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Friends, how many did you lose? How many do you still have?

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  • Friends, how many did you lose? How many do you still have?

    Ah friends, I was injured three months into my 20s so naturally I had quite a few friends. From the gym, from the club, from high school, some lifelong I had five friends that I grew up with since grade 1 went through everything together our entire youth. Those kinds of friends are precious, and I don't think much in this life is; Your child and Friends you grew up with. Some might say true love, but I've seen so many examples in my short time of "true love" turn into the worst of enemies, or elderly life of regret or simply contentment. As for life as a whole being precious, not so much Lol.

    since I decidedbasically right after I realized The full implications of this injury, that Iam going to ask for as little help as possible; if this is the way it is I don't need to be constantly leeching, and saying please 60 times a day can feel like begging and is very "taxing" mentally. Making that decision obviously has implications on your already inevitably affected social life. Passing the burden on to my friends never sat well with me though, mostly it was just emptying the leg bag, maybe grab something out of my backpack (this was before my AD and spasticity got of control now there's more to be addressed). I digress, overtime I've spent quite a bit of time on this fourm, and I can very blatantly see that loneliness is a issue after SCI (The defensive will claim that loneliness ( or losing friends) is a part of life no matter what, but the many different "variables" after SCI that make it MUCH more likely, hastily and impactful are right there, there's no denying it even if you remained lucky in this regard). Not everybody doesn't have friends after SCI far from it, but I was just thinking how interesting a study of groups of paraplegics vs groups of quadriplegics would be on their social life after injury. Of course at this point I could only make assumptions (I wish there actually were studies like this on various aspects of health and life after SCI comparing different levels because paraplegia and quadriplegia are completely different in EVERY aspect and shouldn't be associated at all, even every cervical vertebrae is completely different). But I feel like the implications of a C5+ compared to a T 12 in terms of social life are self-explanatory, people tend to gravitate towards the easiest most enjoyable options someone that can drive to them, take care of themselves entirely,get in anywhere etc. There's no worries or responsibilities, sometimes I think my friends see me as an obligation a responsibility sort to speak, which obviously and evidently isn't the most attractive option,and despite my best attempts ( Bringing my feeding cuff, tolerating A.D. spasticity, Never complaining or saying anything about it, etc) I think it slowly wore them out despite being a rare occasion, things had to be done and accidents happen... They seemed most comfortable when they stop by my house for an hour or two, when my parents or caregiver were there to handle everything, which is completely understandable... But unfortunate obviously.

    I'm starting this rant after I've been sleeping on a pullout couch for months, finally moved into a decent size condo so I can bring up my hospital bed (so I can finally sit my bed/self up) but I can't drive down and load it up myself, So I offered to pay one of my friends I grew up with! He refused to get paid, explained he'd be beyond happy to do it but that he was busy so we went through his schedule and worked out a weekend about A month away so I waited patiently, he also explained that hed rather it not be a workday so he could come up and hang out with me for the night. That was this weekend, when I messaged him to see if we were good he explained he wouldn't be able to make it because he has a golf tournament which of course we both knew about but because Monday was a holiday he'd be fine at the time we made the plans. I'm not mad at him or spiteful in the slightest, i'm glad he's out there enjoying his youth truthfully. But many of times I've made plans over the years with this group of guys individually and almost always "something" comes Up or I just don't get a response the day of. I'd really just respect honesty, I wouldn't be offended or hurt in the slightest if they just said man I got better things to do but nobody does that in any case; other than me back in the day when I had better things to do, but honestly I never bailed on the boys, I could be at a family arrangement then they could call me about a fight or flat tire and I drive my ass there to help. Which is another thing that I disregarded it's easy for me to think I would do more for them if the situation was reversed, and I probably guaranteed would have at first but we were all 20 when it happened, Life gets busy being able to mutually participate in a meet up is vital to make it easy for both parties to keep friendships together,I imagine overtime my appearance would get rare. School, construction work, boxing, the gym, a woman would've taken up most my time by choice of course. But the fact is most people I knew we're gone the day after SCI other than one or two Facebook messages from a few.
    35
    I lost all of my friends after injury
    20.00%
    7
    I lost most of my friends after injury
    28.57%
    10
    I didn't lose any of my friends after injury
    25.71%
    9
    I kept in touch with most of my friends, but rarely see them since injury injury
    25.71%
    9
    Last edited by JamesMcM; 05-25-2016, 04:30 PM.

