Life Update

I have been wanting to give an update lately but I feel like I’ve been so busy trying to finish up my class, which ended today, woohoo!  Taking one class doesn’t really seem like much but it sure did seem to keep me busy these past nine weeks.  Having to go to class, do my volunteer work and study has been weighing down on me causing an increased amount of stress in my life.  It’s been a very new experience to wake up in the morning, hurrying to get ready, heading out and not getting back until the evening.  As far as trying to hurry things along in the morning the only thing I can do to help quicken the pace of the morning rituals is to get up early.  After that I am almost completely in the hands of others and it is mostly up to them to hurry it along.  Most of the time in my mind I’m still trying to hurry even though there is not much I can do, so instead I just stress out wanting to hurry but feeling completely helpless.  I try and relax and simply accept the process as is.  Stressing never helped me get to my destination any quicker.  Most of the time it makes my helper stress out as well and perform slower.

Another frustration I have run into is that because I’m out and about for more than six hours I either have to come all the way home to use the restroom or my dad meets me somewhere.  He has been very gracious about meeting me places even though he has work to do at home.  Public caths are never fun however and would be tremendous if I could learn how to do it on my own.  I plan on seriously beginning practice with this skill very soon.

Over this past nine week period I came down with a urinary infection the day before class, came down with one after about four weeks, and this past Wednesday once again my bladder became infected.  I decided not to mess around with my family physician this time and called the urologist.  Somehow they managed to squeeze me on the schedule and I had an appointment to see the doctor.  When I saw the nurse, my bladder had just been emptied so it was really hard for her to get a sample.  All that came out was some of the grossest looking urine I have ever seen.  It was somewhat of a good thing though because this finally made them raise their eyebrows in concern after I felt like I was previously ignored somewhat.  Before being sent in I was not feeling good at all and almost passed out upstairs in the cafeteria, but apparently almost passing out doesn’t quite put you at the top of the list.

The doctor was consulted about my urine and considering my recent string of urinary infections he decided he wanted to take a look in my bladder to look for kidney stones.  Using a very small camera with a light on the end, he entered the once delicate area, and up popped my insides on the TV screen.  It was pretty cool, but you could hardly see anything because of all the sediment.  They search around for a little while and came to the conclusion that I do not have kidney stones so he prescribed some antibiotics and strapped a Foley catheter on me.  This allows me to constantly urinate and the urine flows down to a bag strapped around my leg.  The apparatus kind of weirded me out but I’ve actually been wanting to experiment with a Foley so that every once in awhile I can go out at night and not worry about my volumes.  When I mentioned I was going to go out that night and drink some beer the doctor actually gave me the go-ahead.  Since our main goal is to flush me out, alcohol apparently would have worked out quite nicely.  Who would have thought that one day I would be getting doctor’s orders to go out and get drunk.

Well, I didn’t go out because I had a paper to work on but it was actually quite relaxing to drink however much I wanted and not have to even think about my bladder getting too full.  Another comforting factor was that my parents were not messing around with my goods quite so much.  For once I had a little privacy in that area.

The following afternoon I was supposed to go waterskiing again.  Yes, I have still been waterskiing and I’m still alive.  The first time I went waterskiing since the incident with the jetski and my head, was about a week and a half ago, the day after my last entry.  The dramatic event did not do wonders for my confidence and I’m not ashamed to say that I was scared.  However I approached my feelings a little differently than the last time.  Instead of trying to shut aside my emotions, I completely focused on them and tried to find the background of peace within the emotions.  This did not make my emotions disappear by any means but by mentally facing them I was able to mindfully be aware of what I was feeling and still be completely in the moment so that I was clearheaded and focused.  I feel like the first time I went waterskiing this summer, I was completely unfocused and spent way too much time trying to not be scared.  By ignoring what I was feeling at that moment, this took focus away from the task at hand leaving the door open for things to go wrong.

Moments before my second attempt at waterskiing this summer, I repeated sanskrit mantras in my head, and focused on my breathing.  I let fear engulf my senses and faced everything in that moment, not constantly wanting it to be different.  Although I do remember sitting in the ski, waiting for the boat to come back screaming out, “Why am I doing this?!”  A big part of me couldn’t understand why I wanted to feel nervous and scared.  All I had to do was get out of the water and it would be over.  But I knew that if I got out, I would then feel the sense of failure which was an emotion I did not want to face.

