John's Journal...

Cheri Arnold – an Air Force Wounded Warrior Who Loves to Hunt and Shoot

Day 3: Cheri Arnold Says You Can Help a Person with Spinal Injuries

Editor’s Note:One of the Wounded Warriors I met at a recent gathering in north Alabama was Cheri Arnold from Wood, Arkansas, a Desert Storm veteran. She served as an Air Force Medical Technician and was injured when a gurney malfunctioned and collapsed. Later when Arnold returned home from overseas, she was severely injured in an accident with an automatic door that resulted in her becoming an incomplete paraplegic. We often think of wounded warriors as young men, 19- to 25-years old, who have fought in combat and been injured in battles. However, many wounded warriors never have fought in battles, but have put their lives on the line to serve their comrades in arms.

Click for Larger ViewWho are you? How do you define yourself? What happens when you no longer can be who you’ve been? These issues are ones that people with spinal-cord injuries often have to face. How do you accept no longer being who you’ve been prior to your injury and begin to redefine who you’re going to be? How do you handle the mental strain and anguish when you realize that the profession you’ve trained for all of your life and are happy doing is no longer going to be a part of your life? How do you make the transition from being a caregiver to having to receive care? When people with spinal-cord injuries ask these questions, all of them will have to find the answers to their questions in their own way.

Click for Larer ViewCheri Arnold had spent her whole life studying, working and believing in a life of service as a nurse. But then, because of two separate injuries, nursing was no longer an option for her. Even though she was a warrior and lead a very-active lifestyle prior to her last injury, she saw the life that she loved being taken away and needing to be replaced. Like many others Arnold asked herself what she would do, since she was no longer to pursue her dream. Different people answer this question in various ways. For some folks, finding the answer to this problem of what to do with their lives is not too hard. For others, learning the best solution to the problem involves a difficult struggle, and they may need help exploring their possibilities. Cheri Arnold was going through that process of trying to learn what a new life can be like.

Everyone wants to be independent, and most don’t want to take help from anyone. They don’t like relying on other people or not being in charge of their lives or their bodies. However, when you have a spinal-cord injury, your ability to function without another’s assistance may not permit you to be help-free. And, for Cheri Arnold, a nurse and a caregiver for many years, this was a role-reversal that she had difficulty dealing with and didn’t like at all. For most of her life, she’d been in charge, and as a nurse and mother, she’d been the ultimate caregiver. But because of her injuries, there were many things she couldn’t do, tasks she couldn’t perform, and times she had to ask for help.

Click for Larger ViewAs Arnold explains, “I want to be as independent as possible. But I’ve learned that oftentimes I hurt myself by not allowing others to help me. Too, the people who try to help me don’t know how much help I need or want, and when I prefer to be more independent.” There are no rules or guidelines for family and friends who have a family member or a close friend who’s injured. The injured person is trying to understand the new world they’ve been forced into, and the caregiver wants to help as much as possible, without taking away the independence of the injured person. You can’t sit-down, read and learn when to help and when not to help when an injured person wants to be independent. The dynamics between the caregiver and the person receiving care often creates frustration and misunderstanding. So, the spinal-cord injured person needs to determine when he or she needs help and when can he do things on his own. Listen to Cheri Arnold’s take on the situation in this video.

Courage - Stories of Hometown HeroesTo read more inspiring stories of courage, click here or go to, and type in the name of the book, “Courage – Stories of Hometown Heroes.” You can download a Kindle app for free, buy the e-book from Amazon and read it on your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Cheri Arnold Becomes Empowered

Check back each day this week for more about "Cheri Arnold – an Air Force Wounded Warrior Who Loves to Hunt and Shoot "

Day 1: Air Force Medical Technician Cheri Arnold Injures Her Back during Desert Storm
Day 2: As an Incomplete Paraplegic Air Force Veteran Cheri Arnold Learns to Have a Life
Day 3: Cheri Arnold Says You Can Help a Person with Spinal Injuries
Day 4: Cheri Arnold Becomes Empowered
Day 5: Wounded Warrior Cheri Arnold says Enjoy the Outdoors

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 666, Day 3