It's Sunday afternoon and not a normal time for me to write a blog. This time of day usually involves chopping, cooking, laundry. I have been doing some of that today, but not much because I'm trying to rest up my back in preparation for another long week. I just thought I'd take a coffee and gluten free scone break from my house chores.
Last night I completed my grocery shopping for food prep today. I went later in the evening on purpose, to avoid the daytime shoppers that pack up the stores. I also prefer to go when there is less traffic on the road. Since my spinal cord injury in July, I have been very scared of being on the road; scared that someone is going to rear-end me. The words from my surgeon ruminate in my mind; that if I were to get into even a minor accident, I could end up with quadriplegia. Quadriplegia occurs when there is injury to the spinal cord in any part between the C4-C7 cervical area. My spinal cord was damaged in the C5-C6 and C6-C7 region, with minor damage in the C4 area that they chose not to fix at the same time as the others (there is risk that a multi-level fusion would not be successful). The 12-15 months is how long it takes for my bones to fuse with the cadaver bones. Until then, what's holding me together are screws on the inside and outside of my spinal cord (see 2nd picture, below). So I am supposed to be really careful for the next year or so and is why I have a long list of restricted movements and activities. Here's a picture I found online that better explains the regions:
Since I don't have a picture of my own xray, I found one online that looks just like mine:
The truth is, I'm scared of being being paralyzed from the neck down. What would that mean to a t1 diabetic like myself? It would mean not being able to poke my own fingers to check my blood sugar, not being able to treat a low on my own, and possibly not having the ability to feel a low due to paralysis. It would mean requiring 24 hour a day care, because of the risk of low blood sugar. It could mean living in a facility due to the special circumstances of type 1 diabetes and needing someone to be available to help me treat my diabetes at any time of the day or night. While I know that many quadriplegic patients may live with a level of independence, I don't think a type 1 diabetic would have that option. And that fear haunts me when I'm driving and I see a car behind me not slowing down fast enough.
I've purposely chosen my work schedule in order to avoid rush hour traffic. I don't drive during rush hour, period. I try to do everything locally and avoid the main highways, which seem to be featured on the morning and evening news everyday for accidents. I'm just simply trying to reduce my risk. I don't text and drive and I rarely talk and drive either. I see too many cars swerving around in their lanes only to see when I pass them that they are texting and not watching the road. I don't want someone who is texting behind me on the road because if I have to slam on my brakes for some reason, they will not be paying attention and run into me. We live in a different world now with cell phones and GPS systems. People are reading their texts, texting back, dialing, or looking at the map/directions on their phone. What they aren't looking at are the brake lights in front of them.
Maybe I'm paranoid, I'm not saying I'm not. But I have a lot to lose and I'd rather be overly cautious than not cautious enough.
- I'm a glass-half-full type 1 diabetic/celiac with a C5 spinal cord injury and life-altering allergies. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010, a spinal cord injury resulting in a spinal cord fusion at the C5 level in 2012 (resulting in chronic pain and life-long physical restrictions) and bad ass allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with disease and injury. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Disease and injuries are expensive, so I live a frugal yet full life (I'm a fru"GAL"!) Please know I am NOT any sort of professional and am not giving professional advice. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.