Not quite sure what to do

Now I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but the overly sarcastic side of me apparently avoided paralysis, and claws its way to the surface quite often.  Most times I can suppress it… but sometimes it just needs out, you know?  Being a quadriplegic, I tend to find myself in precarious situations from time to time which instigate these little battles in my mind.  Let me give you a few examples of the quandaries I face on a daily basis.
For some reason, probably the fact that people just don’t know what to say, people always ask me the same question.  "How are you feeling?"  Hmm… how am I feeling?  Now, how do I respond to that?  Considering that I only have sensation from about the armpits up, should I tell them "about 10 percent?"  Perhaps "not much" would work as well.  If I told them the truth, that I feel like a floating head, I’m pretty sure that would just make them feel uncomfortable.
Or what about those fun trips to the hospital?  Sadly, I spend more than my fair share of time in those sterile hotels.  These places do nothing but feed into my alter-ego’s desire to come forth.  I can’t remember how many times an x-ray technician helped a nurse transfer me to the x-ray table, and three seconds later asked me to hold my hands over my chest.  Apparently that time span is long enough to forget that they had just pulled my lifeless body off of the gurney.  Even after I remind them that I’m a quad-riplegic, they ask me if I’m sure I can’t hold them, for just a second.  It’s then that I look at them and ask, "Am I doing it now?  How about now?  Anything yet?  Tell me when they get there."
Exhibit B: phlebotomists (those that draw your blood).  I understand that these vampires poke countless people daily, and have a routine which is second nature.  Right before they stick the needle in my arm they say "you are going to feel a little poke."  So here’s my question.  Knowing full well that I’m NOT going to feel a thing, should I let out a courtesy wince anyways?  I figure, these people live their life by that protocol, I’m sure the wince would be considered the benchmark for a job well done, yeah?
There is one situation that I can’t help but find utterly hilarious.  Sometimes I will be trying to sleep, or somewhat on my way there, and someone will walk into the room.  During those times when I feel like being left alone, I just pretend to be asleep.  Occasionally, that person will need to talk to me about something, so they try to wake me up… by squeezing my hand or tapping on my knee.  Think about that for a second…. exactly.  Good luck with that, pal.
Another dilemma, brought to my attention by another quadriplegic, occurs at one of the simplest methods of pedestrian traffic control.  The crosswalk.  Since birth, we are rightfully conditioned to obey the little sign across the street.  When it says WALK, you are free to cross the road.  Conversely, DON’T WALK reminds you to stay put.  It’s a fairly easy concept.  That is, if you can walk.  When confined to a wheelchair, these intersections can be rather confusing.  When the sign reads WALK, what do I do?  I can’t walk.  But if I try to cross on DON’T WALK, because that is what I am more qualified for, I run the risk of becoming a hood ornament on the nearest UPS truck.  Quite the Catch-22.  (I can’t take credit for that observation.  Nick, that one is all yours)
Finally, I turn to you for advice.  Is there any good way to respond (without hurting feelings) to a person who meets you for the first time, and reaches out to shake your hand?  I try to combat it with a lighthearted "I would if I could," but nothing I have found can prevent the acquaintance from feeling completely embarrassed.  Oh well.  I’ve never heard of anyone dying from embarrassment. 

100 Comments Add yours

  1. linda says:

    Just coming by today to visit.I have to agree with Cori that you could pretty much post anything and you loyal devotees will eat it up regardless.I think its more than a blog now, its a movement.I\’m with Tom, Louise and Becky. I often wonder what you\’re thinking about all these comments too. I know you commented in a previous blog about our flattered and overwhelmed you are but some of the comments are so outrageous that one has to wonder how that specific comment hit you.I realize that there is no way for you to reply to all of these entries. You\’d never have a moments peace. So I don\’t sweat the lack of dialogue. I think that everyone just feels like they know you now and think of you as a friend.I\’d also like to see a recent picture of you but I can understand if you don\’t want to post one. Tanner, my quad friend, has changed a bit in appearance since his accident. He\’s of course lost a lot of weight, his body temp is off so he sweats a lot and often wears a towel on his head. He was quite handsome before his accident and you know what? He still is. Even if he feels a bit awkward at times. That\’s not what I see.And you, I\’m sure you\’re still a heartbreaker, too. But even as incredibly handsome as you are its what we\’ve been learning about you that makes you truly beautiful. There is no way to see you otherwise.If its possbible to grow to love a person you don\’t know then I think that\’s what we\’re all doing.

