Thank you mom and dad.

My parents, Merit and Bengt, have always been there for me.


They refused to accept the medical verdict on my future and
defied the doctors' call to abandon me to an institution for the rest of my life. They loved me and fought for me to have the right to live a full life.

They fought battles, tore down barriers and fought prejudice to protect my rights when I was too young to do it myself.

They gave me a home and a family where I was loved and accepted

for who I was.


They comforted me when I was sad, supported me in adversity and
encouraged me to succeed.


They gave me the opportunity to participate and develop like other children.


They gave me life and they chose life.

Merit & Bengt

A little boy

I was born at the Regional Hospital in Örebro

on May 14, 1964.

 

At that time no one knew what awaited them at the birth. Neither my parents nor the staff knew what happened to the fetus during pregnancy.

 

"What happened?" said my mother anxiously to one of the nurses who was left in the room.

"A little boy," she replied, and then it became quiet again.

 

After an hour, the female doctor entered the room.

She was noticeably shaken and had difficulty finding words. She gave a message that was brutal and shocking.

 

"It did not turn out as it should… It turned out to be a boy, and he lacks arms and legs."

A few days after the birth, my mother went home again from the hospital, without me.

Merit with Mikael at the hospital

She had not seen me yet. Only about a month later, she saw me for the first time.

But the doctors wanted something else.

Their attitude was that children with such severe disabilities should be taken care of by the healthcare system.

Based on this alone, it was decided that I probably would become dependent on care for the rest of my life.

People with power and influence had very definite opinions and unfortunately too limited ability to see opportunities, as their statements clearly show:

"The boy will never even learn to sit up by himself."

"Such children are better off in an institution."

"Leave the boy in a nursing home, try to forget him and have a new baby," the doctors told my mom and dad.

Mikael & Bengt

A constant worry that the phone would ring ...

When I look back on my childhood, it is mainly all the positive and bright memories that stand out most. The love and security of my parents and my sister Marie.

 

A quiet environment in a residential area with proximity and accessibility to everything we needed. There were playgrounds, bike paths, large lawns, and it was close to both nature and the city.

 

I had friends and I got to play and experience all the wonderful and exciting things that children should be

allowed to do.

 

But I also had an ever-present anxiety about when it was time again.

When would I be forced to return to Stockholm? I had no real idea of ​​time and also no knowledge of when it was planned for the next trip.

Mikael & little sister Marie with our beloved dog Bonnie

Children's party!

Örjan, Karin, Elisabeth, Anette, Marie, Inger, Gunilla, Torbjörn, Mikael

EH, or Eugeniahemmet as it was actually called, was close by to Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm.

Already during my first year of life I stayed there and this then continued in different rounds for many years, for testing and training with prostheses.

 

In the beginning, the periods in the hospital were long, sometimes one to two months.

Then the time was shortened the older I got. One to two weeks' stay was common. It was necessary to have time for testing and enough training before I was ready to train with the prostheses in my home environment.

I cry quietly, but no one hears me

It is dark. Dim light from the corridor finds its way into the dormitory, but it does not reach all the way to my bed.

Some voices are heard in the distance and it is flushing in a tap on the floor above. I hear the other children breathing calmly right next door. Someone moves and bumps into the sidebars of his bed. It rattles a little metallically, but then it's quiet again. The others in the room are asleep, but I'm not.

 

All unknown sounds and unfamiliar scents keep me awake. My thoughts and my longing for home prevent me from sleeping. It's impossible. I can't relax. What will happen tomorrow? Who will come and help me up? Is she kind?

I crawl further under the covers. It feels like the blanket is the only thing that protects me from all the horrible, dangerous and threatening in the dark room I am in. My thoughts wander around and even though I really try to avoid thinking about mom and dad, I end up there anyway. And then I start crying.

Mom would have heard me if she had only been there. But she was not there, she was far away.

 

I cry quietly but no one hears me.

Mikael at Eugeniahemmet

Mikael at Eugeniahemmet

I believe in you

And the day you start to believe in yourself you will be unstoppable

Merit with Mikael at the hospital

Okay, I can start ...

We had been informed that the traffic inspector would come and pick us up at 08.30 the next morning.

I hardly slept at all that night and I had probably managed to snooze for a while when there was a knock on the door and the traffic inspector and our teacher stood outside and wondered who wanted to start?

 

It was 07.00 and I saw the panic in Johan's eyes at the same time as I started to visualize traffic roundabouts and left turns. "Okay, I can start," I heard myself say and I immediately regretted it. Why did I say that? When I now, after three years of waiting, will finally be allowed to do my driving license test, I offer to do it half asleep and wearing pyjamas!

Now it didn't turn out as I feared. The traffic inspector and the teacher were in no hurry and they had a cup of coffee while I got dressed.

