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Thread: My first post-injury outing

  1. #61

    outing number three

    I am wondering if I should be embarassed that I kept extending this thread...

    I told some people I would post about my latest outing which happened on Tuesday. This was the third time I went out and while it was the best of all three so far, it was still not terribly wonderful. But any improvement, however slight, is improvement so I will take it. That is just my disclaimer should I get too negative here.

    After the last two outings and the issues that arose, I planned to go this one solo with just the staff who would be coming along. But then my dad wanted to come and changed some travel plans he had. So I couldn’t say no to him. It seemed really important to my parents that they come, so the plans changed. However it turned out to be not such a bad thing. I knew my mom would handle it okay but I was not sure about my dad. I was expecting him to hover. And he did a bit at first. But then they both relaxed and it turned out it was a good thing for them to come. I must credit the two rehab staff that came along because they did a great job of making sure their stress level were minimized.

    But the problem for me is that I have pretty much been stuck in bed since my last outing which was over two and a half weeks ago. I am feeling much better now but it was like starting all over again at square one. I mean I work on how to deal with things like going out everyday, even when I am stuck in bed. And that helps. But I need to be out there confronting this stuff for it to actually improve. Everybody agrees it would have been much better if I had been able to go on another outing right after the last one. But that wasn’t possible, so this one felt as uncomfortable as the first one. But now maybe I will be able to increase the frequency and length of the each outing so hopefully it is going to move along a bit faster.

    No major disasters this time like running into doors or knocking stuff over. I had a few snafus where somebody had to help me maneuver around things but it wasn’t too bad. I am getting slightly better at driving. Still a menace to anybody within three feet though. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to get upset by people staring this time. But of course I did. Like the last two trips, I am sure that I built this up inside my head more than it was actually occurring. But man, it’s so painful for me to think about anybody looking at me right now. It's so bad that I have been avoiding people who want to visit and can't bear looking at myself in a mirror. Everybody keeps saying that time will make this easier and intellectually I do know that. But it’s hard for me to control the feelings I have right now.

    So we went to a coffee shop. Yes the same one where my sister freaked out. The staff there remembered me (can’t imagine why!). And I guess that put me at ease a little bit. Last time we stayed outside because it was too crowded and people and tables would have been flying had I gone inside. But this time they offered to make a space for me. I am not sure how I feel about that. I am of course happy they recognized the space problem before we had to ask. But it made me self conscious because it drew people’s attention and I was wondering if this was going to happen every single place I go from now on. I feel like I am whining or something because you can’t have it both ways right? I am not really complaining, it just brought up some conflicting emotions in me.

    Last time I didn’t have anything to drink. This time I did and, of course, I started choking. Swallowing is still an issue for me so I guess I should have known better. So that caused a small crisis. I was fine but again it put my self-consciousness into overdrive. It’s like my emotions were all over the place on this outing which only lasted about forty minutes. I was angry, I was sad, I cried several times, I yelled at my mom. I was hating myself and then I was feeling sorry for myself and hating everybody else instead. It’s very draining being me lol.

    So on the whole, no major problems really. I guess it was just a case that my emotions were more out of control than during the other two trips. But then again I guess those two trips had the distractions of my sister and boyfriend and the run over vent hose to keep my mind occupied. I don’t know. It’s just messed up. As usual, when I came back I was all upset and declared I was not going out again. But I am now making plans to work up to going out to a movie or a play. Maybe the darkness of a theatre will help keep me calmer or something lol.

    So hopefully the next time I can write here about a movie I have been to or something.

  2. #62

    What you're going through is totally natural. I was so PISSED the first year or two after my injury while being in public. Hang in there because you will look back and see how far you've come.


  3. #63
    OJ, you are one courageous girl. keep up the hard work bc you already see that it's getting a lil' easier each time. maybe the 50th outing will go perfect j/k. seriously, take your time and don't worry about other ppl., easier said than done, but don't stop trying.. keep us posted on your outings and improvements.

    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches. It's more like a jar of jalapenos--What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    If you ain't laughing, you ain't living, baby. Carlos Mencia

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by orangejello
    I am wondering if I should be embarassed that I kept extending this thread...
    Not at all!
    It's good for you to share your experiences. And it's good for others here to recognize the similarities with their own experiences.
    It serves as a diary of your rehabilitation. Every step is positive. It's a damn long and hard row to hoe, but you're slowly getting the weeds out & the flowers will in time bloom again.
    - Richard

  5. #65
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    People always stare at me....and I just thought it was my being a beauty queen in a former life. LOL It will get easier. Hey if you really want to make them stare just run over the tables and rearrange their dining room. If there is not a space for you just make your own....I will almost guarantee people will move out of the way from my experience...LOL I guess I have been stared at for so long that my skin is a little tough.

    I am looking forward to you getting to enjoy a theatre. Maybe you can share some more cultural experiences with the "cultureless" meaning me....LOL
    Do not comment Jazzy or Jukey!!!!

    Hang in there OJ
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  6. #66
    The staring is hard, and when they look over your head like they can't see you it's worse. I think it's unfair on the AB's LOL, they can't win. The best ones are like Dr. Young, they squat down to talk to you and put you at ease.

    Keep pushin'. It WILL get esier.

