Wow. Wow. Wow. There’s no doubt about it, Push Girls saved the best episode for last. This week’s season finale was inspiring, educating and super-duper entertaining. If you didn’t catch it and are curious about wheelchair living, go to iTunes and download the episode now. It’s something that shouldn’t be missed.
The first story line of Episode 14 was Angela’s trip to New York with boyfriend Cody. After a season of explaining the difficulties of the modeling agency, she finally scored a national modeling campaign for the department store Nordstrom’s, which was to be shot in New York. The real shocker was not that Angela was granted the job, because let’s face it, she’s a very beautiful woman, but the real eye-opener was that she chose her boyfriend to be her caregiver for the weekend trip. Angela’s paralyzed sorority sisters are stunned to learn this news because they know what it ultimately means—Cody must catheterize Angela every 4-6 hours and also complete some sort of bowel program (something never mentioned on TV). To put in layman’s terms, Cody had to get his hands dirty (not really, I’m sure he used gloves) in helping Angela go #1 and #2.
I have to give Angela mad props for sharing this part of her lifestyle with the world because it’s certainly the most difficult aspect of being paralyzed. I’m actually shocked she placed so much responsibility on Cody considering the short amount of time they’ve been dating (which I’m not exactly sure what the timeframe is in between episodes, but I’m assuming it’s only been months). I haven’t asked my fiancé, of who I’ve lived with for over two years, to perform these tasks for me because I think it important to keep my lover and my caregiver separate (much like what Tiphany, Mia and Auti agreed to). With that being said, I’m sure Cory (not to be confused with Cody) would do most anything in the world for me if I needed him to (and has many times). Angela was brave to show her almost naked body, and the catheters and the diapers and the pads and the other medical supplies that come along with this injury. Being paralyzed is not just about not walking, there’s a whole other medical world that goes along with it and for the first time last night it was shown on TV.
As everyone knows, many things go wrong when traveling. But when you have a neurological bladder and bowel, like Angela tried to gracefully explain on camera, a main concern is often having accidents. No adult wants to urinate or shit themselves, especially in a public place like an airplane, especially, especially knowing the only person available to help clean up the mess is a lover. Add adrenaline from a photo shoot and eating new foods in a different city, and the anxiety of accidents can be quadrupled. So kudos Angela! You made a big bold move by trusting your lover to take care of you, and also sharing this experience with the rest of the world. The fear always is being rejected for having such a difficult lifestyle, and I can’t even fathom how scared you must have felt for the both of you. The good news is you survived, and Cody is still around.
During the trip to New York, Angela also took the opportunity to teach viewers the difficulties of traveling with a wheelchair. She showed how wheelchair users board a plane. (We are placed onto a tiny straight back chair and rolled to our seats while our wheelchair gets shoved into the bottom of the plane with the other luggage.) She talked about the dangers of transferring in and out of taxis, which is dangerous everywhere but definitely more of a nuisance in New York thanks to traffic and the fact cab drivers aren’t willing to waste extra minutes to load people and wheelchairs. (Viewers get to see cabs honking at Angela while she is being placed into her wheelchair in the middle of the street.) And finally, in this episode we got to see what Angela does best, which is pose in front of the camera at the Nordstrom shoot. Again and very bravely, she shared the trials and tribulations of dressing and the difficulty of changing clothes when not able to stand in between shoots.
All in all, the New York trip seemed to go well. Angela did a very good job letting cameras peek into her very private life; and Cody successfully took care of his lady both emotionally and physically. Both, deserving a standing ovation for their efforts (I know. I know. Sorry. Too soon?).
The other story line of tonight’s finale was Auti reuniting with her father. Apparently and according to Auti, the man skipped town to Switzerland after losing his wife to cancer (Auti’s mother). This happened soon after she became paralyzed and so Auti felt abandoned by both parents when she needed them most, creating many harsh feelings towards her only surviving parent. Trying to come to terms with her reality and squash any bad feelings, she wanted to address the issue and move forward. The father and daughter go to lunch, and for the first time she hears his side of the story—how he felt like he couldn’t cope after watching the love of his life die. Together, they cry the hurt away and make a promise to start anew.
She makes the first move by inviting him to her film premiere called Musical Chairs. On the day of the event, she panics he will disappoint her by not showing up but then sees him walking up the sidewalk and explodes with happiness. Angela, Cody, Tiphany, Mia and Chelsea are all at the theater too, watching the movie and showing support for their dear dancing diva of a friend. End scene.
This is the kind of episode I wished Push Girls could have started with from the beginning. By far it was the best show all season, hitting all the emotional cords with its audience, and genuinely showcasing what life is like for those of us that use wheelchairs. The good news is there will be a Season 2, which means more wheelchair living is coming to a TV near you. Stay tuned…