At 180 Medical, we love doing what we can to help others. That’s why we’re so proud to have James DuBose as our 180 Medical Patient Advocate. Find out a little more about James and his important work in mentoring people who are new to living with a spinal cord injury.
James DuBose’s Spinal Cord Injury
Back in 1992, James was involved in an accident where he was thrown from the back of a pickup when the driver swerved to miss an animal.
“I remember lying face-first in the dirt, asking my friends to pull my legs down to unfold them,” James says, “but my legs were already down. That was a big alarm that something bad had happened. I also felt like I had something stuck in my throat. That turned out to be part of a neck bone that got lodged in my esophagus.”
He started going into shock and was rushed to the hospital. His family got the news that James only had a 50% chance of survival.
However, life had more plans in store for James, and he recovered after surgery and months of therapy.
Facing Challenges After a Spinal Cord Injury
After coming back home from rehab, James says he faced several new challenges. One was just trying to learn how to navigate life in a wheelchair as a new C6/C7 quadriplegic. “Obviously, going from a fully able-bodied person to a C6/7 quadriplegic is challenging, but it took me a while to adjust to my new lifestyle. The beginning was the most difficult because everything was new. It took years for me to fully figure things out by trying new techniques and realizing what I could and could not do.”
Additionally, he had to learn how to use catheters. The medical supply companies he dealt with seemed more interested in making money than taking care of him as an individual.
Much like 180 Medical’s founder, Todd Brown, James decided that getting quality catheter supplies from a reliable company shouldn’t have to be so difficult. Together, he and his wife Jessica launched their own company, J & R Medical.
In 2018, 180 Medical, the largest home supplier of urological catheters in the United States, acquired J & R Medical. Now James and his team play an increased role with 180 Medical related to patient advocacy efforts in and around specialty rehabs and children’s hospitals.
“Our philosophy is to take care of the customer first – plain and simple,” James says. “We want to be fully aware and empathetic to their needs.”
Working as a Patient Advocate
Today, James brings his unique perspective as a quadriplegic with over 20 years of experience to rehabilitation facilities and hospitals around the country. His goal is to help the newly injured as they transition back home from their setting in rehab.
James remembers very well how scared he felt when he got home because that’s when reality set in. As a result, speaking with patients and their families is something he’s very comfortable doing. “You’re transitioning from a setting that’s a totally secure environment where everything is taken care of for you, and then you’re going back home where you have to deal with learning how to do everything on your own.” This can include mastering wheelchair transfers as well as learning how to use catheters.
He knows first-hand how difficult it can be on those affected by life-changing injuries, and he likes to remind people that things really do get easier as time goes on.
For now, James is doing what he loves by helping others and being back in rehabilitation hospital settings.
“I’m enjoying doing what’s right in my wheelhouse and having early success with it,” he says. “I got to experience owning my own company for years. Now I’m having a lot of fun getting back out there to work as a part of 180 Medical and being a part of their mission to turn lives around.”
James’s Other Passions
James remains committed to making sure his disability never holds him back from enjoying life to the fullest. Outside of work, James makes time to participate in his favorite hobbies, including volunteering, hand-cycling, and quad rugby.
He has gone on to hand-cycle in full marathons, most recently the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon. This year, James is excited to join 180 Medical’s team for the annual 2019 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon too.
His quad rugby team is competing in Nationals in Chicago this March, and we’re definitely rooting for him!
In his spare time, he still makes time for volunteering too.
For instance, one of his favorite causes is a non-profit charity called Lily’s Toy Box. His daughter, Lily, founded this charity in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey hit. Lily’s Toy Box provides new toys, books, and other gifts to children who are going through a difficult time.
James is very proud of his daughter, and he says it’s awesome to get to see lives changed in positive ways because of her.
180 Medical is Here for You
James is glad to support others by being a listening ear and mentoring people through their rough times. His best advice for anyone new to their spinal cord injury is to learn patience and learn to ask for and accept help when you need it. “I always try doing things on my own,” he says, ” but there are times when I just cannot do something. It is not a show of weakness to ask for help. Lastly, work hard. You never know what is going to happen in your life, but if you work hard, good things will come.”
At 180 Medical, we’re excited by every chance to change someone’s life for the better. We’d love to help you find the right catheters, incontinence products, and/or ostomy products to suit your unique needs. Contact us today!