  7. #67
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Madison,Wisconsin, USA
    Maybe safety in numbers? First time Jim went out we went to a Mexican restaurant, dragging an oxygen tank and portable suction machine. The only reason we made it out was another c5 friend took us in her van, so 2 powerchairs, o2, 3 women slip-slidin on the ice was probably quite the picture. I think we were so busy talking and joking other people were just not considered. I do know that we had the liveliest table and were definitely enjoying those marguarita's! Sometimes being in the hospital, where the focus is all on you, gets overwhelming. Remember they may look but then they go about their lives and you'll never see them again. Keep the faith, practise driving that chair and get out there, we'll be cheering you on. Deb

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by betheny
    The staring is hard, and when they look over your head like they can't see you it's worse. I think it's unfair on the AB's LOL, they can't win. The best ones are like Dr. Young, they squat down to talk to you and put you at ease.
    Quote Originally Posted by betheny

    Keep pushin'. It WILL get esier.

    I sound like a broken record don't I? lol Every single person I talk to who has a connection to spinal cord injuries tells me it will get better. So I suppose I am going to have to start believing people. Everybody can’t be lying to me, right? lol

    I hear you Betheny and I have been trying to cut able bodied people some slack. Most people are just curious and I can't fault them for that. Or they are on pins and needles and afraid of offending or hurting me because they are unsure of what I want or need. Or they are uncertain of what is the best way-as opposed to the "right way"--of helping me out. This is made worse by the fact that I do not know what I want most of the time. My mother got very frustrated with me a few days ago because as she was trying to do something for me, I kept changing my mind (and my mood) every few minutes. Finally, she threw up her hands and yelled at me “Do you want to get up and do this?” Then we both started laughing. As you say, it's true that they just can't win. Yes some people do stare excessively. But for the most part they take a quick glance and go on their way. I then build it up inside my head into something much larger. That is my own responsibility and I need to get a grip on it.
    A “Learning Not to Blow Things out of Proportion” for Dummies book would be most helpful for me right now.

    Anyways, my partner is here for a weekend visit and things are going much smoother than last time. It is likely that just the two of us will try to go somewhere nearby on Sunday and we will see how that goes. We will probably end up back at that infamous coffee shop lol. It will be interesting to see how both of us cope when there aren’t other people trailing behind. It might be a good thing. Or it might be a complete disaster.

  9. #69
    Some people sent me private messages asking when I was going to update this thread. I was thinking that it wasn't all that interesting, but since I was asked, I will write some more

    The last one I posted here was the outing with my parents, which was I think the third time I was out and it went not too badly--although I think it was more beneficial for my parents than it was for me. Then right on the heels of that, my partner was able to visit again over the (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend. And it turned out to be a really good visit-- he seemed much more at ease this time. We still had some moments where I had to say "you need to stop," but on the whole he was great and kept the hovering to a minimum.

    We had hoped to go out somewhere close by, just the two of us. My medical staff was a little leery of that, but they finally relented. So we did go out alone. It didn't last long because we were both really nervous for some reason. It was like fifteen minutes later when we turned around and went back, without going anywhere really other than wandering around the neighbourhood for a bit. I think we both felt sort of like we had failed. But given the issues we had last time, I think it was very good that we did this. And as brief as it was, it showed us that we can go somewhere on our own and handle it okay. Granted nothing that might have "tested" us happened. But it was a start. My chair driving skills have finally started to improve. I only ran into him twice. He also learned that he can stand or walk more than two inches from me and I will be okay. So that was good for both of us.

    After that I went on an outing to a pet store with my dad, nephew, and one of my nurses. I posted about that in the family forum. So far that has been my most successful outing. That was also the first big trip I had taken in my van, which unfortunately has been the cause of some difficulties for me. I had been "practicing" for about a week with short trips around the neighbourhood but I hadn't gone very far in it. And it sounds stupid but I had a very hard time with the whole idea of riding in a vehicle again. I guess I am being a bit of a coward about it or something because I know nothing bad is going to happen. But it's been a weird feeling being in the van and I still need to adjust to it. But it's okay because I think I am starting to get some of the other issues and emotions about going out under control, moving up to the van is just another step.

    I had one more big outing and that was to a mall because I needed to buy some clothes. I was never really a fan of going to the mall before, so I was prepared for it to be an ordeal. And it was. It wasn’t that crowded but it was there were considerably more people than I have had to deal with before. I always hate when you go into clothing stores and are accosted by salespeople. Happily for me, most of the staff in the stores I went into seemed more than happy to stay away, so I suppose that was one good thing. But I must say that the ones that did help us were very nice. I was really overwhelmed though. Not just the people, but by the wide open spaces and high ceiling of the mall. I am not sure why it was making me feel so bad. Probably something to do with the feelings of lack of control and anxiety that seem to be a constant battle for me. So I suppose like most of my other outings, it was a mixed emotions kind of thing. You would think by now I would be okay with having to ask other people to do everything for me, like hold up something I wanted to buy so I could look at it or help me with a drink or something, but I haven’t. And I had to do a lot of that at the mall so I ended up feeling very distressed and down by the end of the trip. I am glad I went and the staring only bothered me a little bit—I wasn’t obsessing about it the whole time which is good. But I found other negative things to fixate on, so that’s not really much progress. Next up will hopefully be a movie. And I have tickets for a hockey game in a few weeks but I don’t know about that yet.

    All this stuff is good and I know I am making progress. But I keep getting bogged down with the negative feelings, most of which center on how I feel about myself. Things are just very difficult and mixed up right now it seems, even more than has been the usual.
    Last edited by orangejello; 10-29-2006 at 05:52 PM.

  10. #70
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Denver, Colorado
    Sounds like you're making progress OJ.... now that Don has been out of rehab for about a year and a half... he is getting his life back. It will take a while but keep coming back and posting and let us know what's up! When do you get to leave rehab?

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