Every girl wants the freedom of throwing up her hair whenever she pleases, but when your fingers are paralyzed, even partially, this is something you have to give up (quite painfully I might add). But Elizabeth, 25, a C6-7 quadriplegic woman studying law at Stanford University, refused to accept her no-pony-tail fate and figured out a way to put her hair up independently after working on a technique for about 2 years. By combining the right lean and moving her hands and manipulating her paralyzed fingers just so, her pony tail technique works.
As a C6-7 quadriplegic woman, Elizabeth can move her arms almost normally, and she has about 10% finger function; certainly not enough to just throw her air up thoughtlessly whenever she wants to. She can move her thumb on her left hand and her left index finger, as well as some lower hand tendons. But as her video of her showing off her technique shows, once she’s in the right position and has her hair in the exact place she needs, everything falls into place and she can get her ponytail up in less than a minute.
Unfortunately, since my injury is at the C5-6 level (one level above Elizabeth’s) her technique won’t work for me. But despite only C6-7 quads being the only people who can really use the information exactly the way it‘s laid out, it also has another, much bigger lesson: It shows that whatever your injury level, you should make the most of every muscle movement, even if it’s only a flicker, because you never know what you may be able to figure out. The ability of humans to think their way out of almost any situation, even if it takes years, will astound you.
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