Keeping it Real – Quadriplegic Cough

Keeping it Real – Quadriplegic Cough

There are times my disability smacks me in the face and knocks my feet right out from under me. This week has been one of those weeks. I have a cold…that simple rhino virus that many people fiercely fight off without missing a beat. ‘Well say it ain’t so!’ the quadriplegics exclaim.

Because of the paralysis, our respiratory systems are compromised. Congestion in our lungs is difficult to extract because the muscles don’t contract to force enough pressure to productively cough. Developing pneumonia is a possible danger and the leading cause of death for quads.

The simple cold is a serous matter. Proactive zinc and vitamins have helped me avoid a cold for several years, but somehow this rhino crept up on me. I’m always hopeful that prayer, rest, water, vitamins, ginger tea and chicken soup will do the trick quickly, but inevitably the dreaded antibiotics seem to be the added dagger that fights off the bronchitis and threat of pneumonia.

Friends, family members and office mates are heroes as they rescue me with an ‘assisted cough‘. Brent was out of town the other night when my cough was starting – two of my best friends slept over and effectively assisted with my cough, ate popcorn, played on computers, and crashed (thank you Naomi and Krista).

Brent has turned a few heads when he’s helped me cough in the store or at church! At a glance it can look like CPR or spousal  abuse!

For emergencies, I keep a note written in my phone that says ‘I need help coughing and may not be able to talk before we clear some congestion. Please press my diaphragm with the palms of your hands as I exhale. We will need to do this multiple times and you will push harder than you think you should’.

I haven’t had an assisted cough for a couple hours and I’m off to get more water. My motto for the day: “March on my soul, be strong.” Judges 5:21

I’m glad you read this post…don’t be afraid…you can help me cough…press hard, just don’t break a rib – Just kidding!