father forgive me for the anger I felt. His word tells us: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” so God gave me this story so I could get rid of my negative thoughts. Maybe someday this boy will come to know the Lord instead of the devil that is working within him.

A Chain of Events

Sometimes we wonder what possible good could come out of unpleasant circumstances. But if everyone would have a little faith and remember that God’s word (Romans 8:28) tells us, “All things work to the good of those who love the Lord,” then we might find unexpected pleasure in a change of events like I did.

Faith stones

Just short of a month before this particular day, I had been in the hospital with a multiple sclerosis flair-up and had just finished a round of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection at that time. Now I was 99% sure I had another infection and was getting ready to go in to see my urologist. As I gathered my stuff, a small voice suggested I take one of both my books in with me. I hesitated but, of course, they do sell better when I have them with me!

Well, my doctors say I “know my body better than anyone else” and sure enough, once again I had a full-blown infection.I was to meet my sister and brother at lunch. As I was getting on the elevator, a nurse stopped me and asked if I was coming or leaving. She had been one of my nurses in 2002 when I was in the Stanback Rehab Unit for five weeks. She told me later that she worked third shift then and remembered the night my toes started wiggling after twenty-nine days of being immobile.

Gina asked if I would go with her to a room where her brother was a patient and her aunt was sitting with him. She said, “My aunt loves your stories and has always wanted to meet you.” She thought meeting me might cheer her up a little and brighten her day during this sad time. I told her I was to meet my family at 11:00 but I would go for just a short visit.

As we entered the room, she told her aunt that she had bought someone to meet her. When this tiny elderly lady looked up and saw me, she sprang out of her chair, threw her arms around me and kissed me on both cheeks. It was obvious that she was very excited to meet me and made my day when she said that I am even more beautiful than she thought I would be.This little visit sure was special especially since I had dreaded going out in the 100 degree heat.

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Under the circumstances I wasn’t sure how appropriate it was to offer to sell her my books, but somehow I knew that at times reading can have a calming effect during troubled times. I would have loved to just give them to her, but with the cost of living today I can no longer afford to do that. So now those two books that almost got left in the van are in the hands of that dear sweet lady and, hopefully, can be a blessing to her during the next few weeks.

While writing this story that night, I realized this had been one of those times when the Lord gave me an opportunity to “let my light shine” by having a word of prayer with this troubled family.

While I was letting the ramp down to get in the van, a car stopped behind me and a lady said, “Hello.” Once again I was blessed as she told me how much she has always wanted to meet me and what my stories have meant to her over the years. She also complimented me on my appearance and lifted me up out of my cloudy mood. (These kind folks sure see something I don’t see when I look in the mirror; age and bad health are taking me down.)

I asked her if she would like to buy a book. She said she would love to have the first one, “My Sanctuary” but had no money with her. I gave her a card with my address and told her she could send me a check later.

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I realized I was going to be late for lunch, but I decided I would tell Mary, Mike and Dale that I had been “kidnapped.” Who would have thought that going to the doctor in extremely hot weather, hurting as bad as I was that anything good would come out of that. But it is always a pleasure to meet people who feel like they know me or want to know me better. God is so good even in the bad times!

A postscript: I’m beginning to feel like some pastors do when they tell how they needed money and received a check or cash, or even food. The following day I received a check from Southern Spirit Gallery where the manager has sold some of my homemade cards from time to time. I thank God for every blessing including that little bit of rain last night when I was working on this story!

Expect a Miracle

If someone or something told you to “Expect a Miracle,” what would you think or do? Could you hear God’s voice speaking to you through a person, place, or thing? Meditate on that for a moment; then hold the thought, and read on.

On July 5th, 2002, I suffered a major exacerbation of multiple sclerosis and went down on the concrete in the hospital parking lot. The following day, I was told I would never walk again. Nothing was working below my breast.

My family and close friends were devastated, but those who knew me best refused to believe that diagnosis. They thought I would overcome it, just as I had rebounded from other exacerbations.

Personally, I knew this was the most severe one I had suffered. I was having spasms and pain like never before, and other body functions were affected. The road ahead was unfamiliar, and I took a “wait and see” attitude.

I accepted the diagnosis because I didn’t have time to cry or complain.I had to work on building upper body strength and transferring myself to and from the bed, shower, vehicle, etc. (James 1:2-4 describes this as follows: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”)

When my body was unresponsive or wracked with pain, I would cry out to the Lord for strength to make the necessary moves. (Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”) And then, I would transfer.Later transfers became very hard on my wrists and hands, and the doctor ordered wrist supports which made a major difference in my ability to push myself up. (Another one of those things God used.Hold the thought; then read on.)

I had four weeks of intensive therapy and training, so I could learn to be a fully-functioning paraplegic. Rehab enabled me to return to my new home where I could once again live alone. There were many objections to this, but with the loving help of family and friends, I went home on August 6, 2002.

Another four weeks of trying to maneuver a manual wheelchair on carpet was physically exhausting, and even more emotionally debilitating than the original diagnosis. The road ahead was looking long and frightening, and this vehicle (my mind and body) was beginning to need a major overhaul. There was no point in being angry, though, as anger is not a healing balm.(Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger do not sin.Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”)

Finally, I received a power chair, and it was a gift from God! He saw my need just as He did in 1993 when He provided me with an electric three-wheel scooter. My optimism returned, and I knew that with God’s help, I would regain my patience and perseverance which according to His Holy Word would certainly improve my character.  (Romans 5:3-4: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”)It, my character, had begun to need a major overhaul anyway. Reviewing the scriptures daily enabled me to accept the situation, but also to work to improve it.

Other health problems kept taking place, but I was home where I was warm, well-fed by others, and fairly content, except for the emotional pain and physical drain my condition was causing my loved ones. Accepting help from others humbled me, and also shamed me, that I had not done more of that before. God has used this to teach me some lessons I needed to learn.

