My story

This is me when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my 3rd son. Don’t hate. I look awesome.

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Janie Jones Photography

My name is Priscilla Hartman Hedlin. I must get my maiden name in there for anyone that doesn’t know me now. I live in Austin. Well, actually a suburb of Austin, called Pflugerville. The P is silent. I grew up in Shiner. Yes, where they make the beer and I lived in Vidor for a short amount of time. Not proud of the town but made some pretty amazing friends in the short time I was there.

I’ve been trying to rework this page for a while now so my readers could really get to know me, but that isn’t really easy. There is far to much to tell you and I don’t always want to overload The Wheelchair Mommy with stuff about me. I want this to be a keepsake for my boys and I haven’t been very good at posting about them lately.

I suppose when they are 30, they would much rather read about me anyways, but I still want to document their childhood. Just in case I don’t remember, ya know?!

As I began writing this I was planning to do a quick bullet point list of stuff about me. It’s the easy way out. Right? Then a thought occurred to me. I frequently have NO idea what to blog about. I can make each bullet point a blog post. Of course, not all at once, but maybe within the next year?!

Do not proceed unless you have at least 2 hours to dive in and read all the goodies. I know you will. I’m awesome like that. Many of the bullet points already have awesome blog posts links attached to them.

If you just want to see my intro vlog. It’s mostly short. A little loud. Super sweet.

and until I get the entire story typed out, here is the short version:

So many of you don’t know my
entire story. I was paralyzed in a car
wreck in 1999. I was 18 and just started college. The person driving was sober but my ex-sister-in-law was drunk and grabbed the wheel. We were going around a curve and another car was coming. I was thrown out. Nope. No seat belt. I was in the backseat. Not many adults wear one in the backseat, do they?! I never lost
consciousness and spent about 5 weeks in the hospital. That included a really long (12-15 hour) surgery to stabilize my spine. As soon as they let me, I was ready to get into therapy and learn what I had to so I could get on with my life. One thing I’ve said since the beginning is I am changed but still the same. To this day my attitude is positive and I don’t let the injury or the scars get me down. I still do EVERYTHING I want to do I¦just do it sitting down. I have a great life and couldn’t imagine being any happier. People are always asking me how I can be so positive and I tell them it’s because I want to. I dont get feeling sorry for myself. What good does that do me? No, thank you. I want to live my life and enjoy it and no one is going to keep me from doing that, most of all myself. So now you know. I have all kinds of scars on my body as a constant reminder of 9-12-99, but sometimes I still forget. I’ll be going about my business and forget I am actually sitting until I try to reach something high up or far away. It’s quite funny, really. Flame me if you want but I also get the biggest kick out of gimp humor.

Now all my dreams have come. Despite paralysis, I am a mommy!!!



  1. Yasaman says

    May I ask why your pregnancy is considered high risk? I’m a c7 quad and I was born in 1981 too.. we are trying for a baby and I’m super scared dream is to have three it impossible considering my age?

    • Priscilla says

      My 3rd pregnancy was the only one that was high risk. I had a placental abrupt ion with #2 so we wanted to take extra care. It had absolutely nothing to do with age or injury. :)

  2. Jessica says

    I commented earlier on FAQs, and I love that you put, “I still do everything i want to, I just do it sitting down..” when some distant friends got wind of my other friends paralsys, they asked me, “how will he go to the bathroom”? or “he lives alone, how is he going to care for himself”? I was appalled (not really, I expected those questions, they were “eye rollers”) and i simply said “He’ll probably do everyhting the same, just chilling in his chair, if hes okay with it, why cant everyone else”. So thank you! I am so glad someone else put it out there as well!

  3. says

    I love that you said you still do everything you want to do, you just do it sitting down. I absolutely LOVE your attitude. I hope people who are new to paralysis discover your blog and feel relieved that others are out there still continuing on with their lives. You are such an inspiration.
    Ashlee´s last blog post ..The Time I Forgot The Diaper Bag

  4. Erin says

    I’m just reading your stories and really feeling like smacking your ex-friend but I guess that would not be so nice. You have been through so much. It’s people like you that make the world go round! Keep it up and big hugs to you and your family!

  5. says

    Love this site. I am a C6/7 incomplete and am 16 weeks along. We are very similar in that our paralysis has not stopped us from living the life we have wanted to live. In fact, I think it has fueled me to prove people wrong about paralysis.

    Looking forward to reading in the future. Also feel free to check out my blog also.
    Carrie Sunday´s last blog post ..another from the white buffalo.

  6. says

    I love your answers. Your bluntness, your everything. Reminded me of a while ago. I was in a wheelchair, the doctors had told me and my parents I’d never walk again. I was sitting in said “thing” in the zoo, watching monkeys eat. Some older couple walked past me, stopped behind me, and the wife whispered, “Look, a shame, isn’t it, she looks so smart and yet is so disabled. The poor thing, having to sit in that thing!”
    I turned around in my thing and said, “Don’t worry, it’s okay. The thing actually helps me get around.”
    She blushed, again turned to her husband and said, “Well, how was I supposed to know she can speak!”

    Honestly, Priscilla, you are an inspiration; I used to live in San Antonio and I still LOVE Shiner. I wish we’d met in person when I was still “over there”!

