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Guzzi

Guzz goes mental

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Ok, so I didn't realise this challenge started so soon after the last one and now I've missed the first week. Bugger! I guess I'll be doing a 3 week challenge instead, lol!

So.... This challenge is all about improving my mental state. My health and mobility have deteriorated so much over the last 18 months that I now need to use a wheelchair to leave the house.

This is something that I had been fighting against and refusing for a long time. During my rehabilitation I swore that I would never use a wheelchair again. I saw it as failure, as giving up, as going backwards instead of forwards and it was very difficult for me to accept that I needed one. I now accept that this will make a big difference to my quality of life, but I still have some real issues with it.

I'll explain it all if anyone wants to read it, but be warned, it's long and boring :P

The background

After my accident in 2011 I started a program of rehabilitation. I got feck all on the NHS, my physiotherapist was inept, so I realised that if I ever wanted to get my life back, I was going to have to fight for it.

I met Norma, my personal trainer, who in my mind is the person I owe my recovery to. She took me on when I could barely walk and she pushed me to do things I never believed I could.

By 2014 I could deadlift my own bodyweight, squat with 40kgs on my shoulders, cycle, swim, I even ran 5km for Cancer Research. Despite all of this, I still had a problem with walking or just being on my feet, that I didn't understand and couldn't really explain. If I walked around too much or was on my feet for too long I would start to tire, become very sore, and develop muscle spasms and it would be very difficult to walk for 2-3 days afterwards.

I went on holiday with my brother and his wife in July 2014 and of course there was a lot of walking around and standing in queues at the airport and train station so I was not surprised at all when I suffered from intense pain and mobility problems upon my return, but I expected them to pass within a short time. They didn't.

Over the coming months the pain came and went in cycles, continuing to get worse but then improving for a period before getting worse again. I was beginning to struggle day to day and my mental state began to spiral downward.

What life is like for me now.

I am still trapped in the cycle of good and bad days, and there is a huge difference between the two.

On bad days I can usually make it to the sofa, but will probably only leave the sofa to go to the bathroom. On these days I don't even eat until Colin comes home from work and I spend the day in my pyjamas. At times Colin has even had to work from home, take annual leave or even come home from work part way through the day to look after me as I have been too unwell to be on my own.

It isn't just a matter of being in pain, when my mobility is bad it's almost impossible for me to walk. Even just taking a few steps is utterly exhausting. This is why I am convinced that there is some instability in my pelvis. On top of this I am constantly exhausted, far beyond just being tired. There are days where I am only awake for 2-3 hours at a time.

When I am unwell I am like a zombie, I can't think straight, barely make any conversation and have no interest in anything at all. Wow! What a catch, huh? I'm really not sure what Colin sees in me to be honest, lol!

So! What do I want to achieve?

1st step - accepting where I am now, and understanding that I'm not here because I "failed". This is not my fault any more than the original accident was. Let go of guilt.

2nd step - taking stock of my abilities and limitations, and finding ways and tools to improve them and prevent "crashing" (when I try to do too much and make myself ill)

3rd step - use what I've learnt in steps 1&2 to find ways to improve my day to day life and engage in some social activities.

How to achieve this.

1st step - Because I am embarrassed and ashamed of the wheelchair I need to do something to overcome that. I think that exposure therapy is the way to go here. I'm going to make a point of using the chair. This will get me used to it and also get me out of the house a bit more. Bonus! I'm going to take a photo of myself each time I use the chair and either share it on here or with my family and friends.

2nd step - Take stock! I'm going to start a diary of sorts, to keep a record of what I have done, instead of focusing on what I haven't done. (This will be really boring so I'm not going to share it. Even going for a shower is an achievement for me right now) This will also help stop me from overdoing it when I do have a good day.

I'm also going to start a To Do list. This will help to keep on top of things and give me back a sense of control.

3rd step - Since moving to Shetland I have been pretty isolated. I haven't been able to build a social circle or make friends. This isn't good for your mental health. I need to try and get out and meet people. I will need to plan this carefully as it could easily exhaust me and make me ill. I need to plan some "rest days" before and after.

I also want to try and have more fun with Colin's kids. Again, I need to make sure that I don't overdo it. The chair could actually be my friend here. They will probably enjoy pushing me to the swing park or something. This would let me do something with them that doesn't involve walking/moving around. Even just colouring in involves walking back and forth to get paper, pens, etc.

In amongst all this I will be traveling to Aberdeen Royal Hospital to see a specialist. Hopefully he's going to have a magic wand that he can wave to make me better in an instant, but failing that, I'll settle for him saying that there's something they can do surgically to fix me.

It will take a lot of mental energy just to write the updates. A lot of the time I am heavily medicated/exhausted/confused so I may not always be well enough to post, and sometimes I will only be able to write a line or two.

Sorry if I don't reply to people, it's not intentional, but there will be times (probably a lot of them) where I just can't manage it.

Tally Ho! :D

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Guzzi! I found you! (the reason I couldn't find you before is you're in the forum for last challenge!)

