​Making the Switch (Everyday Living with Paralysis)

Posted by Tyra Randle in Life After Paralysis on October 27, 2022 # Lifestyle

Tyra RandleAt 4:45 am, my alarm for work goes off. I wake up, get my bearings and map out a plan to get dressed and exit my bed without waking my 2-year-old up while he is sleeping on me. Doing my morning routine is the most challenging thing I have to do in a day. Getting dressed in bed and not waking up my son is like Houdini performing a magic trick. As a person with a spinal cord injury, my ability to walk was taken away from me. Which means standing on my own is out of the equation.

So how do I get dressed, you ask? It is quite a show, I may add. I sometimes turn from side to side or even roll over to get dressed. It depends on what I am wearing that day. It is annoying, to be honest. Rule number one is always making sure your bladder is emptied before doing all that extra movement because one wrong bind and there goes the urine. If that happens, you will have to start all over again, adding extra steps to clean yourself up. Now that I have made it into my chair without waking my son, I feel like I have accomplished so much, and the toughest part of my day is done. I finish my morning routine and venture off into the real world. A world that is not made for a person that is in a wheelchair.

Tyra before her sciSix months after I was shot, I decided to go back to work. I had to switch from being an able-bodied employee to a disabled employee. I went from being a driver in my car to being a passenger in my car. I went from being independent to being dependent on others. I went from being financially secure to “the struggle is real.” Life had changed, and I had to change and adapt to the new norm.

Everyone's body reacts to change differently. For me, the change is very hurtful to my self-esteem. I used to love wearing heels and booties and even cute sandals. But now, depending on the heel size, my feet/ankles go to the side, and the same thing with my booties. Then comes the sandals, my dear ol’ sandals. So, here is the deal – my toes do not like to stay straight, meaning my toes like to curl a tad bit, and they like to be smushed together. It is a real tragedy, if I must say so myself. How do females wear sandals and heels and look so good while doing so in a wheelchair? The struggle is real over here. I try to be cute and keep a little of my old confidence in this new body that I am already insecure about for other reasons.

For 8 years I had only worked 12-hour night shifts, working 5 days a week for 8 hours. That just seems impossible and so foreign to me now. So, I went back to what I did best, but in a new position at the hospital and this time during the day. I had no clue as to how I was even going to use the restroom, let alone survive 2 12-hour day shifts. But I did (and still am) not only survive but thrive, now 2 years later.

Fast forward to the end of my very crazy day. I usually tend to go above and beyond my job description because I do not want anyone to see me as disabled. So, now my poor body is in a lot of pain. I used to be able to come home, take a shower, and go to sleep. Now my main focus is relieving pressure off my bottom and propping my sore, swollen, chunky legs up and putting on my Prafo boots. 13 hours in my chair is way too long. After my day is over, I just pray and thank God for helping to adapt to my new life and being able to make that switch.

My name is Tyra Randle, and I'm a domestic violence survivor. On January 15 of 2020, I was shot 8 times in my home by my son's father and was left paralyzed. Since then, I have devoted my life to being an advocate for domestic violence survivors as well as the disabled community. Now, as an experienced and esteemed public speaker, Diamond in the Rough aims to deliver education, inspiration and hope to a variety of audiences.

TikTok: @tyinthecity

Facebook: Tyra Randle or Diamond In The Rough

Instagram: @diamond_inthe_roughKC

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.