James’ News & Progress – 17 September 2009

This week has been a bit up and down in terms of therapy because I have managed to pick up a UTI (urinary tract infection) which are relatively common for most quadriplegics, especially those with full time catheters. The first signs of the infection are normally increased spasms and tiredness as my body tries to fight back. Discoloured urine is also normally a give away but a small upside is that the discomfort which I am told accompanies a UTI is limited for me given my lack of sensation. I now appreciate why so many girls favour vodka and cranberry as their chosen tipple, given the berry’s miraculous antibacterial qualities. As you can imagine, its very frustrating having to sit out of scheduled exercise sessions, however necessary to recover quickly. A short course of antibiotics I am assured clears things up within a week. Fingers crossed these will be few and far between.

At the end of the week, a good friend’s bucks party presented a much awaited opportunity to head out on to the harbour. After making my way down onto the wharf, I was faced with a 4.5 foot ascent over a half a metre gap to perch on the edge of the sail boat, with another 7-8 metre lift out of my chair to reach my final destination at the back of the boat. In my mind, after over 10 months of trying to rebuild my body this type of manual lifting was not something I was prepared to risk, even after the heavy persuasion from the captain and his wife and even with the reassurance of a number of my more sturdy mates on hand. As with many of these situations, its not so much the beginning of the evening but rather the dismounting at the end with inebriation of potential lifters presenting some concern. In this case, it was a judgement well made and fortunately I was able to meet up with the boys for dinner after the cruise and carry on with the festivities.

I was also able to take up our kind neighbour’s offer of using their tennis court to improve my manual wheelchair fitness as well as hit a few tennis balls out in the sun. I still require heavy strapping around my hand to grip the racket and maneuverability is therefore limited, however I thoroughly enjoy the hand-eye coordination required, especially as I used to play so many ball and racket sports on a regular basis. It is something that I will endeavour to maintain throughout the warmer months in Australia. We may even take the walking frame up there to try out some day.