Happy birthday! Ok, it’s not really anyone’s birthday but those two words have a whole new meaning to me. I avoided Facebook for years on and off just because I thought it gave a false sense of being involved in someone’s life. All those birthday posts from people that never talk to you otherwise, seemed meaninglessness. I wanted people to actually talk to me if they cared.
After my kids were born and my sister passed, I gave in as it became a easy way to stay in touch and keep a large group of people updated on life. Then my injury hit. Social media became really my only outlet for friends and social activities other than the hospital staff. It took me weeks to get to that point though. A mount had to be created for my power chair, a wrist support made to keep my hand straight, a hand strap purchased with a pocket to hold a stylus. Of course, all of this was dependent on me being up, dressed, in my chair, and enough shoulder strength to reach the phone mounted on my chair. Doesn’t seem too hard but you cannot believe how hard, the strain, and how much time it took me to reach the letter ‘A’ on the keyboard. Really, I’d have to take a break from writing ‘have a good day’ on my phone even using predictive text.
Discharge from the hospital came and went. I was bound to my chair all day away from family and friends but I had my phone and social media. I got to thinking about how I could repay all of the people that helped me or say thank you. The least I could do was wish people happy birthday. I set out to make sure I wished everyone happy birthday on Facebook that I had access to post and their birth date available. Every morning after I got done with my morning routine and dressed, I had someone get my phone and stylus set up. My therapy was pretty much trying to write ‘happy birthday’ to everyone that day. No joke, it was frustrating as hell lol. It would take me about 15 min to wish someone happy birthday. Oh how I dreaded seeing there was 7 or 8 birthdays that day. I would have to work hard to hit the keys on the far sides, rest as needed, and regroup mentally when I made a typo and had to delete and type again. A few times I would make a typo or close out and have to start all over. I ended up just having to take some time to myself and try again later because I was so frustrated. Those birthday wishes from about March of 2014 until probably Aug 2014 carried a lot of heart and effort.
Things progressed with me using a knuckle to text, a finger, and better arm movement. Texting messages and posts got easier and faster. I eventually was able to reach for a phone, hold it, pull it from a pocket, and now it hardly requires effort except having to walk to my phone. However, the meaning of why I even take those 2 seconds to wish someone happy birthday is still there. The feeling and the straining to reach half an inch in either direction is still with me. I hope people don’t ever under value the little things people do because you may never know what it means to them. The little things took my everything.