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Not sure what to do with myself- re: medical problems

poliscinerdpoliscinerd 67 replies32 threads Junior Member
edited August 2013 in Parent Cafe
Hi Parents,

I come to you because I have a feeling you might be able to come up with some good suggestions for me.

Basically, my situation is this- In December, I'll be graduating with my bachelor's degree. Immediately after I will be getting extensive leg surgery (I have multiple disabilities in left leg, and the right one is amputated) that will leave me in a wheelchair for a year. I can't use crutches or a walker because the combination of the surgery and my prosthetic leg is rough. I will be moved in back home with my parents and sister who will be at work and school. I won't be able to drive, or even walk around my house much. Just get to the bathroom and kitchen if I'm lucky.

I've been so busy my whole life, always consumed with school and work. I am not going to know what to do with myself being stuck in the house for a year. I know I can go out in a wheelchair, but only when a family member is available to help me. Monday-Friday, 9-5 I will be bored out of my mind. I'm scared I will go crazy with nothing to do. I'm looking for any suggestions or ideas of something productive I can do with my year. I want to be able to wake up in the morning with goals, activities, etc. I want to feel productive and useful by the end of each day. I don't want to wither away into depression.

Any advice is much appreciated.
edited August 2013
25 replies
Post edited by poliscinerd on
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Replies to: Not sure what to do with myself- re: medical problems

  • hoosiermomhoosiermom 739 replies18 threads Member
    Some suggestions that quickly come to mind: wake up each day with purpose, if you pray daily or meditate do so at the same time every day, perform as prescribed whatever exercise or rehab that is needed, read books that you have been intending to read but have not had the time to do so, take an online class or two on topics that interest you but could not fit into your undergraduate course of study, learn a new language or how to play a new musical instrument (may need an instructor to come to your house), declare yourself in charge of cooking dinner for your family members who are working all day, be in charge of laundry, volunteer as a reader for the blind (volunteers read daily newspaper aloud over the phone where it is recorded). It would be a great time to devote to a new hobby. Possibilities are endless.
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  • ironchariotironchariot 825 replies15 threads Member
    I'm sorry for your situation. I'm not a parent, but a HS senior with cerebral palsy and I've been in a wheelchair all my life. 13 years in a manual chair. My day is mostly taken up with schoolwork, but I love to read. Maybe you could read sometimes about things that interest you, or even teach yourself a new skill so you could work from home. Most computer activities can be done sitting down. Learn a new language if it interests you. If you go to a rehab center for physical therapy, ask people if they have ideas for things to do. Find an accessible bus or carpool and go out. Write or draw or sing. Find ways to work out and put some kick-butt music on. A wheelchair isn't a ball and chain, and you don't have to be a recluse. I hope I helped.
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  • psych_psych_ 1461 replies122 threads Senior Member
    You should qualify for paratransit through your local bus service. Paratransit provides door to door rides for people with disabilities pending an application and doctor's note. One common downside if that they often have long "ready windows," which means they could arrive anywhere in a certain span (e.g., 20 minutes on either side of the time they gave you) and you have to be ready to go right then, but it would provide you with possible transport out of the house.

    Good luck with your surgery!
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    There are some citizen science projects that can be done from home on a computer to help out with science research. I think if you google "Citizen scientist" there are some websites you can poke around on for ideas. If you have any academic areas you want to beef up on further, you could take online classes (maybe take statistics if you haven't, that can be useful with a poli sci major as your user name seems to indicate).

    You might be able to do some freelance work online -- look at a website like Guru.com. I think the pay is probably horrible, but if you don't have anything else to do you might be able to gain a little experience that you could put on your resume at the end of the year.
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18620 replies326 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps get a masters degree from an online university.
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  • Deborah TDeborah T 4295 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Here are some ideas, Polisci.

    online course in a subject that interests you
    play an instrument
    invite a friend over
    brain games online
    connect with a group via something like Mindbloom, I think it is -- there are others, one is discussed in a TED Talk
    TED Talks
    Teaching Company course (your library may carry some of these)

    Hope this helps.
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  • poliscinerdpoliscinerd 67 replies32 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I definitely like the idea of learning a new language. That is going at the top of my list for things to do during the year.

