– In my garden

God moves in mysterious ways!

Remember that song the Beetle’s sang “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away”. We cannot look back to the past and relive it; we must apply the present to help for the future. This was to be a new year a new beginning and as I sat in my prayer closet just talking to the Father, (God) he spoke clearly to me in 2008 in an audible voice, and said “I want you to be a conduit for me” and when I looked up the word “Conduit” it said a pipe which allows things to pass through it.

I pondered on this word for some days until it finally sank into my spirit.

I realized that what God says to me must be spoken out to others to encourage and bless and admonish if necessary. I loved the fact that God and I spoke often to one another in the early hours.
Then came the voice of the Lord through the gentle breeze. “…Your pain is the same as that of anyone who is called to be a prophet.
Though fruitless, you are to convey my messages to the people. Because that is your call and mission. Life becomes meaningful to the extent you showed commitment to your call. It is not your responsibility to make people convert. You are called to make them aware of the revelations that I give to you.” I felt so humble to say the least and I just cried and cried for what seemed an hour.

It was confirmed when a dear friend of mine emailed me some days later and said “You know what, you are a conduit”. Thank you for obeying God. The word you gave to me was spot on and I was blessed by it.

I realized God was saying he wanted to pass on things he was saying to me to others. I was to be a modern day prophet for him. I was not to alter anything whatsoever he spoke and I had to seek him in all things. I had to say it as it was, in Spirit and in truth.

This I have been doing for some years now speaking about what is happening in New Zealand and around the world and giving words of knowledge when applicable. Sometimes when I prophesy over people I get a burden and cry. They call me the weeping prophet at times. I feel so humble and honoured to be chosen to do this and even today when I am in his presence I am in awe and overwhelmed.

MRI Scan.
So some years later truly retired, we are now into 2010 and the fun is about to begin or is it? I had been helping Helen with something in the garden, and my disc in my back decided to give out. I sought help with a surgeon who suggested an MRI scan.

It all happened on the 4th July 2010 while waiting to have an MRI scan at Southern Cross Radiology Bealy Ave, Christchurch. I was in extreme pain after having a disc in my back collapse and all my nerves were crushed.

As I sat in the waiting room it got worse compressing the disc, and I could hardly walk, and had to be assisted up onto the MRI table and down again.

The twenty minutes I spent in that machine was agony having to sit still as I could, and with noises going clang, bang, as the machine took photos of my back. They played music through headphones I was wearing so one would feel relaxed, but it was still scary having to go into this long tunnel none the less. (A claustrophobic thing for me.)
Those who had the knowledge and power to say “Off to the Hospital” had diagnosed me wrong. The Radiologist showed me the severity of my Disc collapse pointing out pictures of the damage at my request but chose to say, “You’ll be ok,” and sent me home. My loving daughter Angela helped put me into the car and drove me home.

I had an injection from my own Doctor on Friday afternoon, but it did not alter the pain at all it just got worse by the minute.

She knew of my condition since I had been her patient for twenty odd years and I suppose she should have sent me off to the hospital too but did not. Within just a few hours later I was rushed to A&E dept. Christchurch Hospital for urgent surgery as I had become paralyzed from the waist down. I was beside myself.

The Ambulance staff carried me out from my bed late Saturday night to the Ambulance outside.

I felt every bump in the road on the journey to the hospital. It was agony, but the ambulance men were very good at their job calming me down as much as possible. I was in a mess to say the least.

I had to endure being there at A&E lying flat on my back Saturday night & Sunday morning right through to the operation at approximately 10 am Sunday. I was in excruciating pain watching others who were just drunk and a young girl who slit her wrists because she wasn’t getting attention fast enough. This in turn took the Dr’s away from me. I could not believe the slackness of things in the department.

So many people coming in (Mainly elderly) and those who even in the early hrs of the morning had been in accidents. It took my mind off things for a moment or two.

My wife was at my side and also my Daughters, Angela, and Sophia, which was lovely to see as they kept me calm by talking just about everything. What a blessing they were to me.

I had an ECG, and Pic line inserted with injections going in to try and lower the pain level, which helped only slightly. They said I would have to have an x-ray because my heart was not functioning properly.

(I had Atrial Fibrillation) showing the bottom of the heart working but not the top working as well as could be. Something to do with the narrowing of an artery in my chest. They said we might put in a stent, whatever that was?

It skipped a beat every four beats and sent blood rushing to my head. Sometimes it made me light headed. It was strange hearing your heart beat audible it seemed so loud and caused anxiety in me.

After being wheeled into the x-ray room by this young attendant, and being bumped around going through doorways (and I felt every one) they said that I had to sit up and I thought, “You got to be joking me! “ I cannot do that without assistance I told her I wasn’t able to sit up by myself. Why can’t they just slide the board under me? It just did not make sense? These nurses seemed to be in training by my reasoning, as they weren’t professional in my books at all.

I was made to sit up to a 90 degree angle with their assistance, and as they pushed just that little bit more I felt something in my back snap and the pain was greater than the first.

The young nurses had snapped two bones off my disc or spine? By their actions, and I was in extreme agony.

I don’t think apologies were made I cannot quite remember, and I finally was wheeled into the surgery room after getting the appropriate injections. I came out of surgery and the first thing the surgeon said was Quote “It was the largest disc I have ever seen, and I removed two other bones that had broken off as well. The disc blew out of your back and hit me on the chest” Unquote.

“Can I show this large disc to the medical school here? The surgeon said. I told him that’s fine go for it.

I spent 5 days in ICU and then transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital for about three weeks, and then onto Ward 28 Public Hospital. I went on this wonderful bed which had all the mod cons fitted but as I was wheeled past the reception part of the ward, the nurse in charge said in a loud voice.

“Oh! No! You can’t have that bed in here.” I hoped she was only joking, but she was not and I had to have a standard bed which seemed to be hard as nails.

God moves in Mysterious ways!
It was here that God spoke to me in a vision that I would be ministering to people and speaking about His Love, and that I would be an encouragement to those in similar circumstances at Burwood Spinal Unit. I was blown away when I found myself doing just that at Public Hospital.

I had spoken to and encouraged 7 people and even gave a prophetic word to someone whom I did not know at all, but he accepted the word given with thanks and asked if he could keep it.

He was the top criminologist in NZ (Professor Greg Newbold) and I even named him by name (Word of knowledge) before knowing who he was. Isn’t God good!

The only sad part of things was when I realized my older brother Desmond had died in that same ward just across the way and I was the last person he saw alive and after greeting him he opened his eyes and died.

How he ended up there was a story in itself which for one reason or another I cannot go into here, but he needed not to have died at all had he been given the care needed in his circumstance by others in the Rest Home he was at. Somehow it all added to my trauma of things and often I would reflect on it. He died far too early poor fellow.
Earthquakes, and things.

Finally I was taken by ambulance to Burwood Spinal Unit where I was to be for about five months. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be there that long. It was here that my story starts regarding Earthquakes and things.

They had wheeled me into a room, just across from the nurses’ station, and before long the nurses brought someone else in so I had someone to talk to. He appeared to be a small man, (Roger by name) but then after talking to him I realized that this man they brought in had been run over by a train and it happened because he slipped on new paint on the platform as it had been raining. He had been rushing to catch this train.

The doors were locked on the train and he could not get on. He fell under the moving train and ended up with just one small left limb, no legs or hands, and no right limb at all. I don’t know how he survived. He did not seem to know who he was and his story was in the papers across New Zealand. “Who is this man? The story read. No one seemed to know much about him at all.

My roommate Roger was a hive of information. Talk about an encyclopaedia! He knew it all, I mean I would talk about Johnny Cash and out would come everything about his marriage, his background, what he sang and so forth. Yet he said he did not read much and occasionally he went to the library.

I was born and bred with music in my bones since the age of five, but I only knew half of this man’s knowledge of things.

I felt sorry for old Roger who was so likable and wondered how he would fear down the track, but the staff seemed to have a handle on things. I spoke to the head nurse Anna who came to help me and said to her, “He must be the worst case here in this ward, and to my surprise she said “No! You are”. I was astounded.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing anyway as time went by the nurses changed me as I had lost Bladder and Bowel control which had to be attended to daily three or four times & injections every four hrs for infections that had taken place. (Chest, Bladder, Stomach, and I felt feverish and was shaking and had pneumonia. I was in a bad way.
I didn’t know in the thick of things I would experience a Quake as large as 7.1 Magnitude, and when it struck, my bed moved sideways a foot here and there with tremendous force, and as I could only see the ceiling I watched in horror as it all moved back and forth. I hung onto the rails of the bed and wondered where to now?