  • #2
    I wish I could reach through the Internet and give you a hug. I have a degenerative nerve disorder and have noticed it is harder to make friends as my condition deteriorates. Still I have a few. More and more I am only interested in making disabled friends, and I live in a rural area where there are very few disabled people. Most of my attempts to be friendly towards other wheelchair users fail miserably. I am more like a quadriplegic, and most of the chair users here are paras and they don't give me the time of day, ha! Thankfully I recently became friends (acquaintances?) with a woman my own age who is a chair user from MS. I have put a lot of time, money, and heartache into trying to find disabled friends the last few years. I would be seriously tempted to move to some sort of disabled community.
    chair user since 2009 from a neurological disorder

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    • #3
      You're at the age where people go their separate ways. Some in school, some married or thinking about it and some working. It's the appropriate time to be selfish and figure out who they are.

      They'll come back when they reach their thirties and more so as they get older.

      Shitty of your friend to forget ... But I never do business with friends and family.
      Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

      T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sarafino View Post
        I wish I could reach through the Internet and give you a hug. I have a degenerative nerve disorder and have noticed it is harder to make friends as my condition deteriorates. Still I have a few. More and more I am only interested in making disabled friends, and I live in a rural area where there are very few disabled people. Most of my attempts to be friendly towards other wheelchair users fail miserably. I am more like a quadriplegic, and most of the chair users here are paras and they don't give me the time of day, ha! Thankfully I recently became friends (acquaintances?) with a woman my own age who is a chair user from MS. I have put a lot of time, money, and heartache into trying to find disabled friends the last few years. I would be seriously tempted to move to some sort of disabled community.
        Thanks, but mere curiosity if loneliness was my only or anywhere near biggest problem I'd be laughing and quite happily content. But from various other posts I can see that for some people it is one of the biggest problems for them everyone's different of course. I'm sorry about your condition, and to hear about your other issues. I find that most people in wheelchairs around my level don't want to be around other disabled too much now that we left rehab, I feel similar. My dad's friend broke his neck at this level when he was 20, he reached out but after seeing The reality for myself I wanted nothing to do with himhe's ( in my ignorant able-bodied days are used to think he was admirable) working his way towards 30 years post, just went home as soon as he could, adapted his house practically just stayed in it over 25 years straight being cared for by agencies and burdens family members going to bed at 10 o'clock every night. His life is a bitter reminder of what will happen when I have to rely on nursing agencies, how truly limited life is when you don't have your own abilities and or abundant money to hire someone on a regular basis/ dictate a schedule of dependencyrather then be given a limited schedule,not that that's very respectable or dignified but at least more interesting I guess . Talked about how it's a treat to sit on your porch, on a nice day OK that might be cool for 30 minutes an hour tops than it's time to MoveOn that's how I feel;but that's literally his life now, is instruments collect dust his off-road vehicles are long gone etc I don't want to see that shit.
        Last edited by JamesMcM; 05-25-2016, 04:48 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lynnifer View Post
          You're at the age where people go their separate ways. Some in school, some married or thinking about it and some working. It's the appropriate time to be selfish and figure out who they are.

          They'll come back when they reach their thirties and more so as they get older.

          Shitty of your friend to forget ... But I never do business with friends and family.
          Yeah people keep saying that, but evidently from Instagram and Facebook that is highly untrue,Especially with the people they met after high school. At our age it is vital like I said to be able to mutually participate in meetings with easy-going no responsibilities. Yeah probably a wise decision, but at the time I figured better pay friend $200 then a moving company 1000$+ it's over two hours away from me by Highway.

