IT IS NOT ABOUT ME – Ch01-part 1

A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing

Click here to read PREFACE

Chapter 1 – He is Real

In the beginning, GOD… (Genesis 1:1a)

At around 5:45 AM or so, I am awake. As usual my vision is blurred. I try to bring my hand up to my face to rub the sleep away but it would not budge an inch from its resting place. My first thought, again as usual, was ‘Oh, how I miss splashing cold water on my face’. So, I do the next best thing and squint a number of times to produce tears to clear it up. Now, as it clears, the scene that comes to focus is the turned-off TV mounted on the far wall. Nothing far-out there except that I am lying flat in bed. I should be looking up at the ceiling. Of course, now I remember. I sleep wearing specialized prism spectacles that I ordered from Amazon. I use them so that when I awaken I will not be staring helplessly at the ceiling which gives me vertigo. This dizzying condition was an after effect of being laid-up in a hospital bed, with my neck immobilized by a very stiff collar for 2 long months. This was not one of my favorite memories.

At 6:45 AM, my wife tiredly gets up from her bed. Her routine is to first give me my early morning pill that stimulates my intestine for… ahem… obvious reasons. Then, she would roll me to my side and inspect my posterior for bedsores. This is a real danger for every quadriplegic if not regularly monitored. After which, she disconnects my breathing tube from my respirator. This routine is for me to exercise my lungs to breathe on its own. I can stay off it for about 3 hours until my lung muscles tire. From there, my wife does other nursing chores until it’s about 8-8:30 AM. Before long, she is cranking my bed to about 30 degrees, not exactly to a sitting position, but just high enough for me to be fed.

This is just a taste of my reality as a quadriplegic, that is, being paralyzed from the neck down. This is not a condition that is temporary. This is for the rest of my life. No more backpacking in California’s Sierra Mountains. No more playing laser tag and ping pong. Even my dream to stroll the quaint country lanes of England, climb the highlands of Scotland as well touring the sites of Europe will remain a dream. My world is mostly limited to a 3 foot by 7 foot bed in a studio apartment. By every right, I should be bitter and in desperate despair. I have seen that look of despair before in the faces of quadriplegic patients, abandoned to live their lives in a poorly ventilated ward of a state run hospital. What I remember most was their eyes which reflected no HOPE at all. Today, I share the same predicament except that my spirit is not imprisoned in a useless shell. In fact, instead of misery, self pity and depression, I am incredibly filled with a joy that is by the world’s perspective beyond comprehension. When asked, how can this be? My answer is simple.


To be continued…

Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 2

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