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Thread: C5 injury, 3 weeks out

  1. #1

    C5 injury, 3 weeks out


    I guess I am just looking for support and hope. My daughters longtime boyfriend suffered a c5 injury 3 weeks ago, and we are on the rollercoaster I guess everyone experiences after this type of injury. At first, he had no feeling at all in his hands or below the waist. In the last couple of days, he is able to feel touch on his legs, and he says he feels like there is glass in his hands. Hopefully that means some sensation is returning, but I don't know if that is a good sign. He has been accepted into Frazier in Louisville, but cannot be transferred at this time because he keeps running a temp anywhere from 101 - 103. He was breathing fine on his own for two weeks, but last weekend his oxygen level dropped and they put him on a ventilator and have now put in a trach. I guess I am just looking to hear from others that have been in this situation as to what are good signs, and what really doesn't mean much . I appreciate any response to lift our spirits. Thanks!

  2. #2
    welcome , it's a rollercoaster ride all the way. only time will tell as far as recovery. give him support and keep his spirits up. Beth always has the right words.
    oh well

  3. #3
    Does he have biceps and deltoids? Wrist extension? Triceps? Does he have sensation at his anus?

    Where is he now? Are they experienced in vent weaning for persons with SCI? There is some good information on how to do this properly in the clinical practice guideline on respiratory management in SCI. You can download that for from from the CPG links at the top of the Care forum.

    Does he have pneumonia? Do the staff know how to do quad (assisted) coughing and is this being done regularly in addition to chest PT and use of the Vest and Cough-Assist machines?

    Is it definite he is going to Frazier? Have they considered a Model SCI System Center such as Shephard in Atlanta or RIC in Chicago?

    Does he have a decent health insurance? How old is he?

    Is he on a specialty mattress to help prevent pressure ulcers? Getting turned religiously at least every 2 hours? Skin inspection at least every 8 hours? Is someone from the family doing this with the nurses? Pressure ulcers will hold him back much more than this lungs.

    Please ask questions, get this boy's family on-line here too. We can help.


  4. #4
    Thanks for replying so quickly. He is 21 years old, no insurance. He is being turned every two hours, or more often if he requests it. He has developed a pressure ulcer that did have staph set up, but they say it is looking much better. He can move his arms and sit up, but no hands as of yet. We just hope that Frazier is an excellent facility; the website looks promising. They offer locomotor training and I hope that will be a tool he can use.

  5. #5
    Casper, please check your private messages!

  6. #6
    Can he lift his hand over his head? That means he has triceps, which would be awesome.

    I had that finger pain. Got function back in one hand. It is really searingly painful, or was for me.

    Get him in the best rehab possible!

  7. #7
    Update from last night:

    temp still at 101 - 104; doctor says all bloodwork is good, so fever is most likely from the injury, not infection

    he has been put on a percussion bed to help his lungs open up

    Hopefully rehab can get started soon if he can get off the vent and keep his oxygen levels up on his own

  8. #8
    Is his injury complete or incomplete? I am not familiar with the rehab they are sending him to. My fiance was at Shepherd Center in Atlanta- they were WONDERFUL!!! Everyone is right about getting him to a facility such as this and out of the hospital ASAP. The sooner you can, the better off he will be. I strongly believe in an agressive rehab. They had classes for my fiance from about 9 until 4 every day. Pt, OT, treadmill training, wieghts in the gym. Once he started the treadmill training he really progressed very quickly. It has been my experience that hospital PT people are SO busy and really don't have the kind of time to devote to an SCI person. Good luck to your daughter's bf and please keep us posted!

  9. #9
    And just one more suggestion- while you all are there- and if you can- exercise his feet and legs. It will help. My fiance is a doctor, and he asked me to flex and extend his feet and exercise his legs every 30 minutes.

  10. #10
    Percussion alone is not enough. All that does is shake the secretions loose. They still need to be coughed out, which requires the quad cough or Cough Assist machine. Insist upon this. They will do it if they know anything about SCI. The fever is likely due to atalectasis and the pneumonia from retained secretions. If the percussion bed is a SportO2 bed by Hill-Rom, watch out. I have seen very serious pressure ulcers caused by this bed.


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