I was ran over as a kid. A truck backed over me when I was about four.
Did the driver face any repercussions?
He had a paralyzed son for the next 21 years, so I guess that counts. Nobody deserved repercussions though. It was just a freak thing.
Can you survive on your own?
I cannot survive on my own. I must be under watch 24/7.
Do you breathe on your own?
I cannot breathe on my own. I require a vent.
Do your arms work?
My arms don’t work.
What was the mental change like at that age? Meaning, how did you mentally and emotionally react to the event and dealing with the paralysis going forward?
I was a very angry child, lashing out at everyone in an attempt to regain control in my life. I didn’t cope well, but I could have always been worse. My teenage years is when it REALLY took its toll.
Since you’re paralyzed from the neck down how do you do simple tasks like type and stuff like that?
I have a stylus in my mouth and my phone is mounted.
How does peeing and pooping work? Can you still control the muscles or do you have a catheter and some other manual mechanism for number 2s?
I use a catheter, yes. As for number 2’s, I have to use adult diapers and make a schedule.
Who switches the diapers for you?
Nurse or family member.
Would you be able to feel sickness or infections in your body? For example a stomach ache?
Oh yeah. I can get sick to my stomach, have chest pains, stuff like that. Can’t feel kidney stones though, oddly enough
What happen if someone hit you in the legs?
If somebody hits my legs, I would feel the vibration through my body, but no sensation. No pain either!
How do you fill your time?
I play video games, write, use the internet. I have a fair amount of assistive tech that allows me to live a normal life, as long as it’s digital.
How does playing videogames work?
I have a device called a quadstick. I’ve used it since I was 7, and the device only continues to improve. The streamer and e-sports gamer RockyNoHands uses an identical device.
What’s your education level? Was school hard for you?
I have a Bachelor’s degree. School was not hard at all. I excel with structure and am remarkably intelligent, if my grades are an indicator of intelligence. Loved school. I was in the top 10 of my graduating class.
Are you able to work/have a career? If not, what is your financial situation like?
US Disability compensation is shit. You get enough a month to sit comfortably on the poverty line.
If I ever want to be financially independent, a job is required. Unfortunately, finding work is very hard when you have few skills, no experience, and can’t relocate.
Is it hard dating?
INCREDIBLY hard. I live in a remote community, so there’s not many social opportunities. Plus, you know, the disability
Ever had sex and if so do you still feel the orgasm?
I have never had sex. The orgasm part I’m unsure on. I’ve experienced intense arousal, but I don’t know if it went anywhere.
Do you think you’d be able to have sex (in other words, do you think you could get an erection and ejaculate)?
Yes, I do believe that I could have sex.
Please explain how.
When you lose feeling in your body like I have, where you can feel becomes far more sensitive. You get new spots that turn you on.
There’s also other methods of sex besides penetration. Even if you’re set on penetration, there’re methods to force an erection to be maintained.
I admit the orgasm is a mystery since I’ve not experienced one, but I don’t see it being impossible.
It’s a physiological reaction after all. I just wouldn’t expect the stamina before climax to be very impressive since you can’t hold it back.
When you meet new people, do you prefer when they acknowledge your disability and try to be careful with your needs or do you prefer to be seen as any other guy and not having people reminding you of your condition?
This is a tricky one. I want to be treated like any other guy. I’m a human first and a quadriplegic second. I’d rather be treated normally, but I don’t want people to be afraid to ever bring up my disability. It’s a part of my core identity and should be respected, but not focused on.
What’s something you wish people would change about the way they interact with you?
Not treat my needs like a burden. If I could move, I would get my own water or scratch myself if I itch. Don’t make me feel like my needs are lesser and make me wait for assistance. I can be patient, but only to an extent. I still want respected
Do you get sick and tired of being told what an inspiration you are and how brave you are?
I’m not an inspiration. At least not for my disability. I’m just a person tackling life’s problems in a different way.
If all your spoons are dirty and you have to eat cereal with a fork, it’s harder, but not impossible. That’s not inspiration worthy. Same with my life.
I’m in a chair, yeah, which makes me work harder than most, but I’m not achieving much. I’m not a famous writer or a world champion gamer or some rich playboy with girls all over him. I’m just me.
I’ll never see myself as inspirational, but if my story can positively affect even one person, well that’s an accomplishment that I can be proud of.
What’s something you’ve noticed others take for granted? In other words, what’s something most people don’t think about being hard or impossible to do when paralyzed?
Weight loss. Even getting off the couch or walking down the hall burns more calories than I do in a week. People don’t realize how carefully I have to watch my nutrition.
Do you ever have suicidal thoughts because of your situation?
I have my moments like that, but I’m good at identifying problems and tackling them instead of letting them fester.
You seem to have a very positive outlook on life. Was it always like that or have you had ups and downs over the years?
Oh no. I struggle with depression pretty bad, though not as bad as I used to. It used to dominate my life. Now, it doesn’t control my brain. It’s just a roommate.
When did that change happen?
For me, it was therapy. I’d been on a downward spiral for years and therapy saved my life and redeemed me. Now I tackle my mental health way differently.
Do you have anything you would say to somebody who is depressed?
My advice for a depressed person is to identify what’s wrong and fix it.
If someone is a negative influence on your life, cut them out. If you’re out of shape, do one workout a week. Problems don’t correct themselves.
You have to tackle them, no matter how intimidating they are. And if they’re big goals, set tiny ones. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re lonely, the goal isn’t to make friends.
The goal is to find a group online to participate in. Break your big goal into baby steps that allow you to feel accomplished.
If there was an experimental surgery that could heal your spine , would you apply for it?
Already working on it!
Do you have any hope of some kind of recovery some day?
Yes, I do have hope for a recovery. Not a lot of hope, but some.