  2. chris says:

    Kenny, Sometimes people do things out of routine. Sometimes the person is so intriguing that everyone forgets the person is quadriplegic.That is the best comment I have gotten about my son. I feel the same about you.Chris

  3. Brooke says:

    This is stevie\’s husband. If you get time please come read her page. I don\’t know if you heard all the gossip or not but you were listed on her favorite blogs. I just created my blog this morning, and I do not accept comments because of these people anyways if she has ever touched your life please come and read what I wrote. Then if you want to know most of what happened come to my space. I am extremely angry and hurt right now at all of these stupid bullshit games and I had to do something to tell them look at what you have done. She was real and so am I. So are my 2 children one of which is running around the house screaming mommy going to every room in the house to find her and me having to look at her and say mommy\’s not here right now.I am sorry i can so no more I feel the tears coming again. Thanks for your time.Craig

  4. MIchele says:

    I think linda175521 said it well when she stated that what you tell us about yourslef and how you say it is what makes you truly beautifu. I also have a quad friend who before his accident was quite the ladies man as well. He still is too…I meant him through my job but I only at first ever spoke to him on the phone. He was very intriguing and it just went on from there. It is also true…if it\’s possible to love someone you have never we truly are…Thanks!

  5. Diane says:

    Yikes..were do I start…your like the first blog I have ever read…saw it on my msn homepage as a blog of interest…If that isnt an understatement….I am hooked! Let me first say, I am a nurse..that doesnt in any way make me an expert as to what you go threw or feel each day..lets just say…im a little more familiar with some of what your saying.My first thoughts after reading about you were….Wow this guy is so cool….the type of person who one would be so fortunate to have as a friend…..your body may have gone threw havoc, but your mind is just incredible. You have such a way of connecting with people, there is a real sensative nature about you.Anyway..I just wanted to let you know, although many miles away.. and.with just a few pages of your thoughts and stories, you have touched my heart…Many times i have asked myself…why does god do the things he does…..there is no answer….he just does….there is still a purpose, the testament to that is just look at all the people who have responded to you….and people passing it on to other people..your story will go on and on….I hope you find some comfort in that…Hang in there..and thanks for letting us in ….It really is quite an honor….Diane

  6. ♥∂zgυяℓ™ says:

    Good early morning…blah. Hate mornings. I was blog wandering this morning and came across your site. Your are an really are. You\’ve got a good site here going. Stop by sometime! Have a great weekend…and well week too! Dawn

  7. Kandas says:

    I don\’t have the words to sum up the talent you have. You keep things light hearted, all while pushing a message that most folks won\’t even know they\’re getting until they, in turn, pass it on. Godspeed.

  8. Kristi says:

    I agree with you as well Tom. Kenny you are a handsome guy (first thing I thought of was a Brad Pitt type look alike with a much better attitude) Anyways its great that these women worship you and all. But remember vanity isn\’t everything gals! Remember he has a wonderful brain as well. Take Care Kenny,Kristi

  9. Ginny says:

    Hey Handsome!I pray for you everyday, for your health and for your family, too….see how much i care for you. Smile at me once. You know, in Viet Nam, they say "1 smile equal 10 tonics". So smile all the time in day if you can. I\’m waiting for your new entry, keep writing Rock Kenny. Hope i would catch it soon. Remember !!! Do not forget to smilingLov ya. Ginny Le

