Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Nerves and Support

My car crash shattered two of the vertebrae in my spine, crushing many of the nerves in my spinal cord. It severed some completely and compressed others. Fortunately, many of them remained intact or I would not be able to walk like I have. Contrary to common knowledge, nerves fibers do regrow (though most brain cells do not); the problem is that while they regrow they have to rewire themselves. Since they do not know where they are supposed to be operating they send out random electrical signals until they figure it out. Depending on the intensity this can feel like a small static shock or can feel as painful as a white hot wire pressed against the skin.


This has occurred every few months since the accident. This nerve pain can either come on after a series of particularly difficult tasks or for no reason at all. I adjust my medications for this onslaught and wait for it to end, since there isn't much else I can do. It sometimes ends with me getting the return of more function yet in the meantime it's mostly just annoying.

Almost done...

The past few days I have been experiencing this type of nerve pain. Though it generally is on the lighter side it makes it so that it's almost impossible to go about my day as normal. I missed class, physical therapy, and even a performance of the play I was helping with (I operated the sound board; fortunately there was someone to cover the job).

Exner... Exner... Exner...

For support I've been turning to my new supportive group of friends, who I met through facebook. There are a surprising number of groups who are devoted to gay disabled individuals. These groups are made up of people with a variety of disabilities as well as the people who support them. They've offered me condolences, hugs, and some practical advice on what to do to deal with nerve pain.


And finally there is my group of friends in the physical world (vs. the virtual one). This group of people have stood by me the past few months, waited when I went slow, helped me when I needed it, and made feel welcome instead of different. There wasn't much they could do to help me deal the pain except keep me company, but that was more than enough. Having that support has been essential through every part of my recovery. In a world that more often than not treats me as different and weird it is amazing to feel almost normal again. Thank you.

 Sitting on the couch with my friends was more beneficial than just about anything else I could have done. Thanks to you fun crazy misfits. I love you guys.

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