A few weeks ago, I went on a short vacation with my family to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s such a beautiful place! When I was in Old San Juan, we saw a little hut with a fountain on the outside dedicated to a woman named George Wally Chavin.
The words on the plaque tell a sweet story. The plaque reads, “George Wally Chavin 1910-1966 Almost totally paralyzed, she excelled academically, performed athletically and in her prime swam 40 pool laps daily. During W.W.II, she met her love in this hut, then a military canteen. Serving as a volunteer Red Cross Hostess from her wheelchair. They were married and he neccessarily became her lifelong lifeguard, protector and lover. May Chavin’s beauty, intelligence and courage be an inspirational to all. Donated by Chavin’s Widower”
I love good, romantic stories!!! It’s especially cool for me to see a memorial set up for a person who used a wheelchair. So sweet!!!
In other news, I’m getting ready to work on book 5. My creativity is flowing again!
A couple weeks ago, my sister, Mandy and I were on our way out the door to get a coffee at a local coffee shop, Kaldi’s. There’s a small step coming out of the kitchen at my house. I forgot to tilt her wheels up when I helped her down the step. I wasn’t thinking. I guess I was used to my son’s stroller, which doesn’t need to be tilted back, the wheels just go straight down. She fell out of her chair and broke both of her legs. To top it off, she had a fatty embolism that punctured her lungs and was in the hospital and ICU all last week. It was very serious. Everyone was so worried. I couldn’t imagine life without my sister. I felt like I was going to choke on my heart.
Last Monday, she got to go home. I am so relieved.
Anyway, here is an interesting story about my sister and the accident. When she got back in her wheelchair right after it happened, she said she was fine. Since Mandy has spina bifida, she wouldn’t feel it if her legs were broken. Her one leg had a bump under it right under her knee. She insisted that it wasn’t broken because she touched it and didn’t turn white right away. (I think that was what she said.) So we went to meet my friend, Nichole at the Kaldi’s. We stayed for about an hour and a half. Then walked home.
On the way back, Mandy started to feel short of breath. She couldn’t push herself up my driveway. I pushed my son’s stroller up then helped her up. The bump on her leg started to look worse and worse. An hour later, my dad left work to take her to the hospital. That night, they took x-rays and found out one leg was broken. I felt terrible. How did I not know I was supposed to tilt her chair back? How many years have I been taking her around?
She sent me a text that night that said, “Yeah it’s broken.” I responded a few times. One of the next texts really says a lot about my sister read, “I forgot to say thanks for a great day!” I thought she was being sarcastic at first. No, she was serious. Despite 2 broken legs, she still had a great day. Wow!!!
So back to the injury, they didn’t find out the other leg was broken until Sunday. She couldn’t breath. The doctors originally thought she had pneumonia. Her breathing and pain had gotten worse, so Monday night they moved her to the ICU. They had her in a coma. She improved a few days later. They removed the ventilator and feeding tubes. On Thursday, the home nurse discharged her. She is going places again and transferring in to her bed and the couch from her wheelchair. YAY!!!
Now, she has a whole new outlook on life. I will have to have her tell you about it. Thank you everyone for all your prayers and wishes!!! We greatly appreciate it. It so great to have the real Wendy (Mandy) back on wheels!!
Good morning, Atlanta! Today is the first day the Abilities Expo. I’ve been up around 5 thinking of all the things I need to do to get ready for today. Print out signs, work on a powerpoint for my workshop on Saturday, listen to meditation tracks on my ipod, read a motivational book and the list keeps going. At 6 am, I went down to the hot tub with my ipod to listen to my meditation stuff. In the pool area, they were playing some old Frank Sinatra/Dean Martinesque music. YES!! It was like they knew I was coming down. It was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. YES!!
I felt a rush of excitement go through me. Then I thought, Am I ready to change the world? I think so. “I think so,” really? Hmmmm… I’ve been preparing for this for months and that was the response I got. Oh well. I was feeling really anxious/nervous yesterday, so I will take it.
I practiced reading Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand to my nephew’s first grade class yesterday in Chattanooga, TN. I haven’t been to many private schools so the group was a little different than I am used to. It seemed like they had never seen or even heard of a child who uses a wheelchair before. There are probably many other classes like this. I really need to get out there more and visit as many schools as possible.
Someone has to teach the world to accept others regardless of abilities. Someone needs to show the world that people who use wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids or any thing of the sort are just like them. Someone needs motivate children with different abilities to have fun and enjoy life. That someone is me! And that someone would also love a cup from Starbucks or Caribou right now.
I haven’t written a blog in a while. Things have been kind of crazy. Thursday, Marvin Elementary invited me to read to students as part of their Ability Awareness Day. It’s always fun to read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo to children in St. Louis since they recognize the St. Louis Zoo. It’s such a good book for ability awareness.
I went with my friend, Tom, from Warwick Photography last week to Tilles Park to take some new photos to put on my website and use for magazines and things. There were hundreds of little ones running all over the playground with shirts that said KECC (Kirkwood Early Childhood Center.) I had visited the KECC a couple weeks prior. Several children ran up to me and said, “You came and read to us.” I was amazed that four and five year olds remembered me.
The KECC graciously invited me to read to children as part of their annual “Hopathon.” Participants in the Hopathon had to hop to raise awareness of Muscular Dystrophy. One activity had children sit in wheelchairs and figure out how to manuever them. It was cool to see.
I was very impressed with Barretts Elementary School’s Ability Awareness Day a couple weeks ago. They had several different presenters speaking about different abilities. They even had a session with the school’s occupational therapist, teaching the students about different abilities and ways to be more productive. The group made a “Fidget tool,” to help them focus during class. Here’s a picture of the fidget tool.
Things have definitely changed. When I was in school, the teacher would take away the object I used to fidget. Then I couldn’t focus on what the teacher was saying. Now the schools realize fidgeting helps students pay attention and be more productive.
I LOVE to participate in Ability Awareness Days!!! We are educating them younger and younger. It’s outstanding!!!
In New York City a couple weeks ago, I attended a family services workshop in Brooklyn put on by Resources for Children with Special Needs. Gary Shulman did an outstanding job letting parents know about a wide range of programs out there to help them. If you are in NYC and need anything at all for your child, contact Resources for Children with Special Needs. I wish they were nationwide.
In other news, my husband and I are expecting our first child in November. We are so excited!!!
Sunday afternoon, I had my launch party for Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day at All Along Press. It was such a wonderful event. Thank you to everyone who came. I appreciate your support and love for Wendy on Wheels. Excellent food from Cherokee Street Catering. Everyone loved the barbequed chicken pizza!
The reading went well. I said thank you to my cousin, Dana for taking Elizabeth and me around Cardinal Glennon to see what the inside of a children’s hospital looks like. Dana is cartoonized on page 21 of Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.
Things have been going well for Wendy on Wheels. I have some Ability Awareness Days lined up for April at some local schools. I’m working on setting up some schools visits in Peoria, IL and Chicago the third week in April.
I’m working on getting t-shirts made. They might be available to the general public if people are interested.
I was not chosen as a finalist in the Energizer Competition. I’m still excited I was nominated as a semifinalist. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!!!
I will have the cover for Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand in a week or so.
I saw The Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday. Marlee did a outstanding job as project manager! Go Marlee!! Meat Loaf had a meltdown on Gary Busey. I couldn’t believe that. YIKES!!!