First Year   


Adjustment to my new life...


One of the first major changes was home modifications.  I needed hardwood floors, wider doors, a bigger room, drive-in shower, a specialized van, ramps, and the list goes on and on.


The first year I spent a great deal of time at the doctors. My most common problems were bladder infections & pressure sores.  Things got a lot more complicated since it became a lot more difficult to know when there was something wrong with me. And even when I knew "something" was wrong, it was sometimes very difficult to find out exactly what.



A little while after I returned home from the hospital, I got a computer with voice-activated software (my old high school raised the money for me. THANKS LYMAN!).  I'm able to do practically everything on a computer that anyone can do with their hands.  I also have a program that turns on lights, controls the TV, VCR, fan, garage, and more.  Gotta love that technology!!! :o)  I must also give credit to my brother that knows how to hook up all this stuff for me.  I don't know what I would do without you, Jon!!!



My very first year after my accident, I wasn't able to begin college at the University of Central Florida like I had planned before. Instead, I decided to enroll at Valencia Community College during the summer semester of 2001 (taking a couple classes). And after my summer classes, I took a couple more in the fall. You can read about what I did from there on my next update page since this page is only about my "first year."






Click to enlarge



Okay, here's something I had to learn to do that I know you'll probably find interesting.  If I can't move, how can I drive my wheelchair?  I have what is called a sip-n-puff wheelchair.  It basically looks like a straw that sets in front of my mouth (example picture on left, but you'll notice it in almost all of my pictures).  My chair is completely controlled by how I bring air in and out of the straw. It does not use lung power/breathing, just air pressure in my mouth.  Here are the controls:  

  puff hard = forward (faster)

sip hard = backward (stop)

puff soft = turn right

sip soft = turn left

Pretty simple, right?



Click to view my one and only 

"somewhat decent" painting.  

Painting was a new hobby I used to ATTEMPT to do right when I got out of rehab. I wasn't artistic at all before my accident, so you can imagine how bad my paintings were with my mouth. I painted by inserting a paintbrush on my mouthstick. (Picture on left.) I don't do this anymore because it's too much work for me and whoever helps me... and of course I'm not good at it =)



During the first year after my injury, obviously there were some "stresses" that I had to deal with. The number one most stressful thing I had to put up with regarded eating & my loss of appetite.  Yes, I know it sounds dumb, but I never fully got my appetite back. I rarely felt any hunger and would have probably forgotten to eat if it wasn't for people reminding me.  I tried so hard, but nothing tasted good.  For the whole first year I ate very little, sometimes nothing, despite everyone's pleading. I got down to about 90 pounds and finally started getting kinda scared when I became really pale and huge amounts of hair started to fall out. I looked just plain sick (you can tell in some of my early pictures). I will update on this problem on the next page. =) 


Nighttime was, at first, a pretty rough time for me too. I guess I might have had some sort of insomnia. I would take 3 or 4 different kinds of sleeping pills and would only sleep for one hour -- 3 or 4 if I was really lucky. I just stopped feeling sleepy and entered a whole new state of exhaustion. Combined with my lack of nutrition, I think that was about the worst I've ever felt. Luckily this didn't last an entire year. I found some medicine that seemed to finally work, so thankfully many of my nights were no longer spent in complete restlessness. =)


And for a somewhat silly bit of information regarding the new things I began to experience, I found that so much of the time I would be EXTREMELY COLD. I would shiver like crazy & my teeth would seriously chatter. But I think this is a normal effect of being a quadriplegic from what I've heard from others. I don't think it will change, so as you might guess, I love warm weather. =)


That's about it for my description of the first year of my accident (although, of course, many other things went on also... writing about everything would take forever). There were lots of good things mixed with some bad, but overall I think I made it okay. Here are some pictures that were taken at some point during the first year. I didn't always look the healthiest, but still had reasons to smile =)

Click Here For Pictures


Here is something I wrote on the first anniversary of my accident:

A Year in Reflection


And that pretty much sums up most of the first year. Click here to return to previous page.