I keep a running "to-do" list on my phone. It's a pretty simple organizational strategy - when I hear or think of something I need to do, I'll make a note of it. The list will include emails to send, calls to make, medications to refill and pickup, etc. I don't even consider schoolwork here - that's separate.
Currently, there are 20 items on my list. 13, for 65%, are directly disability related. And honestly that's a little low for me, I'd say on average that list runs 75% disability tasks. The point is, there is a lot a lot more to my disability than sitting in a wheelchair. There are doctors, home health aides and nurses, medical supplies, and medications. Insurance, Medicaid, vocational rehab, and other disability programs. BYU's disability center, notetakers, professors, and testing centers. These are problems to be solved that before my injury I never would have expected. These are headaches, endless back and forth trying to obtain disability accommodations, or retain Medicaid. It's a lot of hard work! But I've learned a lot these past couple years as I've taken more and more responsibility for these things on my own (my parents are great and still help a ton).
Hmmm...this isn't really going anywhere interesting. Instead, let me tell you about how I'm preparing for my internship this summer. It's with Northrop Grumman, a government contracted aerospace security company. They're at the Hill Air Force base in Clearfield (45 mins north of my parents) and I'll be doing some analysis on missle reliability data. I'm excited to really see some interesting statistical problems and get into a potential career environment. However, like most things for me, it's not quite that easy.
There are two major obstacles to work out for me to be succesful at my internship. First, transportation. I'm really close to bringing my van home, but it's going to take me awhile before I'm driving independently, wherever I want to go. The goal is to have that down, 100%, by the beginning of next semester. In the mean time, I'll have to figure out an alternative to get to and from work.
Second, being able to work and getting through the day. Obviously, I can't just sit down at the typical intern workstation and be productive. I'll need a special setup for a desk, computer, and phone. Additionally, I'll need help with lunch and bathroom stuff in the middle of the day.
Plenty of obstacles. There's been a lot to figure out. But it's nothing that a lot of hard work, many many prayers, and a dedicated support system can't work out. I'll have family to help me commute, and I may move up north with my little brother once his school is out. The great country we live in provides for workplace accommodations and non-discrimination due to disability, and after a meeting with 7 or 8 different people at the office on Wednesday, I feel confident I'll have what I need to be a productive intern.
That's generally how things go for me. I can still do almost anything I want to, but it ends up taking lots of planning to get the pieces I need in place. It can be frustrating not being able to immediately see how things are going to work out, but if there's one thing I've learned (and continue to learn) it's how to walk by faith, trusting in my Heavenly Father to consecrate my best efforts and help me tackle the challenges as they come. He's been there through all of difficulties of the past four years, and I have complete faith that he'll be around for the next four and beyond.