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Disability or Ability

Updated on February 6, 2013

Being born a person who was “normal” then became wheelchair bound bitterness and anger were a big part of me for a few years. A person has to accept the changes made to their lives and that takes time and soul searching. It is my belief once you finally come to terms with the fact that your legs are now steel, rubber, plastic, and cloth, for the most part the anger and bitterness can end. Only however if you make that choice.

In my case a second accident took my memory for nine years. It also took the total use of my body from the waist down for two and a half years. A neighbor found me and told me a pickup truck had hit me. The reason for the paralysis was one of the wheels had run over my hips. Its impossible to remain bitter when you can't remember your life before.

Those years were not lost because my ability to learn was not taken with my memory. Both of my parents worked or were educated as teachers. Teaching was in their blood so in no way was my reeducation lacking.

My wife died while my memory was gone and two years later to my surprise a woman accepted me as her husband. The ability to function was already back at a young adult level by then. When my memory returned after this marriage was over I realized I had already lost the love of my life.

The pastors who did the healing never said it would be easy however it is my belief that without that healing my memory never would have returned. This was done in a classroom situation where they were showing the people of the fellowship what some of God's gifts were. This with the idea that others would start doing them through faith. When asked by someone in the room "why weren't the legs part of the healing", one of the pastors said he didn't even think about asking so he felt it wasn't in God's plan for me.

The hardest time in my life was when my memory returned. It didn't come overnight but with terrible headaches which lasted days at a time. All in all these headaches and memory return took eight months. Each time a little more was remembered until most of it was back.

To this day the greatest loss which has never returned is the loss of my childhood language, My mother tried to help me learn again however something appears to be broken, it just won't reach from my brain to my tongue.There are many times when my thinking is still done in Cherokee as it had been as a child, but the words won't come out of my mouth. The women who are part of my social cause now say that I am not consciously aware I am speaking it again.

The body, brain and faith are amazing things. There are muscles and nerves in my legs which will never work. Care always has had to be taken when around things which can cause breaks in the skin.

There have been numerous times bleeding to death could have happened easily. Other nerves which still work have found a way so standing and taking a few steps is not impossible now. Without the years of physical therapy they say this part of my life would have been spent in the fetal position.

With everything that has happened considering myself disabled is not part of me. Working a nine to five job is out of the question. There are too many nights sleep is not possible due to “ghost pains” . This however does not diminish my ability to think the rest of the time.

My nickname wheelinallover comes from a wanderlust which has been part of me since my first memory. Driving and just rolling places in the wheelchair are as much a part of me as breathing. My mother and I spent a year traveling in a modified motor home. We survived blizzards and temperatures over 100 degrees fahrenheit. It was a year that tested every limit and created new ones.

My home has been located close to the center of the United States for the most part since 1986. There were times trips to each coast were necessary. Before the first accident flying to California was my preferred choice.

One year there were twelve trips, each with me spending six or seven days there while holding down a full time job and a part time job at home.This while living with and trying to take care of my maternal grandmother. It took her this time to recover from surgery which removed cancerous tumors.

My last marriage took me to Amish country in southeast Pennsylvania. This is where my new wife's home was. It became my home for three and a half years. This was about a hundred miles east of where my son had lived since he was twelve.

Before my memory loss the trips were made alone. Since then someone has almost always gone with me. The only trips taken alone were when hospice called and said you need to be with your mother NOW, The other when my wife threw me out.

Both of those trips were close to twelve hundred miles. Since being in a wheelchair I have seen things and been places most “normal” people will never see. Good and bad memories were made. Something was learned with each new experience so how can anyone call me disabled?


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    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      8 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Rolly I have had people tell me I am an inspiration in their lives. This both with my work online and in my local neighborhood. One of my manual wheelchairs was capable of speeds up to 22 kilometers per hour and I attained this speed almost daily. During the summer until two years ago I traveled about a kilometer a day, using my arms as the only propellant.

      I write on five platforms, two business, one christian, one blog, and hub pages. Each have links leading to my passion. Somewhere along the line I realized I had been "branding" others since I was seventeen years old. Helping others succeed is my passion.

