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My first post-injury outing

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    OJ, It sounds like you are doing a kind of "implosion". You are saturating and bombarding yourself with thoughts of what you cannot do. Eventually, all this saturation will get to the point that, each spontanous thought of what you can't do, will lose it's power to bother or control you. I think that strategy is paradoxically a good one. A brilliant mind at work. Go for it! But maybe be concerned if you don't move beyond that.


      Maybe writing the lists will help get all of these things off your mind. I find I will keep thinking of something these days, and can't get it out of my mind until I write it down. I keep a journal of sorts to collect all of these thoughts. In my case it is more on how things are different, and what is bothering me at any given time, instead of specifically what I can't do anymore but it is the same idea. And I don;t think thinking about the little things you can;t do makes you crazy, it's kind of like when you are on a diet, and actually crave foods you dislike! (At least I do).

      Good luck with going home. Leaving rehab terrified me, but it was the right thing. I am sure it will be for you as well. Just be sure you have internet set up before you get there!
      T7-8 since Feb 2005


        Well, things are possible, just different in how they are done. Look at your list, then think about how you can adapt these things. I've been camping, in a tent, swimming, conoeing, horseback riding, climbing. There are a lot of can dos, if you think along those lines.

        Glad to hear you have a going home date, it's not far away.
        C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.



          Please keep track of your thoughts like you have been.... It think maybe writting an article or book for other SCI high quads would be great.,... it's great that you are so honest about your thoughts.

          Don (my hubby) restored italian cars as a hobby before his accident and was very bummed that he would'nt be able to continue to do this... he had a car in our garage that he was working on at the time of his accident and it was there when he got home from rehab... and it has taken him this long (about 18 months post) to be able to touch it again... and ya know what? He has started to work on it again... the neighbor kid comes over and helps... Don is teaching him about cars and he does the heavy stuff.... So it really does work out.... Don just says that he does stuff differently now.

          OJ... believe it or not... you will be able to do the stuff you want to do... it will just be different... Don does the stuff that trainman does too... I'm so glad they gave you a going home date... I'll keep my fingers crossed that you go home then OJ...


            O.J. I have been reading all that has been written by you and the others. I remember when my son was due to come home (he is 22) 2 yrs ago. He was really stressing along with us! It's very scary - the unknown. Try not to look too far ahead, focus on how far you have come in the past year and all that you are capable of doing now compared with a year ago. Going out in public is still hard for my son - he's just not comfortable in the chair in public. It is gettng better for him. He thinks that people look away rather than stare. I think people look away because they don't want him to think they are starring! I also think that people look in order to make eye contact. Most people are caring and compassionate and I believe that the more wheelchairs that are out there, the better people will deal with it. So, get out there and enjoy your life and before you know it, there will be a CURE!!


              Ergvepeog has a great idea there. Collect what you've written so far; for each little segment, add a short essay describing what was happening in your life at the time, and you'll have a very insightful collection that would not only be interesting, but would also be helpful for others. Something that only someone in your position would be able to put together.
              Trainman has been on the high C's a lot longer than you; I admire his attitude.
              - Richard
              Last edited by rfbdorf; 21 Nov 2006, 1:46 AM.


                Originally posted by sjean423
                I keep a journal of sorts to collect all of these thoughts. In my case it is more on how things are different, and what is bothering me at any given time, instead of specifically what I can't do anymore but it is the same idea.

                Good luck with going home. Leaving rehab terrified me, but it was the right thing. I am sure it will be for you as well. Just be sure you have internet set up before you get there!
                It is interesting you would say this sjean. My lists did start out with just the things I couldn't do anymore. I then branched out into compulsively listing how things are different now, what I was doing at this exact point in time a year ago or two years go, etc, and even what things I could get rid of now because I couldn't use them anymore . Like diane and the others have said, I am sure there is some value in this. I just need to break out of letting myself get bogged down by it. I think some of it is healthy. But there reaches a point maybe where it is counter productive. I need to find that balance between useful and unhealthy. Lynnifer, I was thinking about what your counsellor told you about swimming with the grief but not letting it drown you. That is sort of where I am at right now.

                Yes I will make sure the internet and cable are hooked up well before I get there lol. I have entrusted this to my father. When I moved into my condo last year, being a naive first time homeowner, I neglected to get anything hooked up before hand. Up to that point, I had always rented and never had to worry about such things. I ended up not having any power or heat for three days and no cable and internet for a week. New homes should come with an instruction manual

                About collecting all my writing, it is something that some of my rehab staff mentioned a while ago. I have been thinking about it. I have accumulated a fair amount over the past four months or so. I don't know yet what, if anything, I will actually do it all. I gave some to my mom to read but I found that I have a hard time going back and reading it myself.
                Last edited by orangejello; 21 Nov 2006, 1:27 PM.