          From what I've seen with two other quadriplegics after 25 visits became almost nonexistent, my dad and his friends sure as hell don't go see their buddy, (and they're all moving towards 50) unless they're going to be there anyways for work or dinner! I think my injury kind of reminded them about him, but that only caused a handful of visits, honestly he probably doesn't even care anymore.
          Last edited by JamesMcM; 05-25-2016, 05:00 PM.

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          • #6
            Everyone is different. I wouldn't presume to know what your dad and his friends think about the 30yr post quadriplegic. Maybe he doesn't want to see anyone. I know I'm that way ... the tiring repetitive questions ... nothing ever changes with paralysis, except for complications. In this life, no news is good news.

            Hopefully you can stop comparing yourself to the previous life you had - your friends and family etc and figure out who you are now and what you'll do tomorrow, next week, next month - five years from now.
            Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

            T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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            • #7
              My friend list didn't dwindle because of my injury. Lynnifer nailed it on the age for me myself personally. Alot changes in your 30's as you discover your true self. It's an eye opening experience and not all bad. Pretty much, I've grown wise enough to recognize who I want to surround myself with. Not only that, I know for sure after 23 years together and 10 of them living this injury together, my husband is my best friend.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lynnifer View Post
                They'll come back when they reach their thirties and more so as they get older.
                That is called wishful thinking. I found that after my injury I lost most of my co-workers fairly quickly. After that the friends that I knew in the community and from church started dropping off. Some would come by and a couple even said they were afraid to stop by because they didn't know what to expect. Once those people had stopped by I haven't seen or heard from them since. In all fairness though, I doubt I would have seen much of them anyways because they were friends, (maybe friends isn't quite right, more like acquaintances we made through activities our children took part in) and now that our children are grown we really have no reason to get together. I do have some what I would call true friends. People that I've stayed in contact through the years that I either met at school or at work. Relationships with friends takes a lot of work. Especially with so many things that can keep you from maintaining those friendships. Both parties and I mean both parties have to work at it regardless if one has a SCI or not. I think having worked remotely in sales out of my home office also played a part in why the co-workers dropped so fast. I may have been in contact with them on a daily basis, but rarely was it in person. I think if you physically see someone on a daily basis you develop stronger friendships/relationships. I also believe you will have a group of friends through the various phases of your life while maintaining a small group of closer friends throughout your entire life. It's the ones that stick with you are the ones you need to keep close and continue to work with. Those are my brief thoughts.
                DaDutchman
                C5/C6 since 2007 due to car accident

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                • #9
                  One of my best friends I grew up most of my life, he was my neighbour I haven't seen him once since the accident I got a Facebook message from him explaining that it's been really hard on him, and he couldn't imagine seeing me like this. I get it, I wasn't rude or angry about it at all. We tried to make plans but they just never played through for obvious reasons. As for my other friends, I know it, I feel it, I see it having to do the small things they had to do just wore them out plain and simple, it be a lot different if I had better arm function , being 22 and draining A leg bag is different, sometimes if we stayed out really late I would have someone to help me bad so they had to do it it was uncomfortable for them and course they were paranoid about it,despite my instructions, tolerance and constant reassurance... You know they can't just message me and say hey James want to go to Montreal, or hey man I'm saving up to go to Indonesia want to tagalong, I'm In Vancouver you should come up. Especially my one buddy I took to Vegas, he's the guy to do that kind of thing but he saw how much work even that was I had to bring a caregiver etc. He also seen some pretty disgusting things I wish he didnt. Lotta people i'm getting drunk and running into at the bar, Break down in tears at the first sight of me, talk about a buzz kill For both parties lol
                  Last edited by JamesMcM; 05-26-2016, 10:42 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lynnifer View Post
                    Everyone is different. I wouldn't presume to know what your dad and his friends think about the 30yr post quadriplegic. Maybe he doesn't want to see anyone. I know I'm that way ... the tiring repetitive questions ... nothing ever changes with paralysis, except for complications. In this life, no news is good news.