 

It's great to see you back and a lot seems to have changed for you but I'm sorry to read your mobility problems have worsened.

 

Looking forward to seeing you ace this challenge, and I am looking forward to your pictures when you're out and about in your wheelchair! 

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You're back! I missed you! :(

I know it feels like giving in, but taking some time in the dreaded chair isn't a failure. We must Skype sometime. Or have a group Google Hangout? Fort William reunion via tinterweb (on a day that you're up to it). :)

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Hahaha! Typical bloody me! Can I move it, or just do a copy and paste?

 

It can be moved by a moderator (I can draw someone's attention to it if you'd like?) or you can just copy and paste it into the new forum. 

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You're back! I missed you! :(

I know it feels like giving in, but taking some time in the dreaded chair isn't a failure. We must Skype sometime. Or have a group Google Hangout? Fort William reunion via tinterweb (on a day that you're up to it). :)

 

Yeah! that sounds like a great idea! I'm free pretty much any day being an unemployed layabout (ok, so not actually unemployed, just off on the sick long term, but that didn't quite have the same ring to it ;))  The only thing in my diary at the moment is my trip to Aberdeen to see the surgeon on 14-16 of this month.  I'll probably be out of action for a couple of days afterwards to recover but other than that I can fit in with you guys.

 

It can be moved by a moderator (I can draw someone's attention to it if you'd like?) or you can just copy and paste it into the new forum. 

 

Oooh yes please! That would be a big help, thank you. :)

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Thank you guys!

 

Well, I'm two days into my challenge and I've made a good start.  

 

Taking Stock

I made my to-do list and prioritised things into Tomorrow, This Week and Less Urgent.  I have even managed to get some things crossed off it, woohoo! I've started my "diary" so that I can see exactly what I have been able to do.  It helps that yesterday was a good day and today has probably been my best day for a couple of months, so there's a few thing down on the page which makes me feel better.  This shit is far too boring to share with you guys though.... It's literally stuff like "washed breakfast dishes" and "hung washing on clothes horse" or "wrote an email".  I won't offend you with it. :rolleyes:

 

Acceptance

I had hoped to get out in the chair both yesterday and today, but it didn't work out.  I did get to the local shop today but had to use the crutches since it's really not suitable for getting a chair round.  I bought some birthday cards since I've got some birthdays coming up and some picture hooks so that we could finally get the photo I gave Colin for Christmas Up on the wall.

 

Improving

Got nothin for this, but hey, it's only day 2 :P

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Dude, I am NOT bored by "did dishes". I've had episodes of clinical depression and doing the dishes deserves fucking fireworks and cheerleaders.

So if that is what we are celebrating, then say the word and I will start the victory boogie.

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So glad to see you back, Guzzi! 

I am so sorry you've been in such trouble these last months, but if there is something we know about you here is that you got courage and you always look on the bright side, so we know you will make it.

Do not feel like it is "boring" to talk about what you do because it looks small. It is not small, and if you tell us, we will celebrate with you. I agree with @Companion, doing the dishes does deserve fireworks! cheerplz.gif?2cheerplz.gif?2cheerplz.gif?2

Welcome back!

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Right! I'm very late with the updates, but this last week has been absolutely exhausting for me. I had my hospital appointment in Aberdeen on Tuesday and I've practically been asleep since getting back. However, just because I haven't been active on here doesn't mean that I have been slacking!  Lets see how things stack up.

 

1st step - accepting where I am now, and understanding that I'm not here because I "failed". This is not my fault any more than the original accident was. Let go of guilt. 

  • Because I am embarrassed and ashamed of the wheelchair I need to do something to overcome that. I think that exposure therapy is the way to go here. I'm going to make a point of using the chair. This will get me used to it and also get me out of the house a bit more. I'm going to take a photo of myself each time I use the chair and either share it on here or with my family and friends. 

 

This was probably the hardest for me to achieve since it required another person to take me out in the chair.  The first week I didn't manage very much, there always seemed to be more important things to do and despite Colin agreeing a few times that he would take me out, life always got in the way.  I did manage to get out with the kids and make a game out of it, they all took turns at pushing me along the path to the post box to post a letter.  Then, once we got back home, they got to take turns at pushing each other around the carpark, which they all loved.

 

This week was a bit easier to accomplish as I had my hospital appointment so I really had no choice in the matter, I was pretty much in the chair from the moment we left the house on Monday 'til the moment we got home on Wednesday. Colin ripped the piss out of me the whole time, which was really good.  It made me laugh and made me feel "normal" again.  Like I was still the same person and that he still enjoyed my company, not like some kind of burden that he was forced to look after.

 

I totally failed at getting photos though.  I'll work on that.


2nd step - taking stock of my abilities and limitations, and finding ways and tools to improve them and prevent "crashing" (when I try to do too much and make myself ill)

  • Take stock! I'm going to start a diary of sorts, to keep a record of what I have done, instead of focusing on what I haven't done. (This will be really boring so I'm not going to share it. Even going for a shower is an achievement for me right now) This will also help stop me from overdoing it when I do have a good day. 
  • I'm also going to start a To Do list. This will help to keep on top of things and give me back a sense of control. 

