Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Scary 7

This time last night I was sitting in my wheelchair on the sidewalk beside our house. It was lovely (although a bit buggy), clear and some stars were coming out. We had a fire going in our little fire pit that was an anniversary present this year. I was thinking (for real) “why didn’t we get one of these fire pit rings years ago?” For years we had not been able to decide where to have a fire pit – weren’t sure where future buildings or trees would go, didn’t want to dig a hole in the lawn etc. etc. If our past selves knew what our future selves did – or if they could see the piles of dirt that is the state of our yard…well!

Likely you have already figured out that I had an “incident” with said fire ring last night. My front caster just slipped off the edge of the sidewalk as I was leaning in to put on a few small pieces of wood. Theo had just left to go pick Ella up from work and Oliver was doing jujitsu with a staff – glowing coals on each end.

Things like this happen faster than your brain, I think, but in the end I must have hit the outer ring legs first (bare) then shoulder (also bare) and cheek. None of the pain registered at first. I panicked because I didn’t know where my lower body was and I couldn’t see. It was dark and, obviously, I could not feel if I was on the fire or not. Quick thinking Oliver pulled the fire away (one good thing about it being portable) and I told him to get the hose which was not far away. Secretly I think he enjoyed hosing me down – although I am sure it did not feel right.

I’m out of steam, so I’ll wrap this up. Theo took me to hospital, the nurse (former student) gave me some drugs for the pain (fentanyl – requires another post altogether) and the Dr cleaned my wounds. I have second degree burns on both shins, my right shoulder and my right jaw. I will recover, but it is going to take some time. Approximately two weeks for the shoulder, but the legs will take longer. The burn was deeper on my right shin, and with reduced blood flow because of my SCI, things just take longer to heal.

It was a scary night. The pain is real – the nurse said that it was a good thing that I couldn’t feel my legs.  Skin wounds can get seriously bad really fast with an SCI and burns are the most susceptible to infection. I have nursing care coming in daily – together we’ll be keeping a close eye.


Man. I was just catching my stride. I had the medication prescribed to help increase my blood pressure, and it was just starting to work. I had a bit more energy and didn’t need a nap every day. I was just going to get into routine with my FES bike. I’ll get back there, and catch it again, I hope. For now, everything’s on hold.


  • Dave & Betty says:

    Oh my goodness Julie – what an awful thing to happen to you. Our hearts go out to you and we’ll be praying for you to heal quickly. Lots of love – Dave and Betty

  • Lisa Fox says:

    Oh Julie!!!! Take care of yourself and those wounds!!!! I love reading your blog and seeing how you are doing!

  • Liz Herman says:

    Oh my goodness! Sorry to read of this.. Take care!! If I can help in any way, let me know.. I love working with Ella, she is a doll!!

  • Megan says:

    Wow Julie…thank goodness Oliver kept a cool head. wishing you a speedy recovery too!

  • Joan Rose Hukezalie,OCT says:

    How can shit just keep happening? I am happy to se you are not worse off, but still bad enough. I am so sorry. Vitamin E with help prevent scaring. Miss you. Take care.

  • Gary Clark says:

    Sorry to hear about your set back and the burn. Oliver is the hero without any jujitsu moves.

  • Leeanne says:

    I wish the universe would cut you a break already. You’ve been through enough. Time for the pendulum swing!

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