Advantages of Being a Quadriplegic

It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in your life and most people would think that it’s inconceivable to find anything positive about being a quadriplegic. But when I started writing a list of advantages of being paralysed from the neck down, I was surprised by how much I could come up with. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.

  • Time is a gift to us all. Most people prefer to use it up doing menial tasks. I’ll sit with you for hours without getting up to do the dishes, not even once. Just bring along some stimulating conversation and don’t forget the wine.
  • My manicures last, because I don’t have to do the dishes. Ever.
  • The best thing about ordering prawns in a restaurant is that I don’t have to peel them, and if we eat them at home, I’m not the one responsible for cleaning them.
  • I can be a stay-at-home mom and housewife without guilt because nobody will employ me.
  • Waxing or epilating body hair is not for sissies. Clearly, I’m not one. I don’t feel a thing.
  • I get away with being bossy by giving it a fancy name: verbal independence. Without me telling you what to do, how will you know what I want, when I want it or how I want it?
  • Living life at butt-height can get very interesting, depending on whose butt I’m following. If my jaw is unhinged and my face is flushed, you’ll know that the butt cheeks are hot, hot, hot. Crotches can be scary though, especially if the zipper has been left open or they are wearing cookie cutters.
  • When I’m having a bad day, I have a good excuse to feel sorry for myself because that is what people expect from people living with a disability.
  • A drop dead gorgeous man will make my knees weak, but since I’m already seated, it won’t be obvious that I’m making a fool of myself.
  • It’s easy to fake calmness in any situation because my body will not react any other way.
  • Being short means that I don’t have far to fall. I like doing all my own stunts.
  • Not being able to do my own hair and make-up gives me a good enough reason to have it done professionally often.
  • I’ll be the last to leave any cocktail party when everybody’s legs are aching from standing all evening.
  • No matter where I go, I’m always waited on like a princess.
  • I never have to remember to load a chair in the back of my van.
  • I can’t get drunk on my own, so I always need someone to share the bubbles and laughter.
  • My butt looks big because I have a wheelchair stuck to it. What’s your excuse?
  • I can’t feel the pain and discomfort of ingrown toenails and shingles that often occur in my body.
  • As long as the mosquitoes follow my directions and bite me below my shoulders, I don’t feel the itch.
  • When I was little I wanted to be a model. Now I’ll always be a ‘roll’ model.
  • I can shop for hours without complaining about aching legs.
  • I can wear stiletto heels without complaining about aching feet.
  • There is always a reserved parking spot for me, although I wish they wouldn’t put it at the front of a building because lazy idiots tend to steal it.
  • I don’t have to stand up during those long hymns and prayers in church.
  • Disability shows up your strengths and weaknesses very quickly, so I know myself well.
  • I can run at 15 km/h without ever getting tired.
  • I can’t squeeze pimples, which means they heal a lot faster and they don’t leave ugly scars. Yes, I still get them. What’s up with that at forty-five?
  • Paralysis has taught me many life lessons – patience, acceptance, courage, compassion… And the list goes on. I’ve also learnt to accept the things I cannot change and focus on the things I can.
  • I can bump into somebody and they are always the one to feel bad and apologise.
  • My shoes never wear out. In my case, they should come with a lifetime guarantee.
  • I have a medical excuse for a fat tummy. It’s called quad gut. Being paralysed means I don’t have to worry about pulling in my tummy. What’s your excuse?
  • Injections don’t hurt. But, to be honest, they still terrify me.
  • I often get pushed to the front of the queue.
  • I can never be forced to give a standing ovation at a performance that sucked.
  • I never have to deal with a cold toilet seat.
  • People think I’m deaf, so I get to hear a lot more than I should.
  • I can be carried to bed every night. Thank God for my Sexy Legs.
  • I always stick out in a crowd. There’s no need to wave to get anybody’s attention.
  • I can wangle neck massages from anyone by just tipping my head and saying, “Ouch!”
  • I’m a cheap date because I get to drink everything through a straw. No more than two drinks and I’ll be plastered. Guaranteed.
  • I get to have dogs without the responsibility of picking up their turds. But if I don’t get somebody to do it, it backfires on me by getting stuck in my wheels.
  • My date has to feed me, which is awesome foreplay.
  • My ears are like little pleasure buttons in an erotic zone. Fortunately my ENT is attractive. It makes going to the doctor so much more worthwhile.
  • I can pee lying down. If I use an indwelling catheter at night time, I don’t ever have to worry about having wet dreams. That means I can play with fire too.
  • I can write without lifting a finger.
  • People love to take my photograph. It must be my smile.
  • I never have to pack and unpack my luggage when going away.
  • I don’t have to do the ironing. I hate ironing. And cooking.


