Living with a Disability
Posted by bloggingauthorsadmin
Guest post by G.E. Gardiner
On December 28, 1996, while skiing on top of a mountain in western Maryland, GE Gardiner suffered a Hemorrhagic brainstem stroke, caused by high blood pressure. He spent six and a half weeks in three different hospitals, and four months recuperating at home before returning to work.
Complications that lingered after the incident were blood clots, lack of motor dexterity, and cerebellum ataxia. Permanent damage from this stroke affected his brain and significant bodily functions, including: breathing, vision, cognition, gait, speech, memory, and balance, all of which prevented him from living a normal life. Today, he uses a walking stick and long ago retired from regular work.
In 2004, his family urged him to begin mental therapy by writing a journal. Unable to type or handwrite, he resorted to Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-recognition software. By 2010, he was writing a science fiction novel. The 2012 anthology, My Wheels, included one of his short stories, Speed. His first full-length novel, Glimpse of Sunlight, coauthored by Leona Rosa Bodie, will be published on April 1.
Today, Gardiner seeks to raise awareness about how people can still live full lives despite a disability. Strokes come in many forms, and people need to be aware of the signs: inability to
speak, slurred words, drooping face, and weakness in the arms. More information on strokes can be found at http://www.strokeassociation.org
Gardiner, who lives in Florida, also recommends familiarity with the Brain Injury Association of Florida (http://www.biaf.org/). It is Florida’s only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to inform, educate, support and advocate on behalf of traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors, their families and caregivers. The organization assists those recovering from brain injuries with finding support groups, employment, healthcare professionals, and assistance for caregivers.
Gardiner offers the following top three tips for living with a disability:
1. Turn the negatives of your disability into a positive.
2. Accept your situation and be happy for any advance.
3. Find someone to be your advocate.
He can be reached through his website: www.GEGardiner.com
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