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  • i want to say hi to everyone and maybe make some friends

    hi everyone! i've been injured 6 years now, t11-t12 incomplete, wheelchair around the house/condo complex, walking on bilateral kafos with forearm crutches outside (i might use a loan-a-chair at the mall or grocery store). i am from the USA, southern appalachia, blue ridge mountains specifically, and have been living in Thailand for the last four years.

    I love music (i play several instruments and studied theory at university), art, and literature (i'm a professional writer), martial arts (used to box and was finishing up a black belt in jiu-jitsu with the world kobudo federation just before breaking my back, a four story drop broken above the first floor by a concrete awning which i smashed and took to the ground with me), i love the outdoors (used to do a lot of backpacking and fishing, still camp some and fish some), i love food (worked as a cook and even sous chef in my past life), i'm really into nutrition and exercise, i grow kombucha and boil all kinds of roots and weeds. and i am a serious tea scholar, i have a massive collection and am constantly exploring the chinese tea culture. forgive the run on but i'm about to wet myself and want to get this posted while i'm really in the mood to do it.

    Hope this is the right place for this and i hope somebody wants to say hi. i was hesitant about using a forum and getting involved in any kind of community for a long time. i'm sort of introverted and i tried to pretend that nothing was really wrong for a very, very long time. I know i am much more fortunate than most, but i still get very depressed and feel very isolated by my conditions, even though i mask them well and participate pretty normally in society. if you don't know it really can't be explained to you, and i think it's high time i meet some people with similar things going on, hopefully sharing perspectives lightens the load.

    thanks so much for taking the time to read this!
    will

  • #2
    i'll add a picture some time tonight so you can see who you're talking to. i hope to get to know some of you guys, i've been reading these threads for years and it has helped a lot. i really appreciate this thing

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    • #3
      Welcome Dude! Thailand? I assume you are not in the most accessible place on Earth. Have you had any rehab? And does the heat effect your walking ability? I know heat knocks out a lot of incompletes' muscles. There must be a story on how you did the huge jump from the Blue Ridge to Bangkok. Love to hear it.
      Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

      Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

      Comment


      • #4
        I will say "Hi." I am originally from northern Appalachia in NW PA. In my post-retirement life I have done a little writing, mostly plays. You can click on the "See me @" link below and find out some other stuff about me. Hope you enjoy CC. We are mostly nice people, but if you go to the Politics Forum it is often a "no holds barred" free-for-all.
        You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
        http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

        See my personal webpage @
        http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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        • #5
          Hello "Mr. Dude,"


          All the best,
          GJ

          Comment


          • #6
            ยินดีต้อนรับ ผมใช้เวลามากของเวลาที่มีในระหว่างการเดินทางของฉันใ นประเทศเวียดนาม

            Yindī t̂xnrạb p̄hm chı̂ welā māk k̄hxng welā thī̀ mī nı rah̄ẁāng kār deinthāng k̄hxng c̄hạn nı pratheṣ̄ weīydnām

            Welcome! I spent a lot of time there during my tour in Vietnam

            Have you learned Thai? not the easiest. I loved the people, outdoor food vendors and the country there.
            Sadly never went back.

            Kindly,

            Ket

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
              Welcome Dude! Thailand? I assume you are not in the most accessible place on Earth. Have you had any rehab? And does the heat effect your walking ability? I know heat knocks out a lot of incompletes' muscles. There must be a story on how you did the huge jump from the Blue Ridge to Bangkok. Love to hear it.
              Wo, where to start. I'll probably blog out more of the story at some point, it's pretty exciting in places, but i'll give you a condensed version here. I was here (in Bangkok) when i broke my back. I was studying mandarin at an international university and training in the martial arts. I spent a little more than a month in the hospital here, had two rods put in. i can't remember the injury or very much for a few weeks afterwards. i was flown back to the US on a 7something7 with a few of the seats pulled out, the hospital sent an attending nurse with me.
              from michigan i was flown to charleston, west virginia (my last home before i went to asia) in the back of a tiny cessna with a para-medical lady, a pilot, and my mother (who had come to asia to collect me as i didn't have my wits about me at all for a while, friends helped, but of course serious things require family). from there i went to the rehab hospital in charleston. i did about two weeks of rehab there and was dismissed from the program early (i was seeing an acupuncturist, i'd asked for them to allow him in the hospital, was denied and was using a spare dining room in my mother's restaurant which was very close to the hospital).