There was nothing I could do at all but lay there, and I just yelled to my roommate, “Are you Ok! He replied in a quiver, “Yeah I think so.” He wasn’t with it. I told him to Trust God!

It was all I could do. I thought I was going to be thrown onto the floor. It was terrifying. I felt the whole place was going to crash down around my ears. It was a deafening noise with the ceiling creaking and groaning and making ungodly noises. I guess fear and anxiety kicked in quite a bit but I tried to stay strong for Rogers’s sake as he seemed quite shaken having no arms and legs at all.

The nurses came scurrying in and asked if we were ok! and after assurances they left, but before they left I said in an anxious voice, “How are we going to get out of here? They replied, “Through the sliding door,” we will take you onto the grass outside.

Sure I thought to myself, and if the door was jammed or something they would’t fit us all into the hallway as there were far too many patients, but they were lovely and efficient and calmed us down one by one.

No- body knew of the trauma, the anguish and anxiety I felt over the months following, the hopelessness I felt not being able to walk or do normal things. The loss of bladder and bowel was as upsetting for me as staff had to do these things for me and I had to get over the embarrassment of it all. I had been such an active person getting about and helping others less fortunate than me. I really felt like a useless old sod.

I got so angry at God first, telling him that I had done all these marvellous things for him and had showed his love to so many, why did he allow this to happen to me? Then I fought the shock and trauma etc., until finally succumbing to acceptance of how I was to be. I had to forget things and get on with life, and so I kicked the negative out and got into a positive mode.

The aftershocks were terrible, and added to the fear and anxiety I was feeling. All I could do was stare at the ceiling hoping another quake wasn’t going to come. I hid this fear inside away from my visitors and wife.
Every time I went to physiotherapy or elsewhere I was very sensitive about these quakes and kept wondering when the next would come. I felt every shudder or vibration in my wheel chair or bed.
I had to go through so much with humiliation in the days following after soiling myself and wetting the bed because I had no control over my body (Bladder and Bowel.) particularly. The aftershocks certainly did not help and I felt terrified by them.

I would wake up in the early hours with pyjama’s soaking wet from stress and have to have them changed by the late night nurses who were much older than the day time ones.

The nurses were great but some stayed in their little squares they built for themselves so to speak while others moved out of the square and really helped. These ones were a blessing to me.

It’s easy to read about pain and help people with pain, but to experience it yourself is a different story. You have to walk in the patient’s shoes for an hour or two. But they mean well.

Maria, the Clinical nurse specialist was of extreme help to me. She often gave me sound advice on things and boy she knew how to council people with pain and things. I made a great recovery because of her input. She was so nice to talk with about things and mature. It was so sad to hear about the death in her family I felt her grieving.
I knew them all by name and it was a pleasure talking to them as they came every few hours to check and change things like the bed and my pj’s.

They helped in my recovery so much with early Rehab, Physio, and things like that. There was Tessa, she was a blessing, so much energy always smiling and willing to do anything for you, Lena was much like Tessa and helped a lot, and Kate, Jess, Kathy, Kelly, Christine, Angela, Anna, Paul, and Nathan the manager to name a few. All good nurses.
(Raj) B. Singhal, the head Doctor of the unit was absolutely marvelous as well and understanding. He knew my limitations and was positive in speaking to me, which in turn made me that way too! Dr A. Anthony was as well and was exceptional in his field of knowledge of the bladder.

Then there was Rosie the receptionist who always spoke with politeness, and helped with anything I asked for, she made me feel welcome. The Physio girls were great too especially the one from the UK, who went by the name of Kelly Robinson.
Joke:

Kelly pushed me pass my limit and got me on my feet much quicker. I used to tell her Irish jokes like this one. “This Irish man went to town sightseeing, and while looking around the city he found he needed to go to the toilet.

He couldn’t seem to find one and lo and behold came across this large church and said to himself “There has to be one in there!

He swung open the doors and as he looked down the aisle, there at the end he saw these two boxes.

He did not know that they were confessional boxes and that the priest was in one waiting for someone to come for confession.

He dashed inside the left one and heard this person next-door going “Ahem” (The priest was trying to get his attention.) Again he heard “Ahem”, but in a louder volume. Finally the priest banged on the wall to get this guy’s attention, and the Irishman said back, “Hey it’s no good banging on my wall; I’ve got no paper in here either. Ha! Ha!
I achieved so much in the Gym that they presented me with a certificate. I had to climb six steps to get it from Kelly. I was so pleased I had achieved so much with their help. Annie the head girl was tremendous too, so helpful.(But I’m getting ahead of myself).
I thought I was handling things quite well with progressing a little here and there. The shock was when the Head surgeon had said, “You will never walk again”.

I don’t know if the quake was worse or what he said about walking. It hit me hard and I withdrew into myself. The aftershocks never let up and made me nervous.

As a Christian of some forty odd years, (51 actually), I rebuked those words the Surgeon said, and set about doing what I could in the gym and exercising when I could. Whatever they asked me to do I did twice as much.

I would pray every night “Father make me whole again let your healing anointing flow over me and heal my body. Let restoration come.
I never let up day and night praying pestering the Lord. As each day came and went, changes came and out of the blue while watching a game of the All Blacks with my son in law Rick, my toes began to wiggle on my right foot. The game became second as Joy and Exhilaration took place. I was over the moon and as the weeks and months ticked by my prayers changed from asking to thanking him.
“Father, Thank you for the Restoration and Healings upon my body.” Thank you for hearing my cries, and for answering my prayers. I Love you.

I met one of the Crusaders Nasi Manu, and his manager who gave me a signed poster, and even spoke with John Key the prime minister who visited the Hospital. When John came over to my bed I made sure I said about the elderly, that they needed a pay rise. I hope he took me seriously. He seemed nice to talk with and sincere.

Somewhere down the track, and after much Physio and hard work in Rehab I thought I was now ready to get out onto the road and go home, but I still had to endure the last month in a place called TR (Traditional Rehab).

It was here that they put you through your paces and taught you everything you needed to know about life as a disabled person. Travis and Fiona were just great people who spent time helping us.

They gave good advice about pacing ourselves with positive thoughts about do’s and don’ts.

We learnt things like cooking, and cleaning, and washing dishes, preparing meals for others once a week.

(I had to cook for seven people and I seemed to cope ok!) And even hanging clothes on the line.

I even tried playing pool with two nurses behind me in case I fell, and fall I did at one time luckily not causing any damage as I had no feeling in one of my legs. It was so easy to break a leg. They taught us how to pace ourselves which was good stuff.

It made me laugh when I could not move and after some time the nurse Kelly (the one from UK,) came over and said to me “Lawry you’re standing on your foot”. I could have been embarrassed but I wasn’t.
Yet they did not put you down for your mistakes but lovingly looked after you. Today I always laugh about that episode.

While learning how to walk in the Gym with a walking frame this ball was in my way and I tried kicking it away but I used my wrong foot and almost fell. Thank goodness my instructor Kelly who was always with me saw the event, and was there to steady me.

I guess I got over confident at times. I was like that always doing double what they said. Another time while doing exercises on my back I kept looking at the ceiling, and I spotted the loose boards above me, and saw cracks but was assured by Kelly that they were fixed and ok.
Once a week we went out to get groceries with one of the staff always at our side in case we stumbled or got into difficulty. I could not get up the gentle slope going into the shop, and finally with effort made it. Travis was ahead of me and did not see me still outside trying to get up the slope I’m sure he would have helped me had he known.

Travis and I played pool often in my spare time, and we challenged each other with moves. Most of the time he won but occasionally I did too! Go Travis! He was a good guy to talk to and had some good positive things to say, always on the go helping here and there. I admire him. I eventually was able to play mini golf in my wheelchair as a final rehab thing, and to my surprise got two holes in one and won a pass to come again free. I was elated and had a good day out with Kelly and staff.

I was so chuffed as I also got a silver cup for the best in Archery at Burwood Spinal Unit, and believe it or not I split an arrow down the middle just outside of the Centre goal.

They called me Robin Hood and Graham took a photo of it and pasted it on the achievement wall in TR. Ward. Graham Tapper was so good and spent his time preparing the bails and getting equipment out, like Bows & arrows & guns and targets for us to use. Good on you mate! On taking time out to help us recover. You are the best. You never thought of yourself.

I got to the place where things had settled down a lot and asked my wife to bring in my guitar and so from that day on I would sit in my wheelchair playing and singing songs often. Sometimes I would write a new song.

A nurse came in one day and helped by playing her Ukulele and she was good too at it. She belonged to a group that played everywhere. She gave me a list of the old songs they played and it helped me to sing more to other patients and I ended up playing for two hours instead of one.

