In life, we all encounter setbacks at some point, from things as little as being stranded on the side of the road to things more devastating like losing a family member or one’s livelihood. The most recent setback for me was a health issue that started in September, something called autonomic dysreflexia. This is the body’s reaction to nerve stimulation that many paralyzed people experience at my spinal cord injury level, often as a result of pain. The symptoms vary from person to person but in my case, it was prolonged and severe muscle spasms. It was unlike anything I’ve experienced before and is the main reason I haven’t written a blog post in so long.
For hours and days on end, the muscles in my legs and stomach were contracting forcefully. They would push me back against my wheelchair seat over and over, making it very difficult to accomplish things I normally could. At the same time, the spasms would cause my body to overheat and send my temperature up over 100 degrees. I had to use fans, wet washcloths and the air conditioner to cool myself down. This went on day and night so I wasn’t sleeping well either. It made me feel miserable, and I had no idea what the real cause was.
I’m pretty sure it was pain from somewhere in my body that was making it react so intensely. However, that’s very hard to prove when you can’t tell a doctor where the pain is located. They had to do a lot of different tests at the Doctor’s office and the ER but all came back with favorable results. In the end, they couldn’t find any answers as to why this was happening. I was referred to a neurologist but they are so busy that I didn’t hear back from them until the middle of December, and they still couldn’t get me in until January.
Fortunately, I started to gradually get better in November. I’ve changed a few things that relate to what I was guessing might have been the causes. Whether those changes helped or not, I can’t say for sure. I’m just thankful I’m mostly back to my normal self aside from some minor symptoms the doctors still need to diagnose a cause for.
Since my two months of agony has ended, my caregiver of 12 years retired (He’s become part of the family though so I’ll still see him). I’ve been transitioning to new caregivers, my girlfriend being one of them. She has been amazing (thank you Kat!). We celebrated the holidays, and I had a birthday.
With all that’s happened, and with the cold short days of winter, I haven’t been very motivated to write any blog posts. I’m still here though, and everything that’s happening now is getting both Kat and I closer to a place where we can start building our dreams. These setbacks won’t stop us because they aren’t permanent.
If you have had any temporary setbacks that knocked you off the path to your dreams, I encourage you to make those dreams your focus again. We can’t let things that are temporary become excuses because they will become regrets. As a start, feel free to share your dreams in the comments below. It will get you thinking about them at least.