    @ironchariot, Thank you for sharing your story. My issue is that my house is not wheelchair accessible at all, so I might have trouble getting from room to room.
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  • ironchariotironchariot 825 replies15 threads Member
    funny thing is, neither is mine. i sit in my chair by my reading light w/books, notebook, laptop etc. my mom helps me get around w/o the chair from room to room. she still drives me to therapy and speech tournaments etc. definitely get lots of books and a rosetta stone and swimming is a good workout if it wouldn't mess up your leg.
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  • poliscinerdpoliscinerd 67 replies32 threads Junior Member
    Also, does anybody have input on getting a pet during this time? My parents have been dead set against having a pet in the house, but I think it might make daily life more enjoyable if I had a dog.

    @IC, swimming wouldn't be an option until after all my casts and braces come off, but it's definitely something i plan on doing after the year is over to help get myself back in shape :)
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  • ironchariotironchariot 825 replies15 threads Member
    i don't think a dog would be best as you would have to walk it or most likely your family would. volunteer at an animal shelter for your weekly dose of cute fluffiness or compromise and get a cat, they're relatively low maintenance and they sit in your lap :)
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    A dog can be great company, but it is also a lot of work for someone. Somebody has to walk it, pick up poop, and give it food and water. Most dogs shed, so it also makes more housework. And it is best to do obedience training if the dog you get isn't already obendience trained -- which means going to classes and practicing with it. While it seems like a great idea in some ways, if your parents don't want to sign on for that extra work now it is understandable.
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  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom 3011 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Regarding the language learning, perhaps you could set up skype lessons with someone in the home country where the language is spoken. Having a goal, a deadline each week can be helpful to make you study.

    Might a smaller pet be appealing? Rodent, reptile, fish? Something small that would be less of a care taking challenge as well as agreeable to your family?
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    There are several companies that hire tutors/ add coaches to be accessed over the Internet, for ages from grade school thru college.
    Would that be of interest?
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  • dmd77dmd77 8597 replies66 threads Senior Member
    I notice you say "poliscinerd". Aren't you lucky that next year is an election year? How could you be bored with 438 House elections and 33 Senate elections to follow? You have a golden opportunity to volunteer on a campaign or two working on social media issues--you'll have lots of time to read the blogs, update the Facebook pages, tweet your opinions.
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  • njfootballmomnjfootballmom 492 replies28 threads Member
    online masters program for sure

    1. keep your mind busy and keep you occupied
    2. increased employability because you
    *won't have to explain the gap in your resume
    * it won't look like your health has caused you any issues, and that you don't use it as an excuse
    * shows that you are motivated, not lazy and use your time wisely
    * you become more highly qualified in your field.

    When you go got a job how will you answer the question about what you've done since graduation?

    OR...depending on your field is there a work at home job you can get? I just saw some posting for Amazon looking for customer service people to work from home. Maybe you can do telemarketing? At least you can earn some $, and any job looks better on a resume than no job. Working from home shows you can work independently.

    As far as a dog, it wouldn't be fair to a young dog because you couldn't exercise it and train it enough while in your chair. There are lots of older dogs that need homes and less exercise. That might be a great idea because it would be a companion for you and you would be rescuing it. Would you be able to open the door to let it out and do you have a fence? A fence would be required if you can't take it out on a leash. You would need to get it before your operation to get a routine in place etc. Try your shelter or petfinder.com. Petfinder is usually shelter dogs or dog rescue groups.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    Yes, that is a great idea. You can phone bank from home for some candidates, I have done a lot of that just because I was busy.
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  • parentofpeopleparentofpeople 1251 replies75 threads Senior Member
    How about taking some on line free classes from open courseware

    Maybe something you were interested in but you didn't have time for while trying to complete your degree?

    You can also spend a lot of time chatting on CC :-)
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  • jym626jym626 56068 replies2919 threads Senior Member
    Lots of good suggestions for continued learning. Maybe add learning to develop websites to your repertoire. Also, does your religious insitution have a network whereby others who have problems leaving home (medical, age related or MH reasons) can call and check on each other? Calling others is a wonderful support network.
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  • shyparentalunitshyparentalunit 327 replies17 threads Member
    I'm sorry you're going through this. I'm glad that you are being proactive in thinking of new activities that will keep you busy. Here are a couple of suggestions. If you have a scanner and your family has lots of pre-digital age photos, you could scan them. Perhaps that could also turn into a part-time job. If you have any interest in genealogy, that's a great computer-based hobby you could pursue.
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  • mathmommathmom 32549 replies159 threads Senior Member
    You could do tutoring if people could come to your home.

    You could work on the Gutenberg project.

    You could learn to make something crafty and sell it on the web.

    Make phone calls for a cause - just don't call me!
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