Another aspect of quadriplegia is that his body can no longer regulate it's temperature. So he is like a cold blooded animal. When it's cold outside his temperature decreases and when it's hot outside it increases. So most of the year he's cold and is bundled with beanies and hooded sweatshirts as much as possible, and the other months he gets overheated from the sun. However, he absolutely loves the sun and would love to live where it's warm all year round. He has a much easier time cooling off with air-conditioning than he does warming up from the cold.
The other thing that quadriplegia has caused in Chris is physical pain. You'd think that since he can't feel his body he wouldn't have pain. Well some people have that experience. Unfortunately Chris does not. He usually has some level of feeling sharp pins/needles all over his body at all times. When he gets sick this level of pain increases dramatically and he describes a burning pain throughout his body similar to a chemical burn sensation - this pain is in addition to whatever nausea and fever symptoms he normally has as a result of sickness. He is also one of the lucky ones to suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections which cause tremendous pain as well as severe fatigue and dizziness.
So this is his life. This description is not meant to seem dramatic or to invoke sympathy. It is simply stating the reality of the life that he and I face on a daily basis. I know that reading it may cause you to think that he must be depressed all year round and that you wouldn't want to live if you had to live like this. Believe me, Chris doesn't WANT to live like this, BUT this is the life that he faces. A long time ago he he came to a decisive moment where he had to choose to move forward in this life or stay in a depressed, self-pitying state. He chose to accept this life and move forward in the most positive way that he can. He has his days like the rest of us when he wishes life was different, but he doesn't allow himself to get stuck there. He lets it go and somehow moves forward with his perspective. It's true, he's amazing.
So how do I view all of this as his wife? Did I just feel sorry for him and so I decided to marry him? Absolutely not. I fell in love with him DESPITE his paralysis. Is it a hard lifestyle on me? Absolutely. Do I ever feel exhausted? At least a few times/week. Do I ever get stuck in self-pity? Yes. Do I wish he wasn't paralyzed? Of course, but more than that I wish that he wasn't in as much pain. But here's the thing.......to read this description of our lives it sounds pretty bleak. But for any of you that know us personally you know that our lives are anything BUT bleak. Chris radiates life, energy, and passion, not to mention he has the best sense of humor of anyone I've met. His spirit is NOT paralyzed even though his body is. And it's that spirit within him that drew me in to fall in love and continues to draw me in to stay in love. He has brought more LIFE to my life than anyone I've ever met. And so I move forward. I put one foot in front of the other and I embrace this life that God has given me. This is the only life that I have and I intend on squeezing ever drop of joy out of it that I am able to. So, I consider it Pure Joy......