Still plodding along…

I thought that being in China would give me much more interesting things to write about on my blog… but as I wrote in my previous post, I have such a set routine here and I rarely do anything else! Even at the weekends I don’t often do much. I always have so much catching up to do… emailing, skyping, sleeping… that the time flies by and Monday morning always comes around so quickly again. I think this is probably a good thing though as if I have too much free time to think about things then I start thinking too much about everything!

I have tried to change my attitude in the gym over the last couple of weeks… and think I am finally starting to show some progress here! About two weeks ago it started to get really hot, and for the same reason why it gets very cold in the gym in winter, it gets very hot during the summer. A large part of the gym has a glass roof, so it sort of becomes like a greenhouse when the sun is out, and it gets very stuffy and was making the afternoons extremely unpleasant. I really let it bother me and was getting so frustrated every afternoon as I would start to feel quite light headed and dizzy when I was trying to walk. The more frustrated I would get, the worse my walking would be, and I would get even more angry.

After trying to walk in different parts of the hospital but finding that either they were just as hot or the floor was too slippery, I finally just accepted that the weather isn’t going to change any time soon, and I may as well just try and stay calm so that I can get some decent walking time in the afternoons. So this week I managed the whole week without crying or getting angry. And I am pretty happy with that because I am often at the point of physical exhaustion, a time where my emotions are on the edge anyway!

With regard to my walking progress… well I think it’s still progressing in the right direction although I often wonder what the next stage is for me, or whether I will ever reach a stage where my progress becomes useful in everyday life. This is why I mentioned earlier that I don’t like to have too much time to sit and think about everything. I have finally stopped asking my physio constant questions about progress and expectations and the future… and I am just putting everything into this programme and seeing what I can gain from it. I have realised that this is the most sensible option because otherwise I drive myself mad.

The concept of ‘progress’ for spinal injuries is always so difficult to measure anyway…Changes can be so minute and quite often do not result in useful function anyway. And because my injury level is around waist height, it is always hard for me to know if I have improved my core and back muscles because they are all sort of joined together. Obviously from looking at the videos of my walking since December it looks like I have made progress, but I find it so hard to judge that because I only focus on the negatives! I look at my current walking videos (I will upload a new one tomorrow) and see all the things that I still can’t do as opposed to the things that I can do. I did say I was trying to work on my attitude… I obviously still have a little more work to do!

Last week I also embraced some Traditional Chinese Medicine and had some Cupping Therapy on my back. The idea is that it releases toxins from you body. They use little cup things that suction the skin and burst the blood vessels on the surface of the skin for the toxins to leave the body. It was sort of painful at the time, but I quite liked it and am definitely going to keep having it done… The picture makes it look a lot more dramatic than it was!

cuppingAnyway, I have a some things happening over the next few weeks outside of the gym that will keep me motivated and energised. Next weekend it’s my birthday so I’m going to the InterContinental Hotel for lunch, which will be awesome. I will have to take lots of pictures to share as the hotel really is spectacular!

1 thought on “Still plodding along…

  1. Excellent blog – I discovered it after reading your story in the Daily Mail (I guess the ‘Wail’ does have it’s uses after all). As a fellow paraplegic I completely agree with you when your state:

    ” I often wonder what the next stage is for me, or whether I will ever reach a stage where my progress becomes useful in everyday life.”

    Practicality and usefulness is everything. I am someone who is caught between a wheelchair and crutches/walking frame. Yes it’s great to be on your feet ambulating but for many of us no matter how much we push ourselves there are no guarantees that the ‘walking’ will get better and be practical. Moreover, shoulder, elbow and wrist health is a major concern for us ‘walkers’ given the pressure we put on our bodies when using mobility aids.

    That said I wish you well and having looked at your YT videos you are obviously making progress so keep it up. This scheme in China has given you a fantastic start so keep at it once you’re back in England. You will never recover fully from the SCI (none of us will, the neuro damage has been done) but I have seen and read about numerous spinal patients who made significant progress many years after their injuries.

    Good luck.

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