Mikael picks up his first car in Hedemora 1984

I completed my run up concentrated and decisively. The traffic inspector was nice and friendly and immediately created an atmosphere that made me calm and focused on my task. The fear of failure was blown away.

The only thing I saw in front of me was how I drove flawlessly and how I succeeded.

I parked the car outside the barracks and waited for the verdict. He sat on the seat next to me, deep in thought and frantically took notes with a handwriting that was impossible to decipher. Is it good or bad that he writes so much?

Is this normal or does it indicate that he is considering prosecuting me for negligence in traffic?

The thoughts spun. With a dark voice and an absolutely wonderful dialect, he then said:

"Hmm… okay Mikael, you did great!

The victory was greater than the sacrifice!

I got the driver's license, but not without a "sacrifice". At that time I was not independent in personal hygiene, dressing and undressing and toilet visits. I needed help with such things and only accepted my closest ones in the family and felt safe with it.

 

In order to complete the driving license training in Hedemora, however, it was required that I lived there by myself and was referred to assistance from healthcare staff employed at the school. I was faced with a very difficult dilemma and it was a decision that was both difficult and complicated for me, a 19-year-old guy with very strong integrity. I finally chose to pay the high price it meant to get my driver's license. I'm proud to have made that choice and have never regretted it.

My lesson from this is that success comes at a price. Sometimes the price is so high that most people give up and blame circumstances beyond their control. My choice, on the other hand, was based on the fact that the driving license and overcoming all obstacles and challenges was much more important than what I had to sacrifice.

 

The victory was greater than the sacrifice!

The driver's seat in my fourth car 2018

The wheelchair is located in the middle section of the car

Welcome Sara!

I saw a blonde beautiful girl in the middle of the crowd of people on the tarmac. It was at Önneredsskolan in Västra Frölunda on August 26, 1988 and the orienteering association IF Väster arranged an international match. The girl was one of the officials. There was something special about her, I just could not say what it was. She caught my interest from the first moment and I decided to talk to her.

 

I didn't know at that moment, but it was the first time I saw

my future wife, Christina.

I had started with orienteering together with some

friends in Örebro as early as 1979. The founder and

enthusiast Arne Yngström introduced it together with RBU's

youth section (National organisation for Disabled children) 

the orienteering sport for people with disability and it came

to be called orienteering for disabled then. Today it is called

precision orienteering, Pre-O.

Christina and I met pretty soon in Örebro again and became

a couple. I was in love and had found what I was looking for

for a very long time.

At the same time, we were both aware that a relationship can

crack and that a relationship is put to great test of

geographical distance. But my attitude was still to bet on the

fine relationship we had created and not give up just because

we did not live in the same place. Christina agreed and we

continued to build a life together.

 

The move to Gothenburg was one of the most difficult things

I have done in my life. Leaving all the security that was in

Örebro. My parents, all the friends, all the secure and

familiar enviroment I was used to. I grew up and lived

25 years of my life there.

I left Örebro with high expectations for a new life. Because I wanted to move on, I wanted to develop and realize my dreams. But I also left Örebro with a lot of sadness in my heart. It was difficult, but it was necessary.

I knew I could come back if I wanted to and it also gave me the courage to at least give Gothenburg a chance.

 

Christina was of course happy that I wanted to move to Gothenburg, because it would in many ways improve the conditions for our relationship and our opportunities to meet more regularly.

 

One day in February 1994, Christina said: “I'm pregnant! We are going to have children! ”

The thought of becoming a father was amazing. If everything I had done earlier in life had been huge and groundbreaking in many ways, this would probably have been even more exciting. After all, I felt safe in the face of this change. This time I was not alone. Now we were two and I had a lot of confidence in Christina as the mother of our child.

Mikael won the The O-Ringen orienteering

competition 5 years in a row

Mikael & Christina on Gotland

in the early 1990s

Christina & Mikael in the Soviet Union

in the early 1990s

To be honest, I was not so sure about my own role as a father. It was probably a lot because I had such a hard time getting to grips with what was waiting

What did it really mean to have a child?

How will it be? How does life change?

 

I understood that our existence would change, but to what extent I never understood until I was there.

On October 18 at 21.53 In 1994 our little girl was born. It was a wonderful moment and I was filled with an intense feeling of joy, love and gratitude.

Everything had gone well and both mother and daughter were well.

We counted fingers and toes as I think most new parents do, but before that we also counted arms and legs and that may not be as common.

Sara

Our family increased

Sara was born on October 18, 1994

Simon was born on May 25, 1998

Linus was born on August 12, 2004

Livia was born on March 22, 2010

Livia was born on March 22, 2010

Livia was born on March 22, 2010

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