The nurse’s station was just across from me and they would open their door to listen and people would come and go as their curiosity got the better of them and they would come to see who was singing.

It came as a great surprise to me one day as I was going to the gym for rehab, I was whistling as I went always a happy chappie, and this Maori chap (Teoti.) asked me as I passed his office if I would write a Waiata for the ministry there at Burwood which I accepted with honour.
I often tinkered with his guitar as it was much better than mine to use as I only had my old one at the TR unit.

We got together in the days following and he wrote words on the blackboard like “Encouragement, Love, Joy, and strength, etcetera.
I sat playing his guitar quietly in his office as he was writing things on his computer and out of the blue I said write this down Teoti.

I had the ability to create songs very quickly and to write music down within just minutes and this happened to be one of those moments.
He changed the page on his computer and wrote what I sang, the words were just flooding my mind so fast, I did not want to lose it so Teoti punched out the words.

It was amazing how this all happened and I knew the Lord was in it right from the start so as I strummed and started to sing Teoti started writing the song down on his computer and here is the result which took about an hour to write and finish.

He seemed to be so rapt with it that he rang someone from another office who came and sat down while I was playing and he harmonized with me as I sang. His name was James if I remember correctly an orderly and he sang really well. We made a great team and the harmony was really great. We ended up singing the whole Waiata through from top to bottom. Thanks James.

“It’s a Brand new Day”
V1.
Sickness comes without warning, but help is on the way
Healing comes in the morning, Oh! It’s a brand new day
1st Chorus.
Take courage my friend, tomorrow will come
All your fear and your worry, the battles will be won.
V2
Love is part of the healing, so take it when it comes
We got to be supportive for the healing to be done
2nd Chorus.
So take my hand, and lead me on
The days will be brighter, as we carry on.
V3.
No need for worry, no need for fear
All we need is courage, and knowing God is there.

I wrote this on the 17th September 2010. And as quickly as he put the words down on paper I would have more verses. I think it ended up with about 6 verses and three choruses.

I was so pleased with myself that I had been able to help someone and in the days following I created a time where I played in the lounge for those interested, and sang all sorts of Country and Western songs , and songs of encouragement for those listening.

It was healing for my soul too as I played and Roger (My room-mate) had come down in his special chair along with all my family and friends.
Many people including nurses would come and go as they listened for a while when they could and as they disappeared others took their place.

Some would just come up to me and say Thank you. It was a good time and I felt it worthwhile that I was being used as an instrument to help others in similar circumstances. It took my mind off those pesky earthquakes and tremors.

There was a time too! when I went to Chapel and again it was like the vision I got earlier, it had come true about ministering to people and the chaplain asked me if I would minister to the people in the chapel which I did to encourage them. They were lovely sincere people.

There were two ladies who helped the chaplain. They were precious and so sincere. One played the organ and the other gave out song books, and helped people to sing while sitting next to them.

The chaplain Winston asked me to minister the following week with singing as well. I put together a couple of my own songs, and sang them and after I finished I noticed a few people had tears rolling down their faces. The anointing of God really fell and it was wonderful to see that, and if I can change someone’s life for the better then I’ve done the job God asked me to do.

The Driving Test.
I pestered the nurse to allow me to try a test for driving in my little Red car, (The Red Baron), and eventually was given an all Ok! The nurse in charge put me on this machine to test my reactions and I passed the test to drive my car as my right leg was getting better, and stronger as each day went by even though my left one still needed work on it. My car was automatic.

I passed my driving test at Burwood Hospital by driving around Christchurch streets and busy intersections, and with two instructors. I passed my final test with flying colours. It was so good to get out and about at last free of lying in bed all day paralyzed.

“Whoopee! I was so excited to say the least. I finally was released to go home with my new wheelchair and into my own bed, Ah! Heavenly and so soft and warm. It is now November 2010.

Disaster Day.
They sent me a letter a few months later to say I had to come into the hospital for rehabilitation in the pool swimming etc.

The day was the 22nd of February 2011, and I pulled into the hospital ground beside the chapel. The time was almost 1:50 pm or there about.

I got out of the car and put my wheelchair onto the ground as I was trained by Burwood staff to do when all of a sudden it struck. A massive 6.3 Quake.

The ground lifted up in front of me in a dozen places and I got thrown into the back of my car rocking to and fro. What a nightmare people running everywhere and nurses coming and checking if all was Ok!
A gas bottle had broken its coupling and was thrown onto the ground not far from my car. I was fortunate it did not hit me.

A lady came out screaming she had fallen inside and hit her head which was bleeding. Dr’s and nurses came running out and it made me laugh as the Dr’s checked their flash cars for any damage.

I had to sit for 15 minutes or so to calm down. I thought “How can I get out,” the road had lifted quite a lot. Was my little car able to get through over the humps and damage? I didn’t want to fall into any holes, as I knew quakes could open the ground wide. My thoughts went to the pictures I saw of the big quake back in the 1930’s with ground opening up, and cars down the large holes swallowed up.

I finally went out onto the road to go back home which was a journey of two hrs. In hind sight I wished I had stayed longer at the hospital.
Things were crazy.

We were bumper to bumper all the way with water, liquefaction almost a metre high particularly by Kate Shepard nursing home, and at times I’M sure my little car lifted off the road, and I thought I am going to end up into the river.

This turkey had come from the other direction and was driving so fast he made a big wave.

When it hit my little car it lifted me up off the road. I was virtually floating and it was a funny feeling to me.

It was terrifying for me as I could not walk and thought I might drown or something. One lady had gone down a hole and had to be towed out by a 4×4 truck.

What could I do the water I was going through had made me think I needed to go to the toilet (mind over matter thing!) and I ended up being in pain as I held on. No good going out in the water I could not walk to the back of the car for my emergency bag which had my catheter in it.

Thank God I finally got home. A quarter of an hour’s ride there, and two hours getting back home. Lines of cars on both sides of the road bumper to bumper and as we travelled we could see the damage the quake did. Fences down, chimneys too and kids trying to walk home as the bus would not go any further down Wainoni street.

All the time I was thinking, “How is my wife? Is she Ok? I hope she’s not hurt. My mind was awhirl with thought after thought because of the quakes. She felt them like a 6.2 at home even though they were only a 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Our house certainly swayed back and forth. I applaud Helen my wife who must have gone through hell while I was in hospital, she was so brave. God bless you Helen.

What a mess and a half our home was in, stuff everywhere, my office had everything on the floor, clothes in the bedroom on the floor, bathroom a mess, cabinets broken, and all our antiques broken that I had kept for so long. GONE! Telly on the floor no good anymore and just bought it a few months earlier. There was nothing you could do about it but clean up and carry on, at least we had each other and that was important as we gave each other hope and strength. We just supported each other as best as possible.

Helen was my main stay as I held onto her while adjusting with my walking and doing things around the house. I really couldn’t get through things without her help, and love, and the compassion she held for me made me feel safe.

And so the journey ends and I thank God we are Alive!

What man said couldn’t be done, “God made possible.

I think back on the journey I made and know without a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t be here today without the everlasting arms of the Saviour about me daily.

The strength he gave to me to endure the hard times I faced and the fears I had that could have crippled me but He made it possible for me to get through it all.

I held onto the scripture in the bible that says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4v13.)

My thoughts were in positive mode all the time as I knew full well to talk negative only brought on a bout of depression and other stuff.
I remember that little battery advert on telly that said, when the road gets tough, the tough get going. ( Or something like that.)

THE BED IS EMPTY >>>>>>>>>>> I HAVE RISEN:
I Can Walk…………Hallelujah!.......What a Miracle!
“Praise God”.
Today, although not free completely of Trauma and Stress, and a little anxiety from time to time, I can say without fear, but with integrity, and with a positive statement that “I can walk.”

Yes, I can walk, I put aside the green super walker they gave me and walk unaided for short bursts, and as each day goes by I get stronger and stronger.”

In all things, I do use common sense, and at all times I pace myself being careful not to overdo things. (Something Travis and Fiona taught me in TR at Burwood Hospital.)

The picture above says it all. It’s like Jesus had his arms around me all the time. I can hear his voice say, “I told you I would never leave you nor forsake you”.

I look back to all the get well cards some 30 odd, and the people who visited me and gave support, the coloured pictures from my grandkids, the signed large poster of all the Crusaders, and even Pat from Elim Cathedral of Hope Church, who not only looked after my wife with food and things but made visits to the ward to see me. Bless you Pat. My sister Jean rung often to check on me, and sent a beautiful card with poems inside. Thanks Jean it was great and I appreciated it so much.
Both my daughter Angela, and Sophia were outstanding in giving support and love to their Mother and me. Also my son in laws who supported me too. Graham my brother came when I called him to cut my hair and he made a good job. Thanks Bro.

