My Senses As A Quadriplegic
Since becoming a quadriplegic I realise I am extremely fortunate to still retain my sense of touch, hearing, sight and taste.
Many other quadriplegic people lose most of their feeling below the middle of their chest. For all the feeling I have I am very grateful, as I know I could be a lot worse off such as having to deal with pressure sores and consequentially weakening the skin, creating a weak area of the skin of the buttocks.
Touch doesn’t seem to affect me a great deal because of being in a wheelchair. I am having 24 hours support, 7 days a week. My hands are always in my lap or my left arm is strapped to the arm rest of the wheelchair or they cross my lap. Still, when I think of it, I am lucky that I can feel the temperature of water and this has been helpful during showering so I am sure I am less at risk of a scald.
I can be thrown off balance extremely easily and I will lean to my left. Maybe because my sense of touch is as intact as before my accident I tend not to focus on how important it is apart from pain signals and this makes managing my comfort and preventing injury so much easier. Reflecting on this makes me realise how important it really is. The pain I feel is a warning from my body telling me something is not right. I then have time to rectify the problem before there is major damage especially to my skin.
Hearing is so important to me; I think I would go mad if I was unable to hear. I am sure since my accident I have developed it to a much higher level because I have learnt to depend on it so much for information. For example I hear when people arrive to my home, well before the knock on the door.
The TV is another vital thing I use to pass the time. If I was deaf that silence would drive me crazy. I do not know how people live and be quite content without it. Especially if they have had their hearing and lost it from some kind of unforeseen event. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like not to have my sensations intact. I have a very small glimpse into the lives of other quadriplegics in a worse position than myself.
This is taken so much for granted but can you imagine not smelling a BBQ cooking or the scent of fresh air by the ocean. There are so many smells you deal with without thinking that gives you pleasure, a warning of food that has spoiled or bad air and many more. Other quadriplegic people have a lot of problems developing sores from pressure. They don’t receive the signals of discomfort before a injury is done.
Although this can be inconvenient for me at times, I am extremely lucky to have these warning signs. Without them I would undoubtedly have these issues. The result in being restricted to stay off the area and this usually means being confined to bed. Being unable to more would mean remaining in one position until the nursing staff rolled me. This would occur every few hours to prevent bed sores which can be extremely dangerous to your health.
Sight is something you never think about until its gone. Living in darkness would be horrendous for me because I know what I am missing out on. Trying to learn and cope to move around unaided so you don’t keep bumping into objects would be so frustrating and hard to except. So many things you never consider like watching TV, looking at the ocean at the beach, seeing the result of strong winds rage havoc on the surrounding and much more, but everybody with sight never things about it. Until you’re directly affected only then you realise what you take for granted every day.
Being born with no sight gives you a completely different attitude to someone who has been able to see. Knowing what you have lost must be so hard to except.