Moments later I was behind the boat and took off.  Taking deep breaths the entire time I can proudly say I was doing excellent.  I made it around the first turn with no problem, got through the rough section, approached the second turn and wiped out.  No injuries were sustained and I calmly held my breath until the jumpers lifted me above water.  The fear was practically gone and I got back up for a second go around.  I made two turns and then we headed back to the takeoff point.  As I watched our final destination grow closer, I decided to tempt fate and head outside the wake.  I teetered on the crest of the water and dropped outside.  They surprisingly choppy waters quickly tossed me and down I went.  Once again a successful rescue attempt ensued.  I took it easy the rest of the way back and smoothly cruised in to the dock.

The feeling I was left with was absolutely incredible.  Now I realize why I wouldn’t get out of water and put waterskiing behind me.  The feeling of facing something you are terrified of and overcoming it with complete accomplishment has to be one of the most gratifying emotions present on this earth.  To me the feeling is even more amazing when what you are overcoming is an adrenaline filled activity, but it is my urge to face fear with adrenaline that got me in the mess I am today.  It’s hard to say what types of things you should face and what things you should say is not such a good idea.  Some things are well worth the risk and other things are just kind of stupid.

I went waterskiing again this passed Thursday.  I woke up Thursday morning with the Foley catheter still installed and feeling the effects of my infections as well as the antibiotics I was on.  I had to go out to the lake to find my life preserver anyways so I made the decision to decide what to do once I got there.  Sure enough, I ended up taking the catheter out and skiing again.  The experience was not quite as gratifying but still a lot of fun.  It was hard for me to get a rhythm because first off the boat wouldn’t work.  Then the waters were pretty rough and I had trouble finding my balance.  I had one of the narliest crashes yet, when I was restarting after a fall going around a turn.  The quick acceleration of the boat took both me and my starter by surprise and I was more horizontal then vertical as the boat first began to pull me.  I thought I had pulled it off until the nose of my ski tow of into the water and tossed me forward.  The handlebar knocked me across the chin and I was completely out of the ski.  I had never fallen forward like that before and it kind of shook me up, but I got over it.  I fell one more time towards the end again when I tried to go outside the wake.  Sooner or later I will pull off that maneuver.

It seems each time I go waterskiing will probably be different than the last.  Some will be good and some will be not so good but I can’t let myself get frustrated with the varieties.  I will simply soak up the good times and learn my best from the bad.

Well after waterskiing on Thursday I feel pretty bad considering it was only my second day of a urinary infection and I was on some antibiotics which had some effects.  I sucked it up though, and went home and finished a long paper I had been working on for my class.  I will probably post it as my next entry.

Friday one of my best friends called me and was unexpectedly coming in town.  I had been scheming in my mind about having a night out on the town after my class was over.  It was my plan to strap on a Foley catheter so that my time out would be unrestricted and I could drink however much I wanted, responsibly of course, and not worry about teaching someone to cath or coming home for one.  Even though I wanted to wait until next week, it seemed like an optimum opportunity so I went out Saturday night.

It was the first time my parents ever attempted to put a Foley catheter on me and it didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected.  We eventually got it figured out and I headed to Bailey’s Bar and Grill for some drinks with friends.  All in all it went pretty well.  I didn’t have to worry about my bladder getting to full but I did worry about the Foley catheter and whether or not it was installed properly.  I was getting some strange sensations in my bladder that I wasn’t used to.  After awhile I got over the strange feelings and ended up having a really good time.  It was the first time I’ve been able to really loosen up and hang out with friends like I used to.

I left the Foley catheter in the following Sunday and that night, with the idea of draining out more of the bacteria.  Looking back on it I probably wasn’t such a good idea because all day today I have felt a strange pressure in my lower abdomen and a feeling of soreness in my groin.  I wanted to be able to use a Foley every now and then but if it’s going to cause pain and discomfort I’m not so sure.  I think it may actually be a healthy thing concerning preventing urinary infections just to give me a chance to really give my system a good cleaning.

My plan for the this week is to relax, workout, have some fun, and prepare for my trial visit to project walk in San Diego, which will take place next week.  That’s all folks!

Sorry, I don’t now why I feel the need to write novels.