I particularly want to mention my special friends Don and Sue who gave so much of their time to come and sit by my side and just chat. Harry and Margaret were great also bringing me tapes to listen to and good books to read. I treasured these. Thank you guys so much.

There is a new Pastor at Elim Pastor Nu from Samoa but born and bred in Wellington, NZ. A great family man with a hunger for the things of God. I say a “Nu man on the block”. Ha! Ha!

Without the prayers of loved ones, and my endurance to succeed I would not have made it. My special thanks to all who have been part of my recovery and especially Helen my wife.

What an outstanding person! My number one fan, so faithful in coming up every day even though she was going through her own pain, and I know the cost she endured as she did come. The earthquakes did not help one bit but she endured them just to see me.

Helen made my day, and I forgot things like the pain I was feeling each day as I battled to get strong. She lifted my spirit up to which I am eternally grateful. Bless her heart.

I look back on all the events that took place and remember so much that so many people did. Thanks guys.

Some I cannot remember their names but know the face as if it was yesterday, especially Jack from Physio who at the very beginning of things after coming out of ICU, tried getting me mobile.

He was like in your face all the time but he did well and certainly made a difference as he freed up my muscles while I was in hospital and was an encourager to me.

I cannot believe that already two years to the day have passed by. It is now July 2012.

Thank you Lord for intervening when you did,
“You are Awesome”.
And so this part of my journey has ended and I am now at home putting together the pieces which the earthquake have caused, and trying to live a normal life again.
The question is, “Can one ever live a normal life again with aftershocks coming and going every day?
They tell me we have had over 11,000 of the blighters. Wow!
AND STILL THEY COME!!!

Saturday, 3rd March 2012.
Today the 8th January, 2013 with sadness I had the pleasure of being part of a group in having a send-off Graham Tapper who had passed away after having an aneurism. He was an exceptional person with many credits to his name, and the funeral was so big that many people had to stand or sit outside during the service. This man gave me encouragement and hope, and brought me out of my bed in the spinal unit to interact with others playing sport and the like.

What made me righteously angry was the fact that this man had devoted his life to helping those with spinal injuries after experiencing SCI (Spinal Cord injury) himself in earlier life and was bound to his wheelchair for some 28 years. Though the hall was full of people, there were little of those in wheelchairs inside. Most were sent out the back of the church where they were told to go, some 20 odd in the shade and cold wind, a few in the hot sun with a few outside the front door.
It was hard to hear the service and one could not see who was speaking but could only guess. I spoke to another wheelchair bound person and said “This is not right”. He said Quote “We get used to it”. Unquote. I didn’t think this sort of thing happens in New Zealand.
The first two rows were completely taking up by those who held some degree of sorts. Where were the wheelchair people?

Was it a case of Pride and thoughts like “We are more worthy & not crippled! So we will grab a seat or “Were they those In wheelchairs, being treated as “second class citizens” of no worth? I hope not!! This was what Graham Tapper was all about. Surely they should have had a place of honour inside after the family members arrived first, and before the ordinary folk arrived.

I wanted so much to say something about this great man and how he had helped me so much with encouraging words and hope, but I wasn’t able to get inside for the crowd. Most people I did not know.

I did not tell Graham I was a junior champion in Archery from way back until much later, and then I helped others to achieve better results by teaching them how to hold the bow properly and stand, and things like that. Maybe I can take over where he left off?

Graham always made sure we got tickets to the Crusaders and All Black games. He was on top of those things and always had us in mind concerning that. It will be hard to replace him.

R.I.P. young fellow, now free of pain and suffering, enjoy a good game of golf up there. God bless you Graham. I will miss you sorely.

Here’s a bit of Wisdom to ponder on:
There is a lot from here that will definitely help you along your journey. Be wise and learn from it. I have resourced much further on that is invaluable.

At some point, most people with chronic pain are told to “Learn to live with it”. Sound pain management techniques can help you to learn how.

Pain management focuses on lessening the sense of suffering experienced by a person with chronic pain.

It blends Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and social skills that help the individual regain control of his or her life and enhance the quality and pleasure of that life.

1. We need the support of others who have experienced and understand our pain.
2. Recognising emotions helps us to understand ourselves.
3. While our pain is not always in our heads, attitudes and expectations do make a difference.
4. Learning how to relax is essential. It helps prevent tension and redirects our attention on the things we have some control over.
5. Staying active, within realistic limits, can help us remain flexible and strong and reduce our sense of suffering.
6. It is important to set realistic goals and chart our progress toward them. Pace yourself.
7. Chronic pain not only involves the person with pain but the family as well. Encourage one another.
8. Hearing others talk of similar feelings and experiences caused by pain reduces our isolation.
8. Listen, there are No Wrong feelings.
10. Half the battle is won when you begin to Help yourself. Did you hear what I said, “Half the Battle is won when you begin to Help yourself”.

You do have the same basic rights you grant to others:
You have the Right to:
1.Act in a way that promotes dignity and self-Respect.
2.Be treated with respect.
3.Make mistakes.
4.Do less than you are humanly capable of doing.
5.Change your mind.
6.Ask for what you want.
7.Take time to slow down and think before you act.
8.Ask for information.
9.Feel good about yourself.
10. Disagree.
11. Not have to explain everything you do and think.
12. Say “No” and not feel guilty.
13. Ask why!
14. Be listened to and taken seriously when expressing your feelings.
Read and re-read these rights so that you not only know them by heart, but so that they become part of your daily life.

Before we get into the Discovery Helps here is a little Joke or two, to make you laugh.

I went to the cemetery yesterday to lay some flowers on a grave. As I was standing there I noticed 4 grave diggers walking about with a coffin. 3 hours later, and they’re still walking about with this coffin. I thought to myself, “They’ve lost the Plot!

Ok! One More.
I was driving this morning when I saw an AA van parked up. The driver was sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought to myself——that guys heading for a breakdown!

Discovery Helps.
(The Letter “P”.)
Burwood Spinal Unit prides itself on the fact that it has very good nurses, highly qualified, and Dr’s (Raj & Dr Anthony) who have your interest at heart. (I heartily agree with the statement.)

Then there are Clinical nurses like Maria,( Clinical nurse specialist) a great person to talk with, and psychologists like Tom, & Gabriel who sings like an angel, and has a compassionate heart, who all know their jobs well too, not forgetting the urologists, and physiotherapy depts.
Having gone through the system here, after spending 5 months in the spinal unit and ICU with a collapsed disc that caused all my nerves to be crushed and left me paralysed from the waist down, gives me the right to talk about pain issues and remedies. I hope you find an answer in all these following pages on the letter “P”.

Very briefly, I lay on my back for many months not being able to move without assistance.

I went through trauma, anger, bed sores, pneumonia, embarrassment from wetting and soiling the bed, I had no bladder or Bowel function, depression, and blaming God for my condition until finally coming to the last stage, acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that I was what I was, “paralysed”. I went through four infections at once, bladder, chest, stomach, with pneumonia, and a very high fever. My wife thought I wasn’t going to make it. They were pumping an antibiotic into my pic line every four hours. I was really feeling the worst for wear. I just couldn’t do anything about it and lay there uncomfortable throughout.
I didn’t deserve to be the way I was. It was a Medical Misadventure. To fight the system was sheer hell, ACC do not want to know about it! They said it was old age that caused it. Yeah Right! What a laugh! Ever been there?

But touching on positive things.

Understanding where you are at, and what must be done to achieve the very best results must lie with these letter p’s and other statements.
Some of these are simple statements, and are not in order so just take them as they come. If you are a SCI person (Spinal cord injury) or experience pain at some level, then these steps will help you to achieve good health.

Push on, Press into.
1. Perseverance.
Learn it. Sometimes things can become boring, tedious and difficult to say the least. Try and Persevere with the problem at hand. Trust me it will get better. Your stay here will be short lived or you may be here a bit longer depending on your attitude to the problems you will face. Persevere and have tolerance. You will get through.

2. Patience.
I was a patient here for 5 months, so now you are a patient with the same/similar symptoms I had, so be patient with yourself. You will find that not all things will work out for you at first, and you might experience pain from time to time. Chill out with yourself. Go with the flow. It doesn’t last forever. Many people lack patience, they become impatient with themselves. Have patience, In just a few days’ time things will look brighter. If you need to talk about things to someone, ask for Tom (he’s a good counsellor.) or talk to your nurse in charge or Maria, (Clinical nurse specialist), they know the score well.

