Here's the answers for the questions you asked about B and me.Mollie:
Friend, eh? Would this friend like to come babysit while I go to England and groove around?Robin:
Learning how to take care of B was on-the-job training. I watched his mom with all the things she did and I eventually took over all of his care. I did, however, find that there were easier, better ways to do things for him so I modified what I did to fit me and his needs. It wasn't scary per se but he has an old open scar from a pressure sore that went wild about 20 years ago and I was a bit intimidated about it's care. It can become easily infected if we're not careful about its care. It's all just a routine now.
Taking care of B is physically demanding. He's very tall - 6'4" tall - (or maybe I should say long since he's in a prone position most of the time) and while he weighs less than most men, especially men of that height, he's still a good 150 or 160 pounds and it's all dead weight. He's not able to be active in me lifting him to an upright position isn't so easy. While I don't worry about it, I do have to be careful not to let him slip from my grasp and drop him.Rich:
Dude, you have the questions! As you can read from my previous post
, B was already a quadriplegic when I met him. When he was 24 he was drafted into the East German army and one day when he was at the swim hall he slipped by the side of the pool, fell into 1 meter of water and landed on his head. His spinal cord jumped out of place, became damaged and then popped back into place - his neck was never broken. His injury site is C5 and he is a quadriplegic which means all of his limbs are affected by the injury but it doesn't mean that he has absolutely no use of his limbs. His left arm is fairly useless and it's pretty well frozen in a flexed position. In his right arm he has use of his biceps but no use of his triceps so he's unable to raise his arms on his own but he can extend or flex his arm somewhat. His fingers are pretty well useless and on both hands the fingers curl into his hands. In general his health is very good, he's not had more than a pinhead sized pressure sore since I've taken over his care (Yay!).
What he does that upsets me the most is when I spend the entire day busy taking care of him and taking care of our home and the minute I sit down he says "Sorry, I need to pee.". He can't help it but I could scream when that happens. He doesn't use a catheter (much less chance of bladder and kidney infections which can be deadly to a quad) and instead he pees in a urine bottle with my assistance (I hold the bottle and push manually on his bladder and he pees).
What make me love him most is knowing that to him I am the most beautiful woman in the world, that he loves me without end and that he truly appreciates everything I do for him.
As for the other questions - No, he's not a Werder Bremen fan. He's a die hard Bayern-München fan and has been for the past thirty or so years. Yes, he can communicate with me - his only injury was to his spinal cord and he didn't sustain any sort of brain injury. He could technically communicate with y'all as well but he's not the sort to blog but if you wanted to ask him something in an email, he'd answer it.
And I have to say that while I miss my family and friends terribly, I have never regretted moving to Germany and I have never regretted marrying B. He is absolutely the love of my life.pkb:
Are you kidding? B's a fabulous
kisser! But you already suspected that, didn't you?Ashley:
B said for you to come visit us. He'll look crosseyed at your lipring but he'll gladly admire your bird tattoos.Mr. Fabulous: Answered!Lisa:
I guess these entries could become a sort of FAQ about myself and B. I've been asked for years why I don't write a book about our lives but honestly I never thought it would be all that interesting. Maybe that's just because my life seems ordinary to me but maybe it's extraordinary to others. cncz:
Sometimes I think my husband is less German than other Germans but maybe I've just trained him to be that way. He's not a sarcastic person but he can be cynical and that sort of bugs me.
And thank God for German health insurance. I can say that we get so much less crap about getting the stuff to care for him than we'd get in the US. In the States the quality and accessability of the things needed to care for a quad can vary depending on the person's insurance and their own wealth. Jumping through hoops for insurance companies in order to get needed equipment is far too common and I know of quads that had to go through hell just to get something as basic as a decent shower chair. While we have to pay for some things on our own, most is covered by our insurance. He has two wheelchairs - one is a push chair that's at least 12 years old and is dead uncomfortable for him to sit in...he seldom uses it but we have it for instances when his electric wheelchair won't do...and he's got a big electric wheelchair. B's a tall man so his chair is bigger than most to accomodate his endless legs. That chair is about 10 years old and it won't be replaced unless it breaks and can't be repaired. His bed is a fairly standard electric hospital type bed but it's wooded so it's not as hospital-y looking. It gets replaced every 4-5 years but we buy a different mattress than what the insurance company provides because what they pay for is crap. Other equipment we use would include pillows to help prevent pressure sores, bandages and disinfection drops for the previously mentioned pressure sore scar that has to be dressed daily and he takes a medication to prevent limb spasms. It's actually a mild tranquilizer but on him is words as an anti-spasm medication. The only other medication he takes is magnesium which also helps muscle cramps and spasms. jvs:
He thinks my love of peaches is fine. He's allergic to raw peaches so he figures he's leaving more in the world for me to enjoy. Ice cream? His favorite is vanilla. Mine is chocolate. We're so very ebony and ivory. And he'd pick Julie Andrews because I doubt he knows who Julie Christie is...that is until I said "The chick in Dr. Zhivago.".Marsha:
Since B has limited muscle control in his neck, he can't sit up but for a certain amount of time. If he's sitting still he can last longer because he can rest his head on a headrest (or the back of his bed if he's sitting upright in bed) but if he's rolling down the street his head wobbles a bit and it strains his neck. Some quads, like B, get a sort of fatigue from sitting upright for a long time. He'll begin to shake and he'll begin to sweat - it's all just a part of the messed up physiology that occurs from a spinal cord injury. Else he's not in any sort of pain and doesn't take any pain medications. He does have some feeling below his injury site but it's not always the same sort of feeling we may experience. He can tell if I'm pushing on his leg but he couldn't feel it if I stuck a needle in it. He can tell if his stomach is upset - he can feel bloated or overly full. If he's not laying right in bed or sitting right (okay, I'll say it...if I've somehow got his testicles squished), he'll sweat and his legs will spasm. He's got some feeling in his hands and some on his fingertips but it varies. The rule is, if he's sweating and shaking, check everything to make sure he's not sitting or laying wrong.
I can lift B myself to an upright postion to put a t-shirt on him or to straighted his sheets or whatever but it's impossible for me to lift his body completely except for maybe an inch off the mattress. There are mechanical lifts available and we use to have one but it doesn't work well in conjunction with his wheelchair and so we got rid of it. To get him in his wheelchair I have to rely on one strong man to lift him and sit him in his wheelchair or I can do it with the assistance of another person - usually his mother because that's usually the only person available. I lift him under his arms, she lifts him under his legs and we get him off the bed and into his chair. It's not easy and I firmly believe we only succeed because the angels around us help lift. Putting him back into bed is done the same way but I can do it by myself in an emergency using a slightly different method that only works to get him in bed.
Okay...anything else? If you have more questions, leave me a comment!