In this article, Lauren shares her answers to some of the questions clients ask after a spinal cord injury and questions their friends and family might ask to give an insight into how things have been for her and what helps her.
What can I bring into the hospital to help my family member after a serious injury?
There are a few things that helped me when I was in the hospital and the spinal unit to help me feel at home. These included:
- Pictures to put around my bed of my friends and family
- Fluffy socks – As I wasn’t able to move my legs myself my feet were always cold
- My favourite cereal or snacks. I found the food in hospital awful, so when my visitors couldn’t bring me a meal in I had something to eat
- I got a nail art kit and new nail varnish. I had always bitten my nails and as I couldn’t do that anymore, I loved trying out different patterns when the nurses or visitors had time
- CD’s and DVD’s (very old fashioned!)
- Someone bought me some audiobooks as I am an avid reader, but it wasn’t the same as initially I couldn’t use any devices myself
- My own duvet cover and blanket from home
Will I be stuck in the house after a spinal cord injury?
I was extremely lucky that I had (and still have) an amazing group of friends and family around me who would visit me or be there to go do things with when I felt confident enough to go out. Facebook had been around for a little while at the time of my accident so I had that to be able to keep in touch with people.
You’re bound to be nervous when you start going out after being away at a spinal unit for so long but I knew that I had to start getting back out in the world and living my life again. With the right care package and team of carers around, you can lead a full life and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
I have lost contact with many of my friends and feel isolated. Who can help me?
The Spinal Injuries Association (or SIA) and Back Up have mentioning schemes where people are paired up with a mentor who is an SCI veteran and they can help and advise you with any questions you might have.
The Facebook groups that I have come across are so useful and I wish that I had found them sooner. They have a group solely just for women, for travel tips and for any catheter support among many others. It’s worth searching the internet for information on people who are going through similar things as you because no matter if you have friends and family there, they might not have all of the answers.
Will my friends want to make the effort to keep in contact with me after my injury?
Some friends and family may find it hard to accept your diagnosis but hopefully they soon realise that you’re the same person. It’s only natural that some people move on with their lives, get
married, move away etc., but there is the saying about finding out who your true friends are and something like an accident does make you realise that it’s definitely true. The best friends are those that are still around now 12 years later. With social media and the technology out there nowadays, it is so much easier to keep in touch with people.
Will I be able to go out with my mates still?
It’s worth finding the best places to go with wheelchair access to be able to go socialise with your friends. You will find that you can still go out and have fun. Although I can’t go to 99% of my friends’ houses, I like to have parties at my house! Having everyone round at my house also means I’m always closer to my bed if I need it!
Do you have a question about living with a Spinal Cord Injury? Ask in the comment section below!