This I Believe

Betsy - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Entered on October 28, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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this I believe…..

I believe in technology’s power. This belief comes from a 47-year-old woman who cherishes her wood-burning fireplace and can’t get enough of the breeze from her screened porch.

My belief in technology stems from its benefit to my 18 year old son. My son has muscular dystrophy and without the devises we have sought out to help him, his life, and mine, would be much more difficult.

My son wakes up every day in an electric powered bed with air cells that inflate and deflate throughout the night to reduce the likelihood of bedsores. We transfer him to his state-of-the-art wheelchair that climbs stairs and travels through sand with ease. He travels through our 1927 tutor-style house without complication due to our elevator, installed in a closet-sized space. We head off for his senior year of high school in a modified minivan with a remotely controlled ramp for easy travel. During the afternoon, I lower and raise my son into a swimming pool for his only “awake” time out of his chair, with the help of a battery-operated lift. At night, when he goes to bed, he wears a mask over his face whose motor helps him breath more deeply and keeps the air in his lungs moving.

There are days when one or more of these technologies let us down. A motherboard in the elevator that goes haywire or a battery malfunction in his wheelchair can make a good day bad. But these blips make me marvel at the benefit of technology even more.

If this equipment could be powered by a mother’s will, I’m sure they would have been created generations ago. But we mothers of physically disabled children must rely on scientists and engineers willing to test the limits, think big and walk in our shoes. I thank each of them for their help.

My son is the first to say his life is not that of a normal teenager. He will never drive, can’t open a pop can unassisted and his medical outlook is bleak. But without the technology available to us today, he would not be completing his senior year of high school with the opportunity to consider beginning a college career.