3. Pain Levels.
Some experience much pain while others don’t. There are different types of pain i.e. Nerve pain, Urological pain, Neuropathic Pain = Nerve, Phantom pain, You might experience a burning pain, aching, dull, constant, splitting, a periodic or fluctuating pains, some get Pins and needles while others get nothing.
You do not have to put up with it so ask for pain relief from the nurses, they are there to help and know your case history. They will give them to you but only if allowed by your Dr in charge of you. (Oxynorm is a good one, also Gabapentin, Tramadol, Fentanyl, and Oxycontin, if used for pain as a break through.)

Someone who was experiencing much pain said to me once, that they thought about their Lord and the pain he went through on the cross. It was excruciating to say the least, and as they focused on that they found that their own pain was nothing to complain about.
Tap into what you find best for you in your circumstance.

When exercising too you will experience pain from time to time. Try and push past the pain barrier you are feeling as you will be surprised at the results, and the next time you exercise it will be easier. I’ve learnt to not focus on my pain in order to get on and enjoy life. Don’t complain about your pain, it only brings it into the forefront of your mind.
DON’T LOOK AT THE PAIN——LOOK AT YOUR PROGRESS.

4. Think Positively.
I was reading a medical journal the other day and it said quote, “When you think and do things with a positive attitude, endorphins are released in your body which cause a healing to come about. Being negative gives the opposite effect and can actually cause you to be unwell a lot longer”. Unquote”. I find this statement to be true.
Many people have a negative approach to life. In the good book there is a passage that reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13) We all need Hope, Strength and a little Faith, and need to hold onto something, if you feel you get it from reading the good book, then go for it.

We can’t allow ourselves to go into a spin over our predicament, and if reading positive statements from a book or two then it is worth the effort. We must practice being thankful from where we are at.

5. Pause.
This one could go with Pacing yourself. I believe if we just stop and think before we do something then things will work out better. Pause and ask yourself,

“Can I do that? —- What will be the consequences?—-Will it harm me?
What effect will it have on me if I do it? —— Ask the Nurse if in doubt. Don’t risk it.
Sometimes doing things we shouldn’t do can cause further discomfort and we don’t want to go down that road. It can cause our stay here to be longer than necessary, so pause and think about the situation before you attempt it.

6. Be Persistent.
When doing any exercise be persistent in doing it. Don’t try one day and then miss two. Keep at it, that way it will benefit you in the long run.

Even while lying in bed do gentle Exercises, but don’t overdo it. Remember Just a few minutes a day keeps the blues away.

7. Be Proud.
Be proud of where you’re at. Look at how far you’ve come. Remind yourself daily that you have advanced from where you were. It hasn’t been easy at times but you’re made it. Give yourself a pat on the back, you have earned it.

8. Pace yourself.
Pace yourself when doing jobs, like the garden, painting, cleaning house, hanging out clothes and you will do these jobs after you leave here. They will train you in TR. (Traditional Rehab.) for a month before you go out into the big world. Travis and the staff will watch over you and help.

Don’t go at it like a bull in a china shop. Take it easy. There is another day! Rome wasn’t built in a day! Do twenty minutes or so, have a rest then tackle some more.

9. Pride.
Take an interest in yourself. Smarten yourself up. If you dress badly, you might allow others to see you as someone who doesn’t care and that could be a negative thing. I know at times it will be difficult to put on clothes or even socks. I had a terrible time learning this, it took me a number of days learning which way is best, but if you keep at it, it will happen and you will become good at it. Occupational therapy will help you in this area. They are good at their job and professional at what they do.

10. Physio.
When the nurses want you to do something to help you or the physiotherapy department ask you if you want to come down for a work out, then press into their programme. Sometimes we don’t feel like it but believe me, the more you can do things the quicker you will get better. You will see a change as the days go by.

11. Peace.
Be at peace with yourself and others. Altercations can and will happen from time to time from frustrations, and can cause stress, which in turn makes for a bad day at the office.

You won’t agree with everything the nurses tell you but they do know best where you’re at, and have you in the highest regard & respect concerning your health. They read your notes often to keep up with your progress.

Pain levels can rise quite rapidly through stress. I know because I’ve been there.

I had a heck of a time after being told “You will never walk again’ and I had to look to someone bigger than me for my peace of mind.

12. Practice.
Practice the entire above daily if possible, otherwise at least once a week. Try encouraging others as you get better. Give a big thank-you to the Tea Lady too, it makes her day.
These things helped me a lot while here at Burwood Spinal Unit, and I know they will help you too!

13. Platform.
This is a raised area where either first, second, or third placing’s stand after winning a race, and of course we Strive to be first, and so we should, but we only get there by pushing through as much as possible. The finish line is where the Prize is. Second or third is not an option.
Last but not Least.

14.press.
Forgetting those things that are behind…..Press towards the goal. You do want to get better don’t you? Lying in bed isn’t pleasant and sometimes we get sore and our pain level can rise accordingly, but we must press on if we are to get better.

15.Path:
We all have a path to go down, whether it is in the secular
world or on the spiritual path. It is our choice to do either one or both. On walking down the path we have chosen, it needs a lot of thought and demands, and decisions must be made often to succeed in life. Being happy with where we are at makes it easier to become well within ourselves and walk down the path we have chosen.

Don’t dwell the negative things that will tend to pull you down but think about the positive things like, if I push through and practice the things they tell me, I will be out and home in three months. (Depending on your injury.)

16. Pray.
I know it is hard sometimes for people to do things especially when all that separates us is a thin curtain, but if problems seem to surround you a lot like they did to me, why not in your own little space pray about things. It certainly won’t hurt you and who knows something good may just happen. Think about it as thousands of people in troubles far worse than you stop and pray. I thought I was a goner, but when all else failed I prayed and from that I was able to walk.

17. Privacy.
We all need privacy, time to reflect on things that have happened to us, and a time to unwind ourselves whether it is with tears or something else. It is good to let go (in a positive way.) you are who you are, not a he-man or woman but a human being who feels pain and the trauma it brings.

Not all of these Helpful Tips will apply to everyone. Hopefully some will take aboard what has been said and benefit from them. Some will have Spinal problems like I have had while others will not have Spinal cord injury at all.

Every one of you are at a different level of discomfit and disability, and you cannot be the same as Mary or Joe, you have to map your own plans out for the best recovery sometimes. Do Not Give Up.
Learn from what you hear and read in a positive way. I guarantee if you apply even some of these Helpful Tips you will gain distance between your pain level and recovery.
So remember,
DON’T LOOK AT THE PAIN—LOOK AT YOUR PROGRESS.

Lawry.
lbwhms@xtra.co.nz (If you need to write to me).
Here is a little extra to think about.

“Why Muscles Get Stiff and Sore”.
The problem of uncompromising joints and muscles is similar to the difficulty of opening and closing a gate because of a seldom used and rusty hinge that’s become balky.

Therefore, if people don’t on a regular basis move their muscles and joints through their entire ranges of motion, they lose some of their potential. That’s why when these people will attempt to move a joint after an extended period of inactivity, they experience pain, and that deters additional use.

What occurs next is that the muscles become shortened with protracted neglect and brings about muscle spasm and cramps that can become bothersome and exceedingly painful. The immobilising of muscles, as researchers have exhibited with research laboratory animals, brings about biochemical changes in the tissue.
Notwithstanding, additional factors set off painful muscles. Here are some of them.

1.Excessive exercise.
Have you always believed in the saying, No pain…No gain? If you do, then, it is not so surprising if you’ve already felt sensitive muscles.
The trouble with most people is that they exercise too much believing that it’s the quickest and the most certain way to lose weight. Till they ache, they tend to disregard their muscles and connective tissue, even though they’re what quite literally holds the body together.
Aging and inactiveness—

Connective tissue holds muscle to bone tendons, binds bone to bone by ligaments, and covers and unites muscles with sheaths called fasciae.

With old age, the tendons, ligaments, and fasciae become less extensile. The tendons, with their thickly bundled fibres, are the most difficult to stretch. The easiest are the fasciae. But if they are not stretched to improve joint mobility, the fasciae shorten, placing undue pressure on the nerve pathway in the muscle fasciae.
A lot of aches and pains are the consequences of nerve impulses travelling along these pressured nerve pathways.

2.Immobility-
Sensitive muscles or muscle pain can be agonising, owing to the body’s reaction to a cramp or ache. In this reaction, called the splinting reflex, the body automatically immobilises a sore muscle by causing it to contract. Therefore, a sore muscle can set off vicious circle painfulness.

Firstly, an idle muscle tender from physical exercise or being held in a strange position. The body then reacts with the splinting, shortening the connective tissue around the muscle. This causes further pain, and in time the whole area is hurting.

One of the most common sites for this problem is the lower back pain. A muscle that is over worked or used in an unusual position gets fatigued and results in painful muscles.

