My husband is T12 L 1 complete since last year. He is very active, tries very hard to be as independant as possible and I have learned to let him do the things he can. He has not lost any contacts with his friends. The fact ist that wheelchair is certainly a change and a shock for a family and friends. My husband is a paraglider and also sustained his SCI while paragliding. His friends came to see him to the hospital as soon he could admit visitors. The problem was that as they told me, they simply did not know what to say to him, what to talk about. Is it ok if they discuss aragliding with him or could this hurt him. Shall I talk about his health or better not. I've noticed that and since I know my husband, I explained to them that they should treat him as they used to, and not to show him that they feel sorry for him - at least not too much. And on the other hand I explained my husband that he should start talking to them about paragliding and he did. So noone seems to bother that he is in a wheelchair anymore - not that they would not like to see him walking again - but I think people simply do not know how to react. One of his friends even fainted in the hospital when he first saw him. Even though I have to say that it is not allways easy for a family neither. It is a change and it takes some time to get used to it. Our families aslo prefer to do avoid us. My mother believes that I should divorce my husband, he is a loss anyway, other memebers of the family also prefer not to see me. Who knows, perhaps I would even want something from them! Fine with me! Things change in life all the time, people come and go. I don't really mind. We've met some nice people, made some new friends, have contacts with those who care and that's it. It's a complete waste of time complaining about those who don't care. Rather enjoy the company of those who do. And what I also find very important is - don't listen to those who have no experience at all with SCI and who know it all. In our case such people I spoke to just after the accidant, were very pesimistic, made all kind of "fortune telling", and I was very often told that they feel sorry for me since people in a wheelchair become annoying,demanding, jealous
etc. Get away from such people. When you need them, they are never there for you. All they do is steal the energy and time.

So good luck to you all!

Paraglider's wife