Christopher Reeve Essay, Research Paper
Christopher Reeve – Still Me
If you don t like something, change it. If you can t change it, change your attitude. Don t complain.* The poet must have been thinking about me when she wrote these words. Some things in my life I am trying to change and other things I am trying to handle.
On Memorial Day, 1995, my world changed forever. I fell from my horse during a cross-country event in Culpepper Virginia. When I woke up in intensive care in the hospital I was paralyzed and unable to breathe on my own. I thought that everything was over my acting, sports, my marriage, being a dad everything. In fact, I thought maybe I should get someone in my family to help me die. It would be easy since I was on a respirator. All they would have to do was yank the tube out and walk away. But my wife Dana said something that made me want to stay. She said the words that changed my life: You are still you, and I love you . Her faith in me and the need of my family for me to just BE there got me through the worst of it.
I knew I was going to be a burden. I was going to have to learn to take from people. Learning to do that was part of the attitude changing I mentioned before. Someone has to dress me, to wash my face, to put me to bed. It is embarrassing and I have to deal with being treated like a baby for the two hours it takes at night and the two hours in the morning. I listen to music or watch TV and work on my patience and acceptance. There s nothing else I can do. I can t change it. I have to make the best of it. That s the change your attitude part.
But I have to do something more to give back and change what I can. I have set a goal to stand on my 50th birthday. I do exercises every day toward that goal. I give speeches to raise money for the American Paralysis Association. I have given testimony to Congress to support health measures and funding. I have directed and acted in TV movies since the accident. I established a foundation. I need to give as well as take.
I need to change what I can change and to accept what I can t without complaining. That s a lesson we all could learn.
* quote from Maya Angelou