Yes, my husband is in a wheelchair.
I have never seen my husband stand.
I sat beside my husband when we said our wedding vows.
For about 30 minutes today, Math turned into a combo Health/Character class. Health, as I told my students about my husband's condition, and Character, as I described how he, our sons and I live with his disability. They were wide-eyed and fascinated. They asked questions about Mike's disability and how he got in the wheelchair.
Mike has a condition known as Freidreich's Ataxia. In a nutshell, Friedreich's Ataxia is an inherited condition that causes progressive damage to the nervous system resulting in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance and speech problems to heart disease. Wikipedia really does do a good job describing it in layman's terms.
My husband was a normal kid growing up in Aiken. He was quite the soccer player, being offered scholarships to small colleges around the southeast. However, he chose to go to the University of South Carolina because of their business college. It was there that he began to see signs: slight dizziness, tripping, and some clumsiness. He was diagnosed at age 20, started using a walker at age 30, and was finally in a wheelchair at age 37. A financial engineer at the Savannah River Site, he retired three years ago.
I told my students that even though he has this disability, he leads as much of a normal life as most of us. He just has to do things differently. (Thus we like to say he has a "Diffability" as opposed to a disability.) When we go out, we have to scout out parking places - and we curse all those fat sloths who use their grandmother's handicapped placards and slug themselves into the store! We have to make sure there are handicapped ramps and doorways when we go to events and parties. Even a six inch step can be a nightmare. It's real fun to have Mike's friends and my friend's husbands "bump" him up steps. That does not stop us from black-tie affairs or other social events. We just PLAN AHEAD!
"But is it hard on you, Mrs. W.?" one of my students asked me. Again, it's a "diffability". No, it's not always easy. But EVERYONE has something, don't they?
Mike, Jackson and me at the Aiken Steeplechase last spring.