University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Judy got a spinal cord injury in 1993, when she was 43 years old. She was injured in a car accident. Judy's doctors told her that she would be housebound for the rest of her life, but she said, "Uhhh, no!" She didn't accept this. Judy went back to working hard after rehab. She got three pressure ulcers (which is what a doctor or nurse calls pressure sores or bedsores) when she kept working hard at her job rather than resting. The pressure ulcers needed surgery. Judy decided to make rest an important part of her day, to help prevent any more pressure ulcers.

Read more about Judy in these articles...

Judy kept the same job she had before she got her spinal cord injury. One reason was because her supervisor really helped Judy. The supervisor made sure that their office was accessible (ak-SESS-uh-bull), that is, that it was easy for Judy to get around in her wheelchair. Judy could trust her supervisor.

→ read more in Friends and Family

Dave and Judy both got pressure ulcers when they worked overtime at their jobs and didn't do enough pressure reliefs. Their pressure ulcers got worse when they kept going to work instead of taking time off to let their skin get better. They both needed surgery because their pressure ulcers got so bad.

→ read more in Doing Things

Judy had a lot of things to do at her job. She kept going to work when she had a pressure ulcer on her bottom. The pressure ulcer got worse. Judy had to have surgery.

→ read more in "The Blame Game"

Judy overdid it at her job. She worked for a long time every day. Judy got a small red spot on her bottom. Her doctor told her to stay in bed for a few weeks. She said no. Judy still went to work every day. She got a pressure ulcer so bad she had to have surgery. Now, Judy is very careful not to work too long every day. When she sees a red spot, she stays in bed a few days so the red spot can go away.

→ read more in Now I Get It! and What Causes Pressure Ulcers: Pressure and Sliding

Dave, Judy and Ken work at office jobs.

Sometimes people just like working hard, like Judy. Once, Judy had a pressure ulcer on her bottom, but went to work anyway. Her pressure ulcer got worse until she needed surgery on it.

If you see a red spot, resting in bed for a few days can keep it from getting worse. Helen and Judy both healed pressure ulcers by staying in bed when they saw a spot on their skin.

→ read more in Don't Overdo It

Judy was in the hospital. She used a leg bag for urine. The hospital workers changed Judy's bag. The stopper was left in the bag. Urine couldn't get into the bag. Urine stayed in Judy's body. Judy got very ill. She got autonomic dysreflexia (AD). It is very dangerous. Signs are strong headache, sudden high blood pressure, change in heartbeat, and strong sweating. Skin above your injury turns red. Skin below your injury turns pale and gets goose bumps. Get help! If you are at home, call 911! Judy got help from the nurses. She got well again.

Judy had another accident. A helper used a sliding board to help Judy move. The helper pushed the sliding board into her bottom each time. The helper pushed the sliding board too hard. Judy got a pressure ulcer where the sliding board poked her.

→ read more in Things That Can Go Wrong with Your Health

Judy used a leg bag for urine. The hospital workers changed Judy's bag. The stopper was left in the bag. Urine couldn't get into the bag. Urine stayed in Judy's body. Judy listened to her body. She saw problems. Judy saw she was dizzy. Judy saw she wanted to throw up. She saw her hand got cold. She knew she had autonomic dysreflexia (AD)! Judy told the nurses right away! The nurses fixed the bag. The AD went away fast!

→ read more in Listening to Your Body

Rubbing can happen when you transfer from your wheelchair. Judy was transferring with a sliding board. Her helper poked Judy's bottom with the board. The rubbing plus the poking hurt Judy's skin. Judy got a pressure ulcer.

Rubbing can happen when you sit on a bumpy thing. The bumpy thing rubs your skin. Cloth that has wrinkles is bumpy. You have to make your clothes smooth when you sit. You have to make your sheets smooth when you lie down. Judy had a new helper. Judy's helper did not smooth out her dress when she sat down. Judy sat on wrinkles. The wrinkles rubbed her skin. Judy got a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in What Causes Pressure Ulcers: Injury and Rubbing

Clothing with wrinkles rubs your skin. Judy wore dresses that were loose. It was easy for Judy's dresses to wrinkle. Her helper smoothed out Judy's dress. A new helper didn't smooth out Judy's dress. She got two pressure ulcers!

→ read more in Things to Do to Take Care of Your Skin

Make sure you are sitting evenly, with no wrinkles under you. Judy sat on a wrinkled dress for a few hours, and got a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in Doing Things

Judy's helpers know how to keep her dress smooth when she sits on it. Sitting on a wrinkled dress might cause a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in Caregivers and Helpers

Judy spoke up for herself. She was polite when she did it. Here are some examples of when she spoke up for herself:

Judy was in the hospital. She got spaghetti noodles for dinner. The other patients got noodles, too. It was hard for them to eat. The patients had trouble using forks for the noodles. They needed help to eat. Judy talked to all the patients. Judy said she thought noodles were a bad idea. The patients all agreed. Judy told the doctors and nurses that noodles were too hard to eat. The doctors and nurses agreed with Judy. They served different food next time. Judy was able to eat without help next time. That made her feel good!

Here is another thing that happened to Judy. The doctors were helping her get used to sitting in her wheelchair. Judy could only sit in her wheelchair for a few hours at a time. She knew she could get a pressure ulcer by sitting too long. Judy saw it was time to get out of the wheelchair. Judy went down the hall to find a nurse. She asked politely for help getting out of the wheelchair. She spoke up for herself. That way, Judy did not sit too long. She avoided getting a pressure ulcer!

→ read more in Speaking Up For Yourself, Working With Your Doctor and When You Don't Live in a Home

Judy changed her home to be accessible. She made room for her wheelchair to move around. She also made things easy to reach and easy to use.

→ read more in Home

Alma and Judy picked what they wanted in their homes. It made it easy for them to get around and use things.

→ read more in Accessibility

Alley and Judy both had a lot of energy. They both did a lot of things for work and for fun.

→ read more in Feelings, Attitude and Believing in Yourself