                    Hopefully you can stop comparing yourself to the previous life you had - your friends and family etc and figure out who you are now and what you'll do tomorrow, next week, next month - five years from now.
                    No, it's not like it was in my "denial" phase as they call it, I'm not comparing or expecting anything compared to my old old life ( God for bid lol). But to me independence and dignity is a must in life for all aspects including social the only way that's going to happen for myself ( and many others) is to prevent the paralysis rot c, Financials and research which which takes up a lot of time, and effort ( especially on caregivers/piggy bank). hard work, practice and natural recovery didn't pan out for me like it does others for some others ( yet I've seen injuries skip physiotherapy and just smoke pot leave with tricep function using a walker) so I have to go this way, In order to get at least somewhat respectable, justifiable, decent quality of life from my perspective. Believe me I know my old life is gone, I knew that when I was laying in the swamp, I didn't need doctors to tell me, as I said it's not my old life c that I'm looking at, comparing/craving. Having said that at my level of injury, severity and secondary complications if I were to just only think in those parameters slim pickings to say the least, I could never conform to that "world", and if somehow I was a different person and could I would never want to. There's only one real fight against sci. As I said actuall life studies comparing and differentiating between levels and severity of the injuried would be very interesting to see the results,as well as psychological evaluation as well as imaging throughout the process of "coping" ( massive generalization right now exempt of any regards of individuality) describing and comparing personalities, variables that lead to similarities "coping" again comparing a differentiated between functional outcomes. It would be beyond fascinating , But probably impossible to do. Simple statistics like 80% plus unemployment, single after injury, higher likelihood of depression ( ridiculous diagnosis ) decreased life spawn far to vague and really means nothing, nor informative ...
                    Last edited by JamesMcM; 05-27-2016, 12:06 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Having your friends burst into tears at the bar sounds really tough. I have to believe if they were older, they would know life's a bitch and you just have to endure the bad times. The tears don't come so easily after you've suffered many hardships. Your dad and his buds notwithstanding, it's been my experience that people generally want to be helpful to connect on a human level. But I'm a para, so I'm sure my perception is effected by the ability to use my hands and be somewhat independent. I had a quad friend who "held court" every evening. ABs & PWDs just dropped by. I very rarely went to his apartment when he was alone. This man was unique in that regard, we've talked about his "people-magnet" skills a lot since his passing. Sure do miss him, his disability had nothing to do with his popularity.

                      I replied to the poll but am not happy with my answer. I would have preferred an option between "I lost most my friends" & "I didn't lose any friends". I kept most my friends but there were definitely some who couldn't handle it. The friend who was with me the night of the accident (I had just dropped her off at her house) was unable to be around my wheelchair. I told her I didn't hold her responsible (we were out drinking that night) but she just couldn't handle it. She went so far as to move to a place far from me. I figured that was her problem & since I had plenty of my own, it didn't bother me when she left. Also, I had other friends - didn't need her. This was 38 years ago, just a blip on the radar now. SMH. What a long, strange trip it's been.

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                      • #12
                        I guess my experience would be different as it happened entering grade 8. So I still had years to cultivate new friends etc at high school.

                        Many did contact me (high school friends) in my thirties and expressed jealousy that I had a career and that they didn't. I imagine this was a time when they were tiring from marriage and raising small children - lol. Now most are almost at the end with their children quickly approaching 18 and at that age, we'll want friends around.

                        I still keep in contact with co-workers from age 21 and on - most are on my facebook along with friends from back home. I have this stupid thing in my head where I divide my friends between 'before paralysis' and 'after paralysis.' I'm thankful that I still have contact with so many from before. Still have co-workers from the cop shoppe on my facebook as well.

