'In the first couple of months of being at Bloorview I really had hope…that I would get my life back…As I was there longer I started to realize that the changes in my body aren’t easily fixable.' Maddy Workman, above right, studying chemistry in the Bloorview School.
Maddy Workman, 16, has spent five months at Holland Bloorview after a hip surgery that wasn't successful. She’s since had a second surgery and will have a third in the New Year. In Life is a Climb she writes about having to come to terms with pain and muscle spasms that make it hard for her to do the things she used to do.
“Before the hip surgery I was a regular teenager who needed a wheelchair to get around, but I didn’t need a bunch of help,” Maddy says. “I had really good control in my right arm. I could draw, I could paint. And I loved to bake.” Her favourite concoction? Macaroons.
Maddy has a penchant for purple and pink. Her wheelchair is purple, her iPad cover pink, and her clothes a mix.
Maddy now copes with uncontrolled movements in her right arm that make it difficult to do everyday things. “The more I try to do something with my arm, the more my body resists it,” she says. “The doctor said the pain in my hip is causing spasms in my arm. If I want to do something as simple as brush my teeth, my arm doesn’t want to do it.”
Accepting these changes, and trying out adaptive equipment for cooking and other activities, has been tough, Maddy says.
“For me, I need to talk it out verbally when I’m frustrated,” Maddy says. At Holland Bloorview that’s often been with social worker Val Lusted. “She’s really good. She says I go through stages of frustration and sadness, but then I come out on the other side.”
Maddy advises other kids in rehab to accept their emotions. “When you’re sad or frustrated or angry you’re allowed to be like that. But don’t stay in that place forever. When I found out the news that I needed a third surgery on my hip, I asked ‘why did this happen to me?’ I was not happy—for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and a little bit of Monday. But then I got better.”
This weekend Maddy returns home to Ariss, Ont. where she's in Grade 11. In January she'll be back for another surgery. “I can’t wait to get back to my school and family,” she says. Read her poem below.
Life is a Climb
By Maddy Workman
In the first couple of months of being at Bloorview I had hope for the first time in a while,
Hope that I would get my life back.
I had hope that I would be a regular teenage girl again who just needed a wheelchair to get around.
As I was there longer and longer I started to realize that the changes in my body aren't easily fixable and that I have to figure out how to deal with the changes.
Change is very hard for me, and I never really had a huge change in my life.
Change is hard physically,
Change is hard emotionally,
Change is just hard to deal with.
But, if I want to be happy I have to deal with the changes and get though them, because life's a climb.