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38 years, turning 60 and thinking a lot

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  • 38 years, turning 60 and thinking a lot

    So 38 years ago I somehow managed to fall down some steps. I don't remember a lot about the immediate aftermath just a lot of pain. I couldn't figure out how if I was paralyzed how I could wake up in the middle of the night curled up like a pretzel from the spasm activity. I can still have the occasional nightmare type flashback to the first few weeks in the middle of the night when spasms get bad. I had to get past that in a hurry because I absolutely hated it when people fed me at first. My first job was to learn how to feed myself again. rolling my eyes at the memories. I tried every piece of gear they strapped around my hand until something clicked. I recently encountered one of my original cuffs in a small box of "treasures". Talk about a ragged, disreputable piece of something. For some reason I didn't have much wrist extension for a long time and remember my first encounters with the e-stim, or whatever they call it now, my wrist extensors were hooked up to. It was so weird watching the muscles that weren't doing much pulse with the waves of electricity. When my hand finally began to come up with those twitches it was a bit mesmerizing. After I got to quit wearing those wrist splints and began pushing my chair on the projection handrims with my bare hands it was a big victory, until I learned how to slow down with friction and learned about friction burns. Then I spent time learning how to put gloves on.

    Every time I learned how to do something new I found out there was something else that had to come next. I am sure we all had that experience. I turned 60 this year and graduated into the "Senior" programs. And somehow that has made me reflect so much more than normal come anniversary time. I still learn how to do new things, or how to do things more effectively. This past year I had to move totally into my power chair and that was an adjustment. I am finding out how rewarding it is to talk to newly injured and encourage them in their efforts. I am not as strong as I once was and after years of using minimal gear eat with and do kitchen tasks with I find myself using more equipment. On the other hand even though I am sticking my Listerine flossing tool into an adl cuff I am flossing on a daily basis. Small skin tears that used to heal up in just a few days now take forever.

    I missed a transfer last summer and bruised my arse up good and spent nearly 3 months flipping from side to side spending minimal time in my chair. I am lucky I didn't break anything. My legs got extra spastic the first week after that happened and I kicked my chair during the night a few times while it was sitting innocently parked next to the bed. But I spent time thinking about all the incredible things I got to do over the years. I have to say quad rugby was the most incredibly fun and challenging thing I have ever done in a chair. The first fish I caught with my hand strapped to a fishing pole was another I will never forget. Some kids that were fishing nearby couldn't believe I had caught one and rushed over to check it out and took it off the hook for me. They were so nice about it. I saw them fishing several times after that over the summer and we always spent a little bit of time talking. Memories like that far out weigh memories about some of the incredible infections.

    Times were not always easy, some I really wish I didn't remember. On the whole though, the good times far outweighed the bad. And I do have some incredibly good memories.

  • #2
    Well, I got 10 years on you. 70 is getting scary old for a crip, but I'm abiding with it pretty good.

    And, yes, I live in a lot of warm memories-about half and half, what I did before my injury 22 years ago, and what after.
    I remember my 60th, and thinking how old I was getting! Don't worry, be happy. Grab each day and do something memorable.
    We might do better without rearview mirrors, but I think they're a necessity
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

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    • #3
      Welcome to the club "Old Timer"!!! There's many more memories to make.

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      • #4
        Nice read. I can relate to a lot of it.
        It's been 39 years for me & I just turned 60 too!

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        • #5
          You've moved into the being grateful quadrant of life. Prepare for the need to exude gratefulness a lot more frequently.

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          • #6
            Well done Reader. Congrats to you. You have a great attitude and perspective.

            Signed,
            caregiver for my Dad - a 75 year old para, 10 years in, finding each year a little harder.

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            • #7
              Reader, I am 64 years old and been injured 40 years. I can relate to many of the things you wrote about. I try to look forward and only look backward occasionally. Physically, getting older is tough whether you are in a wheelchair or not. Mentally, getting old is OK with me. Just last night I went to a party for my friend's mother who turns 90! She is sharp as a tack and a wonderful person who is just a joy to be around and is in great shape physically and mentally. There were a bunch of little two and three-year-olds running around the party and I could only think "here comes another generation of people behind me" and I enjoyed watching the kids have fun. I wish I wasn't so physically delicate as I seem to be now that I am older. Besides that, I enjoyed being my age and having my knowledge, experience and wisdom. One of my biggest regrets is I did not bang the crap out of this pretty and horny girl when I was in the ninth grade but I was shy, lol. I still see her every now and then andshe is still attractive and I still wonder what if.........

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tprewitt View Post
                Welcome to the club "Old Timer"!!! There's many more memories to make.
                Keep getting it Reader! tprwitt is right, there are still lots of memories to be made.

                I'm 61, C5-6 45 post and am as active now as I ever was. Sure, the transfers are a little harder, more things ache, but you gotta do what you gotta do. This past weekend I was up at 5 Fri morning, drove 4 1/2 hrs to NC, hunted until dark, got 5 1/2 hrs of sleep, up at 3am Sat, hunted all day then drove 4 1/2 hrs home. 3am - 11pm= 20 hrs on the go.
                "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    how are you able to go into the woods and hunt?? Recently, I've been thinking about self defense and the possibility of using a fire arm.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ricanstruction View Post
                      how are you able to go into the woods and hunt?? Recently, I've been thinking about self defense and the possibility of using a fire arm.
                      Really pretty easy. I hunt alone a lot of the time. Drive my van to the property, park, get out, open the back doors of the van, put my gun rest into place, then firearm, roll to the woods in my Permobil C500 and hunt. If I kill something, I'll call a friend. Here's a quick video.

                      https://youtu.be/kvbZfW-POjk
                      "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

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                      • #12
                        I think I will be happy when I hit my 60's... I get to be grumpy (er) without as many repercussions as I currently get. LOL

                        Little tidbits like this can be so valuable for us middle aged folks to reflect upon.

                        Thanks.

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                        • #13
                          Your story did me a lot of good, Reader. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. My injury was almost four years ago. There was the plaster body cast first, then the stiff, lighter-weight brace with velcro adjustments on the sides. They held me upright despite my T9 incomplete broken back,..now they are relics in a back bedroom. After my injury, I couldn't turn myself in bed because it put too much tork on the broken spot. Now I turn myself and change my own diapers. The car that hit me (I was a pedestrian) took off my left leg. The one leg I had left would jump off the foot rest of the wheelchair and drag the ground. I was clueless as to how to pick it up and put it back on the foot rest. For a year, I would ask any two-legged human who I could flag down to please put my foot back up on the foot rest. Once, even another paralyzed person in a wheelchair managed to do it for me! Finally, in a flash of brilliance, I realzed that, working with my spasticity, I could use my left hand to pull on that right leg, causing the leg to go straight and pop up, and that, while stiff, I could then manipulate it back over onto the foot rest. That was a big improvement in my self-sufficiency. I tie my wheelchair to the bed frame in two spots before I transfer. To get out of the wheelchair and into bed, I fall backward onto my bed, reach above my head, grab the rail on the far side of the bed, and pull myself further onto the bed. I don't use my sliding board because I feel insecure using it. I'm proud of my progress. The accumulation of these accomplishments have allowed me to move back into my own home with only part-time help. I love the quiet of my home and my independence. I hated living in hospitals and nursing homes. I hope that the "inventors" and "manufacturers" out there will focus on creating the equipment that people with impaired mobility need in order to acheive their maximum independence.
                          Female, T9 incomplete

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