- Searing, burning neurogenic nerve pain from the knees down to the toes. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year for ten years next month. No hope that it will be any different for the rest of my life.
- Sciatic nerve pain - a shooting, stabbing pain in my left hip which hi-jacks my focus as when at its peak, it draws my attention from any task I'm involve in, every minute or two. A pain that you just cannot put out or your mind and ignore. Whether sitting in the chair or lying on my stomach, the pain throbs with every heartbeat.
- Spasms -the regular spasms cause one leg or the other to alternately contract and relax, contract and relax, over and over and over. Rarely for only a few minutes but more commonly for hours on end. These spasms have lasted up to six hours at a time. Then this year, a second type of spasm manifested itself which I have called the 'Atomic' spasm. With Atomic spasms the contraction is so sudden and severe that it tries to contract further than the joint is anatomically or physiologically intended to go. The result is extreme pain while the spasm holds the limb at its maximum displacement. The contraction is so severe that it can actually sprains the muscle/ligament/tendons involved. One has actually pitched me from my bed. Two curiosities about spasms - while they can occur at any time during the day, they almost always come on in full force during the evening hours. Secondly, while both limbs may jerk as the spasm crosses sides, they occur only on one side at a time. That is, thankfully both legs do not contract with spasms at the same time suggesting some sort of shared pathway that only one side can command at a time. The regular spasms are usually preceded by an increasingly creepy feeling in the leg which feels like the leg is buzzing with electricity, filled with hot sparkling soda water or just blown up to twice its size. The sensation is so un-nerving that you want to dance around the room, but of course, you can't. Pure hell!
- Shocks - they feel as small and precise as a pin-prick sized jolt or stab which makes you sit up in a shot and grab hold of the armrests, or as large as encompassing an entire toe. The jolt is usually such an unexpected surprise that it might be accompanied by a yelp then closely followed by swear words.
- Core stiffness - muscles along the body's frame are all somewhat interconnected. When not used fully, or as normally intended, they contract. The result is a very tight core where twisting and bending is impeded by a tight stiffness which no amount of exercises can loose. Only using all muscles as intended (walking) would loosen the tightness, assuming that 'contractures' have not occurred - where tissues actually fuse to each other, perhaps permanently. This stiffness makes it more difficult to turn over in bed or even to conduct simple hygiene as in cleaning yourself properly after using the toilet.
The consequences of paralysis are obvious and detract from fully experiencing an enjoyable and productive life. (my admiration goes out to those who say "no problem!")
The never ending pain on multiple levels robs your concentration on any task you are engaged in. The spasms too destroy the quality of whatever life remains as it is all but impossible to read a book or hold a lap-top computer as your legs bounce around for hours on end.
Perhaps my spinal cord injury caused by a bacterial infection and subsequent release of toxins and enzymes is different from someone who has a crushing or severing injury. How do you compare pain levels between different types of injuries and the extent of damage caused by those injuries?
I continue to struggle, however this is just "existence" and certainly not anywhere close to "living".