Therefore, it’s exceedingly important to know the limitations and capability of the muscles in order to avert sore muscles. This goes to show that there is no truth in the saying, No pain— no gain. What counts most is on how people stay fit by exercising on a regular basis at a normal range but on a fixed routine.

Some good tips from Mike Brown who has been through the mill like me. Mike’s story can be found on…. mikesbigbreak.tumblr.com
If you want to get out and be active then read how this guy does it. He is a marvel, and you who are positive can be the same with the get up and go like he has.

With the eye of the storm having passed, it’s time to open the shutters, climb out of the hurricane proof basement, assess the damage, and start rebuilding.

Forget what’s behind us and make plans for tomorrow.
Step 1.
Appreciate your injury. Be thankful for the function you do have rather than what you don’t. Meeting less fortunate patients in the spinal unit brings perspective. I’m one of the lucky ones.
Step 2.
Appreciate the love and support of your family and friends and give to them as much as you can. Build a community. Find a home.
Step 3.
Set new goals and make adjustments to existing ones.
Step 4.
Accept that emotional pain is part of growth. Ask for help when needed and try not to get frustrated.
Step 5.
Work hard at your physical rehabilitation. Get strong.
Step 7.
Explore new ways of producing income. Be brave. Be confident.
Step 8.
Focus on new ways to experience the outdoors. With the right equipment, training and determination the potential is limitless.
Good luck guys/girls.
Remember the letter “P’s” I have written and take them aboard also.
Together we have learnt Patience with our disabilities. As you move about with whatever state you are in, you too will find patience at the end of the day to complete your course of events, whether it is shopping, gardening, hanging out clothes, or just reading a good book. (Mine I hope!) Ha! Just kidding.

Further information concerning SCI injuries and Pain.
Kindly supplied by:
Philip J. Siddall, Robert P. Yezierski, and John D. Loeser and edited by Michael C. Rowbotham, MD and Annika Malmberg, PhD.

Pain after Spinal Cord Injury.

What is Pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. In general, people can experience acute and chronic pain. Most people experience acute pain when they have a disease or injury to the body.

It usually begins suddenly and acts as a danger signal telling you that something is wrong and that you need help. This acute pain can be severe or mild, but it usually goes away as the body heals. Chronic pain is like acute pain in that it can start suddenly. However, chronic pain differs because it can build up over time and continue long after the body heals

Pain after Spinal Cord Injury
Acute pain is common after a spinal cord injury (SCI). The pain may occur as a result of the damage to the spinal cord, or it may occur from damage to other areas of the body at the time of injury.
It is also common for many individuals with SCI to experie
nce chronic pain. It can occur in areas where there is normal sensation, and it can occur in parts of the body where there is little or no feeling after injury. The pain is very real and may have a great impact on daily living.
A person in pain has difficulty carrying out daily activities. If you have pain, you can take 3 steps to help improve your overall quality of life.

1 – Do not ignore the fact that you have pain! There are options for you to help manage the pain. Plus, pain can be a sign that there is a serious problem.

2 – Talk to a doctor! It is important to first find the cause of the pain and the type of pain. Once your pain has been diagnosed, you and your doctor can decide how to best manage your pain.

3 – Learn to manage your pain! Your goal is to reduce your pain as much as possible. The more you know about how you can help yourself, the better your overall quality of life.
Research on Pain.

Research on pain following spinal cord injury is very complicated. Not only are there several types of pain, but people can also describe the same type of pain in different ways. Plus, individuals with SCI can feel pain in areas where there is no damage to the body. You may have severe pain at times and little or no pain at other times.

It may change if the weather changes, if you smoke, if you are tired or emotionally upset, or if you have problems with your bowel, bladder or skin. These are only some of the factors that make it very difficult for doctors and researchers to diagnose, classify and treat pain.

Research has shown that your level of injury and how you were injured can have an impact on whether you have pain. Individuals with low levels of injury tend to have more pain than those with higher levels of injury. Individuals who are injured by gunshot have more pain than persons with SCI caused by other factors.

Groups of Pain.
Individuals with SCI can experience several types of pain. The most common can be classified into three groups.

Neuropathic Pain.
The types of pain found in this group are common for individuals with SCI. After all, neuropathic pain is caused by damage or dysfunction in the nervous system, which includes the spinal cord. It can generally be described as a sharp, shooting, or burning pain, but the pain is often described in other terms as well.

Spinal cord central pain,
is a type of pain that can begin within weeks or months after your injury. You feel this type of pain at or below your level of injury in areas where you have lost some or all of your sensation to touch.

It is thought that the pain signals are coming from somewhere other than where you feel the pain. However, central pain is not related to what you do or how you are positioned. Additional terms used to describe central pain include tingling, numbness or throbbing.

Segmental pain,
Often occurs around the border where you have normal sensation and loss of feeling as a result of injury. It can be slightly above your level of injury or slightly below. It usually develops during the first few months after injury. Segmental pain is often associated with allodynia and hyperalgesia in the painful region.

Allodynia is pain caused by something that does not normally cause pain. For example, something cold, warm or a very light touch to the skin can result in pain. Hyperalgesia means an extremely painful response to what is normally only mildly painful.

Nerve root entrapment pain.
Often begins days to weeks after injury and may worsen over time. It occurs at or just below the level of injury and has a distinct pattern. You may feel brief waves of stabbing or sharp pain or a band of burning pain at the point where your normal feeling stops. You may find that light touch makes the pain worse.

The pain stems from compression of a nerve root by a bone or disk. Pain from damage to the cauda equine (the lower part of the spinal column) is a type of nerve root pain that is described as a burning feeling in the legs, feet, pelvis, genitals, and rectum.

Syringomyelia is a hollow, fluid filled cavity (syrinx) in the spinal cord. It is not common, but sometimes develops months or years after injury.
The cavity can slowly increase in size and extend up or down the spinal cord. As the syrinx expands, it can result in pain along with an increased loss of sensory and motor function.

Musculoskeletal
This type of pain is also a concern for individuals with spinal cord injury. It occurs in parts of the body like the bones, joints, and muscles. Musculoskeletal pain is usually worsened by movement and eased with rest. It can generally be described as a dull or aching pain, but the pain can also be described in other terms.

Secondary overuse (pressure syndromes)
It is a very common cause of musculoskeletal pain. The pain can occur months or many years after injury. It is caused by the overuse of muscles in any part of the body. For example, many people develop tendonitis of the rotator cuff (shoulder) as a result of pushing a manual wheelchair for a long period of time.

Muscle spasm pain.
Is experienced by some individuals after SCI. The spasms are involuntary movements of the body in areas that have lost some or all motor function. The pain is caused when muscles and joints are strained.

Mechanical instability of the spine is caused by damaged ligaments or fracture of bones. It occurs most often shortly after injury, but it can also develop later. The pain is usually around the area of instability.
Visceral.

Visceral pain usually begins a short time following SCI. It occurs in the abdomen (stomach area) either above or below the level of injury. The pain is described as burning, cramping and constant.

Pain Management:
Pain management usually includes treatment with medications, modified activities or a combination of both. It may not be possible to completely stop the pain, but an effective pain management program can lessen the intensity of the pain.

Pain management can be a very difficult process. Many times it is hard to know what is causing the pain in individuals with SCI. You should talk with a doctor who knows about pain after SCI before you try any medications or methods of managing pain. It can take time to work out how to best manage your pain. An effective pain management program depends on the type of pain you have.

Spinal cord injury pain.
Is the most difficult to treat. Some neuropathic pain-relieving medications such as Neurontin (gabapentin), nortriptyline, and amitriptyline may work in easing the pain. In other cases, a pump can be implanted under the skin to deliver opiates and clonidine to help relieve the pain.

Segmental pain.
May also be eased with neuropathic pain-relieving medications. Other treatments that may also be effective include spinal cord stimulation and epidural blocks along with surgical procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions and dorsal rhizotomy.

Nerve root entrapment pain.
Stems from vertebral instability. It might be relieved by stabilization, by opiates or by neuropathic pain-relieving medications. If there is bone or disk material present, decompression surgery is usually done to relieve the pain. Treatment to the peripheral nerves is usually needed to relieve pain from damage to the cauda equina.

Syringomyelia
It is diagnosed by a MR scan and requires surgery to remove the syrinx.

Secondary overuse.
Is often managed by modifying activities that use the joint or body part that is in pain. This may include limiting or stopping activities that make the pain worse.

For example, it may help to limit pushing a wheelchair if you have shoulder pain. It may be necessary to switch from a manual to a power wheelchair.

