Who’s Counting?

A year and a half.

That’s today.

It’s been a year and a half of life post-SCI and here I am, still kicking.
Well, I guess that’s probably not the best metaphor to use….

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to a point in my life where I stop counting the time that has passed. Stop making note of the injury anniversaries, hospital discharge dates, or post-SCI life accomplishment milestones. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even supposed to get to a point where I stop counting my “wheeling” time. I guess it’s a good thing I’m generally not too concerned about blending in and fulfilling whatever standards society has set as “normal.” I mean, I don’t think another May 25th will every pass by without it having a different “presence.” I guess that makes November 25, the half-way point to the year mark, a bit similar-just to a lesser degree.

It’s still strange though, having two days that I never thought would be anything more than simply dates on a calendar that now hold this crazy powerful reminder of a pretty drastic change in my life. This very powerful reminder that I have to figure out how to deal with.

Do I look back at where I was? Spend time reflecting on those frightening and overwhelming days back in the hospital?


The days where I had countless tubes and medical paraphernalia connected to me (Most of which I kept once they were pulled out, just for the record. I mean, I paid for it, so why not?) The days where all I could stomach eating was applesauce. The days where people pushed me around because I didn’t have the strength or desire to do it myself.

But spending too much time looking back gets really challenging for some obvious reasons.

So, do I look forward instead? Spend time imagining where I will go and the things I could do on this new path of life God has put me on? Imagining the impact I could have on others, the life I would live when I’m accepted to medical school (however many years that takes…), the future increase in upper body strength and wheelchair skill that only comes with the passage of time and practice?

I don’t know if that’s the best idea either. I mean, I’m basically living proof that the future is about as unpredictable as the weather. You think you know what’s going to happen and then there’s a winter storm warning for 7″ of snow before Thanksgiving. Whoopie.

I guess that leaves me looking right where I am, right where God has me. Looking right where I’m supposed to be at a year and a half of wheeling life.

Looking at the time I have to spend and laugh at these adorable four-legged creatures.


The dogs are such goons and Oscar (top right) seriously sleeps with his head on the pillow in my bed like a human does. And the cat, you wouldn’t believe the amount of trouble that little Leopold gets into. He seriously has his own soundtrack that goes something like this, “Leopold? Where’s that cat? Leopold! He better not be on my cupboards…LEOPOLD! GET OFF OF MY CUPBOARDS!” It’s a soundtrack I get to listen and laugh at ALL the time now.

 Looking at all the opportunities I have to teach and advocate for others with disabilities.


This past month I’ve spent a lot of time talking to kids and I just love answering their questions and seeing their eyes light up when they realize all that I and others who may look different from them, are capable of. It’s those lessons and moments that I want to share and explain to every person that looks at me and apologizes. Apologizes for me being in a wheelchair, like it’s such a terrible and shameful thing. I always find that a bit ridiculous,  sure it’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but with God I’m very capable and more importantly, I’m very blessed.

 Looking at the memories I’m making with family and friends.


Being able to see my cousins’ little ones in their hilarious toddler stages is seriously priceless (and makes me very thankful I’m currently only responsible for myself and not the well-being of a tiny human). On top of that, being able to spend legit quality time with my crazy sisters and parents after those 3 years of college in Minnesota is pretty awesome. We still get into just as much (if not more) trouble now then when I was walking, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking at all the times I get to go to Costco with my very entertaining mother.

Yea, sorry, no good pictures of Mom at Costco. If I did that I would be looking for a place to sleep tonight. But seriously, for as much crap as I give her for her obsession with that store and their toilet paper, I’ve enjoyed our countless laughs and time together during the year and a half since everything happened. The other day she called me with some news and almost asked me if I was sitting down. I swear, someday she’s going to wake up, realize I’m paralyzed and ask when and how that happened (but I still wouldn’t trade her for anything).

I feel like life is rarely what we plan for it to be. All seems to be going well and fine until something we didn’t plan for happens. But those unplanned moments; those moments that knock you off your feet and into a place of indescribable fear, those moments can bring about some beautiful things. In my case, new friendships with people I otherwise would have never met. Opportunities to travel across the country and experience the world with a whole new perspective. Profound realizations of just how much God loves and cares for each of us, and how blessed I really am.

You know, I guess it’s not always about where we were or where we will go;
it’s about the way we’re living our lives right here, right now.


Just for kicks (if you’re interested), here’s my first blog post ever from my 6 month post-SCI anniversary. Wow how time flies…

8 thoughts on “Who’s Counting?

  1. Shelley Nulton says:

    You forgot to add that you have the most incredible perfect haircut in the history of the world that totally matches your personality! I love reading your posts, have a great time at the Appleton Christmas parade tonight-I will be watching in the comfort of my warm living room!

  2. steph laube says:

    Thank you for sharing, Sam. You have a great ability to put into words the inner struggles that so many people deal with. They are moments that are subtle, yet impactful. You have so many great moments ahead of you too! Love you!

  3. Janet Rowe says:

    Another great post, Sam. You have such a great way of expressing yourself and sharing your story. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful family!

  4. Deborah Weir says:

    Thanks for sharing your most personal thoughts. You are an inspiration and I have to agree with the comment about your haircut…..adorable!

  5. Alena Chesser says:

    Sep. 17, 2013 – for me so 1 year and 5 months… I ran for Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky last year and got runner up. That’s when I started following your page I think you are doing great!

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