There are a lot of strange things that can happen to the mind when you’re paralyzed. One of the biggest is feeling trapped. As a result, you want to control things in life that you still have the power to do so. One of the biggest of these, a target I’ve seen used time and time again by quadriplegics — pant seams.
Ask any PCA, and she likely has a story attesting to this truth. Almost any quadriplegic I’ve met will eventually develop the unyielding desire to make sure their pant seams are a straight as possible. And I believe it stems from feeling trapped in our bodies.
What happens is this: My PCA gets me up, helping me into my clothes for the day. After I transfer into my wheelchair I always look down to do an outfit check, which includes checking the pant seams. And if they’re even the slightest crooked, I always have my PCA straighten them out.
The embarrassing thing is that even if the seams are nearly perfect, that is never good enough. In my mind I just can’t let go of this perfect image of perfectly straight paint seams. And even weirder, if I can’t manage to have straight seams the whole day, I will see the day as a major fashion loss. Huge.
The stupid thing is that no one really else notices the crooked seams on my body except me. My mom, who is notoriously nitpicky, never points it out. My sister who’s just the same … nope. The only person who might notice they’re not perfect are my PCAs who I’ve trained to notice such things.
At the end of the day, I know I’m wasting way too much of my life on something as unnecessary as perfectly straight pants seams, but I just can’t seem to cut it out. Ugh. Please help. This quad life is turning me into an OCD rager.
Why do you think this is a quirk of us quadriplegics?