You'll forgive me one tirade.
I've never had one before on this blog, but right now I'm ready for one. I just came back from the hospital to see the results of a recent MRI. This MRI was taken to establish whether or not my 'spinal-cord injury' came from what is called an AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation). This is when the arteries and the veins in the spine (or brain) get all tangled up causing a bleed. This bleed later compresses the spine causing paralysis. It's not very common, but it does happen.
Apparently, I don't have an AVM according to my doctor. This is good news as it means I don't have a bomb ticking in my body that could blow again, maybe somewhere higher on my spinal cord causing quadraplegia/tetrapelgia. But it's also bad news as it means that no one really knows what happened.
I know it's crazy to even think about it, but I feel that I have a less cool spinal cord injury than everyone else.
Imagine me at my spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors' meeting (which if you know me, you know I don't attend).
SCI Counselor: "Now group, today I would like you all to share the horror that caused this to you."
SCI 1: "This happened to me playing rugby."
SCI 2: "This happened to me in an F1 race."
SCI 3: "Well, I don't like to brag about it, but me and my friends had a wild drinking party and I injured myself while drunk trying to jump into the river."
Dennis: "Just bad luck!"
Counselor: "Dennis, it's bad luck for everyone, please share with the group."
Dennis: "Are you stupid? I just did! It's bad luck for everyone, of course I know this, I'm not a freeking idiot. Mine was really just bad luck. No one knows what happened to me."
Of course I'm now threatened with being kicked out of group for punching the counselor in the face.
Cut to rolling home after work and meeting the old ladies in the street.
My wife always tell me that I don't have to tell them everything because they're nosy. Me on the other hand like the old ladies and because they were always nice to me, always had a good morning for me, feel that I owe them some explanation. These old women (actually not only old ladies) saw me playing in the street with the neighbour kids for years and now they see me in a wheelchair. Of course they're going to ask.
Guy at the train station: "What in the hell happened to you? Sporting accident?" As he imagines me running down the field trying to score a touch down when I was tackled from behind.
Dennis: "I had some bleeding from somewhere in my back." And leave him scratching his head.
Old lady 1: "What happened to you? You were always so happy and healthy. Car accident?" As she imagines me racing down the highway in my convertible, scarf fluttering in the breeze, before I was in a car wreck.
Dennis: "No, I don't even have a car and I don't like driving. It's too dangerous. I had some bleeding from somewhere in in my back." And leave her scratching her head.
If I were in America, people might even imagine me as Dennis the gangster, paralyzed by a gun shot in a drug deal gone bad. I'd have on my bandanna and my pants hanging low exposing my bum. They'd be wrong, too. Thank God I live in a place with almost no gun violence.
Now back at group therapy. They let me back in after we realized the counselor didn't suffer a broken nose, just some bleeding. (Where have I heard this before).
Counselor: "Today group, I'd like to discuss your cool new life in the chair.".
SCI 1: "Well, since I can't play rugby anymore, I've taken up basketball."
SCI 2: "I'm now into wheelchair racing and I will be number one in the world."
SCI 3: "I've now stopped drinking and have am studying to become a counselor so I can help others get used to living in the chair."
Counselor: "Dennis, tell us how you are adjusting."
Dennis: For the first time I'm happy because I can now tell the group how unity will bring us a cure. How animal studies have shown us very clearly that it is possible to regenerate the spinal cord. "Me, I'm working with others from all around the world, to win a cure for SCI."
Counselor: "Now, Dennis, don't be crazy. There is no cure for SCI. You must accept the fact of your life in the chair. Why not try fishing, or mountain wheeling, or..."
Dennis: "I'm sorry. I'm happy for everyone because they've found their niche. My thing is now getting out of the chair."
Counselor: "If you don't accept your lot in life, you will never adjust."
Dennis: "I'm not really interested in adjusting to this life. I'd rather fight for the cure. Not just because I want one, but because it's possible."
Counselor: "Then you my friend are maladjusted and you get an F in group."
Dennis: "I'm leaving."
Counselor: "Because you can't accept the truth."
Dennis: "No. Because I don't want to punch you in the face again. Too busy to go to prison for hitting an idiot."
Now, up until yesterday, this was the scenario. But now that I'm told that no one knows what happened to me, that I don't even have a good old fashioned SCI scar, that i don't even have what I thought I had, I don't know. I first have to figure out if these new cell therapies will even help the guy in the chair that no one knows what happened to him.
But I'll tell you this. I'll find out!
And because I have made so many wonderful friends from all over the world who a cure definitely will help, my hat is still in the ring! Actually, I'm pretty sure it will help me, too, but I got to do a little research.
Back to studying, and fighting!
P.S. After this little tirade, I feel much better. Thank you for listening.