University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Robert got a spinal injury in 1995, when he was in a car accident. He had been raised by his great-grandmother. Robert thought that "living life to the fullest" meant partying and women. Robert believed that God had spared his life in the accident so that he could "touch the lives of others." Robert had pressure ulcers (which is what a doctor or nurse calls pressure sores or bedsores) caused by the lack of a caregiver at night, and a wheelchair which didn't tilt properly. One time he was stuck in an airport for 19 hours when his plane was late. He got a serious pressure ulcer.

Read more about Robert in these articles...

Helen and Robert drank and partied a lot after their spinal cord injuries. When Helen and Robert got older, they got clean and sober. They both felt more healthy when they got sober, and they felt closer to their families. They were able to make better choices when they got sober.

→ read more in Drinking or Doing Drugs

Three people who helped with this project - Alley, Robert and Tom - all moved to a bigger city so they could go to a really good hospital for people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs).

→ read more in Getting Health Care

Frank and Robert both believed that God spared their lives for a reason. They believed they were supposed to do something special with their lives.

→ read more in Faith

You can get a pressure ulcer when urine stays on your skin too long. Dave didn't get clean diapers at night. Dave got a pressure ulcer when there was urine on his skin too long. The same thing happened to Robert.

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

Robert's grandmother was his caregiver. She took good care of him during the day. At night, Robert worried that his grandmother was too weak. Robert did not wake his grandmother when he needed help. He stayed in soiled diapers during the night. Robert got a pressure ulcer because of this.

→ read more in Caregivers and Helpers and Things You Can't Control

Robert went to the airport. His plane was late. Because his plane was late leaving, Robert missed his flight at the next airport. Robert had to wait for the next plane after that. He didn't expect that. Robert had to sit up for a total of 19 hours. He got a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in What Causes Pressure Ulcers: Pressure and Sliding and Things You Can't Control

Robert had a problem he didn't expect.

Robert was flying home. His plane was very late. He was stuck at the airport for 19 hours! Robert wasn't used to being in his wheelchair for so long. He got a pressure ulcer.

Robert couldn't take pressure off his skin the way he was used to when he got stuck at the airport. His "Plan B" could have been changing where and how he did pressure reliefs. He could have asked the airline workers for a place to lie down until his plane was ready to leave.

→ read more in Things You Don't Expect

Robert had a pressure ulcer. He saw he was sweating a lot. He saw he was cold. Robert knew there was a problem with his pressure ulcer. Robert said his body "let him know."

→ read more in Listening to Your Body

Try to remember to take care of yourself with your partner. Robert forgot to check his skin when he had a girlfriend. Looking at his skin was not part of what he did for sex.

→ read more in Dating and Marriage

Robert lived in a board-and-care, a kind of nursing home. He didn't have anything of his own at the home. All he had was his wheelchair and a foam pad for his bed. He didn't have useful things where he lived.

→ read more in Home

Some doctors think that you don't ever have to get a pressure ulcer! Robert thinks that, too. He said:

"As long as you protect your skin and do your releases. That's the most important thing - protecting your skin. If you go a week with dry skin you're susceptible to a breakdown just by that, by not keeping your skin oily.... I told you the way, keep the skin clean, keep it oiled, never stay wet all day, never sleep in your stool, and do your releases, and they're avoidable."

→ read more in "It Just Happened"