College Aspirations

College Aspirations

In 2008, I wanted to go to college and improve my English skills. It was going to be impossible for me, or I thought, to go to campus in person. How am I supposed to get there, and pay school fees, and materials, like books and notebooks, it was something unthinkable. I made a comment to a friend, and I was told something really cool! This friend advised me, I could take classes online, and for free, these were so good and exciting news.  I asked my (CNA) nurse assistant, where I should start, and which school. He was very nice and helpful, and sit down with me to look at the Santa Rosa Junior College website. We found the contact information for some lady there, a clerk, and gave it a call. We thought that person, answering the phone call, maybe, gave us some information, and point us in the right direction. We were in luck, someone did answer and told us where to go. I was able to get in contact with, Nancy Chinn, the person from the disabilities resources department. She told me, she would like to come to my place, and talk, in person, about the matter. So fortunate, I felt! She came with her colleague, Tara Johnson, I don’t remember the exact date, to be honest, sometime in the summer of 2009. We talked about the options, and they thought, my English was not bad, by the way. I could only take free and online classes, I explained to them, okay, no problem, they said. I was able to take English classes online, I was happy, but not satisfied, I wanted to take real courses, more complex ones. Well, at least, I had something to keep my mind busy. 

By the end of the year, an American couple, the son, and daughter-in-law of my roommate, I loved that roommate, an elderly man, like my own flesh; they gave me the biggest gift EVER! They sponsored me. I was in a wheelchair, otherwise, I would’ve fallen backward. I used to watch that sort of thing happen in soap operas when I was a little kid, and I thought “oh man” I wish that could happen to me, OMG! Over 25 years later, it did happen. I didn’t have any MULA to pay for school fees before, but suddenly, I had money to take any class I wanted. Since then, I could even go to campus, and see the instructor face to face, all thanks to God, who has been looking out for me; putting such amazing people, like this American couple, helped me succeed in my life. 

I could go and take swimming classes, which for a person in such condition, were classes for wetting your “butt” or half of the body, I really like them, anyway. These classes were meant for people, who had some disabilities, and limited mobility issues, so they were able to get some PT. I needed to have somebody with me to help me get into the pool and do therapy, otherwise, I couldn’t take it. I had a caretaker with me, but I needed another person, so one could hold on from my right arm, and one from the left one, and kept me floating in the water, it was FUN! Unfortunately, these classes didn’t last long, I was able to take two semesters, maybe, I’m not certain, but I didn’t qualify anymore. Perhaps, I wasn’t making any progress, yeah, that could be the reason.

I was interested in getting my GED certificate, so I started working in the computer lab at the DRD, a couple of days a week, it was “hard”! I mean, I didn’t have many studies in my hometown, 6th grade only, Elementary school in Mexico. My family was impoverished, and couldn’t afford to maintain my studies going forward, thus everything was new to me with respect to the GED. I was doing good with the simulation testing and studies though, I thought the real exam should be not too bad. 

When I felt like I studied enough, I scheduled my appointment for the actual exam. The GED was composed of several lectures, Math, Written, Reading, Science, etc. I took math first, and I failed 😝 yeah, unfortunately, I did bad, bad, bad! I did the same with Written and all the other subjects, 5 in total. Luckily, I am a stubborn person, and didn’t stop until I passed them all, and got my piece of paper! 

Looking forward to my new home

Looking forward to my new home

January 2007 arrived, and it was time for me to transfer to my new facility, I was like, wanting to leave, but wanted to stay, at the same time. I was scared to go to a place that I didn’t know existed. However, it wasn’t a matter of choice, and I knew it.

I arrived at the great London House of the city of Sonoma, California, in a room shared with four residents, including me. I was really sorry, scared, and sad, the only paralyzed, nonspeaking, Mexican, and the youngest resident of the nursing home, most of the others were above 50 and older. The first few days were tough for me, I got very depressed and lonely, missing my nurses at Healdsburg hospital; I didn’t even want to get in a wheelchair, I cried and cried, like a sick puppy for a few days, I put myself together, and started to get up the bed. I asked my brother-in-law for a desk to set up the computer, he did find one and brought it up to the room. I was in the corner, so there was no space for me to set up the desk, two of my roommates occupying the first two beds at the entrance of the room, were scheduled to leave soon. I had to wait for my roommates to get discharged. They left two weeks after my arrival. I moved from bed C to bed A. Now I had almost the whole room to myself, there was another person, a Filipino elderly, in the last bed of the room, bed D. 

I had the desk set up, and the laptop turned on, and I started surfing the web. I was getting good at the computer, I don’t know what happened to me, but I was like smartypants since I woke up. Furthermore, I wasn’t too stupid before, but since the accident, I feel more intelligent and thoughtful about life, in general. Anyway, I used to get very tired, while using the baseball cap with the pointer stick because my head bend down all the time. I was quickly adjusting to my new home. I wasn’t adjusting or getting used to eating my food smashed, and drinking thick liquids, they were not tasty and satisfying! I wanted to get regular meals and water, but in my condition, it was not possible. I knew I could swallow regular food, I knew I can, but the hard thing was to make them believe, and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

I started trying to figure out how to get the food and liquids regular. I asked around and got some information on the best, and legal procedures, once I knew what to do, I went ahead. What I was told on the food and drinks issue was, in short, to sign a paper, basically, giving up my legal rights, if something bad happened to me, I was responsible, not the facility. I liked that finding! So I asked the management about it, and they tried to talk me out of it, but it was decided already, nobody was going to tell me otherwise. I started getting regular meals csoon after, I could eat anything I wanted to, YAY, VICTORY! 

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