October 30, 2015 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
Being a T9 complete is a tough draw for anyone – you no longer have function in your lower extremities, and you may have lost sensation all the way up your torso. I’m sure this has been a rough transition for you, but just know that it gets easier. You’ll still be able to live a full and happy life as a paraplegic, but it will take a bit of adjustment. In order to assist you during your transition, here are three things you should know if you’re a T9 complete:
You’ll face additional risks now
That’s all you need: some more bad news. But take heart, as long as you’re perceptive and pay attention, you should be able to avoid most of these things.
Paraplegics sometimes encounter breathing issues, as some of the muscles that control breathing can be affected by your disability. Additionally, you may be at greater risk of catching pneumonia, due to problems with your spine. And finally, since sensation is reduced or nonexistent in your lower body, you are liable to develop sores there without your knowledge. Be on the lookout for potential sores, as they can quickly grow out of hand.
You can live on your own, but you need help
People with disabilities often want to be as independent as ever, but you’ll face serious limitations now. Those limitations won’t necessarily keep you from living on your own, but you’ll need to adapt to your new circumstances. Physical therapy is critical so you can learn to complete certain tasks that may be more difficult now that you’re in a wheelchair. Additionally, you’ll want someone to be able to come check up on you, in case you run into unforeseen difficulties.
You won’t have much control of your bodily functions
Before you start to wonder, yes, we’re talking about urinating and bowel movements. You’ll have to use a catheter now for urinating, and don’t be afraid to shop around a bit. You can choose a catheter that fits your needs, and you may want to opt for a bigger “catch” bag (the bag that holds your urine), as it will have to be emptied out less often.
As for bowel movements, you may as well know that on rare occasions, they may occur without your approval. That won’t happen often, but it’s something you should be prepared for. And since clean-up is now a consideration after bowel movements, you may want to adjust your diet – it can make the whole process a bit smoother and cleaner.