Around once every year I have a full check-up at my clinic. I may receive physiotherapy, ergotherapy or psychological therapy every week throughout the year, but the yearly check-up is a special six-hour session spread out over two days which tests me against all the different divisions at the clinic including logopedie (speech therapy), a check by a doctor, wheelchair maintenance, a respiratory therapist and others who I don’t usually see.
The clinic places people with different diseases into different categories – I am in the ‘muscle’ and ‘nerves’ one. They test me against the main problems of those in my category even if they may not affect me, just to be sure. Friday was a study day at my school so I was only missing class on Thursday to go. By the way, in Dutch, the clinic is called a Revalidatiecentrum. I’m using the word ‘clinic’ even though I’m not sure if that is the correct translation for it. So please excuse me if the word ‘clinic’ is incorrect terminology.
Funnily enough, I was excited about the check-up because everyone at the clinic is extremely nice and friendly. A lot of the things that usually affect the people within my category, like trouble with swallowing, breathing and chewing, don’t affect me. But it’s still fun doing the tests because the people there are good company. Another reason I was excited to go was that I was experiencing quite a painful sting every time I sat down and wanted to ask the doctor about it. Pressure sores are normal for most wheelchair users because you are constantly putting pressure on your bottom as you sit, but this pain hurt more than your average pressure sore.
At first, everything went normally with the ergo and physiotherapist while they did their routine measurements and checks of my muscles (I feel like I find out something new about my body every time I go to the clinic – Turns out my right arm isn’t as functional as my left for some reason). The problem started after I went through the doctor’s section of the check-up. A nurse looked at my pressure sores and informed me that one of them was infected. The infection was a large, extremely painful lump, but since I can’t walk I had no other choice but to sit on it causing me constant searing pain. The nurse referred me to my General Practitioner to have it cut and drained. However, the appointment was scheduled for Monday, meaning I still had to live with the infection for the entire weekend.
I usually go up and down the wooden stairs in my house by pulling myself on to them on my bottom. Yet, this was agony to do while I had my infection. My parents, therefore, had to carry me up the stairs where I remained in my bedroom for the whole weekend, perched on my bed in an awkward position that allowed me to sit on only one butt cheek. My mother brought my meals up for me and helped me to manoeuvre to and from the bathroom. I did fall once though, creating a tiny opening in the lump. The fall was from a substantial height straight onto my infection and caused me to roll around the bathroom in pain for fifteen minutes before it stopped hurting.
By the time Monday came along, I was eager to get this whole painful thing over and done with, even if it did mean cutting the infection open. Naturally, I was terrified (it hurt a lot just to touch it so I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like having it cut open) but it wasn’t my first infection that had been cut and drained so I knew what to expect. Luckily, when the doctor saw my infection they noticed the opening I had already made when I fell on it and said that it didn’t need to be cut. They simply prescribed a hot water bottle and hot baths so that the infection could naturally drain itself out through the opening I’d made. I was over the moon that I wouldn’t have to go through the cutting procedure and I’m still so grateful that I was able to dodge that painful bullet.
After four days of hot baths, my infection is completely drained and nothing more than a scab now. It’s still a little painful to sit on because the opening in my skin hasn’t closed and healed yet but at least there’s no more infection. Now, I’m impatient to get better so that everything can go back to the way that it used to be. It is very irritating having my normal independence and freedom of movement taken away. Here’s to hoping I’ll be completely cured by Saturday so that I can enjoy the party my British friends and I have planned to watch and celebrate the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing final! (and so that my parents can stop carrying me up the stairs of course 😊)