I enjoy expressing myself through writing very much but for some reason motivating myself to do so is always somewhat difficult. Whenever I am not writing, I’m usually thinking about it and all the random thoughts, ideas and contemplations circling around my crowded brain. But when the time comes to sit in front of my computer and begin the process I find myself wanting to do anything but write. I begin to imagine the amount of time it is going to take and the nagging pressure I will feel to perfect my words. I suppose anything worthwhile and fulfilling in life takes a certain amount of dedication and effort and writing is one of those things. Nothing worthwhile comes easy.
Last week was an eventful one as I tried to increase my participation in the area of wheelchair sports. On Wednesday I attended the season’s first power soccer practice. I had heard of the sport a long time back but I always turned my nose up at the idea of participating. For one thing it involved the use of power chairs and I never considered myself to be someone who would be using a power chair for an extended amount of time. Another reason was I didn’t see how one could call it much of a sport because it did not require much physical effort. The third reason power soccer put an ill taste in my mouth was that all the clips I had seen of the sport was of a bunch of kids. Seeing these images made me categorize the sport as an activity for the kiddies, not for athletic young men like myself. Apparently this year the ASAP program is trying to recruit more adults for the sport so I decided to go out and give it a try. When I got there sure enough I found myself with a bunch of kids, but by this time I had gotten over myself. Kids have just as much or possibly more to offer then any adult out there. If they’re lucky they haven’t lived long enough to develop egos and a false sense of pride. Despite the value children possess, I have to admit I was relieved when my friend Andy appeared through the doors. For the time being I believe he and I are the only two people maintaining the position of an adult.
Power soccer is a very simple sport. Basically you push around a big soccer ball, dribbling, passing and shooting using the turning radius of your chair. The object is to get the ball in between two cones set up on both ends of the gymnasium. I did a few drills, weaving in and out of cones, passing the ball back and forth and such. I didn’t participate in the scrimmage as I do not have a guard protecting my feet and I rather like my feet so I took the position of goalie. I enjoyed messing around with the ball but the most enjoyable part of the experience was seeing how much fun the kids were having. Huge smiles were spread across their faces as they zoomed up and down the floor. It’s always hard for me seeing kids with disabilities, imagining how they never got a chance to know what normal is. To watch the other kids run and play during recess and not even know what it feels like to do the same. I no longer turn my nose up at power soccer. It is an activity which spreads joy into the lives of young people who cannot find it as easily as their peers do. Power soccer’s alright with me.
My sport week continued on Thursday night when I attended the first rugby practice. The last time I played rugby was several months ago and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was very surprised at how well I was able to push the rugby chair. I was practically spinning 360’s and even going backwards seemed relatively easy. I was a little nervous at how well I would do but I figured since I surprised myself last time than I should be even faster and more agile now. After getting transferred into the rugby chair and taping up my hands frustration hit as I found myself pushing much slower than I remembered and maneuvering the chair was strenuous and difficult. I know I am much stronger than I was back in May so there must be a reason for my difficulties in pushing. One reason is that the chair I used several months back was much better suited for my level of injury which enabled me to push better. The second reason is the gym we were in did not have a hardwood floor and the sport floor is a slower surface. A third reason could be that my memory is not accurate and I did not push as well in May as I thought I did.
Despite my frustrations I stuck it out and tried my best. We did a bunch of passing and pushing drillS. I pushed myself physically possibly more than I ever have in the past year. I even found myself getting out of breath which is quite unusual for me. I find it very hard to get any sort of cardiovascular workout.
By the end of the practice I was spent but I felt energized after the exercise. Everyone kept telling me how sore and tired I would be the next day but I assured them that I would probably be fine. I probably would have been fine if it wasn’t for the attack of the very essential but very annoying aspect of life, bacteria. The moment I arrived home a sensation hit me in which I felt as if at any moment I would piss my pants. An indescribable chill runs through my crotch area and then spreads through my entire body. I began to feel warm and anxious and I decided to trust the signs my body was telling me and I headed to the bathroom to drain the fluids. The volume was no more than usual so I could only come to one conclusion. My arch nemesis was back, the inevitable return of the urinary tract infection. The chilled sensation I was describing is actually my bladder spasming, contracting because of the infection.
It is said that a person with a spinal cord injury maintains a UTI about 90% of the time. The fact that I must stick a foreign object down my urinary tract and into the bladder unfortunately creates the constant abundance of bacteria. The only thing I can do is keep the process of cathing as sterile as possible and drink plenty of fluids.
That night sleep was a rarity as my bladder continued to spasm. At one point the sensation became so severe I thought I might have to go to the emergency room. I soon discovered however that draining my bladder relieved the symptoms for the time being. The next day I felt worthless and cold so I drowned myself with TV throughout the day as a much-needed rain continued to fall outside. That night the symptoms continued except now along with the chilled sensations I began to get throbbing headaches typical of autonomic dysreflexia. Dysreflexia occurs when the body is trying to signal that something is wrong, usually being your bladder is full. I thought I had gotten dysreflexia once before but I think I was wrong because these headaches were nothing like I have ever felt before in my life. My head throbbed like a heartbeat, each pulse feeling like my head would explode at any moment. My parents grew increasingly worried each time I woke them from their slumber and moaned in my discomfort and pain. Draining my bladder always relieved the symptoms it seemed so as long as the headaches did not persist I was in no danger.
I have become much better since those two nights but I’ve not been doing very well emotionally or spiritually either during this time. The weather has cooled and rain and clouds have not moved on. I have been feeling cold, tired, and unmotivated during the day leaving me with an empty feeling as I lay my head down at night. I was doing very well for a little while, happy and motivated, but grumpy Colin has returned. It seems to be a never-ending story.
So that is my life as of recently. Deeper thoughts shall appear soon.