Today I launch the “China Quad Diaries” on my 30th birthday and a week before I move to China. I plan to update this blog several times a week to keep everyone updated on how the program is working and share all the crazy experiences I have over the next several years.
The last several months have been absolutely nuts trying to pack and get ready for China. It’s hard to move an able-bodied person to a foreign country, but a quad, well forget it. Over the last few weeks while I was packing up boxes and getting them ready to ship over to China I could not help but laugh at myself thinking “I bought all of this stuff to ship over to a country where they probably manufacture it themselves. So, basically I’m just shipping everything I bought back to its country of origin.”
There are so many things to get ready when moving to another country especially as a quadriplegic. For instance, the 20 hour plane ride. I have to sit on a special cushion so my skin will break down and I have to take a blood thinner to prevent blood clots on the plane because of past pulmonary embolism’s that I have had. The list literally can go on and on, but because I am a borderline psychotic organizer I think I have everything under control. I would say the only thing I probably do not have control over is if the airline decides to break my wheelchair. I cannot tell you the countless stories I have read over the past few months with regard to airlines literally breaking chairs in half, taking out the batteries, dropping them off the side of the conveyor belt into the airplane, etc. My wonderful uncle Ian, who builds unbelievably beautiful furniture for a living, built this incredible thick cardboard design to protect my wheelchair.
My family literally has been working flat out for the last few months in preparation for the move. I definitely would not have this opportunity today if it was not for them.
I leave for China from Atlanta on March 10 and get into Kunming China very late on the night of the 12th. There is about a 12 to 13 hour time difference from Miami to Kunming. I imagine I’ll probably spend a few days getting acclimated to the city, but I’m actually headed straight for surgery- before I start walking program. As many of you know, I suffer from severe neuropathic pain ( think of pins and needles when your arm falls asleep all over your body), which we have discovered is due to a tethered spinal cord and a buildup of scar tissue in my spinal cord. So, I’m going to have Dr. Zhu Hui, my surgeon and pioneer of the walking program, open me up within the first few weeks of getting to Kunming to hopefully alleviate some of the pain, so I can focus on the walking program itself.
Strangely, I think I am more nervous about getting run over by a Chinese taxi cab than I am for surgery of the spinal cord. I used to live in China in my late teens and early 20s, so I’m very familiar with China,. the customs and the hazards of trying to cross the street in Chinese traffic. I’ll tell you more about my China adventures in another post in a few days.
I encourage you to e-mail me if their particular topics that you want me to cover or stories you want me to tell. I promise to keep them short and sweet.
Cheers For now,
皑 丽 (Ali in Chinese.. Pronounced “Ai” “Li”)