Author Archives : MelissaWood

Not Alone

A new friend I’ve made recently through a spinal cord injury website and now on facebook has a blog that she and her husband created called . I have really spent a good amount of time reading through her blogs and with that her inner most thoughts. It has been a wonderful outlet for me. I don’t feel quite so alone. Not that I am alone, at all, because I’m not. BUT, sometimes the things that go through my head make me feel like at times I could be. Finding this blog by Dana & Michael Ritter has shown me that I’m not alone. I’m not the only person who feels this way and it’s okay to get overwhelmed.

For example, I get up earlier on weekends then on days I’m working, because I get Aaron ready. Yeah, we could sleep in until 9am, but then we wouldn’t start our day until 1 or 2pm. And we are old, and typically like to be in bed, snuggling, watching a movie by 9 at night. So, depending on the day and what we have going on, I get up at 5 or 6 to get things moving. That’s not fun. But that’s just life. We make the best out of it. Thank god for DVR. We catch up on some of our shows, as we are getting ready for the day. I always make him put his hand on my butt or something inappropriate when his mom walks in, and we act like nothing is wrong. We laugh about that all day. It’s the little things, I swear. But do I secretly want to oversleep some days and not get up until 10am? Yeah. But then I’d feel guilty, and we wouldn’t be moving till late afternoon. Just not worth it.

Yesterday at work I was meeting the ladies in the beauty shop. I work in a continuing care retirement community. After introductions, they were showing me all of the different equipment and cool things about the salon. They showed me a wheelchair lift that is great for ladies and gentlemen in chairs that need lifted up for cuts and stuff. They don’t even have to get out of their wheelchairs. Not thinking (because I usually don’t) I said “Oh that’d be great for my husband!” The ladies said “WHAT?” Sometimes I don’t think about things I say. Aaron being in a wheelchair is the most normal thing for me. That’s how I met him. That’s the only way I know him. But sometimes I forget my audience and something that is so normal for me, may be completely foreign to someone else. This what that case. So they asked what happened. I told them an accident in the ocean 3 years ago. They asked if I knew him then. I said no. Then the first thing they say is, and it never fails “you’re amazing. You are such an amazing person.” I just smile and say, something along the lines, well, if you love someone being a wheelchair doesn’t really matter. People usually go on and talk about how “inspirational” our story is and stuff like that. Gag me.

Wanna know the truth? Sometimes it sucks. Balls. Sometimes I just wanna be able to have a bad day, come home, mope around the house with a glass (or five) of wine and watch Private Practice. But that’s not life. I’m a mom to an awesome and energetic 7 year old. He wants to play football and monopoly. And somewhere in there I cook dinner. Remember to give Aaron his pills. Scratch his head. Adjust his microphone. Listen to Brock talk about the weather forecast 8 times in a row and still seem excited. Then get Aaron in bed.

And then there are the normal every day days, that are the best. Like coming home and playing Life on Wii, or heading out to our favorite little Tropical Smoothie Café followed by the boy’s getting hair cuts and then shopping at Target. We love relaxing, chill evenings when we’re all spending time together, joking, and laughing about something Brock would say is inappropriate. I love seeing Brock climb up on Aaron’s lap to play Wii with him, or climb up there at a store and they hide from me. The new favorite is they steal my cart and start pushing it down the aisle but simply rolling as fast as possible into it. That’s a good one. THESE moments are the ones that make me love my life and know I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Truly.

But that’s not to say life still doesn’t have it’s challenges. The lady at work who was trying to give me a compliment about being with a man in a wheelchair just ended up offending me. I don’t hold it against her. I’m used to it by now. Anyone who loves a person and would not be with them because they are in a wheelchair, well I don’t think that’s really love. Or not the kind of love it should be. It doesn’t matter how I met him, when I met him. I fell in love with him. Chair and all. I’m not amazing because I fell in love with a man with a disability. I’m not an example for anyone. Instead, anyone that feels the love Aaron and I do should be amazing, simply because of the kind of love we have for each other.

Don’t get me wrong, we are not perfect. We argue, butt heads, bicker, blow things out of proportion like the best of them! I surely am not perfect. I get grumpy and irritable. God forbid Aaron wakes me up to turn off the TV after I’ve fallen asleep. I’m such a mess of grumpiness I don’t even remember the next day, but he always reminds me! I get jealous. Jealous that I may not ever walk hand in hand with my husband. Jealous that other people have and I missed out on it. I get angry that something so horrible happened to such an incredible person. But through all the crap and imperfection we love. We love each other something fierce.

I am forever grateful for this man. And I’m also grateful for other people out there in situations much like Aaron and I that are willing to share the ins and outs of their lives as well. That makes me feel a little less crazy! Please check out their blog at ! It will not disappoint!

A woman’s perspective

Well, hellooooo followers of Aaron’s Journey! Who am I, you may be asking…just Aaron’s wife. Wait, what? Yep, that’s right, Aaron and I were married this summer. I’ve decided to hijack Aaron’s website for what I’d like to call a little bit of woman’s perspective on what’s been going with us lately!

For those of you who may not know, Aaron and I started dating last September. After I very honestly told Aaron I wasn’t too keen on dating someone in a wheelchair (I know, how horrible of me) we became very fast friends. It wasn’t long after that it was obvious there was more between us then a friendship and we quickly started dating. The holidays came and so did a bout or two with pneumonia. I remember standing in Aaron’s hospital room in Hershey telling him I was gonna marry him some day. Well, I must have brainwashed him pretty well, because that March he proposed. Apparently he was trying to wait until his (and Brock’s) birthday, but he was too excited and couldn’t wait. And I can’t complain.

