Guest Post: SCI Life in Papua New Guinea by Ranck Warakai

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My name is Ranck Warakai and I’m 36 and from Papua New Guinea. I sustained my spinal cord injury at the C5 level, which resulted in me being paralysed from my chest down. I sustained my injury in 2016 from a motor vehicle accident. We don’t have a spinal unit here and that’s why its been a very difficult process adapting from being an able-bodied person to living as a disabled person. We also don’t have a ward just for spinal injuries, so I was admitted into a basic surgical ward. For 6 weeks they put a collar round my neck and put a traction with 5 kg on my head to get the spine back to its original position.

After 6 weeks, they removed the traction and collar I was wearing to a sitting position, which was done by a physiotheraphist from the hospital. After that, the waterbed was removed and over the next 1 to 3 weeks a pressure sore formed at my bum. The doctors and nurses didn’t think it was a pressure sore and did not attend to it and the sore grew so big that when I was brought to doctor, he had to cut and remove the dead tissue. Sadly, we found that the sore had grown so big that had reached the bone.

Because of that pressure sore, I stayed in the hospital for another 6months under observation and getting treatment for my pressure sore. During those times I had few physiotheraphy by hospital therapist. I was taught how to do range of motion exercises and rolling exercises at the hospital. After 8 months at the hospital, I came home. Even my home was not perfect for a wheelchair user but it was ok, so I’m here now.

For the last 3 to 4 years, I’ve been at home I have not gone through any full time physical therapy or occupational therapy. I am lifted to sitting position in the morning and put back to sleeping position in the evening. And once in awhile when I have enough boys around, I am lifted into my wheelchair and I go outside the house and wash. All these times I only sit on my bed during the day and sleep down at night. I’m also still nursing my pressure sore.

Living with this injury is very difficult in terms of living expenses, adapting to living with disability, having to finding volunteers to care and help, and the issue of looking for a waterbed as there is no waterbed sold in our country, and many other issues. If only we had a center for spinal cord injury here. I truly believe it will help us deal with this issue better.

I’m lucky however. I have the internet and I’ve met some good friends on the spinal group pages who have helped me with information about this injury and some items. A friend has also help me set up Gofund me page, but that has stopped getting donations for now. We are planning to start sharing again later on.

Its very difficult living with this injury, but by God’s grace I’m still alive and living.

  • Help Ranck by donating to his GoFundMe (to help with living expenses and more) here

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