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Further Thoughts Of A Calliper Manby Peter
Further on my article on what it has been like to be a calliper man, I hereby pen a few more lines on my latest developments. I can not recall what I wrote in the last article as I lent that particular copy (and my three others!) to someone in the Liverpool area and he very unkindly never returned them. To recap: I have always wanted to be paralysed from the waist down, and to wear callipers, for as long as I can remember. (We all have similar stories to tell!) I have always felt extremely guilty about it, and have always been an over-sensitive person with a tendency to breakdowns.
The latest series of breakdowns ended with me being under a good therapist, who seeing my misery and distress one day due to a private individual who promised to have some callipers made for me, but let me down, said that he thought he could help me, and ended up asking the hospital orthotist if he could get some callipers made for me for an emotional illness which was ruining my life. The understanding orthotist was able to provide me with my own callipers that I had longed for, for over 50 years. I was very fortunate to meet an excellent forward thinking extremely understanding therapist of course from all accounts the usual ones are definitely not as good as this. I was also allowed to go 'walkies' in the hospital gym in the parallel bars and with callipers and elbow crutches with a physiotherapist (that I also knew - a local girl!) in attendance and I also found that experience very uplifting and healing. The callipers I have at home and at first I wore them twice a week in the evenings but that has now tailed off to about once a month and I consider a certain amount of healing has taken place.
I also have an interest in females who are paralysed and use callipers and wheelchairs and one of my dreams is to spend a gentle night with such a woman. This interest has however waned a little too as I have become more familiar with callipers and paralysis (as you will see shortly).
The second part of my saga is that I had requested a series of epidural injections which as you know, if placed correctly in the spine can cause paralysis. The hospital refused these, sadly the team there being very short-sighted and unimaginative but my superman GP was marvellous and encouraged me with such words as: 'Do not worry. We'll get there!' Well, bless his heart he did eventually find an anęsthetist, as young and go-ahead as himself and he offered to give me three epidurals. I spent a whole day in a private hospital, which cost me an arm and a leg, but it was worth it and this was the best one. The other two he did on the NHS, and the second one was fine but the third was a disaster as the thing didn't take properly. Sadly in all these epidurals I was still unable to attain my ambition which was to walk in a gymnasium with callipers and while paralysed. I have been told also that this may not be possible without a full back brace attached to the calliper. This of course would be very expensive and I couldn't afford it, and I would not now, after the excellent treatment I've had already had, expect the NHS to foot the bill. If I ever have a really big windfall I may do it then. I did in fact become very friendly with the orthotist and his firm and I am able now to get callipers made for others privately and have another ring top calliper on order for my own use which is already made and which I am shortly going to pick up. This I am looking forward to as it was the ring top callipers type which started the ball rolling all those years ago. How sad that I have had to wait for so long for such an experience.
I hope that as many of the medical profession as well as those who have suffered like I have, get to hear of my experiences and realise how very often that emotional suffering is far worse than physical. If my far-seeing, thoughtful therapist had not helped when he did I was in fact about to turn to suicide street at the time. Still I have had the callipers made and can't complain. I will be seeing the anęsthetist on January 11th for a final summing up and I'll finish this screed off after that as I do not yet know what the outcome will be. I do not feel that I have exhausted the paralysis part of the treatment. I must have worn my callipers about 25 different occasions, but sadly I cannot have the paralysis myself just when I want to. I have a feeling that unless I also have far more epidurals the interest is not going to wane. I am hoping that the anęsthetist can come up with another idea - perhaps an injection at the top of the legs in order to paralyse the legs only - I could perhaps even do that myself!
After January 11th
As promised I am letting you know what happened at the consultation with anęsthetist today. (Strangely enough today I actually picked up my ring top calliper and have it on as I write). Anyway the consultant attended me with his usual kindness and though he was prepared to do another epidural he thought it would be better, as I have now been through the experience, to commence a winding down process, with the help of the therapist I am under. It is a fact that the longer one goes on with epidurals the more is the chance of infection, clots in the spine, and other naughty things even more serious taking place. In other words the risks become greater. Now, of course I have as I've said always wanted to be paralysed from the waist down and he said I will no doubt still have a leaning towards that but now it had become tempered by the fact that I have at least tasted what it was like and can say I feel de-stressed about it to a certain extent.