  10. Unknown says:

    Goodmorning Kenny,As always I\’m checking in on you as I do daily to see how you are doing; I can usually tell by the topics of your articles. And when there is no new article then I just pray that God is helping you live life with Love, Peace & PURPOSE…One of the girls in my office sent me this e-mail, and since it made me laugh I thought about you. I hope you laugh hard, like I did when I read the sarcasm article.*A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital, wearing anoxygen mask over his mouth and nose, still heavily sedated from a difficult, four hour, surgical procedure.A young, student nurse appears to give him a partial sponge bath."Nurse", he says, barely audible from behindthe mask. "Are my testicles black?"Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, "I don\’t know, Sir, I\’m only here to wash your upper body and feet."He struggles to ask again, "Nurse, are my testicles black?"Concerned that he may elevate his vitals from worry abouthis testicles,she overcomes her embarrassment andsheepishly pulls back the covers. She raises his gown,holds his penis in one hand and his testicles in the other,lifting and moving them around.Then, she takes a close look and says, "There\’s nothingwrong with them, Sir."The man pulls off his oxygen mask, smiles at her and saysvery slowly, "Thank you very much. That was wonderful, but,listen very closely……"A r e – m y – t e s t – r e s u l t s – b a c k?"

  11. dying2die says:

    well kenny hi how r u doing ????? the same question …hmm .. u have raised a verygood question .. and i have an answer .. dont pity ur self and face it .. dont feel as though people will pity u if they evr came to know about it .. just go ahead and tell them they wont be hurt i faced the same problem so many times when i cant get up after sitting for long but now i face it .. its no use hiding things go ahead face it tell them u cant because ofur real situation .. thaz the only way out .. i have a suggestion when u get up in the morning tell urself everyday tht u will face evrythin and not b sorry for wat u are and u will teellll the world how u feel abt it ..ok thaz all God bless u and may god heal u at my expense ..Amen

  12. dying2die says:

    well i have again dedicated somethinfor u hope u wil like it ..

  13. linda says:

    …four days, it been four days….I think I\’m going through withdrawal….weak…I can\’t…..everything\’s going black……Keeeennnnnyyyyy!!!!!:-)Hope everything\’s o.k. sweetie.

  14. Unknown says:

    Kenny, Your profile describes how you\’re trying to piece together your purpose in this new life… well from what I can tell, I think you\’ve found it. Look at all the people whose lives you have so profoundly affected in such a postive way. It is unfortunate that you have had to go through such a traumatic experience, but if anything good comes from it, I think your gift of the written word is it. I can\’t tell you how selfish I feel and how much I have taken for granted in my life (as I\’m sure I\’m speaking for many others out there) before I first found your blog. Your unparallel perspective on life and your uplifting spirit is so uncommon in people today, that for those of us fortunate to have found you- are completely drawn to you. Thank you for giving us a window to see that life can be cherished no matter what the circumstances and that hope is never out of reach. God bless you, Kenny.

  15. Unknown says:

    kenny where are you???? I hope all is well, just know we miss reading your thoughts. love debs

  16. Bree says:

    kenny…where ya been?! hope all is as well as it can be for you! its weird even though I don\’t know you…you are always in my thoughts and prayers. I\’m off to see Dave Matthews this weekend…should I get ya a shirt?! I\’ll check back in with ya monday…hopefully you\’ll be inspired to write something by then!!

  17. Deana says:

    Kenny,I have linked you up on my blog and I drop in from day to day and read how you are and what you have shared with us for the day. So today I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and praying for you. I hope you have a great blessed weekend and that you have a smile on your face! Take care and I\’ll "read" you later.God bless you and keep you!

  18. Unknown says:

    Kenny,I hope you are well! I have been checking back every day for something new from you. I truly look forward to your writings and insight on everything. I still think of you often throughout the day. Take care!Kellie

  19. Amy says:

    Hey.OMG…I miss you…blah, blah, blah…hope everything is alright…yada, yada, yada.In other words…update already…sheesh.Want a girl to beg?Please.There!

  20. Unknown says:

    you have a beautiful way with expressing yourself.I wish I had the opportunity to talk with you, i\’d learn a lot about perserverence and strength

  21. Vivian says:

    all that u say is only the truth… but, ¿why are u alive? ¿what is your reason to awake in the mornings? ¿because u do, or somebody else awakes u…? I mean, if u believe in God or Budha, or Krishna or whatever… dont u think that is for a reason? I had lost a baby two days ago, and that\’s no reason to think that Im going to cry and to lament anymore. Use ur talents! Maybe u could be a good writer… but u had to stop suffering for the past times and all that u have enjoyed. I dont want to hurt ur feelings, but u gotta learn that being alive is the most precious gift. I got a friend that 2 years ago, taked a lot of pills and died. She can walk, she can do all u cannot do at this times, but she thinked life was absurd without her boyfriend…. so you are alive…. THATS A GREAT GIFT…

