Adrian’s story

Adrian’s story

I can’t walk, but I can do anything else!

Adrian is 33 years old and he lives in Constanța county. In 2017, he went through a serious car accident: “Due to the speed, the car skidded and I jumped from a height of 10-15 meters, from a bridge. I landed on the ceiling and have been using a wheelchair ever since.”

The first months after the accident were hard: “Honestly, I don’t even want to remember them, I didn’t think I could get over it. Many regrets. It was excruciating, I don’t wish anyone to go through that. But little by little I took life in my hands and got over it. It was my family, who was close to me, a few friends and my ambition. I’m a pretty optimistic person and I haven’t had a mental breakdown. I got up and went forward.”

Adrian had his first contact with the wheelchair three and a half months after the accident, after a period he spent in bed, according to the doctors’ recommendations. “For me it was a bit of a wow, because I didn’t think I would ever be able to get out of bed again. When I first moved around in my wheelchair on the hospital corridors, it was a super nice feeling and it gave me strength to go on. All the things related to the wheelchair were told to me by the people at Motivation; they also gave me training.” With the Motivation team from Constanța, he discovered, one by one, the other aspects related to living as a wheelchair user, which are not visible from the start. He learned from his own experience that beyond the walking impairment, there are many other things to manage in order to maintain good health and to be an active person.

At the time of the accident, he lived in a 40 square meter apartment in Constanța, on the 3rd floor, without an elevator. “I felt like a bird in a cage. I was always dependent on someone, I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t even go to a doctor. I always had to call someone to help me go down from the 3rd floor. That’s what depressed me the most – I was getting dressed, putting on my shoes, and I had to wait for someone to help me. I often preferred to stay at home and call someone only in emergencies.”

Adrian really wanted to build a house the way he needed it: “No thresholds, no steps, I hate steps. Let the rooms be as spacious as possible, not to depend on someone. To be able to go to the fridge to get food, to reach the stove, to be able to dress and wash myself. There should be no obstacles around the house. Little by little, it came out as it should.”

Two years ago, he started cutting hair for close family members. Over time, friends and acquaintances insisted on cutting their hair too. “Now I am a hairdresser and I’m very happy with what I’m doing. This job helped me a lot, I have an occupation… before, I was angry all day, stressed, I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t communicate with many people, only with family members. I had the impression that everyone was looking at me differently. Now clearly things have changed 180 degrees. I do whatever a normal person should do. I go out, I go to events, I travel. Whatever a common man does, I do.” Recently, Adrian has started using social media to post videos showing him at work. “I got a lot of positive messages and that made me happy and I’m going to upload a few more videos.”

Five years after the accident that changed his life, Adrian lives a fulfilled life. He and his wife have built a house the way they wanted it, and he divides his time between doing his job, chores around the house, taking care of the dogs, and relaxing activities with family and friends. He goes to the mall, to the pool, goes out and has an active life. “I really like swimming. I go to the pool and swim without any help. I get out of the wheelchair, sit on the edge of the pool and then swim. That’s what I think: I can do anything but walk on my own two feet.”

His message for those at the beginning of their journey as wheelchair users is honest and encouraging. He doesn’t deny that it’s hard at first, but says that only by accepting reality and changes and giving oneself time to manage them, a person in a wheelchair can regain control of their life. He believes that an appropriate occupation, done with pleasure, can change the perspective and things for the better.

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Below, some images that capture Adrian on a typical day, taken by Bogdan Dincă

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Adrian’s story was written within the project “Advocacy for community access for wheelchair users”, implemented by Motivation Romania Foundation in partnership with Segoia Association, with financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the SEE Grants 2014-2021. The project aims to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities by improving the mobility and health of wheelchair users.

More information about the project can be found by accessing the link https://motivation.ro/en/abilities-and-rights-matter/.

Working together for an inclusive Europe.

Story written by: Bogdan Dinca, Erika Garnier
Pictures: Bogdan Dinca

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