A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing
Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 5
Chapter 2 – Sin
It was the third week of September 2015. I had just left home and was on my way to the movies on my electric wheelchair. I was about two blocks from my apartment building driving on a busy one way street. I had no choice but to drive my power chair on the street because of no sidewalk access. I was about to turn right onto a driveway (my usual shortcut to the mall), when my right hand could not push the joystick control to the right. I had to lean my weight on the arm to make the turn. Safely away from traffic, I stopped to assess the problem. For some reason, I had no strength to push the joystick to the right. Keep in mind that I only need to move it a fraction of an inch, but when I tried my upper arm quivered. Fortunately, I still had the function to pull the joystick to the left. I would have gone on but prudence told me to return home. I don’t mind telling you that it was a struggle in itself since I could only go forward and make left turns. What should have been 5 minutes, took me almost half an hour to get home. By then, my entire right arm was uncontrollably shaking. That was the last time I got to drive that wheelchair and the last time I went outdoors on my own.
My life went from limited mobility to being full time bedridden. Months before, I lost the use of my left arm and both legs could not carry my weight. Then, my right arm finally gave out. You would think that was the worst thing I had to contend with. Then, the pain came. It emanated from my waist down. The only way I could describe it was that thousands of fire ants were burrowing under my skin chewing and burning their way downward. And it came in excruciating waves. Most of the time, I had a high threshold for pain, but this pain was new to me and beyond unbearable. The only relief I got was when my wife would transfer me onto a stiff commode chair. No other chair would work. Imagine that every night, I sat on a chair that had a hole in it and it would be propped against a corner. Thank goodness that my derriere had a cushioned commode seat to sit on and my head would rest on a cushion against the wall. It was not exactly comfortable but the pain was minimal. Unfortunately, prolonged sitting was causing blood circulation problems. So, when I was returned to the bed, the pain returned. Throughout those long nights, my poor tired out wife had to transfer me back and forth 2-3 times. For about two weeks, I had slept in that precarious sitting position until one day the pain throbbed so much that I was in tears. My wife had to call for an ambulance. It was early Thursday morning, the second week of October 2015, when the ambulance with whirling red lights and sirens blaring finally took me into the ER of the hospital.
In my mind, I was expecting to hear, like what we’ve heard before numerous times from different doctors, that everything was happening because of my post-polio condition. Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a disorder of the nerves and muscles. It happens to those polio victims who caught the disease decades later. PPS may cause new muscle weakness that gets worse over time, pain in the muscles and joints, and tiredness. And the news to me, as expected, was that there was nothing that can be done except strong pain killers for the rest of my life. At that time, I secretly felt that the end was not too long.
After I was checked in, the doctor came and explained that there were signs that went beyond the doctrinal conditions of post polio syndrome. He surmised that my spinal cord was affected. So, the next three days, I underwent a battery of tests and scans. When the nurse wheeled me to the doctor’s office, he showed us a number of CT scans. His diagnosis was that my spinal cord was being compressed at my neck and lower back. The doctor’s main concern was that the compression in the neck area was actually endangering my life. You see, the C2 down to the C5 part of my vertebrae actually regulates those parts of my body that have been failing. And to my surprise, the C4 vertebrae which regulated my ability to breathe was affected as well. I was in dire straits.
At about this time of the story, it would be normal and maybe even expected for anyone to ask…
HOW CAN THIS BE? HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
For the HOW questions, the Bible’s answer is quite clear:
As to the question of WHY, let me answer with a humbling response:
To be continued…
Click here to read Chapter 2 Part 2