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I’ve just returned home after a five-day surprise visit to Prince of Wales hospital. I’ve been having problems with autonomic dysreflexia (AD) during my morning bowel routine (yes, I know, poo is something we don’t want to talk or think about, but when something goes wrong with the plumbing it’s a real pain in the butt). AD occurs when problems arise below the level of my spinal-cord injury, and it results in dangerously high blood pressure (BP) rises; in my case 255/135 when a normal BP is about 120/80. BP spikes of this type can cause strokes and bleeding on the brain, and since I quite like my brain, it’s a matter I had to take seriously.

So, a visit last Thursday to my spinal doctor to seek her advice resulted in me being readmitted to POW. After five days investigations, it’s been concluded that the issue should be solved by a colostomy that was already scheduled for 17 November (for a non-gross explanation of a colostomy, see this video here, and for a much more interesting video, see here – and Elly, I would advise you not to click). Truth be told, the idea of a colostomy is a bit icky, and I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but I’m also looking forward to what should be a more efficient way of managing my waist. Sure, I’ll now have a bag for both wee and poo, but it should make my morning routine less complicated (providing, of course, that nothing goes wrong).

Anyway, I was sent home from hospital last night with some drugs to get me through till the op without brain damage.

I’ve been asked by a couple of people what it was like to be back at POW. I guess it felt a little bit like returning home – maybe like returning to a foster home with parents that you mostly liked, but were still pleased to have escaped from. There were some fantastic people involved with my care and rehab five years ago, and some of them are still there, so it was nice to catch up– and once again I was well looked after. Even so, I was pretty keen to keep the visit short. The food is still intolerable (I refused to eat it, buying meals and eating “bring ins”), and hospitals are noisy places. And since the doctors had me up at 5 AM to check my blood pressure hourly thereafter, I became drastically short of sleep. So it was more than nice to return to my own bed.

I also felt like the wise old man in the ward, and I hope I didn’t come across as smug. It was full, as usual, of mostly men (I only encountered a single female patient). They were all friendly, but were facing all the difficulties of adjusting to life changing injuries; struggling with uncertainty, hope, frustration, depression, determination, and the wide range of emotional ups and downs that goes with the early months of sci. I was thankful to be a little further down the track. There was some satisfaction in being able to answer questions and provide a little bit of hope that things will get better and life will go on.

it’s great to be home. Of course in a couple of weeks I’ll be back inside (for about five days) to undergo the procedure for the colostomy. I reckon I can face up to a stint as short as that.

Not quite what I'll look like after the operation.

Not quite what I’ll look like after the operation.

4 Responses to “Back to Paradise”

  1. Elly Clifton

    Who would have thought pooping could cause brain damage??

  2. Shane Clifton

    haha

    • Jean Hartley

      Yes, I was raised (in the south) not to say poop and pee in public burt then the 70’s came in and it was cool to say shit and crap. Hip Hop tv actually names body parts usually confined to one’s underwear.

      Jean
      Kona Hawaii

  3. Angela Farquer

    AD!COLOSTOMY! Breathing treatment! Change trachea. G button! Venting(fart)cough suppress machine,suctioning!spasms! Transfers ,blankets for legs in public,………wow.my 20 yr son ZAKRAY WAH RAN OVER AT 14 SCI 2 COMPLETE TETRAPALEGIC VENT AND O LY CAN MOVE EYES AND MOUTH .EXTREMELY. COGNITIVE SO MUCH THE REALITY OF HIS SEVERITY ANGRS HIM (SUDDENLY) AND HEARTBROKEN HE CANT NUMB HIS PAIN OF HELPLESSNESS WITH DRUGS OF ANY KIND AND SUDDENLY AGNOSTIC FEELS HELL NEVER HAVE A SPECIAL GIRL TO LOVE HIM…SO SAD BEING MOM IM DEVASTATED AND NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY AND DO…….CAN SOMEONE HELP ME HELP HIM.HE NEEDS GUYS LIKE YALL.HE DOESNT KNOW MUCH ABOUT REACHING OUT.ON FACEBOOK HE IS ZAK RAY FARQUER HARKER HEIGHTS TX,OLNEY,TX WILL SOMEONE I DESPERATLEY PLEA NOTICE HIM AND OFFER TO HIM WHAT ONLY YOU ALL CAN SHARE BEING y’all share similar difficult lives.You guys are amazing,a blessing to those of us who are lost Thank you….

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