Being confined to a wheelchair does mean you have to pay particular attention to your health. It is a sad fact that we are prone to more ailments than if you were normally healthy person walking around. Thankfully, I haven't had too many problems during my 22 years (at the time of writing 2008) in a wheelchair. However, a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with kidney stones. One of these kidney stones was absolutely huge, more than an inch. I had to have surgery to have this stone removed. We are talking fairly major surgery when it comes to kidneys. During the scans I had, they also found that one of my kidneys had reduced in size considerably and was only working at around 30%. For this reason, it was vitally important that my other kidney worked as best it could. Unfortunately, the large kidney stone was in my good kidney. I had the surgery and they removed the stone. In October 2008 I very nearly died from a condition called sepsis. The doctors believe this was due to a urine infection that was possibly related to more kidney stones. After having more scans yet small stones had formed in both kidneys. I then went back into hospital to have them removed. The surgery this time wasn't so severe although I was in the operating room for around four hours.
After 22 years in a wheelchair, I've done fairly well with my health. However, things have caught up with me a little and I will have to tread very carefully because you just can't mess around when it comes to things like kidneys. Drinking lots of fluids is absolutely vital. There are conflicting reports about how much fluid you should drink. I think a minimum of 2 L should be your aim every day. Most of my fluid intake is made up of bottled water with juice and a few cups of tea thrown in for good measure. I also endeavour to drink a glass of cranberry juice every day, this is thought to be good for your bladder and kidneys.