From happiness on different streets
Evelyne Studer chose truck driving as a profession. The young woman liked hard work and enjoyed the freedom on wheels – until she had a terrible accident and suffered a severed spinal cord. In one moment everything was different. Dreams vanished. Doubt flooded her thoughts. In the meanwhile the 35 year old wheelchair driver no longer looks in the rear-view mirror. She has found happiness on other streets and now looks to the future.
One would not guess that Evelyne Studer was a truck driver. This graceful young woman did not want to be recognised in a traditional sense, in the category that exists of business people in anycase. She grew up in Switzerland, in the town of Zofingen and later in Aarwangen, where her parents had a resturant. Evelyne learned from the beginning to help out in the family business and from a young age decided to work in an activity which at the time, was still seen to be somewhat exotic for women.
The last drive
On the 17th March 1997 Evelyne had to deliver a load of drainage pipes from Kappel to the town of Yverdon. Shortly before 5am Evelyne hurried cheerfully across the parking area to her truck. It had been loaded the previous evening, so that she could leave first thing in the morning. She climbed aboard the trailer. As perscribed by regulations she checked her load with the usual routine glances and a few tugs on the tying straps here and there. Everything was in order. She banged the dust off her hands, swung herself into the driver seat and shut her eyes for a brief moment.
At 7.30am Evelyne arrived at the building site in Yverdon. The foreman saluted her with a wink and directed her to where the pipes were to be unloaded. The motor was hardly turned off when Evelyne jumped out of the truck. She went around to the back and released the straps. These straps had been holding three rows of pipes in place. When the straps were loosened the top pipe which had been disturbed in transport, rolled from the top of the load. The pipe met Evelyne on the head and back and drove her with a powerful blow to the ground. She lost conciousness instantly. The building workers rushed to her assistance and notified the emergency doctor immediately. The x-rays showed the massive dislocation between her 12th breast and first Lumbar vertebrae. The neurological tests confirmed that she had lost the use of both legs.
Chance acquaintanceship with consequences
As Evelyne Studer coincidently bumped into Beat Pisa much early, both of them couldn’t have known that they were both standing on the verge of a completely new, united, time in their lives. The first discussion over a drink had been congenial for both parties. The two had previously had bad experience in relationships. It was the first contact of any kind with a disabled person for Beat Pisa. “One day I realised that I didn’t even notice the wheelchair anymore. I felt however a strong affection for this extraordinary woman. I am in awe of her and have great respect for what Evelyn overcomes and accomplishes everyday. She does it really super!” For Evelyne Studer a period of happiness began that she had never experience before. The wish to move in with Beat and begin a family was soon to be a reality.
Wheelchair driver becomes mother
It really only sunk in, in the moment that Evelyne realised she was pregnant. The nine months of pregnancy passed without one single physical ailment. The mother to be, experienced however, a period of extreme apprehension early on in the pregnancy. As out of nowhere she had a terrible fear, that her partner would no longer be attracted to her. Beat took the situation to heart. He took time off work and proved to her even with this gesture, his willingness to commit to this partnership. Evelyne found inner peace and balance once more and made herself ready with enthusiasm for motherhood. She was proud of her ever rounder tummy. Most people shared her happiness, some people however, didn’t hold back their criticism: “She should be looking after herself – and now this! How will that ever come right?” Evelyne put her sickness to one side and didn’t let the critics affect her. Elena was born healthy and fit on the 26th April 2002 and brought a new light and dimension to the lives of her parents. She developed quickly and is already a happy young girl with irresistible charm. “I don’t really see myself being different to other mothers. Only we do one or two things a bit strangely perhaps, right Elena?” It sounds carefree and Evelyne is certain that she can raise her child very normally in the future.
Source: Silvia Buscher, Paraplegie magazine, No. 106, Paramedia
Translation: PmcC, MyH