  22. Unknown says:

    I am TRULLY sorry if you feel I am wasting your time. I have been following your blog religiously and I check it daily. I love to look at the photos of you with your niece (I think) They make me cry. I have never witnessed a guy looking so in love and comfortable with a baby. Every time I open your site my heart pounds and I get really emotional…I cry a lot too….you have touched me SOOO deeply. I am negative, the glass if half empty for me, but you have given me every reason to change my attitude and I am jsut thankful to feel cramps in my feet, the wind on my skin, and hand holding me. I can not even imagine how it feels to not be able to move. Imagining it makes me panic. I train horse for a living and every time I step on a horse (especially a baby I am breaking) I get scared and I am more cautious than ever. YOu are more special than I will ever be. I beleive that gos has a plan for everyone, and one day he will wipe all your tears away. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You are a beautiful writer and a fenominal man. I wish I could have the pleasure of knowing you. GOD BLESS YOU…….. you have really impacted me in ways you will never know

  23. tesa 許泰洒 says:

    Hey Kenny,Started reading through your entries. I\’ll be linking your site. I admire your courage… you\’re actually in a much better position that a lot of people taking life for granted. Tesa(

  24. Sacha says:

    Kenny, I don\’t think you should feel guilty for throwing the sarcastic remarks around every once in awhile – It\’s a gift to be that quick witted. :opOn a different note, I’ve looked at your blog a few times in the past 3 days, and I wish I could find words to tell you how I feel after reading your postings. Well, I can, but they have already been said …so here it is again!: your writings are beautiful and I hope you stay positive (and sarcastic?). You are inspiring and I wish you all the best.Thank you for sharing your story, it is truly touching.PS: You have excellent movie choices…except Dumb and Dumber.PPS: Just kidding, that movie is awesome

  25. Unknown says:

    Kenny, I hope this wasn,t all to much for you. I know the response to your blog has be crazy. I hope it doesn\’t distract you from keeping it going. Miss your thoughts, hope all is well. we\’re all thinking off you and praying for your life to continue to flourish. Love Debs

  26. Stef says: if u feel it might b a lil far-fetched ….give it some thought….

  27. Unknown says: love your page. ze blog about that girl you luved made me go "awwww". that is the most adorable thing .keep being a shweet guy–our world needs more of those!!how r u dahling???have a great day. muahxxxxx::+ Rachel Jade+::

  28. Christine says:

    Your story is moving and it touches my heart in many ways. Your bravery and courage must provide you with an emotionally liberating feeling about life. Congratulations to you for overcoming the obstacles you have met and for facing future ones with dignity. If you would ever like a friend to chat with, my e-mail is listed above and I have MSN Messenger.

  29. Colleen says:

    Just stumbled across your blog while hitting on my MSN homepage. Your wit is fabulous, that biting sarcasm is just my cup of tea. I won\’t even pretend to know what you\’re going through, but please know through your pain and words you\’re probably saving a life. I believe in angels on earth… I\’ve run into a few 🙂 My son, who is a twin, was born w/ a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Basically it\’s the genetic equivalent of a bomb blowing up in your face. I\’ve chosen to take the \’funny\’ road too. Often at the uneasiness of others. It\’s hard to explain to people that it is completely true that if you didn\’t laugh, you\’d cry. You just keep doing what you\’re doing. I\’ve bookmarked your blog because I think you\’re going places. 🙂

  30. Erin Christine says:

    new entry? I am having withdrawls from your writing… hope everything is alright, you\’re in my prayers…