Relieving Pain without Medicine:
More helpful hints.
For some people, pain can be relieved without using medicine. They use relaxation, imagery, distraction, and skin stimulation. You may need the help of health professionals to learn to do these for yourself.
Friends and family members can help with some of them. The techniques are also useful along with pain medicines. Information about non drug treatments for pain also may be available at a local hospital or pain clinic.

Relaxation relieves pain or keeps it from getting worse by reducing tension in the muscles. It can help you fall asleep, give you more energy, make you less tired, reduce your anxiety, and make other pain relief methods work better. Some people, for instance, find that taking a pain medicine or using a cold or hot pack works faster and better when they relax at the same time.
Relaxation Techniques:
•Understand that your ability to relax may vary from time to time and that relaxation cannot be forced.
•Remember that it may take up to 2 weeks of practise to feel the first results of relaxation.
•Try several relaxation methods until you find one that works for you.
•Stick with the same method so that it becomes easy and routine for you. Use it regularly for at least 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
•Check for tension throughout the day by noticing tightness in each part of your body from head to foot. Relax any tense muscles. You may use a quick technique such as inhale/tense, exhale/relax.
If you have any lung problems, check with your doctor before using any relaxation technique that requires deep breathing.
•Relaxation may be done sitting up or lying down. Choose a quiet place whenever possible. Close your eyes. Do not cross your arms and legs because that may cut off circulation and cause numbness or tingling. If you are lying down put a small pillow under your neck and under your knees or use a low stool to support your legs.

I hope this helps you as it has helped me in getting better with my SCI.

Above all learn to pace yourself.
Ten or twenty minutes then take a break.

Jack———-ICU Physiotherapist:
Jack was the first guy I encountered in ICU Public Hospital. He was the Physiotherapist there. He helped me tremendously in trying to get my legs moving in the very early stages of my Paraplegia. He would say things like, “Try and walk to the window! And of course I couldn’t, but he was there standing beside me in case I fell. Another time he would try and see how long I could stand for, and that was only four seconds before crashing back on the bed.

I often would try and walk along the corridor on this huge walking frame that took my weight, and it kept me upright. I would transfer over to the rail, and holding onto the rails just sliding my feet sideways.

Jack was persistent, “come on back again once more” he would say, but he was very understanding as he had encountered back problems himself in early life.

He was gentle but firm and so patient with me. As time went on I wrote this poem about him. I called it Sergeant Jack and here it is on the next three pages.

Sergeant Jack.
4th July, 2010.

My name is Jack, I had a sore back, and now it’s Lawry’s turn
To see this patient happy, relieve the pains that burn.

I know the pains I went through, and surely he must too,
When I saw him on that first day, I thought what will I do?

He seemed so cold and angry, I’ve known the feeling well,
My job is “keep them moving”, my head it does not swell.

So out with the walker, off for a stroll, let’s see what Lawry can do,
His hands they are so nimble, I’m sure he will get through.

Yeah! My name is Jack, and now I’m back, to set a goal for him,
I’ll walk him 30 metres, together we will win.

Now Jack is back, he’s now got the knack, I think he’s after me,
He knows I can’t run quickly, not even for a pee!

His heart is in the right place, because passion he does show,
But I wish my bladder would work, so I can darn well go!

Old Jacks on the go, don’t worry about that, he bounces through the door,
I’m sure he has an agenda, to give poor Lawry more.
But nevertheless, I’m sure Jack means well,
as lessons do go on, it’s only time that will tell.

So goodbye Jack, thanks for the ride,
it’s nice to know, you’re on my side,
God bless my friend, and many adieu,
You’ve done a good job, good luck to you.

“Moral of the Story:”
They say “Don’t mess with Sergeant Jack,
He’s quite a tall big dude,
You don’t want him to slip just once, or make a great big boob.
Yeah! Sergeant Jack “I’ll be back “Vista LA vista Baby”

This will be one of my last entries in this book.
Today is the 14th December 2012 and it seems like a life time since I had my accident, and by Medical misadventure I became a paraplegic after my disc in the 3-4 region prolapsed and all my nerves were crushed. It all happened on the 4th July 2010, two years, five months and ten days to the date.

My body is in an ongoing healing process. After being healed from my complete paralyses, by an unseen hand that I knew was God Almighty, and whom I pestered night and day for a healing in my body and for restoration.

I feel ecstatic that I can walk and do things again (to a limit) that I thought I would never do, like driving my car.

From time to time I do get tired if I walk too far, but to do this unaided without my sticks or walking frame I count a blessing from above. Occasionally I use my wheelchair if the distance is too far, but the fact is “I can Walk again”. “Praise God”.

Common sense has prevailed along the way and I have done what I have asked others to do, and that is to “Pace myself”, and be patient with whatever state I am in thinking positive thoughts as much as possible, and to look back and be proud in how far I have come.
I could not have done this without the help of friends, Dr’s, nurses, family and of course my precious wife Helen who day after day persevered with me and my problems I faced. Helen is a wonder what with her own trials CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) to whom the experts, Dr’s, Professor’s, Pain Management, and the like, have no answer to the problem which is worldwide. A hidden medical condition.

They do suggest this and that and think it will work, and they are always telling her to do this or try that but the result has always been zilch. They make her go to meetings and do exercises that they think will help but they don’t know what Helen is going through because they have never been in her shoes. All they know is what they read in hand me down books, and thesis papers.

Year after year she has had to have medication some stronger than others just to get through the day, and at any given time she could have an onslaught of pain, yet she hides it with great care. She is a marvel and day after day she goes through this helping me with love and compassion.

Being paraplegic is not a happy place to be in sometimes and of course there are problems one face and must deal with each day, and in my case that is Bowel and Bladder problems, but even those are slowly coming back and being restored little by little. God’s hand is still at work.

Each one of us are at a different place in life and with our disabilities, some worse than others. I do believe however that being positive in life has been a plus for me. Also I have learnt to persevere in all circumstances and push through when I am able to, as much as possible.

On reflection, it is sad to see that most of my friends who came so faithfully to see me when I was paralyzed have disappeared. They were like angels in the night, but it is sad that I see little of them now. Even my own family do not come as much either. They gave me encouragement and made me feel better within myself.
Nevertheless one makes new friends along the way. The old seems to disappear and a new life begins to spring forth.

I have looked at a lot of paraplegic, male and female people in wheelchairs, and they have been such an inspiration to me as they do things unbelievably, so much more so than most that are able bodied. These ones are the champions, ones who battle on regardless like those who suffered from Cave Creek. We have such a one at our new church “Grace”.

I feel so much of a fraud (it seems that way) when I play pool, and here I am standing, bent over the table hitting pool balls while they are in their w/chairs. It seems unfair and sometimes I miss on purpose to give them a break, but these guys are expert at playing and really leave me behind so it forces me to play better.

But I suppose I have been an encouragement to them as they have to me. It is good not to dwell on the past but look to the future and deal with the present as it presents itself each day with a positive outlook.
I look back at the events that passed through my life and think of the hard times where I had to endure, but also the good times and through it all I am delighted that I am where I am today and as the song says,
“I get by with a little help from my friends”.

Whoever reads this book of mine whether a family member or just someone passing.

Be blessed in all you do and above all be careful on the roads. Have an awesome Christmas and New Year.
God Bless you mightily.

Yesteryear……... Testimonies.
Some years ago I was standing at the stove cutting tomatoes into a fry pan. Helen’s father was watching me and talking to me from the table about 10 feet away when suddenly the blade of the knife went through the tomato so quickly and I felt its fury cut through my finger. Blood seemed to be everywhere and all I said was “Praise God” so I went to the tap to wash the blood away and there was nothing there
I mean absolutely nothing. God is so good. I know I felt it cut my finger as Helen’s father went Oh! When it happened and so did I as I jumped back from the pan.

The other day being 3rd January 2013, I was improving on the feed tube for the budgie so he could eat more seed, making a V shape in the tube when the hacksaw slipped off the tube and cut deep into my thumb. It was a new hacksaw with a new blade, and it was sharp.
Again I have learnt to give thanks in all things and only said good words and believe it or not after washing my thumb there was hardly anything to see, I mean no blood but a very small scratch. I have to give the Lord the praise and the glory for it all as on both occasions I know damage was done but God got there quicker than a plaster.
One other time when I was in my teenage years and my friend and I had been able to get a flagon of beer from the pub and we were on our way home from there with the booze tucked inside my jacket. I was riding on his motor bike as a pillion passenger going down Colombo street, and I could see the car in front looming up very fast.

I said to him watch the car in front but it was too late and we hit it at force making a V shape in the boot of it. I flew over him hitting the car and landing in the gutter with the flagon of beer intact and not a scratch on me while he lay on the middle of the road with a bone sticking out of his leg and in pain.