                        Most know that I'm having a difficult time right now and want to be alone ... the hardest part was David leaving after 13yrs. I felt so very alone. That was rough back in 2010 or 09. I've recovered well though. I now find myself at a time (age 43) where I don't really have a need or want to meet new people, especially a partner. I'm exhausted of the same inane questions and the effort it takes. Different for me as well because I'm on long-term disability through an employer so taking home 5x the amount that a person on provincial disability would take home for disabled friends ... meaning they can't do a lot. Others can afford to go the casino and shows all the time - I can't keep up with that. Others are married with careers by this point. Most of my walking co-workers work shift work so impossible to meet up unless it's a work function.

                        Plan your life with yourself in mind. What will you do to support yourself? Where do you see yourself in two - five years? Working really does cultivate friends, as well as school. Just because you're getting a settlement doesn't mean you're not capable of working and yay you'll be able to afford school! Some of the best schools in Toronto! There are vent dependent quads around here who own their own business, quads who used to work on Wall Street and changed careers (now that's brave) to voice over work. Quads who letter very famous comics. Psychologists - even doctors around here!

                        Being alone and doing nothing will cultivate depression. You need to have an outside thing to keep your mind busy and have something to offer with friends, partners etc.

                        There's also political policy .. some advocate work needs to be done in Canada. If First Nations don't pay taxes, I don't think the 'catastropic injuries' should either .. we just generally have more costs and receive less than adequate healthcare as compared to normal Canadians. If they have tuition free as well, with a 65% unemployment rate among disabled people - higher education would help them achieve more graduate jobs (desk type) that require a lot of education. Housing is always a never-ending well of need also.
                        Last edited by lynnifer; 05-27-2016, 03:35 AM.
                        Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                        T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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                        • #13
                          This is my first reply on anything, anywhere and I'm sure I will screw it all up. I became a T -10 paraplegic with lost right arm five and a half years ago... I was in the heat and cool trade which meant free or cheap parts or Installs... I also took family and friends hunting and fishing on my private land for years. As of 30 I have 1 friend and 2 family members that come and see or call.. So don't feel so bad...

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                          • #14
                            Welcome drea1mers!

                            I am fortunate to have a very tight group of friends from where i grew up, some going all the way back to kindergarten.

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                            • #15
                              Drea1mers,

                              When I was first hurt at work in 1963 most of my work acquaintances just dropped me even though I still tried to continue working in my trade and the associated trades that were a part of my Union and skill set. However, after a relatively short time I found I could not realistically continue to work at those trades, without being a burden on a crew. No one said anything, I just figured it out on my own.

                              So what I did was sell my now heavy weight mortgaged home outside Boston MA., "I" took the cash and bought an abandoned dairy farm, built it back up and was successful for a number of years. A great place and atmosphere to raise a young family. As there was fast approaching a glut of milk, and products. I sold my cattle and lived on the farm mortgage free, while working for my municipality, since I had a pretty rounded skill set in heavy construction, equipment operation, and maintenance etc., when the "boss" quit, I applied to fill his duties. And I was appointed until the next Town Election, This was an elected position at that time, I won several election's during those first years. Later I lost an election by one vote, and "I" moved on.

                              However, excepting a very few close friends, most were my wife's friends, I had two true friends, not simply acquaintances, at this point. But distance geographically make a difference, and while on those occasions when we could get together, the close friendships fade away. One has now passed away and the other one is angry with my "liberal" politics.

                              Oh well, I cannot change who I am. But those "friends" who did hunt and fish with me back in the day, dropped me like a hot potato, when I did get hurt. Those types are not really "friends" they are simply acquaintances, and of course some are users.

                              Those folks who support you unconditionally, and under all conditions, good or bad, are "friends". They are few and far between, these true "friends" keeping them is a mutual effort, but it is the unconditional friendship that is the point, and few make that effort, but you have to make that effort as well.

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