  31. Unknown says:

    Hey Kenny- this is Lori, I\’m a nurse- I\’ve written to you once before. Loving sarcasm myself- I really enjoyed your entry about silly things people do and say to you, and I just had to tell this story.I had a deaf patient once, he was hit in the head and shoulder by a falling tree.He was with us only a short time, when the trauma team decided to intubate him. I explained everything to his wife and sent her to the waiting room, and called her back to the room was he was vented and deeply sedated. As she entered his room, I explained the need to not try and stimulate him. Startled I guess by all the tubing now covering his face, she became weepy, and gently stroked his arm. She told him she loved him( can you see where this is going yet?), and assured him everything was going to be fine. She then tearfully looked up at me and asked,"Can he hear me?" I just stood there, frozen and bug-eyed. God himself had to have been in the room,to make it so I wasn\’t the first one in there to not burst into laughter. When she stopped laughing long enough to say, "I can\’t fucking believe I said that!" , I had to tell her of the miracle that just occurred in there that she was the first to laugh. People mean well, Kenny- we just try too hard to be politically correct. Keep using the sarcasm to break the ice- do what feels best for you. This woman was his WIFE, and she forgot he was deaf!!! I hope that makes you chuckle when you wince at your next blood draw…….

  32. Mary says:

    just saying hi!

  33. Tian says:

    Hi Kenny.sup? are you busy these days??? we are waiting for your next entry. :-)Peace~

  34. Nika says:

    You are one very witty guy. I love reading your blog. I have your site linked to mine and my description is "The best space yet." You are a truly talented writer, which I think I\’ve told you before. Thanks for the laughs about the sarcastic moments and congratulations on keeping your cool when you are told yet again- \’You are going to feel a little poke\’ I\’m pretty sure I would not be quite so good-spirited as you are in that situation.

  35. krist says:

    hey ya bastard.. where you been? us cyber-idiots need to know

  36. Weffy says:

    Hey Kenny, I hope everything finds you well over there. I have been a little busy the last week so I havent been able to stop by on my usual visits to your space. I will say that eveytime I have walked across a cross walk I have thought of you in the last week. lol I cant wait to see what you have to say in your next post. You are a beautiful soul. Hugs, Steph

  37. Vicky says:

    Hey! I came by your space about an hour ago by chance, left a note for you and went to clean my house…I had to come back to read you some more, like I said I would. There is nothing I can say that you haven\’t heard before. I trully enjoy reding you, not because of your condition, but because it makes me feel warmth and safe (weird eh?). I am not sorry for you, I LOOK UP to you and admire you…even though I don\’t know you. With your words you make me feel thankful for what I have, for what I am and for having the oportunity to read words like yours! THANK YOU again, Vicky

  38. AMJ Cafe says:

    Kenny, You make me giggle…thanks! I am 2 years in remission from cancer and remember and still have to deal with all the tests and hospitals, etc, etc. The sarcasm would always come out when having to deal with all the bizarre situations I was in! Though, I actually never considered holding it back! You\’re a better person than I for even attempting to hold in all that sarcasm!

  39. Unknown says:

    Hello Kenny, :O)I am only a semi-paraplegic, nuttin much compared to you. It wouldn\’t be so bad if I wasn\’t blessed with Heavy duty chronic pain for close to 7 years now(1998).The loss of my legs, I have learnt to handle, but the pain well nothing yet has helped allieviate it, and believe me we have tried everything under the sun. The meds I take permit me to endure the pain enough to be functional part of the time. Anyway like I said compared to you I feel kinda lucky. I wanted to write cos I got your addy through Callie, she mentionned me to you.Your experiences that you describe oh so well BTW, are exactly like mine.The frustration, the sadness of loss etc… etc… when I read your blogs, it is like I was saying it. One thing all of us dissabled people at one point realise, is that we are not alone in our suffering, many others are in our situation, when I am down, that kinda helps me in a weird convoluted way LOL.Anyway Ken, I admire, support and acknowledge you for having the intestinal fortitude to open up , not be shy and tell the tale of your adventures in quad land.You were speaking of sarcasm. I have found that even though I have always been a sarcastic fellow( I admire well done sarcasm), my adventure in paraplegia has made me even more mouthy than I was. I have absolutly no fear of speaking my mind now, after all, after what I have lived through I don\’t give much of a flying sh*t. Way back when , pre-accident, my best friend and I had started an honour list of experts in " Sarcastology ", both of us being at the head of the list of course hehehe. Over the years, we have given out doctorates in Sarcastology. Permit me to add you to our list, you are definitly a good candidate.Keep up the good work, we need to tell the people out there of this other dimension we handicapped ( f*ck political correcteness Grrrr) live in.I would be honoured if you visited my site and gave your opinion.Later Dunny.