              I stayed with my grandmother in charleston for a while, she couldn't handle the extra laundry and stress. I went to stay with my father and his mother in virginia for a while but the town didn't really have any sort of a scene to appeal to me, the public transit was lausy, and it was all very spread out, no good sidewalks and lots of hills. I went nuts after about a month. stayed with friends for a while, until a friend i was staying with lost his apartment then i was homeless for a while. this is about the time when i got my braces and i was doing physical outpatient PT with those 2 - 3 times a week i lived in a tent that i had gotten to pitch behind an old house that had been converted into apartments and a job as a parking lot attendant across from some local bars. i managed to use some connections to get an office space in a building downtown, right next to my parking lot and not far from the gym where i lifted weights.

              From there i managed to get an apartment, but it was in an ugly part of town and i had problems with shady neighbors and police who hassled me often and helped me rarely, and everything was too damned expensive. even with all the assitance i was getting. I knew a woman here who worked as a travel agent and she wanted me to come badly, we had fallen in love, and even though i wasn't ready physically i decided to opt for the trial by fire.

              When i arrived i could barely walk, i was slow, and i was exhausted. stairs were a nightmare and i usually ended up crawling up and down them. time and necessity made me stronger and now i can climb stairs without a handrail (up and down, up to about 12 inches tall for stairs, and taller with single steps) i clock 3 kilometers an hour on hard, level ground when my knee joints aren't slipping on me, and i can handle all kinds of wild terrian. I've travelled through lao, myanmar (in the disputed shan state), cambodia, northern vietnam, and all around thailand on the braces. i walk, i ride in wheelbarrows, backs of trucks, trains, buses, boats, and most anything else. The heat doesn't bother me at all at this point and i can walk or stand for a very long time before tiring. But it was a VERY VERY hard road to get to this point physically - many hours in the gym, lots of inventing and reinventing techniques for training for and executing tasks, lots of embarrassing public failures of any and all systems, a second operation to remove the rods and subsequent recovery, and a shitload of hard work out on the terrain - just going through the acts of living. best decision i ever made.
              (extra note on the heat, my condo has pool/gym/sauna and i will use the sauna at 95-100 celsius 2-3 times a week for abouth 30 minutes (15 minutes, short break, 10, break, 5, stumble home feeling high and happy) i use the braces in the sauna, i got this pair made here and they're well suited to heat and moisture, easy to clean and hard to damage,etc. i usually take the first two periods standing with my back leaned against the wall so i can get more heat and vapor to my head

              since i've been back i've worked as a coordinator for a travel agency, a tutor (a common trade among expats, one i gave up quickly), i opened a small company to export tea from the north of thailand (it's still around, i haven't pushed it much lately, too many other things going on), and found good work as a writer. Honestly, my life did not slow down much after i broke my back and i'm very grateful for that. i've managed to keep moving.