                  If you do go towards the book route, I recommend "Life is an Attitude" by Ron Heagy. He's also a high quad, but not on a vent. I've seen his book recommended on here before, it should be an easy find.

                  I've been considering the idea for a while, but have yet to find time.
                  C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.


                    Amanda, your posts speak of a courageous, brilliant person. I too make mental lists of what I cannot do anymore. As a T12, there are many things I can do, just not everything that I want to do, everything to which I feel entitled as a human being that should have physical integrity. Dr Young says that it is not really a matter of injury level. We all must grieve all the things we cannot do, the fact that we are no longer free to do them the way we want to do them.
                    I believe you are grieving in a very healthy way.


                      After a frustrating month or two health wise, I am finally starting to feel better. Preparations for me to go home are also in the final stages and it looks like everything is good to go. So hopefully nothing comes out of the woodwork and wrecks things again. My apartment has actually been all set up and waiting for me to move in since last month, so I think things so good fairly smoothly. My brother and his wife just moved my six fish tanks in there this weekend. Apparently all the fish survived--it was minus twenty five Celsius outside so that is a small miracle. And my father waited around all day on Saturday for the cable/internet guy to come (he was given the standard "any time between 8 am and 5 pm time frame--and of course, the cable guy did not show). So hopefully it gets done before I move in, being the tv and internet addict I am. But other than that, the place is all ready for me. I am still feeling very conflicted. I want to go home, but I don't. But I am leaning more towards the "want" side than the other. So that is an improvement on where I was last week at this time.

                      I had yet another "outing test" this weekend though. I went for dinner at my sister's house on Saturday. This is significant because it has been my longest outing so far, I think almost six hours in total. It was also a bit of a test because she had a houseful of company. It was really my first big "social" outing since my injury. The company was mainly her in-laws, who I have met before but don't know very well, and people from work or the neighbourhood, none of whom I knew. I had stressed about going all week, and was even slightly disappointed when my doctor said it would be okay for me to go (I had been battling a respiratory bug that had been keeping me inside for some time). So unable to find an adequate reason to stay away, I went.

                      It was okay. I was, as usual, very self-conscious. Especially at the beginning. I was feeling very, I don't know, ashamed of myself or something. Which, of course, was just my mind playing some very powerful tricks on me. I tried to put it out of my mind and although it took some time, I eventually did relax and start to enjoy myself. It was very nice, actually, to socialize with people and not be in a hospital setting. My nieces (three and five) were thrilled I was there and didn't leave my side the whole time. The visit went pretty much without incident, which is a vast improvement over where I was with going out not that long ago. I think the biggest crisis of the day was when I ran over my niece's doll and mushed its head. But I told her we could go to Toys R Us later this week and she could pick out a new one, so I was quickly forgiven.

                      My sister has had a very hard time dealing with my injury so I think this visit was as therapeutic for her as it was for me. Unlike my other siblings, she is still very nervous around my equipment and treats me as if I am made of glass and she expects me to break at any moment. She was hovering over me for the first little bit. But as I started to relax, she calmed down and backed off.

                      But I guess this outing was most significant because I did, at least a little bit, feel more "human" than I have felt in a long time. There were still certain routine injury-related things that had to be taken care of while I was there. But for the most part, I was able to make them secondary to the socializing. Everybody did their best to help me feel at ease. Having little kids around helped. As little kids do, there were asking questions and making observations that the adults dared not to. But as I talked to the kids and answered questions, the adults would inevitably join in the conversation. And it was okay.

                      I am still obsessively making lists. But I have now started writing postive ones too, like things I want to do or classes I would like to take. I am still managed to find material for the "less than positive" ones. But I am starting to get a bit more balanced view of things it seems.
                      Last edited by orangejello; 29 Nov 2006, 3:08 AM.


                        So where are you, in rehab or something? Sorry I wasn't paying attention to this thread as I do with others. Usually it is one or two and I am done. But this thread keeps going and going. My perception was you are home and was just scared to go out or something.

                        Damn I dropped the ball on you Amanda.


                          Deleted the message
                          Last edited by orangejello; 1 Dec 2006, 3:43 AM.


