Hi, my name is Lindsay Loflin. I was brought into this world in 1972, and up until recent years have led a relatively privileged life. I grew up surrounded by a loving family in quiet Greensboro, NC where I graduated from Page High School in 1991 and went on to North Carolina State University to study English literature and film. After graduation, I held several jobs of varying ambitions, including pizza delivery, restoration woodworking, furniture-making and even professional gambling. Finally, in 2000, I put my more eccentric aspirations on hold and joined the family business, working in insurance and investments.

In late April of 2003, while at the beach with friends, my life and the lives of all those close to me would be forever altered. After a night of inebriated celebration, I returned to the hotel and through a blurry series of events managed to fall backwards, head first, over a spiral stair rail. At the bottom of the 20ft fall, my head struck the corner of a large cement planter in the hotel lobby. Needless to say, the injuries to my skull and neck were severe. I spent 2 weeks clinging to life in the Wilmington, NC intensive care unit, after which I was transferred to the renowned Shepherd Center in Atlanta. There I spent 4 months slowly rehabilitating, getting acclimated to a new reality that shocks me even to this day.

Luckily, I survived the fall without any noticeable brain impairment, and the several life-threatening aspects of my injury eventually stabilized. However, the spinal cord contusion in my 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae rendered me completely paralyzed from the shoulders down, making me a mid-level quadriplegic. The instant transition from living a comfortable, normal life to that of a helpless quad is about as extreme and initially overwhelming as one could imagine. However, in the midst of such devastation grew something very beautiful and inspiring, and that remains with me to this day. It is the enduring love and support of my family. The severity of a spinal cord injury reduces the essence of life to its most common denominator which is basically what makes it worth living - love. So tonight remember to give an extra firm hug to your mother, husband, children or who ever is close to you, because when everything falls through and life beats you down to where you canít get up, itís your family who will be there to lift you up and carry you through. Since I was first injured my mother stayed by my side, never returning home for over four months. And for the bulk of that time my father and sister were with me as well. Their constant warm presence lifted my spirits and gave me the strength to carry on with a positive attitude, even to this day.

Mark, of dreamblvr.com, eloquently describes the reality that follows after spinal cord injury when he writes:

"After the get well cards, casseroles, constant visitation and newness wears off, life goes on and itís up to you to live it. That means physically, financially and socially. There is only one person responsible for you and you have to wear that hat. When things are so different and activity is all around you early on after the injury, you don't have much time to plot out a future. Day to day adjustment is pretty damn important and it can consume all of your time. A little later, this does ease up and you're faced with planning a little further down the road. In this situation, people generally follow certain paths. In some of the public speaking I've done, I use an exercise to help make my point. I ask the group to clap. This is something we learn very early in life and use as a form of expression. Itís a way we participate socially. Then I request them to hold one arm to their side. Now clap for me again. The group has been forced to make a decision and step outside of doing something the only way they've ever known. Some just figure out what to do, others look around and see who's doing what, some just wait or choose not to participate. This is no different than any struggle we face disabled or not. You can forge ahead and smack the desk, work together and give each other a high-five, witness others doing it and learn from them or again choose not to participate. We all vary between the stages and the task at hand determines the course of action. The things I've done and the places I've been could have never happened without wanting to live, being interdependent rather than independent and accepting help when itís necessary. Never has the desire to quit the game been the answer."

To date, I am officially diagnosed as C6 complete, which basically means I'm completely paralyzed from the chest down. I have limited use of my arms and wrists - more specifically, I have full use of my biceps and wrist extensors, 30% to 50% use of wrist flexors & triceps, and no muscle control in my hands, just sensation. For the un-paralyzed readers out there, that means I can ALMOST take care of myself, but not really. The vast majority of C6 quads, including myself, must rely on the help of others to survive and perform several of the essential daily activities. In my case, a PCA (personal care attendant) helps me each morning with bathing and dressing, etc. and then I'm on my own for the rest of the day and night. In October of 2006 I moved out on my own and have regain a significant level of independence.  My initial intention for this website was to document this transition and the people and things that help me get along in this crazy life... one that Iíve learned to love.

Over the past six months I've made great strides while living on my own. I'm now able to go to bed at night 100% independently and on occasion have gotten myself up in the morning and dressed when necessary. I continue to reach goals that I once thought would not be possible. When I look back, the biggest impediment to my progress remains to be the moments/stages where I succumb to self-doubt and fail myself with insufficient faith & determination. I continue to live and learn... for which I am thankful.

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