Does Charlie Need Help 24/7?
A common misconception about people with disabilities, specifically those in wheelchairs, is that they need help 24/7 or they can’t be on their own. Being three months premature doctors didn’t think I would ever be able to walk. But as my life has gone on I’ve been able to do more than just be able to walk. I have been able to learn how to shower on my own, put my own seatbelt on. Each thing that I do on my own hasn’t come easily. Each thing has taken a bunch of trial and error.
When I first met Margaret, she said to me “just let me know what it is that you need help with.” From the very beginning she had made it clear she wanted me to be as independent as possible, she has no problem helping me but she wants be to be able to do thing on my own and for myself. In the past two months, I have become more independent than I thought I ever would, all thanks to her. I might be dependent on Margaret for a lot but not for everything, so the answer to the big question is: no, I don’t need help 24/7. The biggest things Margaret helps me with are getting me dressed, cutting food(which I am beginning to help with thanks to her) and being my primary transportation.
Another misconception is that Margaret can’t have her own life, because she’s with me, which is far from true. People might think that Margaret being with me holds her back but that is false. For example, dancing she sits on my lap in my wheelchair so we both experience it. Another example is when we go shopping I hold everything, she no doubt would say this is a massive perk. My wheelchair also holds Margaret’s purse which is a huge plus when going to pay (expect when people move too slow in front of us, ugh the worst lol). There is not much that limits what her and I can do together, we can pretty much do most things that other couples do.
If there is one piece of advice that I can leave you with it is: always remember at the end of everyday to say I love you or just simply grab their hand and hold it, always say thank you after your significant other does something for you, I’ve discovered it means the world.
Now that Charlie has had his chance to explain that he does not need 24/7 care, I would like to comment on the care giving aspect of our relationship. There are so many little things that Charlie needs help with, or prefers help with (like opening a water bottle so he doesn’t spill it on himself and look like he peed his pants lol), but I do not even see any of these things as care giving. So many of the little things just seem so natural. We had a wedding that we went to and I got him all dressed and ready (minus the tie, thanks dad for that) and getting him dressed just seemed like an extension of getting myself ready, if that makes any sense. On the outside, it may look like a lot that I do for him, but in reality, to me, it does not feel like I am really doing anything. I really hope that all of that makes sense because I have no idea how else to explain it. But no, Charlie does not need constant 24/7 care and caring for him comes second nature to me and I don’t even think about doing things for him anymore(not that I ever really did)