As a far from perfect but pretty keen practicing christian I can honestly say I have had quite a bit of help in the spiritual sense. In my opinion (and in fact the theological opinion) the desire to be paralysed that would cause endless hassle for my wife and family in so many ways is utterly selfish - self-orientated - self-seeking and that is the opposite of the christian way. It would be self-destructive too in the end. I am therefore completely satisfied but even if another epidural come up, I still have decided to try and let the desire to be paralysed fade. I can say I want it to and not to want it too in the same breath though but the pain of the emotions is not as painful as it was. To those of course who are happy with it and do not want it to fade I say that is your decision of course but to be fair to all those who are desperate to be free I have to say that christianity (not religion!) is the only way that finally guarantee absolute freedom (from even the terrible guilt many suffer from), and believe it or not this can be conclusively proved. No we do not want OverGround to turn into a preaching platform and 'bigot' they are no doubt shouting but like it or not the whole business has been very emotional and you cannot divorce spirituality and emotion: they go together. This is one of the reasons psychiatrists tend not to have a lot of success and that is they separate the spiritual out - they consequently do not treat the whole man. They throw out the most important component out and wonder at their failure rate. As for the proof I mentioned I am a rare animal and have it am trying to prepare a book about it though I already have one which is brilliant written by someone else. So where does that leave me? Well, I have been through, as a whole person, near enough what I felt I needed to go through and have come out the other side with the tendencies to get terribly upset about wanting to be disabled or have a disabled woman defused some what, and I am grateful for that. I'm not a writer myself as you can see, and forgive me if I have repeated myself now and again. I do thank Margaret Child for being a great comfort to me when I came into trying to deal with all this a couple of years ago. I shall miss Margaret and may I take this opportunity to wish K. great success as he takes over. If anyone wants to write to me about FREEDOM please do so via K. and if anyone is still struggling needs callipers to help them through I can supply simple ring top callipers quite easily. So let's praise the Lord and please pass me my crutches.
Love to all,
Thoughts About Healing
One or two belated thoughts about medics healing as follows:
Like a tree that is pruned of quite healthy growth to make it even healthier the tree is 'damaged' to produce something good. Medics cannot often see as they look with traditional eyes that the same can happen to humans. Those who are desperate for emotional growth and happiness and know it can be produced by such pruning as an amputation of a healthy limb(s) or the cutting of a spinal cord are denied this form of healing. Remember all operations damage people so that one has to be damaged to get healed. Seems a bit of a paradox really but it is true. Does is therefore matter what the damage is? No. Surely not, as it is peace of mind and body that is being pursued and what medic can call him or herself a healer if they deny this healing? Traditional medical thinking which I believe is changing tends to stand in the way. Having an amputation or a spinal cord cut could surely be seen in the same light as much simpler things such as boost the ego like hair-do's, special clothes, ear piercing, lipstick, eye-shadow, and so on. Some of these things damage the body in a tiny way of course but the emotional boost is astonishing.
So as not to contradict what I have said before these things do pander to the self and of course the heavy end such as spinal cord cut would make me for instance have a tendency to have to be dependent on my long suffering wife even more so. Unless one can aim for utter independence and there is no one else involved it could be OK.
Amputations of course would be much easier on everybody and even I would consider having both legs off very high up instead of a spinal cord cut as in a way that sort of amputation would be akin to having no use in one's legs due to paraplegia. There would be less hassle for loved ones because of such things as incontinence which would have to be carefully considered as also would be the possible loss of employment (because of paraplegia I mean).
There are things the medics will always tend to be against especially medics who are honest and sincere and have plenty of integrity, as they would be put ting the patient first and would obviously try and persuade him or her to thing carefuly about the hassle ahead. This has happened to me really. I have been given callipers - that is permanent - but I have only been given temporary paralysis in the form of epidurals and the same time my excellent therapists have been continually taking me out of permanent paralysis even if I could find someone who would do it for me.
Back to my Christianity then for answers which shows that the death of the self life is the way to ultimate peace. This death as many know is a type of crucifixion and is very very painful in some ways especially when one had to let beloved things like wanting to be paralysed, go! I know for me at least it be fine in the end. In the meantime I found recently going to a meeting at Margaret's with a calliper on that I felt strangely complete. Even as a paraplegic I would feel the same, or an amputee, and would be happy with my lot as I would feel (at least for the first month!) complete emotionally at last. That is what I would call the 'flesh'.
The spirit has a different way of guaranteeing completeness and it really, wisely, a better choice.
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