​Quadriplegic Living at home and Independently

Posted by Amber Collie in Life After Paralysis on April 12, 2021 # Lifestyle

Zack and his dog outside

After college Zack came home to live with us, we still wanted him to have the same independence that he had at school. We applied for low-income housing in our area. I put applications in at two other low-income sites. Both had a 5-year waitlist, but I think it was safe to get on the list. Lucky for us, we applied and our application got approved for the newest building.

Zack’s first year at the new apartment, he had a roommate with caregiver help. Around this time, Zack met Bree, who became his girlfriend and then-fiancé. They moved in together. Their relationship lasted for three years. Sadly the relationship ended recently, but with no regrets. I know Zack learned so much being in this relationship. Zack is back home with us at this time as we figure out the next step for his independent living. We are looking for a live-in caregiver. Zack also has three siblings, and we may have one of them move in temporarily. This decade-long injury has been packed full of trial and error. This is not an injury for the weak. If you are paralyzed and wondering if you can live on your own someday, you can. Different levels of injury require a different amount of caregiving, but it is possible. Set your mind on your goal, and you can make it happen.

My life has had many parts, I could write a book just on that section but let's fast forward to when I married Adron Collie. Two weeks after turning 20 (yes, very young!) I had Zackery at age 22, Levi at 24, six years later Kaden, and 18 months after that daughter Laila, making me a busy mother of four. At that time, I also ran a photography business. The year Zack was injured I had a child in Preschool, Elementary, Jr. High and High School. Four kids in four schools! I thought I was so busy, just getting their drop off and pick up times correct was a challenge. I have to laugh now thinking back on that because little did I know my life was just about to turn upside down.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.