Midge Dawicki woke up on the morning of April 26, 2005 ready to start her day. She was enjoying a cup of tea on her deck when she noticed some weeds growing up through the boards. She decided to try and pull them out. Midge leaned on the railing not realizing that it was worn due to bad weather conditions. The railing gave way and she fell five feet onto her chin causing a C-5-C6 spinal cord injury. There was no one around due to the fact that it was a Tuesday in the middle of the week. Midge lay helpless with her face down in the grass yelling for help, and hoping someone would hear her. Thankfully, a couple walking by heard Midge’s cry for assistance and called 911.
This spring day marked change for Midge in every possible way. She has found that patience is a must when dealing with all the changes especially her loss of independence. Midge genuinely stated “I find it a challenge each and every day to have someone else help me do the simple things that I took for granted. Before the injury simple tasks like brushing my teeth, changing the channels on the TV, or brushing my hair were normal, thoughtless tasks that now cause frustration. Sometimes just knowing that I have to depend on someone else creates stress but I have done my best to deal with it, and I believe have become a better person for it.”
Despite Midge’s life being different, there are several things she looks forward to each day. She revels in her relationship with her best friend of 26 years, Nick. She finds spending time with her four children and eight grandchildren is a delightful comfort. Midge stated “I look forward to seeing my loved ones every day. Another activity I look forward to is helping others. I volunteer in several hospitals speaking with patients who are dealing with new spinal cord injuries, MS patients, etc. I really enjoy going to speak with them because I see their day to day challenges and know that I can make a difference for them. I am finding that even though it seems like I’m giving to them they are actually giving to me.”
Dealing with the circumstances of her injury is an everyday struggle however Midge’s perseverance overrides any disappointments. She is extremely proud of her ability to cope and remarked “I have been able to maintain a positive attitude and face the challenges that are presented to me on a daily basis. I truly believe life is a gift, and even though I face it now in a wheelchair, I still have a full life ahead of me. I have decided to live without feeling sorry for myself. Actually, instead of dreading April 26 I celebrate it as my survival day.”
Midge’s optimism coupled with a ramp provided by the Travis Roy Foundation paved the way for her to return home. On June 12, 2011 after six years of living in a handicap accessible apartment she was able to move back to her home. With the help of a grant provided by the Travis Roy Foundation, which Midge heard about at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, she was able to build a ramp on the front of her house. She is able to access the house with no trouble whatsoever. Midge joyously commented on her feeling about being home “I am so grateful for this opportunity. The phrase ‘There’s no place like home’ has never been so true until now.”