Serge, 44, from Italy, sustained a Spinal Cord Injury thirteen years ago and became quadriplegic. Among the challenges he faced, bowel management very quickly became an issue and impacted his whole life. Serge describes how he regained control of his bowel management.
The first months after the accident were the most difficult, accepting this huge change was not easy and I'm not just talking about the wheelchair. I could no longer be autonomous as before, and I loathed being dependent on others, it was very difficult to come to terms with. And above all, I no longer had control over my bowel management – I experienced fecal incontinence and this was embarrassing and dented my confidence – I could no longer enjoy my social life for I lived in fear of an accident.
A poor quality of life
It may seem trivial to those who haven't experienced it, but my life revolved around my bowel – everything had to be organized around it. At first I was totally dependent on my wife, who helped me with enemas, and this never completely emptied the bowel. Going out was a nightmare for me, the fear of an accident in public was a constant, the quality of my life was negligible and inevitably this impacted family life.
Then two years ago I met the medical staff at a clinical center in northern Italy, who introduced me to TAI – Transanal Irrigation.
Trying TAI for the first time
At first I was skeptical, almost incredulous, but confident that I might finally be able to manage my gut. Training was undertaken at the facility under the constant supervision of a specialist, I began to carry out the procedure using an electronic device that allows me to instill water into the bowel at a constant speed and in complete safety. Finally I was able to empty my bowel effectively, independently – my wife was free from having to perform my enemas!
The improvement to my life was instant. TAI allowed me to take my life back and end the dominance of my bowel upon our family. Now I am no longer afraid to go out; on the contrary – I can enjoy life with peace of mind. I have resumed my social life and go out and see my friends when I want.
In life, change is scary, but it shouldn't be discouraged if it leads to improvement in the quality of life, as happened to me. I suggest that people with a spinal cord injury try TAI as soon as possible.