It’s no wonder some people fake being paralysed because my life is not so bad after all.

I’m looking forward to your contributions.

About Tracy Todd (Brave Lotus Flower)

Author of Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon – an intimate and inspiring memoir of a quadriplegic. Inspirational Speaker. Teacher. Counsellor. Wife. Mother. Animal lover. Although I need a wheelchair to get around, it is most certainly not what defines me.
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37 Responses to Advantages of Being a Quadriplegic

  1. Barbie says:

    My mother is a quadriplegic and I had to share these with her. They were so funny, love your positive outlook on life! It’s a gift. 🙂

  2. Your sense of humor makes me smile.

  3. clittle914 says:

    Tracy, This is a wonderful post! I linked to it on my very new blog because it truly touched me. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Cyndy Little

  4. Lucia says:

    Hi Tracy, you’re a real inspiration for everyone that’s normal. We complain too much about small things in life! I enjoyed reading this post and had a good laugh! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Tracy – thank you for this. It was hilarious! I’ve been a quadriplegic sense August 2013. And like you, I was very active and athletic prior to my accident. I’m looking for support group – even an online support. Can you make a recommendation?

  6. livinwheeled says:

    These were hilarious! I can relate to many but not all of these as I’m not paralyzed. My favorite is the at butt level one…. I’ve grown to appreciate a fine looking butt lol.

  7. Ti NiMaille says:

    Thanks Tracy.
    I recently had surgery on my knee. I had some unexpectedly fascinating experiences that made me realize that I was way more bias and critical than I thought. Going to the grocery store and having to use the cart was the most interesting. At times it felt like I was even more disabled than I was because of the normal things I could not do that “ordinary” folks (like me) can do without thinking. Navigating narrow isles in a cart, hearing the annoying beeping noise when reversing direction, not able to reach items that were above my head. It was exhausting.

    I work in an architect’s office and specialize in accessibility for public buildings. Rolling in your tracks for a few weeks made me appreciate just how much the modern world (US) has accommodated for the less able bodied. I can’t imagine how life would be for a paraplegic in an underdeveloped country. It also made me appreciate that there is long way to go – and job security for me.

    Years ago I had an acquaintance who got a terminal disease (not popular to joke about), And when he was in the hospital the last time saw him, he made a remark that I had to laugh at – because though he said it with a straight face – it was too funny not to share in the moment with him. He laughed as well – but it was a sad laugh in a way that I came to discover the humor was not uncommon for the condemned to have a need to express. Gallows humor.

    He said the good thing is that he could only get the disease once.

    Hang in there, Tracy.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Dear Ti, thank you for your comment.

      It’s true, that one does not realise the challenges of accessibility until it touches your own life. I’m sure that your experience will make you much more aware and you can make a difference in the field of architecture. My Sexy Legs is also an architect and he has become pedantic about accessibility in every building he designs.

      I love your friend’s sense of humour. I can relate in a small way.

  8. Anton says:

    Love the attitude!

  9. Andy says:

    Dear Tracy,

    Having not been able to use my shoulder for the past five weeks has allowed me to appreciate your condition (and the difference one cervical level makes) to a very small degree.

    Although being a quadriplegic has obvious, and many not so obvious, disadvantages I commend you and appreciate your observations of the advantages of being a quadriplegic. Here are my advantages.

