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  • Kimberley 10:24 pm on July 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bladder, bowel, dysfunction, jokes, , nerve pain, pressure sores   

    There Is So Much More to a Spinal Cord Injury Than Not Walking 

    I think the following joke sums up a spinal cord injury nicely…

    Doctor: “I’ve got some good news and some bad news”
    Doctor: “You’re never going walk again”
    Patient: “Whats the good news?”
    Doctor: “The bad news is, that was the good news”

    When people think of a spinal cord injury they generally think of a person not being able to walk.  This is the part that stands out the most (pardon the pun), and a lot of the time no one realizes that not being able to walk is just the tip of the iceberg.  The hidden parts of a SCI that the public don’t usually notice is the bladder and bowel dysfunction, risk of pressure sores, autonomic dysfunction, nerve pain, muscle spasms, the hardware and pumps inside bodies, the scars from surgeries, and the list goes on…

    Sometimes I wish people would look past the fact that I’m sitting in a wheelchair and notice these other things, but other times I’m happy they don’t because then I am not viewed as so different than anyone else.

    • Chloe 2:54 am on August 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Kim, I always appreciate your ability to say how it is, without either understatement or overdramatisation, just keeping it real. Your thoughts and feelings from different perspectives do not imply a contradiction, just complementary aspects of the same situation.

      It seems very presumptuous of me to say that I get what you are talking about, so I beg your indulgence. Yet I do feel I have some understanding of such things. I have things visible, like being in a wheelchair, and things hidden. And I have exactly that same apparent conflict of emotion concerning what is not visible.

      Even some specific things of which you talk, the universe has seen fit to give me teasers thereof. On Thursday night I experienced the most intense, and most painful, spasms yet. A few months ago I had my first, and only, very minor very small pressure sore.

      Perhaps I am simply sending my resume to demonstrate that I am qualified to feel empathy. But it goes well beyond that. When I think of Kim I think of brilliance, integrity, compassion, understanding, problem solving, loyalty, determination, positivity, realism, creativity, kindness, humour, imagination…

      Thank you for your openness and vulnerability, Kim. In a nutshell what I have to say is “There Is So Much More to Kim Than a Spinal Cord Injury.”

      • Kim & Duke 1:16 pm on August 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much Chloe! When I was younger I remember so many painful nights of spasms where my mom would sit on the bed next to me rubbing my legs to try to help. I’m glad I don’t feel them now, although they still cause AD sometimes and sometimes I do get them in my neck. The ones in my diaphragm that prevent me from breathing are the most worrisome at the moment.

        I’m flattered by the last paragraph of your comment! I don’t know how to reply to that besides saying thank you…

        • Chloe 1:06 pm on August 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          I’ve been trying to bend my mind around how I would handle diaphragm spasms, without yet coming to a comfortable brain space about it. My leg spasms (from SCI), and upper back spasms (from fibromyalgia), don’t seem even remotely to prepare me for such a thing. How did you develop the psychological technique for dealing with this?

          • Kim & Duke 2:51 pm on August 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            Well I had no choice in the matter. They happen and I can’t tell when they are coming, how many there will be or how long they will last. The only thing I can do is either panic, which wont help at all, or wait them out.

            • Chloe 11:09 pm on August 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

              Exactly the same words appear to be applicable also to computer malfunctions and bureaucrat attacks. These are the main things in life which cause me serious anxiety. Thank you for the expert psychotherapy. I feel like I should be paying you.

  • Kimberley 3:06 pm on July 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ankles, blood pressure, , , mattresses, , , , pressure sores,   

    What’s Causing The AD? 

    Around 2:30AM on Saturday morning I was still awake and not feeling very well at all.  I had Autonomic Dysreflexia, which was confirmed when my blood pressure was checked and it was 171/some very high number!  My blood pressure usually stays nicely around the 90/60 mark.  The AD got worse while I was doing a catheter (it should have been going away, not getting worse), so the wrinkles were smoothed out of the sheet I was laying on, my bowel was checked (even though my bowel program was only completed about five hours earlier), and my feet were checked for any ingrown toenails or pressure spots.

    My blood pressure did start to come down, and the nurses went to contact the doctor that was on-call.  While they were doing that I felt like I was going to throw up and discovered quite by accident that the cause of my AD was connected to my left leg.  As I turned it sideways to stabilize myself the AD started to go away.  I called the nurse back in and told her about my findings.  She checked my hip and the side of my leg for pressure sores (I use a special mattress, so it was unlikely but still possible) and thought that the muscle spasms I’ve been having were possibly causing the AD attacks.  That’s when the other nurse came back in and noticed a pretty substantial bruise forming on the outside of my left ankle!  It turns out that at around 11PM when my leg got caught in the rail of my bed after a spasm it was injured from another spasm that pushed it through further before pulling it back towards me.  The Doctor told them to keep checking my blood pressure every four hours (more if needed) throughout the night and to give me Tylenol and Toradol on a schedule for the next little while (I just had my last regular dose of Tylenol at 2PM).  The doctor came in on Saturday morning to check my ankle and it seems like it’s just a pretty big bruise, so hopefully it will get better soon!

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