A long time ago when I was a foreman supervisor at Atlas making fridges and freezers I came in early one Friday to replenish the chemicals which made the foam inside the appliance doors and sides. One of my workers came over and between us we rolled a forty-four gallon drum along the rollers to put the drum into a cradle at the end.

It made a very tight fit once the drum was in place, but somehow the ineffable happened. My foot slipped on the roller and as I reached out for balance my hand went into the cradle just as the drum did squashing my thumb completely.

My worker grabbed the edge of the drum with his fingertips and with all of his might lifted it enough for me to slide my hand out. Again I said “Thank you Lord” as I wiggled my thumb and hand and found it to be completely alright. The factory nurse came over and confirmed it so but for my other worker he had to be off for quite a number of days with swelling in the tips of his fingers. I firmly believe that if you keep positive in all you do things work out for good.

”We don’t have to swear when things go wrong”. It says in the good book to praise God in all things.

There is always something you remember when it’s all done and dusted, and here is one of those things.

AN AFFAIR WITH CTV
A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE:
Is there life after Death?
(My brother’s ordeal.)
These were my thoughts as I watched and heard the cries of many in the collapse of CTV. I thought for a moment I was going to die.
CTV.

We all have our story to tell about 22 February 2011 and on asking my brother about his ordeal, here is what he said.

My brother Graham, who is one year older than I, was on his way with his partner Diane, who had been a cleaner at Canterbury television Building some five years earlier. She was completely deaf and they were on their way to a meeting at the deaf community building which was in or near the CTV building, and as he was approaching the building he let a car out that was backing onto the road and decided to park further on down the road. Normally he parked in the car park there but this day 22 February 2011, for reasons known only to him alone he decided to travel on past the building.

He knew quite a few of the people there as he had helped her clean at times, and he also had been on the “Happy Hour “ singing at the TV station.

Some of those people were Noel who hosted the show and played piano for him. It was there that he met “Shopping with jo” a wonderful lady who was well received by staff and public. Matty Beaumont a technician and presenter yet another staff member he befriended. And many more.

This is His Story in his Words.
My partner Diane worked at the CTV building 2 hours a night and on occasions I would help her, so I got to know the layout of the building and its people.

On that terrible frightening day of the earthquake that struck Christchurch violently and without mercy, we were travelling to an appointment with the deaf association in Armagh street, as Diane was completely deaf, and on nearing the CTV building along Barbados and Cashel street corner I stopped to let a car out that was parked outside the main entrance of the CTV building and instead of going into the car park which we normally would do, we decided to park on the road side directly opposite the entrance of CTV.

It was just a footpath away when the Earthquake struck without warning and with vengeance. I saw the car in front of me rise in the air quite some feet and skew over to my left and within seconds of watching that event there was an almighty bang and red dust and dirt covered my RVR car.

Pieces of rubble started to fall on the road from Blackwell’s Motors to the right side of my RVR.

I pulled on my hand brake and stopped as the ground was shaking violently and the car was rocking sideways as well as and up and down. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. The noise was tremendous and the sounds coming from the building site were terrifying as I heard yelling, and high pitched screams coming forth.
I will never forget those screams. It only took a few seconds and the whole building was gone and as the dust cleared I could see the structure of the stairwells and lifts. The noise of the rumbling of the quake and the ripping apart of the road in front of me was tremendous. The road had lifted my RVR up like it was a match stick. My heart was beating at a tremendous pace and I thought I might pass out or something.

There was a moment of anxiety and of terror as I wrestled with the fact that I could have been killed had I gone into the car park. Was it God who saved me? as I did believe in Him or was it just a moment of quick decision to go past that day.

Whatever the reason I was eternally grateful that I went past. “I thought the whole sky had fallen down around me”. Earlier on Diane had tried to get out the car but I pulled her back. When the building came down it engulfed the whole car with thick red dust.

I tried desperately to see out the window and had to use the wipers which were virtually useless. The dust was too thick. At last I got a small hole made in the thick dust and was able then the drive the RVR over the rocks and damaged road.

As I looked across at the CTV building I saw it was no more just a heap of rubble and twisted steel. It was awful trying to dodge the cracks in the road that the earthquake left.

I will never forget that last scream or seeing the building down and the power and devastation that caused so many beautiful lives to be lost. I finally got around the corner and parked by Latimer square for what seemed a very long time, just getting my sanity back and feeling the heart beats getting slower and slower.

Had we pulled into the car park as we had permission to do we would have died under the rubble as we always parked in front of the emergency stairs that were on each floor. If it had collapsed even sideways we would have gone too by the falling masonry.

We are thankful that God saved us, and always will remember this ordeal and the great Christchurch quake as long as we live. I have never been back to the area where it all happened nor the fallen city of Christchurch.
Graham/Diane.

Conquer Fear
Here’s something to think about as a last thought.
“The Seven Truths” that can help anyone harness and overcome their fears. I’ve paraphrased them for you here:
The greatest is this one. “Wisdom is to fear God”.
TRUTH #1
Fear is the dominant challenge in your life today.
TRUTH #2
Fear is a “gift” that was instilled in you as a means of protection, and a way to bring you closer to God.
TRUTH #3
When you run from, or deny your fear, you leave that “gift” unopened.
TRUTH #4
When your fear of success, or fear of failure is exposed, you break through the control they have over you.
TRUTH #5
Your belief system is the driving force behind your behaviours and your results.
TRUTH #6
Your everyday habits broadcast your belief system, your fears, and your unmet needs, loud and clear, for others to “pick up.”

TRUTH #7
Change your beliefs (the way you think) and you change your behaviours (which are a reflection of the way you feel). Change your behaviours (feelings) and you change your results. Change your results and you change your life. It’s the only way you can…
…and that’s worth thinking about, isn’t it.
Blessings Lawry——-Bye!
Definitely the last page:

Anniversary Day:
22nd February 2013:
Well today is the day it all happened, two years to the day, the day I was thrown into the back of my car while gas bottles were being hurled at me from a distance having been ripped from their moorings.

The story so far:
I was supposed to be having rehabilitation in the swimming pool but as I pulled up to the disabled park by the Chapel at Burwood Hospital it happened.

The time was exactly 12:49 pm in the afternoon and I had wobbled from the front of the car to get my wheelchair from the back. I lifted the boot door and swung my chair out onto the pavement and was about to put my seat cushion onto the chair when this terrific noise happened and within seconds and without any warning I was thrown
Into the back of my car boot being belted about by this massive earthquake of 6.3 magnitude, the time was now 12:51pm. I thought it was world war three as pieces of objects were shooting across at me.
One lady was screaming and holding her head. She had come from inside the hospital and obviously had been thrown to the ground for her head was bleeding.

Dr’s and nurses came running out of the building to check on me and others on their way to TR where other patients were. The ground had opened up in front of me under the force of the quake and all I could see was these gaping long gaps in the tarmac at intervals of 5 metres apart.

I wondered if I was going to be able to leave the grounds of Burwood Hospital, or whether my little Dingo car would fall into the holes as they appeared large gaps.

I finally ventured out onto the road thankful I could get out of the hospital grounds but really not knowing what I was in store for later.
The journey was terrifying as water and liquefaction had seeped onto the roads making them dangerous. I couldn’t get over one bridge as it was damaged too much and had to travel further on down to Wainoni Road on the eastern side of the city where I encountered very long lines of cars bumper to bumper. We were all travelling in about a metre of water and if you stopped which we did often then you had to stay in your vehicle or get soaking wet.

One lady tried taking a short cut but ended up in a large hole swallowing her car. She was towed out by a 4×4 truck and was lucky she did not drown.

Kate Sheppard, the old people’s retirement village was completely had it with water surrounding the whole place as well.

What a mess as I travelled to get home not knowing how my wife was. I saw fences that had been bowled over, children having to brave the walk on foot to get home and houses on slants and broken from the force of the quake.

Finally I arrived home after a gruelling two hour stint being terrified at what I might find at my end. Sure enough as I pulled up by the garage and made my way into the house I saw it.

All my office stuff was thrown about as if a pack of kiddies had been loose in there. There was stuff all over the floor and as I opened the wardrobe the lot came down on me.

The rest of the house was the same with Helen’s antiques all broken and my new telly down on the floor broken too. The kitchen plates and things had crashed down on Helen my wife, causing her to get cut and the lino was cut and marked by the fall.

What a nightmare the bathroom was in. There was stuff all over the floor and cupboards thrown onto my commode chair smashed and ruined beyond repair. After coming home, travelling in all the water I was in agony waiting to use the toilet which I couldn’t so I had to make do and hold on. You know the rest……Cheers enjoy life………Lawry.

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