              Thanks for asking about this, it kind of brightens my mood to reflect on the ground covered up to this point, and there are lots of really exciting in between moments too. i've been kind of bummed out lately and that helped

              Comment


              • #8
                hi SCIfor55yrs! thanks, i'll check some out and get back to you as soon as possible! a lot of my stuff online now is just travel articles, a lot of what i've done was work for hire so i don't retain any rights, but you can see some of my stuff on bangkok beyond's blog, http://www.bangkokbeyond.com/blog/
                Last edited by mr. dude; 08-21-2014, 05:43 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ketamine kitty View Post
                  ยินดีต้อนรับ ผมใช้เวลามากของเวลาที่มีในระหว่างการเดินทางของฉันใ นประเทศเวียดนาม

                  Yindī t̂xnrạb p̄hm chı̂ welā māk k̄hxng welā thī̀ mī nı rah̄ẁāng kār deinthāng k̄hxng c̄hạn nı pratheṣ̄ weīydnām
                  เก่งมาก! i can speak reasonably well and have basic literacy. i'm not reading great literature yet but comics, menus, signs, stuff like that. it's still here if you ever feel like checking it out again





                  when were you here? i wonder what it was like back then. still the best fed country in SEA, food carts on top of food carts, still as laid back as a place can be without completely crumbling with disrepair


                  i've read some of your posts before, so i have some idea of your story.
                  Last edited by mr. dude; 08-21-2014, 06:18 PM.

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                  • #10
                    thanks "gjnl" !!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Welcome Dude, glad you decided to post. I have learned so much from the forum. You can say things here that sound weird to AB's that people here understand and many have experienced. Keep posting and you will find some friends who have similar interests. It's a comfortable spot.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        hi Annie, thanks for the welcome. i expect i will. i look forward to insightful feedback on those issues that you can't get much more from the other side than a suck it up or look at the positives. i end up with a huge amount of me behind the scenes and do often feel very much like a bit actor. the forum thing is new to me, so i'm getting kind of a buzz on this

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                        • #13
                          I can't believe they would allow accupuncture! Was it that the practicioner wasn't an employee or lack of knowing how it can help? I was a skeptic until my Army physiatrist at Walter Reed used it on sciatica I developed several years post injury. Relief on the first visit. After 5 or 6 treatments pretty much cured since. The pain not the paralysis.

                          Interesting history. I was in Germany when I was injured and thankfully Uncle Sam paid my return flight but in the less civilized back of a C-140 on a stretcher. Medical evacuations can break the bank for the under or uninsured.
                          Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                          Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            yeah, i was to dazed to think it out or i would have stayed here a bit longer and flown back without the special adaptations to the 7whateveritwas. a lot of that was paid for by a fundraiser that a bunch of my old musical buddies put on, concert and barbecue. the flight from michigan to west virginia was provided by a non-profit who apparently specialize in just this sort of thing. the relatively small size of west virginia helped too, as big public officials are much more accessible than they might be in other places. in this case a senator who helped do some stuff like expedite my mother's passport and certain emergency funds, setting up all the necessary social safety stuff was easy too.
                            as americans we really do get some pretty good treatment at the bottom, by which i mean if you are uninsured and poor the safety net is much better than it is in a lot of other places. it would have been a lot harder if i'd had more money to my name, as it was i had none so everything was seen to for me. i had worked on the books since i was 16 too, so i had like 7 years into social security. that made a bit of a difference as i understand it, nothing huge but more than it might have been otherwise.

                            Thailand is better than any other country in the region about taking care of folks like us, but far from any ideal. A group of musicians, some in wheelchairs and one blind came to give me an instrument and perform for me in the hospital. Lots of damaged people train in music if they have hands, but this creates other problems i think - like special schools for the handicapped (who may be intellectually stronger than their a.b. peers but are nonetheless not given full opportunity to explore their academic potential).

                            The ADA is a beautiful thing, and when you see it compared directly to countries without anything similar you can really see how it has affected the way our culture as a whole sees us. of course people here are less politically correct and consoling and treat me more like an amusing prize fighter, with slaps on the back and flexed muscles (if that does anything to explain the difference i experience). a lot of people are genuinely surprised that i am operating alone the first time they encounter me and wonder why my parents aren't with me or i don't have a wife to manage things like farting around in the market for me. There is a big difference in the perception of what serious disability means for a person's life. We tend to want to think we should try to get back to business as usual to the best of our ability and make ourselves as useful as we're able, but a person of relative socio-economic background here with a similar injury level would be much more likely to throw in the towell and spend the rest of his days on recreation (which is fine, they have lots of great archery parks, accessible fishing areas, stuff like this to enjoy). this would have a lot more to do with cultural expectation than personal constitution.

