Day in the Life of "A Shockingly Stereotypical 28-Year-Old Bachelor Life"...with Quadriplegia

Part 2 of 3

In Part 1, Wellthy expert Thomas Cloyd introduced us to life with quadriplegia. Here, Thomas takes us through how daily life has changed since his diagnosis.

“Though it is near impossible to convey all of the implications and life changes that occur when an able bodied 24-year-old becomes a quadriplegic, let’s start with the day-to-day. One of the most frustrating aspects of being injured is how much time it takes to perform once simple tasks. I want to give a realistic perspective on the amount of time I spend dealing with quad issues (it’s okay to call us quads, I know it sounds offensive, but it is not).

The issue of time management as a quadriplegic is a fluid and permanent challenge, however, it is not insurmountable.

I have become significantly more efficient in many aspects of managing my life, to illustrate this I will compare my average day a few months after my injury in 2012 to my average day in 2016, 3 years later.

My Typical Day

Morning

2012 – Personal Care Attendant (PCA) wakes me up, assists in bathroom, dressing, and food.
Total Assisted Time: 3 hours

2016 – I wake up, use bathroom, shower, and dress myself.
My Own Time: 2 hours
(This is the additional time it takes as compared to when I was able bodied)

3 days/week a PCA assists in bathroom, dresses my lower body, and cleans apartment.
Total Assisted Time: 1 Hour

Throughout the Day

2012 - PCA helps me in/out of van, drives to therapy, assists in workout, bathroom, and food.
Total Assisted Time: 4 hours

2016 - I transfer, drive, workout, use bathroom, and eat independently.
My Own Time: 1 hour

Night

2012 – PCA or my parents assist into bed, undress, and turn me every 2 hours.
Total Assisted Time: 3 hours

2016 – I get into bed, undress, and turn independently.
My Own Time: 1 hour

I was able to increase my efficiency and skills through repetition; I often chant an important adage of SCI - It will be easier next time. A critical concept to understand when reading this is that no two injuries are the same, therefore no two people’s function or abilities are exactly the same, even if they have the equivalent “level” of injury. What I can and cannot do is a good baseline reference but by no means is definitive for anybody else, not even me. I am still new to the game and have much to learn.

It suffices to say that a daily routine can be continually honed but making it predictable allows those helping you to be more consistent, which when dealing with somebody on a daily basis is incredibly important. There are other facets of managing the quadriplegic life that are more difficult to control.”

In the final part of this series, Thomas explains what he wishes he had known when he was first injured.