Wheelchair Life

Japanese Language

If you get a cervical cord injury?

If you get a cervical cord injury, 4 functions will be affected.

If you get a cervical cord injury, your physical functions will not able to operate properly. Mainly, 4 functions will be affected.

  1. Motor dysfunction
  2. Sensory disturbance
  3. Autonomic imbalance
  4. Excretion dysfunction

1. Motor dysfunction

A injured person cannot move his lower part of body from his neck.
Those who injured lower spine (the 5th to 7th cervical vertebra) can move their arms.

Since I broke the 6th vertebra, I can move my arms but cannot my fingers.

Of course, I cannot move my legs either, so I’m not able to walk.

However, against my expectation, I have a problem with my moveless legs. That is a convulsion.

My legs go into convulsions against my will, it make me lose my balance on a wheelchair, and I sometimes feel like my legs get stiff. This doesn’t recover soon.

Since my convulsion is violent, I fell down from a wheelchair many times for it.
A person who see my convulsion says “Hey, you can move your legs!”, but it’s not correct.

I can control the convulsions with a medicine, but I don’t want to take it because the medicine produces side effects (drowsiness). Another reason I don’t want to take it is that the medicine does not work well actually…

2. Sensory disturbance

I have some paralysis such as the sense of touch, press, heat, cold and a pain.
In other word, I don’t feel any senses even if I get hurt and bleed or get burnt to loss of the outer skin.

When I went to a Okominiyaki-ya, a Japanese style pancake place, I once burnt not Okonomiyaki but my elbow. I didn’t feel heat, but my elbow got badly bled, took three months to completely heal.

You need to watch out for getting burnt, but most important thing that you need special attention is pressure ulcer (=bedsore).
Pressure ulcer means development of necrosis on a skin caused by pressuring the same place for long time and getting circulation of the blood worse.
It is formed on the lower back around the sacrum because a person keeps sitting in the same position for long hours.

What is worse is since I don’t have the sense of pain, I easily suffer the pressure ulcer.

3. Autonomic imbalance

If we get damaged on vertebras, we cannot regulate fluctuations in body temperature; sometimes we cannot sweat properly or get hypothermia.

When the bladder gathers much water or a bowel movement occurs, blood pressure goes up or induce perspiration.
This is because an autonomic nerve (vagotonic nerve) is alarming the body condition change; this is called as excessive Autonomic Dysreflexia.
People who lose sensation in the body because of a spine or cervical injury go to the bathroom as feeling the signal of this Autonomic Dysreflexia.

I don’t rely too much on the Autonomic Dysreflexia because I can get the call of passing water a little bit. But if I wait for going to the bathroom, I will suffer from sweating and a bad headache.
However, sweat comes out only on my left side of forehead. I indeed got a really strange body.

4. Excretion dysfunction

Those who injured a spine are not good at using muscles of sphincter for urination and bowel movement. For this reason, it is popular for them to set a day and use an evacuant medicine and a suppository (use “Recicarbon” in Japan) for removing waste matter.

As inserting Recicarbon into the anus, it helps the body elimination by giving off gas in rectum and stimulating the intestine.
Giving the wrong dosage of the medicine causes incontinence. It’s difficult to adjust the amount of medicine.
I usually use Recicarbon to help body elimination.

I pass water by doing urethral catheterization.
But since I cannot move my fingers well, I have difficulty pushing a catheter into the bladder.
I need to devise some ways to insert a catheter in a cold season because sphincter muscles tend to contract in such climate.