Thankfully “March Murphy Madness” is over!
Suzanne Edwards, who came up with this catchy turn of phrase, and I are looking forward to having an “Awesome April.”
Do you ever have one of those months where everything just seems to go completely wrong?
Well, March pretty much did me in. I managed to not only to develop a pressure sore, my first in 3 years, but I also sustained a tissue shredding injury less than an inch away from the pressure lesion due to being handled too roughly on the hard mat at the gym.
Update on the Pain Front:
We are still waiting for the right protocol for the hyperbaric pressure chamber. However, my sister Tiffany, who is a professional SCUBA dive instructor, did some research and advised me to be very, very careful about breathing 100% oxygen under high atmospheric pressure because this can lead to numerous complications, notably including oxygen toxicity.
Otherwise, I obviously had to postpone proceeding with the hyperbaric chamber for the last few weeks due to the gym injury, but I should be up and running in the next few weeks with the pressure chamber, and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
My skin is pretty well healed up now, I am dealing with what I would say is the usual amount of neuropathic pain, no worse, no less, and have really been focusing on trading as of late, which also helps get my mind off the pain.
Otherwise, Dad and I have independently been investigating neurostimulator implants for neuropathic pain. This is an effective measure of last resort for some people who suffer from severe, chronic neuropathic pain.
A neurostimulator is a surgically placed device about the size of a stopwatch. It delivers mild electrical signals to the epidural space near your spine through one or more thin wires, called leads. For patients for whom this technology works, the intermittent delivery of electrical simulations serves to dampen chronic neuropathic pain.
International clinical trials of this new pain management technology are ongoing. In the Asian region, Singapore is a leading center, where some SCI survivors have had good results with implanted neurostimulators.
How It Works
Neurostimulation is believed to provide pain relief by blocking the pain messages before they reach the brain, although in fairness the ground breaking research of Drs. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall suggest pain transmission and brain registry of pain is more complex than a one-way street of pain signal transmission.
Anyway, the theory is that the neurostimulator sends out mild electrical impulses that reach the brain faster than the pain signal can arrive. In other words, it outsmarts your pain. Instead of pain, you feel a tingling sensation. You can adjust the strength and location of stimulation using a handheld programmer.
Wherever or not I ever have a neurotransmitter implanted, at least we now have this technology on our drawing board and are looking into the various ways this strategy might be implemented.
One neat thing about neurostimulation is that you can test it out for a week to see if you are a viable candidate for the procedure. The doctors essentially place the leads in the epidural space but don’t implant the battery box under your skin until they know you are a responder to the treatment. You can see a picture below of the different components of neural stimulation how it works.
Implanted NeuroStim Device
Neurostimulation Leads, which are inserted into the spinal column
Neurostimulator Battery pack
On a completely separate note, I wanted to share with you a fun cultural activity here in China with which many readers may not be familiar.
On the weekends, people all over the developed world often get together and go to the movies, go to a bar, have a drink, etc. What the Chinese enjoy best is going to a karaoke bar.
There is a national karaoke bar chain called KTV that has thousands of locations throughout the country. This is no normal karaoke bar, as there are private rooms you book with your friends to have drinks and sing karaoke. Many of these rooms are even themed with cartoon characters, superhero themes, movie themes, etc.
When I lived in Beijing about 15 years ago, I used to go karaoke all the time and wish I still had the pictures to show you. Nonetheless, one of my Kunming friends, Emma, who works at Tongren Hospital, recently went to a karaoke birthday party for a three-year-old. This three-year-old sure must have been very special because the parents rented out an entire room for the child and their friends to sing karaoke.
As you can see from the video below (apologies that the sound is not that great) karaoke is learned from a very young age and is part of a child’s upbringing. This video was too funny to pass up and so I share it with you! I have also included photos of some typical karaoke theme room pictures for you :-)
or click: http://youtu.be/QDh-BKtsUrM to view video on YouTube