It took exactly two months from the time Cheng Bee of Star 2 spoke to me about contributing an article on disability to the completion and submission of the manuscript to her. In the months of April and May, I was occupied with co-facilitating Disability Equality Training workshops with Dr. Kuno of JICA.
When I finally had time to start writing, I was overwhelmed in trying to compress the 27 years of my life post spinal cord injury into 1400 words. I spent a number of days writing and rewriting, throwing out the less consequential and adding more significant events as I went along.
There were a few ocassions when I teared, especially while recalling the sacrifices my parents made for me and the last few days of my mother’s life as she slowly drifted away. Although a lot of emotions were stirred up in the course of writing, I felt a sense of fulfillment and serenity when I finally clicked the send button to submit the article.
The response from friends in Facebook and Twitter were truly encouraging. I did not set out with the intention to write an inspirational story of my life. In fact, it was anything but inspirational, seeing how long it took me to realise that there is life after spinal cord injury.
The message is simple. One should quickly go through the denial, rehabilitation and acceptance processes and move on while waiting for that elusive cure. There is no point in putting everything on hold and then realise that twenty year have passed by with nothing to show for it. It is a mistake I hope others in conditions similar to mine do not make. Viva la Vida!
Moving On – My life after spinal cord injury published on 14 July, 2011 in The Star.
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There was a very brief sharp pain. I looked down. A morsel of winter melon from the soup that had been simmering in the slow cooker had dropped off from the ladle and landed on my sarong. It burnt my fingers when I tried to pick it up. I lifted the sarong. I was half expecting to see a blister. A patch of redness had developed where the winter melon landed. There was no pain. I quickly patted the sore with tap water to cool it down.
Scald blister on my left thigh.
By evening, the redness had swelled into a blister. Still no pain. I have very little sensation there. The first time I got scalded, it was worse than this but the wound healed pretty quickly. I am banking that it will be the same this time. In many ways, I am lucky that Wuan does most of the cooking and handling of hot liquids. If not, scald blisters like this would be a common occurence on my thighs.
Tags: spinal cord injury
About one month ago, while I was suffering under sweltering heat and humidity, I thought it to be the hottest day yet. Yesterday and today’s weather proved me wrong. Yesterday was the first time in many months that I splashed my head and shoulders with cold water every few minutes.
Nasty weather like this and I are not the best of buddies. Spinal cord injury short circuited my body’s thermoregulation system. I do not feel hot or cold below my upper chest. My perspiratory system does not react to heat due to this lack of sensation to temperature. I do not sweat.
Bathing constantly is not an option. The transferring from wheelchair to bathroom chair multiple times can easily tire me out. Therefore, I have to resort to splashing myself with water, mostly to the remaining parts of my body where I have sensation. Yesterday’s unforgiving weather has worn me out even with the constant splashing.
Today, I will have to retreat back into the bedroom with the air conditioner blowing at full blast. I might as well. The air outside also smells of ash. The haze is back too with no rain to wash it away. This is not my time of the year. I cannot think coherently. I feel weak.
The fact that I have not been sleeping well lately nights adds to the trauma. My tummy has been unsettled. The cut on my buttock sustained from a careless transfer in the bathroom on Saturday is bothering me as well. For now, the cool in the bedroom is the best sanctuary for me to recharge and rejuvenate from these sleepless nights.