                            The country is doing a lot in the way of increasing accessibility though, so i don't have much trouble getting around at all. Shopping malls and grocery stores offer wheelchairs for loan, accessible bathrooms are pretty easy to find in places like that, as new sidewalks are put in or old ones replaced the curbs are cut and space allowed between poles or signs or whatever for chairs to get through, and most places/people are very accommodating and even eager to the point of pushy to try and assist. I have to get pretty snappy with people sometimes to keep them from trying to help me up the stairs, help that can confuse and hinder.

                            There are still a lot of hurdles though, and that's part of what i was trying to do to myself. if i hadn't absolutely had to i would never have gotten this strong on my feet, it would have been way too much work to get done in a gym alone. it had to be lived.

                            don't get me started on the acupuncture, i'm damn near religious about my chinese traditional medicine. i've met some great practitioners who have helped me lots. I swear i think it had more to do with my level of bladder/bowel function than anything else i've done, even my dietary extremes. i definitely wet the bed at least once a week, and at least moisten my pants in public once a month or so (i wear only black pants for this reason, it helps mask, as do rainy season downpours) but i am able to fully evacuate the bladder by stimulating the area between my family jewels and the unspeakable eye and have a pretty good sense of what's going on in there (despite shitloads of referred pain). probably the closest thing to a miracle i think came my way (barring the beautiful people who helped at various stages) and the cornerstone of recovery that made any of this even remotely possible. i haven't had a bowel accident in years, and the last time i did i had a horrible flu so i blame my inability to get from the bed to bathroom in a timely fashion more than anything else.
                            Last edited by mr. dude; 08-22-2014, 03:34 AM.

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                            • #15
                              yeah, i think the issue with the hospital was a liability thing. i had spoken to the physiatrist about massage, something called reiki and the acupuncture and they actually ran some tests to make sure stuff like that would be safe. did ultrasound on my legs to check circulation in case rubbing would set loose some clot and stroke me out, etc. It seemed like I was going to be able to get the treatment in the hospital room, but ultimately the acupuncture was forbidden so i had to do it on the sly. at that point the pain relief alone made it worthwhile, even though some stuff i'd read gave me hope that it might have other benefits to me in time. i was refusing to take the loratabs at the hospital because i felt that it was in my best interest at that point to be as mindful as possible of all the sensation i was experiencing, painful or otherwise. and an outrageous number of the musicians and artists in town (my community) had picked up heroin habits while i was overseas and i could see prescription opiates as a common thread in the early stages of most people's addiction stories.

                              the way i saw it then (and some part of me still does), i'm not going to stop hurting any time soon. in fact, with arthritis in my dominant wrist and elbow i can already see quite clearly that things are only going to get more painful as time goes on. i might as well save the really good stuff for last. and when i don't need my head to do quite as much as i ask of it now, when i've done whatever it is i'm going to do in this life, i'm going to sedate the hell out of myself and let the fire die down with a big grin on my face on some beach or mountaintop somewhere. until recently stuff like acupuncture, massage, exercise, good food and tea have been about the extent of what i did for pain. Recently though i'm having to reconsider, as at times i seem to lose too much energy to pain. physical and emotional energies, both very limited resources for all of us humans i think. I dunno, i'm sort of re-evaluating my entire approach to the situation. i'm starting to think i might get more out of life and be more productive if i'm a bit more honest about the severity of things and what i can do to improve them

                              (didin't get much out of the reiki i don't think, but the placing of hands kind of thing always transfers some glowing warmth i think, power of human intention, i get the same sort of feeling when people want to pray with me and i'm a non-believer),

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