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  • Learning Self-love from My PCA’s Daughter

    Posted by brianna-albers on June 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Hi everyone! My latest column is up. In “Learning Self-love from My PCA’s Daughter,” I talk about my relationship with Elena, my PCA’s two-year-old. She and her mom have been coming here for about a year, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. Elena is shy, but over the past couple of months, she’s really warmed up to me. When she’s not holding my hand, she’s pretending to braid my hair; when she’s not braiding my hair, she’s counting the moles on my arms.

    It occurred to me last week that Elena is one of the few people who is willing to touch me. Touch is one of my love languages, but because I’m in a wheelchair, I’m more or less touch-starved—other than my parents, Elena and her mom are the only people who touch me on a regular basis. It just served to remind me how important it is for human beings to experience platonic touch.

    Do you have platonic touch in your life? Is it something you enjoy?

    ryan-berhar replied 5 years ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • tracy-odell

    June 11, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Brianna,

    Great topic! It’s so true that when sitting in a wheelchair, you don’t get the same kind of casual touch as you would if you were walking around – somebody just bumping into you or nudging you or giving you an affectionate hug. I don’t let people hug me unless I have given them a brief lesson in how to do that without making my head fall over. That way, I can actually enjoy their hug!

    I also enjoy the innocence of young kids when they treat me like a play object. When my great-nephew was visiting recently, he was using parts of my wheelchair and my arm as a runway for his toy car! He didn’t hesitate at all and it was really the first time that he had a chance to interact with me. Very few adults would feel at ease with me so quickly.

    When I have been able to, I have had massages which are a really nice way of getting touched that doesn’t feel clinical.

    • brianna-albers

      June 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Elena does that as well! She’s started using my footrest as a stepping stool and my phone holder as an armrest. Massages are great! I get them biweekly for my tension headaches and they’ve really forced me to come to terms with some of my “touch issues” 😂

  • ryan-berhar

    June 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    How sweet. I definitely relate to being “touch starved” as you put it. The trouble is I generally hate being touched, because it’s pretty much always care related. A simple hug or handshake would be nice, but both are essentially impossible.

    • brianna-albers

      June 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      I totally get that. Do you have caregivers that would be willing to touch you every once in a while in a non-assistance context? My PCA read the column above and gave me a long, full-body hug, which was nice.

      • ryan-berhar

        June 14, 2019 at 6:09 pm

        I’ll give it some more thought

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