James’ News & Progress – 01 December 2009

On Friday night I ventured out to meet some friends for a Thai meal as a number of international visitors were in town. Unfortunately, the combination of hot food with almost 35-degree heat (the restaurant’s air conditioning was down) meant that it became quite uncomfortable for me. Given I am still unable to sweat, cooling down is quite a challenge whether it be after sitting outside in the sun or a heavy workout. Similarly in the winter, warming up is also challenging. My understanding is that most spinal cord injury sufferers have a reduced ability to regulate body temperature, although many of the paraplegics seem to sweat from the waist up as normal. For those who know me, pre-injury I was one of the more prolific perspirers to emerge from many a dancefloor, so it makes an interesting change living a sweat-free life. Most girls would argue this is a bonus.

On the rehab front, the focus on core and abdominal work are clearly making my frame walking more sustainable and control more consistent. Although I am managing to walk further with every session, I am still having to fight spasms towards the end of the exercise. Unfortunately, my right foot continues to frustrate given my tendency to walk on its tippy toes. We have an appointment scheduled with a physician over the coming weeks to review my lower limbs and decide whether another hit of botox is required. This aims to nullify the muscles which are causing problems and allow the opposing muscles to strengthen.

Not that its the most glamorous of topics to end on but it is one that is particularly important for my continuing health – constipation is something that occasionally burdens many of us. For spinal cord injuries, or at least those with spasms, constipation tends to increase the overall power and frequency of spasms, making it difficult to undergo normal daily tasks and, in some extreme cases, can be dangerous in nature, causing individuals to be thrown out of chairs. Luckily, just like able-bodied people, a good serving of stewed prunes or a couple of beers of an evening tend to do the trick.

Promise to end on a lighter note next week…