Many of the health problems that David encounters are actual issues I have or had dealt with in the past. This meant that I didn’t have to do much research on these issues, but I wanted to make sure I got it just right. Below is some information on them as well as a link to a Wikipedia article on each one.
Quadriplegia is a “paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in partial or total loss of use of all four limbs”. It can involve loss of use of the bladder and/or bowels and often involves reduced or total sensation and a burning or prickling neuropathic pain. It’s usually caused by damage to the brain or spinal cord known as a lesion.
A SAH (SubArachnoid Hemorrhage) stroke is caused by a cerebral contusion or a bruise to the brain. This is often considered to be a traumatic injury to the brain. Having a stroke often causes an inability to move or sense on one side of the brain, problems understanding, and issues speaking. Most long-term complications include loss of bladder control and pneumonia. While David had a stroke because of his accident, I actually had what’s called a vascular malformation, an irregular development of the veins in the brain during birth.
A colostomy is a surgical procedure to create an artificial anus, known as a stoma, at the base of the large intestine on the side of the stomach. A pouch, known as an ostomy bag, is used to collect intestinal waste and has to be emptied on a regular basis or when it gets full to prevent spillage.
Most people know what an amputation is, but for those that don’t, it’s the removal of a limb or limbs due to trauma, physical illness, or surgery. Often, it can be used as a preventative surgery to prevent the spread of a dangerous disease or illness, such as gangrene. David’s amputation is caused by his accident whereas my above the knee amputation (AKA) was caused to prevent further infection to the bone.
Comas are often induced by different causes, including stroke or trauma to the brain. Comas are “a long state of prolonged unconsciousness in which a person cannot be awakened”. Persons in a coma are initially placed in an ICU. They often have to be given an administrative use of IV fluids to maintain nutrition. Persons in a coma have to be turned every two hours to prevent pressure ulcers. David went into a coma for four years due to having a stroke AND having trauma to the brain because of the accident.
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs that mainly affects the alveoli. Symptoms often include productive/dry cough, chest pain, fever/chills, trouble breathing, clamminess/blueness, sharp, stabbing pains, and/or vomiting. Some of the risk factors include diabetes, stroke, and a weak immune system. It can cause ARDS, which includes inflammation of the lungs, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing. One best way that it has been explained is that it is basically drowning, as the lungs will fill with water. It has been called “the old man’s friend” as it can often shorten suffering among those close to death.