Why, How?

 The question of “Why me!?” Had crept back into play. Looking at abled bodied people in jealousy. Why did they get to live a normal life and I'm stuck like this? When I realised the cost financially to live healthily and exercise just enough so that I was able to keep up, I discovered I was facing a whole other demon.THE DOLLAR. Money has never been an object and never will be for me, it merely dictates the style in which I live. When I initially was injured, we began the process ofa public liability case for me to receive compensation for my injury. Money that would otherwise assist in purchasing the necessities in the LIFETIME of a quadriplegic. (Which in case you didn't know, is double/triple the price of what it should be!) 

Recently I received correspondence from my solicitor informing me that it is 90% likely I will not receive a single cent from the public liability claim. When I read these words I was broken, I lay there in bed for another four hours, not wanting to move. 

Is it possible to balance a full-time job, yet also maintain the current rate at which I'm working out; in order to maintain any progress in my rehabilitation?  As well as trying to manage all the other curve balls that quadriplegia brings on a daily basis. The answer is no, it can not be done.  There is something extremely different about a ‘neuro’ workout, the fatigue that follows neurologically, physical exhaustion, blood pressure issues and autonomic dysreflexia. It’s just not as simple as getting up before work and going for a one hour exercise session at the gym, there are so many more moving parts for me these days. It is a 2 hour minimum process from waking up to getting in my chair (vs the 10 or so minutes I had working before my accident). Taking that into account, adding in 40 hours of work a week (If I was to work full-time) , +10 hours of training, commuting to and from both of those, somehow having assistance at all times of the day, appropriate transport when I need it and most of all, the $ to fund somebody to assist me throughout the day with basic duties.

With the Department of Veterans Affairs rejecting both my claim and two appeals, I will now receive no compensation from them either.  It is extremely hard and uncomfortable for me to accept financial donations, I know it is a ridiculous dignity/pride thing, but I just cannot get past it. Extremely Appreciated and very much required as it may be, personally, I did not, and DO NOT want to be a financial or physical burden on anybody again. I want to do as my father did for me when I was young, provide those who depend on me with nothing but opportunity. All of this came at me pretty fast. Too fast. I did not know how to handle it, so I shut myself out from everybody. I did what I used to do, I sat and thought, I thought and I thought. Nothing positive. I let it get the better of me. The resilience I normally draw upon was not there. Fortunately I have someone living with me who has more mental resolve and persistence than me, only she could steer me back on track and keep me working. Thanks Elisa.

I may not ever be a rich man, all I want is to live a life similar to that of my mates, with opportunity, happiness, tests, taste failure and success from my hard work…just like my mates.

After seeing the progress I have made in such a short time at my new gym, “Strides” and also noticing the improvements mentally for myself, I have concluded that I will now tip every last dollar in my personal savings, and do what I can to ensure that I will return and be able to continue this training.

For those that did not know, project walk closed on the Friday, and the Monday that followed I was training in a new gym. Similar concept, only spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and at a very high standard. “Strides SCI” first told me when I began training there “There is nothing wrong with your body, you have an injury in your spinal cord and that is it, so why wouldn't we train the rest of your body normally?” Their primary focus from what I have gathered is, that whilst I am on my feet and load-bearing, my nervous system is working at its hardest, therefore it is also the most beneficial. I am now four weeks in to my training at strides, and every week I am making massive changes and improvements, far greater than I have noticed prior. Elisa is able to assist me in standing, although this new Discovery is still in its infancy, and will only get better, it is incredible to think that we're doing this sort of stuff together! I hadn't really allowed myself to be impressed by anything I had done this year, but I'm quite impressed with myself and what I have done the last month. ESPECIALLY considering the curve balls I was thrown by DVA and my public liability case and the potential they had to derail me.

Last week I had an unexpected visit to the emergency room with a case of sepsis. I woke at around 4 AM Sunday morning with extremely bad spasm, nerve pain ALL over my body, the shakes, nausea and feeling extremely cold and a body temp of 39 degrees. All these signs and symptoms mean one thing… a urinary tract infection. These infections are common for those that are incontinent. so I thought I could ride it out, I jumped in the shower for what seemed an eternity of trying to vomit (with a paralysed diaphragm, this is not possible), shaking and spasming, nearly falling out of my shower chair on occasions. After a visit to the doctor's clinic, we were referred straight to the emergency room and I was given IV antibiotics, blood test’s, some meds and a killer bill! A few hours later I was discharged and I went home to rest. This was the worst infection I have experienced to date. Fortunately we had some help, Silv (Elisa's mum) was here to give Elisa a hand with caring for me that morning/day and when we got home from the ER which was no doubt a bit more work than expected when she booked her holiday, thanks for that Silv! it took me about 7 days to recover completely but now I’m 100%.

When I mentioned in my last Journal entry that one door was closing and more were opening, I was correct, I have opened my eyes to new concepts, different mind sets. I strongly feel that I have benefited from past events.  I am now competently standing with little assistance and maintaining my posture and balance. The finished product is a lot easier than the process. Transitioning from seated to standing is the hardest part, but once I am up, I am relatively confident and comfortable. This is a noted improvement in the past three weeks. There was a stage for 2 weeks where I was not getting a sufficient night's sleep, this being credited to making my nervous system work continuously and in a different way to what I was used to. I was being woken in the middle of the night by heavy spasms, and sometimes waking up for no reason yet being wide awake, and not falling back to sleep for hours after. Luckily, they have subsided and I am back into a good sleep routine. To ensure I get five days minimum training in a week, I have been training privately with an old trainer. Still maintaining a diet of less than 1000 cal a day, I am now 15 kg lighter, and it is extremely noticeable. I am now transferring onto the couch on my own, balance is a lot better, my posture has also improved, and I generally feel great.

Joel

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