Perils of A Quadriplegic Gardener (Part 3)

by Patrick on February 1, 2014

patricks flowersI don’t like to dwell on my challenges since being paralyzed 12 years ago. But the last year has been fraught with many such hurdles (love the irony of a paralyzed man jumping hurdles) and reflecting on them at this time gives me strength that I can accomplish anything, of course, through He who strengthens me.

At the end of last year, I had a bowel obstruction with sepsis and was out of it for 18 hours. Shawnee Mission Hospital protocol is to turn a person with wounds on their butt every two hours by propping you up on pillows on one side and then the other to avoid pressure wounds. At some point I was set up on pillows but I don’t believe I was turned because I went in with barely a wound and left with three on my butt as well as one on my elbow where it had rubbed against a railing. SMH has never done me wrong before but did they make up for it this time? One wound went so deep I spent a lot of time on IV meds fighting a bone infection and finally the left hip was taken out this past December.  After lodging a formal complaint with the patient advocate, insult to injury occurred when they responded “SMH had followed all necessary protocols”

Before that admission, I was spending 10-12 hours a day at my desk, or in my gardens here at Trinity Nursing, more often than not on my beloved front patios with my fourteen windowboxes. But my friends, I’m sorry to report I have been in bed for the past 16 months. About six months ago, one of my wound care nurses told me I should prepare myself to never sit up again but to prove her wrong. Well that is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve been pushing proteins — 6 shakes a day and double meat servings– and made a dramatic recovery. But my future looks more like a realistic goal will be more like 4-6 hrs a day but compared to the opposite side of not sitting up, I must be grateful it’s not 0 hours .But it has been so hard to be bed-bound for 16 months and still counting.

My wound care specialist, Dr. Fried (pronounced Freed), has also been my infection disease doc since I was paralyzed 12 years ago. He’s been a Godsend on so many occasions, picking the right antibiotic at just the right time, before the tests are in to identify exactly what bug I’m fighting.  My Mum and I both don’t want to dwell how many times he’s saved my life.

The most recent plan had been to do a couple of skin flaps (type of skin graft using healthy skin to cover the wounds and have them heal from the inside. Then go back to the wound care hospital for six weeks but Dr. Fried is most pleased with the healing by itself, so please say some prayers things will progress over the next 4-6 weeks and healing will take place on its own.

So my friends, you can’t imagine how inspiring are your efforts and how much I enjoy them from this lowly perspective. I will continue to do what I can do here backed by some of the truest friends one could ever imagine. So count your blessings for your talents and those helping you and let’s look forward to a wonderful year in the garden in 2014.

Patrick's Garden

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