After a full month without feeling a thing from my neck down I was
ready for another booster. I decided that while I enjoyed being a
quadriplegic I wanted to experience just being a real paraplegic. I
asked Dr. Marks if he could do the injection lower so I could get the
use of my arms back. He agreed to paralyze me at the T12 level.
“It will be at least two or three weeks before you will be able to
propel a manual wheelchair. You might want to replace the sip and puff
control with a hand control. You will need a power chair until your arms
gain strength,” Dr. Marks explained.
Over the next week I slowly regained the feeling in my arms. My aunt
drove me to the medical center where my sip and puff was replaced with a
hand control. I never had to get out of my wheelchair. The technician
coached me in using the controls.
“You must be so happy to be regaining the use of your arms dear,” he
“Oh yes. I probably won’t be able to do much more than use the
control, but it will be so much better than the straw,” I replied.
I was still not able to use my arms for anything other than
controlling my chair. I could lift them a little, but I was still way
too weak to even feed myself. I used some weights to exercise. By the
time I was ready for the second booster shot I was able to use my own
wheelchair. This booster shot would keep me a paraplegic. I liked not
being able to cheat. I had to learn how to transfer from my manual
wheelchair to my bed or the couch. At least I could empty my collection
bag by myself. After another week I was able to transfer to the bathtub
and wash myself. I was starting to become more independent. Kevin took
me out a lot and I just loved being a real para.
Darlene called and asked if she could come over to visit. I hadn’t
seen her in a while. Later that day she came over. Of course she had on
“So you really can’t feel anything below your waist? She asked.
“Yes. I am really paralyzed.”
“Do you like it?
“Yes. It is so much more realistic than pretending,” I replied. I
kept looking at Darlene’s hooks and had the desire to use my hooks. I
missed the pleasure of using them.
“I miss using my hooks,” I said.
“So why not use them? You can use your arms now.”
There was no reason not to try, I wheeled to my room and Darlene
followed. I got my hooks and took off my top. Darlene had to help me
with them as it was a little hard in my wheelchair. She also helped me
get my top on over the hooks. It felt good to open and close them again.
I tried wheeling my chair with my hooks. A total disaster. The hand rims
just didn’t work with hooks and it was painfully slow moving by the
“This isn’t working,” I said.
“I can see that, Darlene said.
It then came to me that I could use my power chair and the hand
control. I was confident I could work it with my right hook. We had to
ask my aunt to help transfer me since I had my hooks on. After I was
settled I was able to get around just as easily as I was without my
“This is really cool. I can enjoy being an arm amputee and a
paraplegic at the same time,” I said.
“Do you two want to go to the mall?” my aunt asked.
“That would be fun,” Darlene said. I agreed.
My aunt drove us to the mall using the van and said she would pick us
up in three hours. It was so exciting to be in hooks and getting around
in my power chair. It was even neater to be with Darlene since she also
had hooks. We went to the food court and got something to eat and drink.
I was able to carry my tray on my lap. While we were eating I overheard
two women comment on us.
“Do you see the two girls over there? They both have those hooks for
hands and that one poor girl is paralyzed. I feel so bad for her
spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair and having to eat with
“They are both so very pretty,” the other said.
I don’t know if Darlene heard her, but I smiled inwardly thinking
that she had no idea of exactly what my situation was. Of course Darlene
really didn’t have arms. While I liked being paralyzed I still felt that
being armless and using hooks was probably the way I would want to be
for the rest of my life if I opted to have a permanent handicap.
Eventually my aunt picked us up and we headed home. Darlene gave me a
little kiss and said goodbye.
“You are certainly the most interesting friend I have,” she said.
I decided to spend most of my time wearing my hooks. Kevin was
thrilled when he took me out to dinner and watched me eat with my hooks
while sitting in my wheelchair. My aunt let him use the van to transport
me. With my hooks I would have had a lot of trouble getting in and out
of a car using my manual wheelchair.
One thing I missed was feeling in my genital area. Sex with Kevin was
fun, but I wanted the feelings I got when I touched my clit. I felt
nothing when I touched it with my hook. Usually the cold metal really
aroused me. When I went in for my booster I asked Dr. Marks if he could
go lower in the lumbar region so I would still be unable to walk, but
have feeling between my legs. He said he could. Within a week I got my
feeling back. My legs were still mostly paralyzed and there was no way I
could walk. Now sex with Kevin was very exciting. I could have an orgasm
and I loved the fact that my legs were still paralyzed.
I was curious if I could walk in my braces. I couldn’t wear my hooks,
but I wanted the fun of wearing braces. With my aunts help I got them
on. I sat on the bed with my legs in front. I had to unstrap my leg bag
and put it beside me. I managed to get my feet in the shows and fasten
the straps on the braces. I pulled up the pelvic band and fastened that
as well. I re-strapped my leg bag.My first attempts were pretty
disappointing. I just couldn’t do it. The hip locks helped and after
several days of practice I was finally able to walk in my braces. Kevin
was more than willing to take me out. It was different walking in braces
and being partially paralyzed. I suspected this was more like the Polio
girls experienced walking in their braces.
One thing I started to dislike was my Foley catheter. I had been
continuously using one for months now. I had to wear pants or a longer
skirt to hide my leg bag. I liked wearing short skirts even with my
braces on. I decided to ask Dr. Marks if I could get by without it on my
“You are probably still urinary incontinent as a result of the long
term use of the indwelling catheter, but I think you can start to use
intermittent catheters and self-catheterize every few hours. I would
advise wearing a heavy control incontinent pad though. Check it
frequently. Little by little you should leak less.”
I was very happy. My aunt got a supply of intermittent catheters.
These had disposable bags attached so they were easy to use. I was very
excited when my Foley was removed and I could just wear a big pad. I did
leak a lot for a few days and then I only had to change the pad between
the uses of the intermittent catheters. Short skirts were back either in
my wheelchair or using my braces. I had stopped sleeping in my iron lung
when I became a paraplegic, although I still used it whenever I got the
I stayed like this for the next couple of months. I divided my time
between using my manual wheelchair or braces without hooks and using my
power chair with my hooks on. I wondered if there was any handicap that
Andrea had tried that I hadn’t explored. I decided to ask her.
What will Paula's next adventure be?