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People were praying for me and asking others in several counties to pray also. God heard and answered these prayers.He used a Christian friend and a stick pin to speak to me on December 19, 2002.

In August after I came home from the hospital, I realized I had lost the stick pin that read “Expect a Miracle.” I expressed my regrets to my friend, Priscilla, when she called to see how I was doing. She said it was no big deal, and she would try to find me another one.

With so much going on, I thought little more about it. After all, how important could that little pin be other than as a very thoughtful gift of encouragement from another victim of multiple sclerosis.

By December, I was beginning to be able to stand at a walker when someone helped me get up.Still, I could not raise my feet off the floor, and my knees would buckle after a brief moment or so.

As I was exercising on December 18, my right leg, and then the left, had major spasms, and my feet lifted high off the floor in that same order. I was amazed and decided if a spasm could do that, then maybe I could lift them myself. And I did! Wow, what a surprise! It was even more exciting than when my toes voluntarily started wiggling on the 29th day of my hospital stay when nothing else was working.

I already had physical therapy that morning; and while exercising on the bed, my therapist had commented that my legs were moving easier. And after having felt bad for several days, I knew things were the best they had been for awhile.

Later that day as I sat writing a story, I realized my wrists guards might help me get myself up to a standing position at my dining room table.With one hand on the table and one on the power chair, I pushed up and hunched sideways at the table. I was so excited!(Up!Plop down. Up again!Plop down, ouch bottom hurt! Up, push, try hard, etc.) Somehow, I sensed things changing, and the road ahead began to look brighter with each effort.

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Wheelchair Vans for Sale

A First-Person History of My Scooters

This story began in l993 in the parking lot at Holly Leaf Apartments.  Some folks who knew me during this chapter of my life may remember parts of this, but new readers may not.  My husband died in February 1993 and in May, I moved into an apartment at the edge of town.  I had sold our waterbed because of my bad health and ordered a single hospital bed to be delivered the day I moved.

When the guys came with the bed, they also set a 3-wheel scooter in the parking lot.  I told them I had not ordered that, and they said it was just for me to experiment with while they put the bed together.

At that time the color mauve was very popular and with one spin around, I fell in love with my scooter.  Since I was unable to drive back then, the scooter was answered prayer.  The scripture says that when we don’t know how to pray the Holy Spirit hears the “groanings” of our heart and prays for us.  The Lord knew what I needed and wanted before I had any way of knowing the blessing of owning a scooter since I no longer had anyone to push me in a wheelchair.

I immediately told the fellows that I wanted to buy the scooter that day.  They protested that it was their brand new demo model and would be rather expensive.  After some lengthy discussion, they called the home office and told the lady about this “crazy woman” who was insisting they accept a check and leave the scooter.

I got on the phone with the lady and discussed my situation.  She explained that the scooter was very expensive and that I might get help with the cost from my insurance company if I would be patient and wait.  I told her I had just sold everything I owned and would write a check that day if she would accept it.  After much pleading, she told the men to leave the scooter.

I was still insured by my husband’s “catastrophic” insurance plan and within a short period of time, they paid for the scooter, and my money was returned to me.  The scooter became my transportation to the mall, the grocery and drug stores, and several restaurants for lonely meals that sure beat eating alone in that small apartment.

But most important, it enabled me to ride back and forth to the apartment pool where I discovered water aerobics; the best atmosphere in which to get used to living alone.  During the following years, it became my “toy” and enabled me to ride my two grandsons around for different activities.  There are so many precious memories about those days; they became the “boy stories” that some folks have enjoyed reading.

We all talk about how time flies and before I knew it, and after many miles of wear and tear, the scooter was “on its last leg.”  After nine years, the cost of scooters had come down some, and my health had improved. I didn’t need one as badly in early 2002 when I first moved into my new home.

By then I had been driving for several years and only used the scooter for long distance walking, so I parked it on my back porch and used my rolling walker to get to and from my car.  Then in July I had the multiple sclerosis exacerbation that took away my ability to walk.

A little over a month later, one of my readers brought a used scooter and a lightweight wheelchair to my home because he no longer needed those.  I offered to pay him but he wanted to give both items to me.  I felt so blessed!  (Another one of those times when unspoken prayer was answered.)

Two days later, I got a call from the medical supply store telling me that someone had come in and purchased a new scooter for me, and it would be delivered at my convenience.  A few hours later, he arrived with two scooters (a red one and a blue one.)  I was given my choice of colors and he told me the purchaser wished to remain anonymous.

I was absolutely stunned that someone would spend that much money on a gift for me.  He said they told him they had enjoyed my stories over the years and just wanted to donate this.  I told him someone had given me a used one; I wasn’t sure what to do at that point.  He said the new one was paid for, and he couldn’t take it back.

After thinking about this for several days, I advertised my old scooter “free as is,” and it was picked up within hours after the paper was printed.  Finally, I called the giver of the first gift and explained I now had two scooters in my little house.  They were both too nice to leave outside, so I wanted him to decide what I should do with the scooter he had given me.

I suppose I could have given it to someone else or sold it, but it just didn’t seem right to do that.  I had been twice blessed and thought he might know someone else to bless.

By 2008, it was becoming difficult for family and older friends to load my wheelchair, so I purchased a smaller scooter that could be broken down and put in the trunk of a car. It is the one I now use in the handicapped conversion van which I purchased in August 2009. The heavier one that was a gift is still used in my yard for my gardening hobby.

I am still amazed and thankful for all the blessings I have received.  My family, friends, and other readers continue to bless me.  I do believe that God has had his hand in all these events and his timing has been perfect for my needs.  God is so good to me!