      The last pre-computer start up I was instrumental in only lasted two years when the owner was forced to retire do to an inability to create the works of art which were miniature or "mini cabins". It supported two families for both years. By mini I mean they would fit in the palms of two hands. Now I do internet branding.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      8 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Dennis... Good to meet you and read of you and your life in this hub. There are many lessons everyone can learn from what you write. Thank you for sharing from the heart as you have.

      I have a few friends here in Canada who have wheels as well and they are amazing to watch and be around. What they have accomplished in life is a blessing to have been a part of. Your story is a success story and I thank you for sharing it with us.

      Hugs from Canada

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      8 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Julie Klein Most of the people I have met who have no use of limbs go through a period of time when life is hard. Then one day they wake up and say, if this is it let me make the most of it. My wife lived in a wheelchair from age eight on. She was one of the happiest people I ever met. She went to college and learned to make a living. She was so well liked by her fellow employees that if for any reason (usually deep snow) she couldn't make it to work they came and picked her up.

      As for me I love people and have learned to use this gift to help others. Thanks for dropping by and your comment.

    • profile image

      Julie Klein 

      8 years ago

      I have a friend who was born with no use of her legs. She has never walked. She married, had children and is now a grandmother. She is one of the most cheerful people I know.

      I've heard it said by those who have live with "disabilities" that it is not the proper word. It may be more challenging for them to do what most of us take for granted, but they are ABLE to do nearly everything.

      It seems that you, my friend, have met and surpassed many challenges, and you are a very able man.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Brett.Tesol nice to see you again. When I first started writing people told me to be who I am and share what I know. When my memory was returning relief from the headaches was more important than the returning memories. It is hard to explain what they were like. While with a headache I couldn't function because my vision was clouded. When one passed and everything returned to what was normal and I could function again it was like a big relief. I realized after the third one that they would probably be returning so used every day to my advantage between them.

      There were a lot of Ah ha moments between headaches. I realized that my parents had taken me back to places I had been hoping that something would make the memory work again. The hours they gave, reteaching me left me better educated than I had been and I wasn't lacking much before.

      John Sarkis People have told me my best stories are the ones from the heart. Because of this there are several here on hub pages.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Heartfelt story, thanks for sharing. Stay positive, as you have a lot to tell the world.

      Take care


    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      9 years ago from Asia

      Wow, what a story and yet you have come out of it and made a success story from the events of the past. The hardest part must have been the memories returning, as they say "you don't miss what you haven't experienced". However, acceptance has allowed you to move forward in a very positive way ...

      SHARING this to give others some inspiration.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      At this point in my life I take nothing for granted. Each day is a gift. Those who think the parts of my life written about in this hub is amazing really don't have a clue. Nothing has been able to keep me down for long.

      I currently run a corporation. I have taken in homeless or abused women/men and their children for over a year now. At one time there were 14 people living in my home.

      There has been a time when everyone walked out and left me with 11 children. The oldest was 9 and the rest were younger. I was by myself with them for hours. It was an emergency because the woman who was to be here ended up in the emergency room at the local hospital.

    • jeyaramd profile image


      9 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      We take a lot of things for granted. And I can only try to understand what you must have gone through. But, you have also shown the world that you are stronger, because of what you have gone through. It must be hard for the memory to come back. Sometimes, when we come to terms with our losses. It can be quite emotional and overbearing. However, sometimes its a necessity for us to be able to move on. Thank you for showing strength and character. I have learned so much from this one hub. Thank you. Great hub. Voted up.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      A doctor once told me use it or lose it. He was referring to my brain. I am glad for my time in Amish country as I had never understood what social capital was until then. I am more productive now than I have been for years as I trade brain power for physical help. It's hard right now though as I have Hub pages, a business starting up and I am mentoring a college student.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great Hub, wheelinallover!

      You have most certainly been through a lot in your life! I am glad that you are able to move on and not see yourself as "disabled". Though you may be limited physically, your mind is what makes everything work and as I can see, you are quite sharp! Great Hub-I will most definitely read more! Glad to follow and keep on writing!


    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 

      9 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      Go for it.I never knew a man that didn't make it without trying.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Maria Giunta 

      10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Welcome to Hubpages and thanks for an insight into your life, you certainly have a great attitude. Looking forward to reading more and 'seeing' you around the site. Visit the learning center if you want any tips about making your hubbing experience better.


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