                            Last weekend I went for dinner at my sister's and it was really the first time I have gone out and socialized with people I don't know well since my injury. It went pretty good after I got over an initial blast of feeling very uncomfortable and self-conscious.

                            Last night I went out to a mystery dinner theatre thing with my mom, sister, and brother in law. We planned this a few weeks ago but as I was getting ready to go, it dawned on me that this really was my first time of "dressing up" and going out for a special occasion. I had been planning to try something like this for several weeks. But something always came up to sabotage my plans--either I got sick or just talked myself out of going. And I came very close to talking myself out of going to this. But my mom seemed so excited that I agreed to go that I just couldn't do that to her. It probably would have been better if I had been doing it for my own reasons. But motivation is motivation I guess, and anything that will get me doing things is good.

                            Almost every outing I have been on to this point has been relatively short and uncomplicated. They have all been close by or didn't involve a lot of planning or consideration of external circumstances that might be beyond my control. If that makes any sense. But getting ready for and carrying out this activity made me realize how complicated my life is now. I am not complaining. My life now is what it is, and I really have no choice but to deal with it. Well, I guess I do have a choice. But I don't think I would like the ramifications of not dealing with things.

                            At this point, I have pretty much established a system for what needs to be done to get me out the door. There is always a danger that unplanned emergencies or situations are going to arise. But that is true for anybody. But I honestly thought that I had this going out thing--with all the emotions and other things attached to it--down pat. But my big night out made me realize that just isn't true. Not yet. And I don't know. Maybe I never will reach that point where going out is just something I do and not something that is such a major event and a potential catastrophe in the making.

                            The dinner theatre event itself was good. I did enjoy it. Unfortunately my preoccupation with other things that were going on inside my head left me very distracted and not able to concentrate all that well. But it was good to be doing something beyond going for coffee. There were a number of snafus. My sister had called ahead of time to find out about accessibility and was told there would be no issues. The theatre was accessible, but not really. We managed to work around it for the most part. I have to give credit to the threatre staff. They did there best to make things as easy as they could.

                            Before my injury I was a very active person. But I was never a planning type of person. If I wanted to do something, I just did it. And I did a lot of things on my own. I know people who will not go to movies by themselves. And that's okay. We all have different levels of social needs. But I was always the kind of person that if I couldn't find somebody to do something with me, I just did it alone, whether it was a movie, or going skiing, or traveling. And I think that I actually might have preferred many times doing things solo. I love my friends and family. But I think at heart I am an extreme introvert. Almost to the point of being a hermit sometimes.

                            The past few months have been filled with moments of dawning awareness for me. I think I have known things, but not always processed them completely. I am going somewhere with this and the connection to my night out at the theatre; I am just sort of taking a rambling route there. Anyways, last night I think was the first time I have really understood that my life is not really my own anymore. For the past almost year now, my entire existence has been based upon waiting for somebody to do something to me or for me. It's not that I have no control at all. Because I certainly do. I am at the point now where I am basically directing my own care. Or at least I have the ability and skill to do that, even if I don't always utilize it.

                            I don't know what happened last night, but this awareness that my life is no longer my own hit me like a bolt of lightening. And then all night, I laid awake thinking about it. Whether it was having to drive through parking lot after parking lot to find a spot that would work, or having my mother wipe my nose (I have a cold), it seemed like every moment of the evening I was being made aware that I can't do anything without having to depend on another person. And, I don't know, it just makes me feel almost not real. I have learned over the past year how to be patient for the first time in my life. I have learned how to wait and how to ask for things and how to tell people that I need help. I know that anybody, able bodied or not, has to ask and tell and wait for others. But when that is pretty much all you do, every day, all day and all night long, how do you live? Of course I will learn to live like this, I have been learning for the past year. But honestly, I don't know how my life will ever be my own again. This isn’t new, so I don’t know why I am so floored and distressed over this realization. But I am.

                            I think I am just freaking out because I will be home in 5 days.
                            Last edited by orangejello; 2 Dec 2006, 5:28 PM.


                              OJ - You went out to dinner etc. that is great! It's a huge step and will cause you to think about how dependant you are on others, it's a bit like studying the theory and then doing the practical: the practical highlights the flaws in the theory.

                              Home in 5 days, no wonder you're freaking out! you've one hell of a steep learning curve ahead but stick at it, it will come right. Unfortunately it comes right after a lot of three steps forward two steps back.

                              I wish you all the luck going and keep us posted, Jon.


                                T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                                My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown