Choose To Live, Not Just Survive - Overcoming Falls
Falling hurts! No one likes to fall, but what if you had no choice? What if the hand your dealt is just that? This is where you're left with a decision. Do I keep falling and try to just survive the best I can? Or is there another solution? How can I live a happy full life while dealing with this obstacle? I had to deal with these questions and figure out how to live and not let this thing control me and take my identity. My name is Kevin, and this is my story.
Born on May 18th, 1986 I came into this world with a little something extra, a disability. I was diagnosed with MD A.K.A. Muscular Dystrophy. It's not a hard disorder to grasp. In a nutshell, it takes away your muscle mass and strength throughout your body over time. With the type I have, it starts in your upper body and works its way down to your lower limbs, again over time. My childhood was not too bad, normal baby doing normal things. My toddler years were the same, not too much of a hindrance, childhood started to see some effects, small upper arms, and weakness in the upper body. Then in my late teenage years around 16, I began to see the venom of the disorder. First, I lost my balance and began falling, then I lost my strength and began collapsing, and then I lost my mobility and began to give up.
Fast forward 5 years and now I am a grown man with a wife and kids, but still fighting daily to even want to get out of bed. I fell everywhere, at the store, in the restaurants, church, home, outside, inside, parking lots, grass, and on and on and on. I was in denial of what was happening, I convinced myself that I could handle it and I was tough enough to take the falls. I quickly learned I was wrong; I fell and lost the battle. As quick as a tree that falls in the forest I was down and not getting up. No breath in my lungs, no beating of my heart, no life left inside me. This was the one, the fall heard around the world, my last.
Through many stages, ambulance ride, emergency room, surgeries, coma, hospital stay, more surgeries, touch and go’s, a lot of rehab, and a new companion forever in my chest, somehow I survived. Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night because you dream your falling and it startles you awake? Well, that what happened to me that day I walked out of the hospital. I decided then and there that I was done falling and would begin to look for solutions to my problem. I began to research falling aides, anti-falling equipment, fall plans, and falling strategies.
After I overcame some hurdles of stereotypes, caring what people thought, and my own inner demons, I began to understand a difference in life. I had more freedom using my fall aides such as my walker, cane, and wheelchair. I was safer at home using grab bars, lift chairs, shower benches, wider doors, and aides. I had less fear by learning how to check for trip hazards like loose rugs, protruding items in my walkways, transitions between floor heights, and when I did have a controlled accident now, I had a plan in place on what to do instead of basing next steps on adrenaline. I finally began to live again and not just survive the days as they went by. I was back to life and living it to its fullest without the monster known as falling following me.
I have lived this way now for years and I look back at all the opportunities missed, the memories not made, and the relationships never created, and I just ponder. I ponder on what I was waiting for to take the steps to better my life and myself by taking the time to learn how to control falling in my life. I now share it with others, the secret that is to overcoming falling. It's simple really, ask yourself do you want to live or survive? Is it worth researching for yourself and finding out the answers to the problem or continue to fall until you can’t get back up? Study the strategies and put together a fall plan, talk to your doctors, specialists, and advocates to find what equipment will work best for you, and above all stop telling yourself its ok, and that you can take it, it is much easier to face it together than to face it alone. Stop surviving and join me in living again.
About the Author: Kevin Burk works for Koremen LLC on home modification specifications and is an advocate for those with disabilities. His knowledge about resources and what is available to persons living in Indiana is what sets him apart. If you have any questions, please send an email.