Saturday, October 27, 2007

The wheelchair that won't give up

March 24th, 2007 @ about 11pm, Baton Rouge, LA: While drinking with friends poolside, I decide I'm going to jump into a 4ft. deep pool. But I don't just jump, I dive. As I'm floating to the surface I realize I can't move. I broke my neck, not only did I break my neck, my spinal cord is swelling up, which is the reason I can't move. FUCK!

April 9th @ 9:35am, Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, BR, LA: I'm on a respirator, tube down my throat, being prepared to be flown to Dallas, TX. I'm going to a rehab hospital, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation. By now I've been told that I shattered my C5 vertebra, and the swelling has caused my spinal cord to stop working below my C6 spinal nerve. And I've been told I won't walk again. Awesome.
At about 1p I arrive at BIR, and I meet my nurses and doctor for the next two months. I'm told I'm a C5-C6 incomplete quadriplegic. And I'm thinking what does that mean?

June 9th @ 12pm: After two months of almost nothing, very little therapy and rehab, I'm discharged from BIR. I have functional use of my shoulders, neck, biceps, very little wrists and chest. I don't know how I'm going to function, and how I'm to cope. No one has told me if I'll regain use of my hands, or be able to walk again. What a bunch of bull. My doctor has skirted around the question, my therapists have no answers and my hospital appointed shrink has told me, in psycho babble, there's always a chance. WHAT?! And I'm supposed to be going home and automatically know how to adapt? Right. All I know is I have to stretch, watch my pee and the catheter, drink lots of water, watch what I eat, keep a regular pooping schedule, make sure my skin doesn't break down and form a pressure sore, and watch out for the signs of Autonomic Dysreflexia... ok. See ya BIR. Hello Real Life Rehab.

Today: I've learned a lot more with my personal PT and OT (from BIR) than I did while I was there. And I'm a work in progress. My possibilities are endless and I'm blowing my PT's expectations away. But she's the reason I'm doing so well. I can push a manual wheelchair, do most of the work required to do a transfer, and I'm a propping queen. She told me that when we started working with each other, she didn't think we'd be able to do much at all. There's a lot of progress and there will be more, but that's because I'm determined, and I'm not as depressed as I used to be. And I have a therapist who is concerned about me being able to more than expected.

There's more to this... there's always more, you just got to be willing to do what it takes to get more.

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