Start a diary - check!

Keep up with diary - check!

Start a To Do list - check!

Work through list - check!

 

Yup, pretty much got this one covered. The only failing here was that even though I new I was going to Aberdeen on Monday and needed to factor in some rest in the days leading up to it, this didn't happen. We had Colin's kids over the weekend and there's just no hope of me getting that over the weekend (your idea of a "rest day" is probably a busy day for me) and then on Monday here was a lot to do before we left (10 colonies of mice, 3 colonies of rats, & 25 snakes to feed, water and clean before we left) and Colin really needed some help. This was kind of an exception though, we were going away for two nights which we wouldn't be doing normally.

 

 

3rd step - use what I've learnt in steps 1&2 to find ways to improve my day to day life and engage in some social activities. 

  • Since moving to Shetland I have been pretty isolated. I haven't been able to build a social circle or make friends. This isn't good for your mental health. I need to try and get out and meet people. I will need to plan this carefully as it could easily exhaust me and make me ill. I need to plan some "rest days" before and after. 

 

I got nothin for this one.  I've been trying to get to the Wednesday Club organised by Disability Shetland, but there always seems to be something in the way, either I'm too ill, or I've got an appointment.  Hopefully this week coming I should be able to make it.  It's not much, but it's a start. 

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The Hospital Appointment

 

As I already said in my first post, my health and mobility took a nosedive in 2014 after having been on a steady rate of improvement since my accident in 2011.  No one could explain what had happened, or why.  I've basically been fighting since then to try and find out what's going on, and a way to fix it.

 

I've seen doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths. I've had x-rays, CT scans, countless drugs, counselling, acupuncture. This appointment was with Mr Boddie, Scotland's top pelvic trauma specialist. It's the one I've been waiting for since June, and my best shot at getting some answers. 

 

Long story short - he's found the problem and can fix it! Woohoo!

 

s6i6Q.gif

 

 


Mr Boddie has found that the Pubic symphysis joint at the front of my pelvis has never fully healed and this is causing the pelvis to become unstable, allowing the left hand side to rotate slightly.  I'm going to need a bone graft to fill the gap in the Pubic symphysis, and and he's going to have to insert a plate to stabilise the whole thing while it heals.  Because there is also evidence of inflammation around the Sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis he plans on fusing these joints too by inserting screws to lock them in place. 

 


He has advised me that I'll be in hospital for about 10 days, and the recovery time will be fairly long,  I'll need to use crutches for 3 months, and there is a chance that my body will not accept the donor bone which could cause it to be rejected. Hmmm.... That sounds like fun!  

 

He has also said that there is no guarantee that I will ever recover to my previous level. Bummer!  

 

giphy.gif

 

He does however believe that the procedure will restore some functionality and improve my mobility so I guess I'll just have to live with that.

 

I've decided that I'm going to make myself a Motivation Board where I'm going to put all my goals - short, medium, long term and Ultimate. I can then pick a goal and break it down into small chunks and use these as the basis for my challenges once my mobility is at a stage where I can start doing that.

 

All in all, I'm feeling great about this! I've been in limbo for the last 18 months, stuck in a downward spiral that robbed me of my mobility, my independence, self esteem, and saw me suffering from depression.  Now I've been given the key to turn this whole thing on it's head. The only real bugger is that it's probably going to take 4 months before I get the operation so I've decided that I have 4 months to get myself into the best possible shape I can. I'm going to make a real effort to do my physio and core exercises, and if possible start working on the larger muscles so that I can get a little bit of strength back. This might be with yoga, though I'm not sure if that would have a negative impact, or possibly the use of some fixed weights. That's if things even get that far though, lol!

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Happy to hear from you!

It's a pity that you have to still wait 4 months for the surgery, but I think this is good news. First, someone seems to understand what is happening to you, and that is the first step to get improvement. Second, it opens a door for you to have hope, and that is the most encouraging. I wish the best will happen :)

About the wheelchair, I love the way you made a game of it with the kids, I am sure that can help you to see it as something more positive.

 

We'll be here to help you get in shape (from the distance...). Now go and do those core exercises!!!

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That's awesome news they have found something they can try to fix Guzzi, I am made up for you with this. It's a shame about the waiting time but I love your attitude about getting as healthy as you possible can. The goal board is a great idea, do you use Pinterest? It's great for motivation like that. 

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I see how it is, you come back, make challenges, upgrade your technoskeleton, and don't tell me about it...and I thought we was friends...:-)

Also YAY for upgrades, when do you get the little rocket launchers that pop out of yoy wrists?

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schweet.  I dunno about donor bone either (why can't they just use a bit of your other bones?) but a friend of mine had both her hips replaced when the joints started to rot, and once she came off the crutches, she was happier and more flexible than before.  It's totally doable.  In fact you'll probably do better than my other friend, cause you're younger and eat better.

 

best of luck :)  Get the surgery done first thing in the morning if you can, surgeons are for some reason at their best at the crack of dawn.  They are weird people.

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