The summer came, and so did the possibility of not only a move from my apartment in Harrisburg, but also a move for our new family consisting of Aaron, myself, Brock (my 7 year old) and Diane, Aaron’s mom. We put an offer in on an amazing ranch home in Middletown with in-law quarters and quite the back yard for the dog and Brock. Time passed and better offer came and that house slipped away.

This past summer was a busy one. In June, Aaron and I got married. Since Aaron had proposed Brock kept asking us when we were going to get married and live together. He said that’s what married people do, and we made a promise so we have to keep it. As a 7 year old, he has a pretty good idea about marriage! Anyway, that same month, before we got married, a pretty serious surgery was in the works for Aaron and we decided, that for many reasons we wanted to jump the gun and just do it. I’ve always been one to not really surprise anyone, to put it nicely, so not only the quick relationship, engagement and now marriage didn’t surprise too many close to me.

We had an extremely small ceremony that Judge Judy in Middletown officiated. We were surrounded by our very close family and a friend or two. After the ceremony we went to celebrate at Highlands Grill in Hershey. Then, a select few joined Aaron and I at Hollywood Casino to gamble the night away. Our very close friend and Aaron’s new blackjack buddy spent more time with him then I, but hey, isn’t that what marriage is all about?!

We do hope to have a larger, but still pretty untraditional celebration next summer when we can invite the many loved ones we were unable to have that day. We will of course, keep you posted.

I won’t go deep into Aaron’s surgery, as he did a few updates. Surgery was early July. I’ll never forget his neurosurgeon telling us we need to find a better travel agent, as we were scheduling his surgery days after getting married. Haha, anyway! Surgery came and went, and so did Aaron’s health. He caught a HORRIBLE case of pneumonia and with it came some of the craziest conversations I’ve ever heard. We thought the pain meds were knocking Aaron out of whack, but it ended up being a lack of CO2 leaving his lungs that caused the incredibly off the wall things Aaron was talking about. They included, but are not limited to: Aaron thinking Brock was his physical therapist and telling Brock he was gonna get him back “out on the mat soon!”, trying to convince Diane and I that we needed to put stim on Josie because the vet told us so, Aaron asking his family practice doctor what he’d recommend at J&Js Pizza because he was taking me on a date there that night, telling the nursing staff it was snowing in July, any many, many others! Anyway, after we figured out what was wrong, got Aaron back in the hospital’s care, a bi-pap machine later, and Aaron was on the mend.

August brought forth more changes as Brock and I officially made the move to Middletown. I had been looking forward to this for months but when I was packing my apartment I found myself to be surprisingly nostalgic. I had spent a good 2.5 years there with my son. A GOOD 2.5 years. A little about Brock and I…I’ve been a single mom since Brock was about 9 months old. It’s always just been the 2 of us. Yes, I had dated, but things always changed, although Brock and I never did. We are close, to say the least. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful, energetic, smart and caring son. Packing up my apartment, that I really hadn’t even lived in in months, was harder then I thought. Brock and I had so many great memories there. But it was time for us to move on, and we weren’t looking back.

Brock started school the end of August and I was definitely more nervous then him that day. I don’t know how I got any work done. Aaron and his absolutely amazing aide volunteered to get Brock from the bus stop each day and be with him until I got home from work about 45 minutes later. Not only is Brock doing fabulously in school with almost all straight A’s so far, but he gets to play kickball pretty much everyday at recess and boy do we get the updates!

I’m so grateful for Aaron and Michelle’s flexibility to be with Brock each afternoon. When I get home Brock’s had an after school snack and he and Aaron have completed his homework. Often Brock’s playing Wii as Aaron cheers him on, or Brock’s playing catch with Josie in the living room and the boys have had their catch up time. I come in 45 minutes late and Brock is never as excited to tell someone about his day AGAIN, but I’ll take it! However, he’s always happy to update me on the weather! (For those that don’t know Brock he is an aspiring Storm Chaser.)

So, just when things seem like they are going to calm down, Aaron and I mix it up again. We had tossed around the idea of buying our own place since the other one fell through, but hadn’t really looed too far into it, financially. Well, we started to do the ground work and saw that it was something we could afford, at the right price of course. There were a few ranches in Middletown for us to take a look at. We decided that staying in Middletown was non-negotiable. All of Aaron’s family is here and are the most supportive and amazing group of people I’ve EVER met. Also, Brock had JUST changed schools and we really did not want to have to pull him out yet again.

That brings us up to today. Just last night we submitted an offer on a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom ranch. It has an awesome sunroom, deck, patio and fenced in yard. I keep trying to convince Diane & Brock to get bunk beds and sleep in the shed, but so far it’s not working. J This potential change is going to be a huge one. Aaron, Brock and I will be on our own. (with a dog and cat of course!) There will be more to be responsible for financially and personally but we are looking forward to taking this on. What married couple doesn’t need their on space? I often joke that Diane and I get along better then Aaron and I (which at times is true!!) and we are in no way, shape or form parting from Diane on a bad note. If and when this happens we are going to miss her SO much. I can’t imagine not coming home and seeing her everyday. She’s gotten to be one of my very best friends. She’s truly the best MIL a DIL could ask for.

So, if this happens with this home, or it happens in the future with another, things will once again be changing for us. It’s lots of change, lots of responsibility but it’s being done by people who love each other immensely. Sometimes people look at me a little funny when it comes up in conversation that my husband is a quadriplegic. Isn’t my life different they ask? Absolutely. Life can be busy and unpredictable but when it comes down to it, I have a man that loves me fiercely and would do anything for me. How many people can say that?

If Aaron will have me I’ll be back more often with updates. In the meantime, feel free to ask me anything.