    • Priscilla says

      Hi Kim! Thank you for reaching out. I don’t think anyone ever suspected me of not being able to speak but wowzers. It would have been great to meet you! :)

      • says

        I am not even sure why she would’ve thought that just because of the wheels, but hey… people do think strange things, don’t they.
        Well, whenever I am in San Antonio, I’ll make sure to announce the visit first and maybe we can meet in San Marco’s :)

  7. says

    I have tears in my eyes reading through this. I am pregnant with our first child and found out just eight days into being paralyzed from the neck down from a rare neuro illness. Although I am recovering, I still have bouts of it and have heard some pretty terrible remarks about how I could possible care for a child if I cannot walk (crazy, huh?!). Reading through your blog has put such hope that if I do have other bouts, it will still be okay (and I can still be a MOM!). From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
    Lindsey @ DishingUpHope´s last blog post ..Packing for a Hospital Stay

  8. says

    I too use a chair. But I’ve gone on to do beautiful things. I’m a teacher with a PhD. Oh the places these wheels have taken me…

    Ps. I see your photo was taken by Janie Jones. She was a photog friend of mine and lived near me in KS! Great lady!

  9. Will says

    Thanks for letting me share Priscilla—

    The Son of a Paraplegic Father, My Story:

    I found my way to this site by searching for other adult children of paraplegics who may have developed similar anxiety issues as myself. I should start from the beginning of my search because I have actually had an epiphany and it involves life, death, belief, etc.

    I’ve been feeling extremely anxious the past couple of days, and by anxious I mean worrisome and panicky. I lost faith in therapy a long time ago but, I did have a counselor diagnose me with GAD so I did have a little to go on. I’m prescribed klonopin by my family doctor, but these can rob you of your life in a way because if you aren’t feeling you aren’t living. Anyway, I did a GAD search and something stuck out: Some researchers believe that you have so much worry and fear because you have a much deeper concern that you are not addressing, and if you resolve the deeper concern all the other fears should return to that of an emotionally healthy person. I figured, what the hell I’ll give it a chance.

    I started trying to trace back to my earliest memory of anxiety, it goes back pretty far to early childhood. I then began trying to find the root of it. It’s a fear of losing my parents, more specifically my father, who is paralyzed. Not because I love him more than my mom, but because throughout my life there have been more urgent risk associated with my dad. My dad was paralyzed in 1976, a few months before my birth. I won’t go into detail, suffice it to say, the cause was violent and heinous in a Martin Scorcese kind of way. There wasn’t as much help back then in ways of therapy to help someone who has just been paralyzed cope emotionally-or my Dad was too stubborn to accept the help that was available-so my Dad went through years of depression and alcoholism. In and out of the hospital and multiple suicide attempts. He’s better now and has been for a long time.

    I think my parents’ stress and anxiety rubbed off on me, but more specifically, the doctor told my Dad that he would live for only about ten years after the incident. Fortunately medical technology has kept up with his condition, but back then he believed it. When he made it past the ten year mark I guess he thought I should be prepared so he told me that, “he wouldn’t be around much longer.” I think I was too young to process that emotionally, but again, I think he wanted to prepare me. I think I’ve worried about him obsessively since then.

    So admitting that my primary fear was my Dad’s death made me confront it. No one is exempt, many of you have lost a parent or will lose a parent, we all know we share this as part of the human condition. Why would it gnaw at me anymore than anyone else? Simple, I’m an atheist. I’m not an agenda-having-firebrand, I believe we all should be able to believe what makes sense to us. And I’m not a non-believer because of my childhood and my Dad’s condition. I’m atheist because it makes sense to me.

    My dad is and always was a great father, husband, and an even better grandfather. He taught me so much- he turned my attention to art (I’m a Graphic Designer), he gave me a love of intellectual pursuits, a love of science, the list goes on and on-and I carry all of that with me as a man. He went through his bad times, but he gave so much to so many. He understands people in a way that I envy, and I am not prone to envy. I have a younger cousin my dad used to babysit, and my cousin loved watching the discovery channel with my dad, especially sabre tooth cats-I was a teen at the time and my attention was on, ummm… extracurricular activities with the opposite gender. My dad buried an old chicken bone, gave my young cousin a spoon, and told him to dig where that mound was that there was something funny about it. My cousin did so and thought he had found a sabre tooth fossil. I asked my Dad why he never did that with me and his reply was, “you weren’t interested in that stuff, you were happier with pencil and paper.” To me, that statement was profound, my dad has an ability to accept people for who they are and not, who he wants them to be.

    So my epiphany was this: I haven’t accepted that I will lose my parents someday and as an Atheist I also have no emotional/spiritual way to deal with it when I do, and that, may very well be the core of my excessive anxiety. Knowing I have something to work on now helps. I feel I can conquer this fear and all the tendrils that sprout off of it and invade my peace of mind.

    With all of that out of the way. I want say to everyone raising a child and dealing with a spinal injury. Never feel insecure in your child’s/children’s love for you. You don’t embarrass us and you could never be a burden on us, we love you with the same intensity that a child of parents without a disability do. If not in some ways more, because we understand that life is fragile and valuable beyond words, and it makes us more empathetic, and I feel, better people.

    My Dad is, was, and will always be my hero -despite his handicap.

    Thanks again for letting me share, Priscilla.


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