Breaking my arm started me thinking about others who are in the same position or worse. Accidents, war, and strokes leave thousands of people handicapped each year, and here I am complaining about a few inconvenient weeks.

I have a tremendous admiration for those who have lost a limb or have another disability and deal with the frustration of everyday living without complaining. Never having been in that position, I couldn't understand the problems they faced - now I do, to a small extent.

Since I have been given a tiny taste of what it's like to live with one arm, my hat is off to those who go through life dealing with disabilities.

I know that I will recover the use of my arm in a few weeks, but what about the men and women who have lost an arm or leg in the war? How do they look at the future that was once filled with dreams of happiness and family? Everything they knew as life - their life - has now been shattered, leaving them to try to built a new life and start completely over.

I also understand why my parents acted as they did during those caregiving years; they didn't want to ask for help. Pride! Silly as it seems, I found it very difficult to ask for the help I needed. I didn't want to bother anyone with my problems, even though they wanted to help in any way they could. My daughter was peeved when I didn't tell her about my fall for a whole day. It was only when I needed help getting to the doctor that I told her. She was angry with me.

Why are people so afraid to ask for help? Is it that determination to stay independent? Perhaps it is the fear of losing control over our life. We would rather do without than ask for help.

During the depression, mom and dad held out as long as they could before lining up for free sugar, flour, butter, and cheese. It took something out of my dad to ask for help. He felt less of a man. We are a silly lot, we humans.

My friend Rodger refused my nursing skills when he broke his back during Eco-Challenge. Why? He knew I could handle it and it would have saved him a lot of unneeded pain by trying to do everything for himself. I asked him why he wouldn't let me help? He responded, "I didn't want you to see me in such pain. When I'm hurt I'm a miserable person to deal with." That I could understand. Pride again!

I guess we are like a wounded animal that hides and licks its wounds. We would rather be alone and face the pain of doing for ourselves than to show our friends how dependent we really are on each other.

The first time I had to give my mother-in-law a sponge bath, it brought tears to her eyes to think that she could no longer do a simple thing like bathe herself. I believe that is when she gave up all together and just waited for death.

Perhaps this experience was to teach me not only to be more careful, but to help me understand the feeling of helplessness that comes when one must depend on others.

Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Sometimes we can't see it until later, but the lesson is there in any case. This lesson was that everybody needs somebody sometime. We are not an island unto ourselves.

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