Monday, July 18, 2011

Accident Suddenly Changes My Perspective of Attending BlogHer as a Special Needs Mommy

Special Needs 

Self Portrait with shoulder brace
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Murphy's Law that accidents can and will happen at the most inconvenient of times has come to fruition for this mom who blogs.  Friday started like just about every day does here for me, writing a post, Tweeting, writing on Facebook walls, and handling various social media strategy assignments for some of my clients.  

Things changed in a flash later that same day, right after sundown.  It was the split second after I hit concrete as a result of tripping on the buckling neighborhood sidewalk while walking our Miniature Pinscher, Dexter.  Still hanging on to the dog's leash, I lay motionless unable to get up where I fell.  

My first thought wasn't about the excruciating pain that I was supposed to be feeling at that precise moment.  The kind of pain that usually comes when you've dislocated your shoulder -- something that had never happened to me before.  Not until just then, anyway.
Me & Dexter before the accident that inspired this post
iPhone Photo by my son,

True to my tenacity as a mommy blogger juggling four homeschool kids (including triplets and one more all born within a year) as well as a variety of consulting projects, the last thing on my mind right then was the hurt.  Believe me there was plenty of raw pain, I just chose to disregard it entirely.  

Then I noticed it was my right shoulder that was out of its socket and I am right handed.  What flooded my thoughts just then, as the fallout from the accident began to unfold was the realization that it was EXACTLY three weeks till BlogHer 11.  

As a neighbor who happened to be walking with her kids helped me up, questions started popping like mad.  How was I going to continue blogging daily as I've been doing all month for NaBloPoMo, a BlogHer sort of bootcamp that requires each participant to blog every day of the month, with no excuses accepted for missing a day? And the worst thought of all: What was I going to do if I wasn't able to get to BlogHer in San Diego? 

Beyond that, having recently rediscovered competitive tennis at Wilson's Pro Clinic, I asked myself other deep questions.  How would this affect my serve? Would I ever even be able to play the sport again? But, I digress, because that's a whole flock of potentially uplifting thoughts for another story...

Back on topic.  While it's true that I feel fortunate to have attended several  other conferences this year, such as SheCon in Miami and Martha Stewart's Dreamers Into Doers conference in New York for women small business owners like me, BlogHer is the big one for most of us women bloggers, including me.  For more than a year, this event certainly was what I was most looking forward to like no other.  In this case, participating not only as a mommy blogger to network and learn but as a conference speaker and moderator as well.

So, while I sat in the Emergency Room over the weekend getting examined and x-rayed I began to plot my next move.  Maybe I'd be better -- I tried to convince myself -- by the time BlogHer arrived three weeks hence.  Then I thought again.  No, that's not realistic because the doctor is telling me this is going to take months to heal along with a long road of physical therapy.  

Just getting fitted for the shoulder immobilization device was a humbling experience.  One part of my mind began a debate with the other   This shoulder brace sure is functional, but on the otherhand it is not very pretty.  Actually its exactly what fashion-forward people don't wear.  It looks something like a very wide unfashionable elastic and Velcro waist belt with a strap off to the side to hold the shoulder from dislocating again and another loop in front to hold the wrist in a sling for comfort.  For sure, this is one ghastly accessory that doesn't belong on any fashion runway, but a must-have one for me right now.

It will be a week before I see the Orthopedic doctors that will further examine my injury and prescribe my recovery and physical therapy regimen.  Meanwhile,  while I wait, it got me thinking about the special needs women I've met at other professional events over the past few years and how confident they always seem to be.  No physical limitation seems too great to stop them -- ever.  And, what's more, they almost always have a smile on their face, not to mention they are typically a lot more friendlier and non-judgmental than the rest of us are.

Thanks to my new companion, the trusty shoulder brace, I anticipate being able to drive safely by myself the two hours I'll need to travel to get there.  Nevertheless, I began obsessing about all the other potential pitfalls.  What if I'm not able to do this?  How will I manage at the conference next month?  Will people look at me funny? Will brands and bloggers avoid me entirely because I am not quite the picture of physical health right now? 

The truth is while at BlogHer I'll certainly have to guard my injury the whole time and be very careful not to have another accident and make things any worse.  I'm also expecting that I'll have to take more of an initiative to reach out to people I encounter over the course of the event.  What's more, is that though I am able to walk and can even type on my keyboard and use my iPhone, thank G-d because this hasn't affected my fingers, I won't be able to jump around and dance, nor will I be able to carry huge bags of swag in each hand like the majority of the conference's attendees.

Then a light bulb flashes in my brain, brighter than ever before.  I realize:  This isn't a problem, this is a gift-wrapped opportunity!   I'm now a special needs woman myself -- only temporarily if all works out.  But who knows? 

Regardless of my ultimate physical outcome, still, I intend to seize this chance to seek out these women of valor at BlogHer to better understand what it's like from their vantage point.  These ladies are living with much more serious challenges that are far more life-changing than what I'm going through right now.  And, quite actually, we have so much to give and share with each other.
SheCon Expo 11 Conference
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

I look forward to meeting all the consumer brands and bloggers at BlogHer in August.  You won't have any trouble picking me out so please don't be afraid to come up and say hello.  I'll be the one with this awful looking shoulder brace that is going to make it very difficult to be well-dressed, like so many of you will be doing.  I might even ask you to lend me a hand or help me if I drop something on the floor. 

But, I especially can't wait to get to know every other woman blogger with special needs that is there.  This is going to be a privilege that I never could have planned for.  And I welcome this opportunity with great anticipation.  

In a nutshell, I hope to grow as a person from sharing with some incredibly courageous lady bloggers at BlogHer.

What's your own experience with special needs and blogging?  If you are a bit physically challenges yourself, what makes you tick and from where do you draw your inspiration?  If you are able-bodied, please share your own lessons of humility that rise from tragedy, an accident, or simple mistake?

FTC Disclosure:  I am attending BlogHer 11 as a mommy blogger and also as a speaker.  However, I did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one. 

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