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10 Responses to Life Update

  1. Unknown says:

    I am very touched by your recent adventures waterskiing.  Not because of your success (although of course happy that you succeeded), but because you took the insights that you had written in your entry "samsara" and applied them in this reality.
    There is much to say about this transaction.  I find it easy in my life to identify stimuli that I would like to change my reaction too.  I also find it easy to identify how I would like to change my reaction.  But it is the doing that requires all the work.  And you did, and that is awesome.
    It was the shock of your "tragedy" that initially brought me to your website.  I often ponder how I would function if something of that nature happened in my own life.  I must say though, it is your depth and insight that have brought me back to read more.  Did you think/express yourself this way before? 
    I have a lot of things I wish to say, but it seems as if I\’m not your only fan.  If you ever have a moment, please email me.  What intrigues me the most recently about you is your interpretation of others perceptions of you…
    You continually impress me with your strong character.

  2. Tina says:

    Hey Colin,
    Just stopping by to check in on you.  You continue to amaze me.  I always smile when I read your blogs.  The way that you challenge yourself and push yourself to overcome your fears is awesome!  Several months ago when I first started reading your blogs you were still trying to figure out what it is you wanted to do with yourself.  And now you are taking classes, volunteering, water skiing and going out with friends and you are on your way to San Diego next week for something that could be a great adventure for you.  You are living your life. 
    Oh – and I kind of like the novels.  It sounds like you write it as you think it which makes it feel real and honest.
    Can I say that I am proud of you without sounding too dorky??

  3. Beach Bum says:

    Hi Colin – a fellow blogger led me to your site.  My cousin, 19 years old, was thrown from a vehicle recently…he\’s paralyzed from the chest down.  Your strong will to keep it going is very inspirational.  I\’m going to send a link to my cousin.  God bless you!

  4. Patricia says:

    You are so brave at facing things! You inspire me. It is so great to hear about you facing so many things and giving it your all. Your waterskiing trials seem anologous to life and all that it throws at one and what we do with it. i\’m so glad that you got to go and be with friends and enjoy yourself! Congratulations on wrapping up your class and all that it involved to get out there and do it. Hard to believe that project walk date came up so quickly! how wonderful! can\’t wait to read your entries. my best to you always, patti 🙂

  5. Missy says:

    Boy did you  have an eventful time.  Sounds like a lot of fun though! Doctors orders to drink…???  Fabulous!  I\’d love to read your paper by the way.  Another great blog!

  6. Rosebay says:

    Well I\’m glad that the skiing went better this time. Keep it up. I sent a fellow blogger to read. You are proof that tragedy may happen in life but you can go on. Stay strong, keep studying and going out on your adventure.

  7. Unknown says:

    Hey Colin,
    I just recently stumbled upon your blog.  I\’ve been a C-6 incomplete for two years now (car accident yay!) and I gotta tell ya, the foley was a good idea.  I had continuous infetions while cathing, plus cathing is a bitch for chicks.  So, after much, much persuasion from others I finally got an SP tube.  I haven\’t had an infection in a year!  Not to mention I can drink what I want, I\’m not a slave to a schedule,  and no more headaches/insane sweating. 
    PS  I recently applied to project walk myself so let the blogworld know how it is. 
     Take Care.

  8. Ready to fly? says:

    You really challenge yourself. Your passion for life sparks me. You\’ve got a fire in you that shines through in your exploits and your writing. Last week, I referenced your Samsara blog in mine, for that reason.
    The liquids management is a big deal. I hope the Foley works, or whatever you decide to go with eventually. As you know full well by now, once you get the first UTI, you are predisposed to them. Then it\’s important to have those liquids cycling through you.
    Project Walk looks outstanding, and you seem to be the perfectly motivated candidate. I\’m interested in plasticity and retraining mind and body. Please keep us informed.
    Abe Munder

  9. Unknown says:

    Hi, Colin!
    Thanks again for another awesome post. And in it all — you do your schoolwork! That inspires me to get off my ass and DO something productive. \’Ppreciate that.
    I was reading another blog where the writer posted the question, "What fearless thing have you done?" ( I had to put a link to this entry — you are awesome with the water skiing. Honestly, I\’m not at that point — facing that kind of fear. I admire your strength. Thanks for sharing! Lessie

  10. Unknown says:

    Heya Colin,
    First time I\’ve popped in here in a while. Just wanted to mention, I don\’t think alchohol and antibiotics are the best combination. I\’m surprized a doctor would even say that.
    I used to work assisting in a pharmacy and all antibiotics need to be taken with liberal amounts of water and they all were labeled with stickers saying drink plenty of water. Without adequate water there can be unwanted buildup in the kidneys, certain ones can crystalize there. Alchohol is pretty dehydrating
    not meaning to lecture, just hope you are well

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