    1. I’ll always have an available lap for children, and now grandchildren, to sit upon.

    2. I know that my spouse married me for who I truly am and not for my body.

    3. I have managed to get off speeding fines even when I’m guilty as sin.

    4. I am allowed to buy a second-hand vehicle from overseas at a very good rate.

    5. A lot of people think I am courageous and brave, but in reality I am just doing my best to survive under the circumstances.

    6. Being a disability pensioner I get pensioner discount from many stores.

    7. I was often bumped up to business or first class when flying. This happened in the past but does not happen any more.

    8. It only takes 15 min to renew my drivers license.

    9. I do not sign in at any complex or business park.

  10. Tracy, thank you for the wonderfully uplifting and happy post.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  11. Oded Ben Dov says:

    You’re so awesome!!
    (As an addition how about – you get these comments? 😉 )

  12. Tracy Todd, you make me smile and your attitude makes me wish I could bottle it and make a lot of other people drink it. Thanks!

  13. Rein Botha says:

    Good one Trace!! Hehehehe. Allmost all that you mentioned I can relate to… I did say almost! Haven’t tried stilleto’s… dont think it comes in size 13… LOL :-p
    As a quad looking at things from a lower perspective things do get very interesting…eye level equals boob level too and every once in a while making eye contact and keeping it at eye cantact does get a bit tricky. And then “accidently” dropping something or asking for a little help with shoe laces does slip in one’s mind too 😉
    But my favourite advantage of being a quad… hugs!!
    Thank you for a good read and the smile that it came with.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Hi Rein, thanks so much for your comment.

      I’m sure some of the drag queens wear size 13 stilettos. I think we should try to get you a pair just for fun.

      Boobs and men’s fascination with them never ceases to amaze me.

      I get the bit about the hugs too. Thanks for making me smile.

  14. Although I’m not in a wheelchair (I use crutches) I can still identify with most of what’s on the list. The one I like most about being “disabled” is that I don’t have to stand in queues anymore (although in Cape Town where I live there are still places that don’t care a hoot).

    Thank you Tracy for putting this in writing. We often focus so on the negative we fail to see the positive until we see it written down like this. I have Tweeted this post and re-blogged as well.

    Keep up the sterling job of motivating us into action.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Yes, we all need to be reminded to focus on the positive things in our lives from time to time. Thank you for taking the time to comment and I am honoured that you chose to share it and re-blog it. Thank you.

  15. Reblogged this on africandream01 and commented:
    Although I’m not in a wheelchair I can identify with most of what’s listed here. Thank you Tracy for writing this.

  16. You can remain quiet enough to invite the approach of animals, and you’ll never have to shake the hand of an insincere person. (Sorry about still having to perform “air kisses”.)

    Many adults already regard you as invisible, a power of some significance. There might be work for you in espionage, or as a superhero with the power to cloud minds.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      I love that, Mikey. It’s true. I’ve had many animals and birds coming up really close. It’s an amazing experience. Unfortunately, I’m also quiet enough (or not fast enough) to invite the approach of human animals. And often those insincere people rub my head like you would do to a dog. It drives me insane.

      Sometimes air kisses are the better option. 😉

      Hmmm… Espionage or superhero? Decisions, decisions. Love it. Thank you.

  17. sakie says:

    i often get pushed to the front of the queue. i really enjoy this part when i’m at the bank

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Being pushed to the front of any queue anywhere makes me happy. I hate standing around wasting time. Besides, nobody talks in queues any more. They are all busy on their cell phones.

  18. Dougal says:

    Wonderful article Tracy. You are very funny… Perhaps you should consider “stand up”….ummm, no, maybe not😄.
    I can identy with the shouting one. When I was being airlifted back to JHB from PE after breaking my neck I was trussed up like a chicken waiting for the oven, in a commercial airliner and people boarding would shout ” WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU”….Crazy 😄

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Thank you, Dougal.

      Ummm, yeah, stand up wouldn’t work too well. 😉

      I’ve considered wearing a label on my head saying: Please don’t SHOUT. I’m paralysed not hard of hearing.

  19. Terry says:

    You can drink as much as you want and will always have a designated driver 🙂

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