James’ News & Progress – 15 October 2009

My week started with a trip down to the Bondi pavilion to support a good friend in his latest theatrical appearance in an amateur production based on life in Bondi. To my great surprise, much of the story was based upon a character who had recently become a paraplegic and was in a wheelchair on stage. Even more unexpected was that the actor on wheels was the same guy whom I briefly shared a room with in my first week at Moorong Rehab Centre. To his credit, it was his first attempt at acting and a clear illustration of his determination to carry on with life and try new things. I was very impressed.

To start the working week, I was paid a visit by my local community nurse to perform the monthly task of changing my catheter. To explain briefly, I have a permanent tube inserted just below my belly button which feeds directly into my bladder to allow constant drainage throughout the day. These are very common in quadriplegics given the lack of sensation in, or control of, bladder function. That said, we are constantly using the flip-flow function, a valve on the catheter which allows you to block drainage at any given time, in the hope that the body will begin to recognise the sensation of the bladder being full and promote full recovery. I also on a regular basis visualise and try to remember what the sensation was. Obviously this is one of the more inconvenient effects of my injury which has become part of my daily life.

As light relief to things such as the above, I was lucky enough to see Mikado (an operetta) at the Sydney Opera House. I was given the royal treatment on entering the building given there are only four wheelchair allocated seats in the opera hall. I have warned my girlfriend, Sarah, not to get used to this luxury but it was nice given it was her first visit to Sydney Harbour’s famous landmark. Hopefully, I will be in a position to attend more regularly as it provides a much needed break from rehab.