  40. Unknown says:

    Hello Kenny, :O))Rats I forgot to mention my favorite peeve( amongst many ). PARKING LOTS and the people who park illegally in handicapp spots GRRRrrrrrrrrrr!!!!.If I had a $ for everytime I had to employ a normal spot,and then ask for example in a shopping center, ask the security guy to come and move my car, cos I can\’t get in it.See!! I need my car door ( a coupe by necessity ) to open fully for me to take out my wheelchair or having to simply wait till some illegal A**h*le leaves.Like my time is what?? Not as precious as his???? I am not a hunter, but Gimme a gun!!!!! sheeeeshThere I said it, so there.Later Dunny.

  41. Unknown says:

    Just a thought – Howie Mandell (the comedian) refuses the shake people\’s hands because he\’s a germophobe. He was hosting Live with Regis & Kelly, and so when a guest would come out and reach out to shake his hand – he says – no, i don\’t shake hands, but i\’ll take a kiss. (Well, he said that to the women, I don\’t think it would work so well for the men…maybe.) Thought maybe you could use that – and as for worrying about someone else\’s comfort level – don\’t! Hope you are feeling better! (You know, from the stomach thing, which has you in the hospital now.)

  42. Jennifer says:

    Hey Kenny, I have been reading your space for a couple of weeks and let me tell you, you are a great writer and an inspiration. You have a great sense of humor. I wanted to tell you that I work in the hospital and I see how some people who work there are not the brightest bunch. I am just an aide right now and am working on my nursing degree, I work night shift and i have a 19 month old son. I am only 20. When I read your entry about what you should do when people do stupid things like tell you what they are going to do and that you might feel a little poke, I thought to myself that you should just be a smart ass and embarrass them. When i first started i didnt know that i had to do the finger sticks for the blood sugars on diatbetics, i didnt like the idea of poking people even if it was a small needle. Anyways, i went into a patients room and told him what i was going to do. I guess he could tell i was a little nervous because the second i poked him he screamed. i got scared and jumped, he saw the look on my face and just busted out laughing, he said that he had wanted to do that to someone and i guess i was the lucky one…. When it comes to people who dont spend time taking care of you like the phlebos of course they are not going to know what is wrong with you, just give them a hard time if they dont like it then they need to find a different job. Like they say laughter is the best medicine. Keep up the great spirit. I know everyone says you are a great person and all that. I must agree!! Take care and at least try to behave ok??

  43. Unknown says:

    HA HA! I can see myself being boneheaded enough to try to shake your hand. We\’re so conditioned. I would only hope you\’d respond by telling me what an idiot I was 🙂

  44. Unknown says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your writing. I found August 15, very humorous. It is great that you can find humor in ignorant people.

  45. Unknown says:

    Kenny,Why haven\’t i found you before today? Thank you for putting a smile on my face.Ang

  46. Unknown says:

    I\’ve been keeping up with your blog for a couple of weeks, and you are awesome. I\’ve been paraplegic my entire life, and have the same struggle of being civil when I get asked those sorts of questions. I always lose. Good luck in the future.

  47. Unknown says:

    Check out Murderball. Quadraplegic rugby. Oh yes.

  48. Ginny says:

    you\’re such a smart ass…i love it!

  49. Heather Niccole says:

    You amaze me and make me laugh……. Great entry…Another thing that I hate is when people go up to someone confined to a wheel chair or etc and when they speak to the person they either
    A. Talk really loud, the person is paralyzed not deaf
    B.  Talk as if they were talking to a two year old, gee lets just insult their intelligence, shall we……
    Some people just don\’t think I guess.
    Heather Niccole

  50. Here I am says:

    okay – sorry – BUT – i\’m not too sure about the wince thing – maybe if you screamed REALLY loud – who know??  they might catch on… probably not, but maybe? 

  51. Here I am says:

    so here\’s my question to you – if you will.
    for the people who are used to shaking hands as a greeting, etc.  how are they supposed to \’greet\’? 
    i\’m not really big on hand shaking, as i\’m more of a \’hugger\’ – (or as they put it here in the south – hug yer neck) 🙂 BUT!!!  – not everyone is – and often people would be put off by a hug – right?
    so – what do we do?  just curious –

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