Part of the reason people are in a romantic relationship is to share hobbies and life experiences together, right? So in my world, I am always pumped to explore some new something with my boyfriend Riley, who is a C5/6 quadriplegic. Of course, there are so many stereotypes about people living with physical disability, and when Ri and I first got together one or two of the naysayers in my life expressed concern over the things I would “miss out on,” simply by choosing to be in a relationship with someone with a spinal cord injury. I ignored those skeptics in favor of love, and over the years, we have (of course) honed in on how we, as a couple, seek fun.
Here are our Top 3 Takeaways that might help others living a similar lifestyle to enjoy the adventures of life just as much as we do.
#1: Rediscovering Old Hobbies After An SCI Might Not Be As Hard As One Might Think
The fishing rods and reels adorning our home make it pretty obvious that Ri has a place in his heart for fly fishing. And yet, it took 3 years together and 8 years after his spinal cord injury for Ri to get back out on the river. But last summer, we were invited to take part in a fly fishin’, gun shootin’, helicopter flyin’ adventure in Montana, hosted by Access Unlimited, High Fives Foundation and Craig Hospital – who could say no to that opportunity!?! The hands down coolest part of the entire experience was Ri realizing that all it took was the help of a few strong dudes to lift him into a regular old boat and a pair of Active Hands gloves to assist in holding the rod, he was a fisherman (not to mention catching more than any of us!) once again! Sure it wasn’t exactly like it used to be, but it was still an amazing experience.
#2: Adaptive Tools Are Here To Help
Over the last couple of years, a few key adaptive tools have really assisted Ri and I in turning ideas into new hobbies and adventures. Our garden is a perfect example. After dreaming up and then slowly turning our backyard into an accessible garden oasis, Ri enlisted the help of Active Hands gloves and Quadtools to make digging, planting, weeding, and moving stuff around in the garden a more independent endeavor. We have officially become green thumbs and have discovered a whole new world right outside our back door thanks to Ri’s new tools.
#3: Sometimes the Least Complicated Option Is The Best Option
Riding bikes is our absolute favorite couple pastime. And for Ri, his wheelchair is actually his bike, thanks to an electric assist wheelchair attachment made by DaVinci Mobility. Ri chose this option for his first post SCI bike because it eliminates the uncomfortable transfers that he experienced trying out recumbent bike models. And not only that, but we are city people, and found the idea of riding to lunch or some type of event to be appealing – but impossible to actually do if you leave the wheelchair behind. The DaVinci Mobility option was the obvious choice because it fits with our current lifestyle and bingst the bike and the wheelchair with us wherever we go. .
Next week, Ri and I are off to Bend, Oregon, on a super exciting adaptive sit ski adventure with Oregon Adaptive Sports.
You can wish us luck AND follow our skiing adventures (and everything else we do to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Bend) when we take over Backbones on Instagram from 2/16-2/18.
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Andrea Peruzzi lives in Portland, Oregon and runs the lifestyle blog, Poor House Love. Andrea’s writings examine her oftentimes humorous and always honest perspectives on sharing a life with her partner, Riley, who happens to be a C 5/6 quadriplegic. Andrea also has a background in Chinese medicine and loves to write about all things natural health and healing. Check out www.poorhouselove.com and @poorhouselove on Instagram or Facebook to follow their adventures.