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Thread: Trying to understand C 7 Quad

  1. #1

    Question Trying to understand C 7 Quad

    My son's dad had a terrible fall on 5/14. He's only 38 years old. Broken vertebrae at c4 and c5 crushed into his spinal cord. It's not severed. Now, he's been moved to Spaulding, only has feeling in shoulders and head, body is finally accepting a feeding tube, has pneumonia, and is on full vent because his lungs keep filling with fluid. Upon arrival yesterday Spaulding, they said he's a C7 quad so far.
    What can we expect at this point? What is important to watch for? Be afraid of? I just don't know how things progress pr what to hope for. Any info will be helpful.

  2. #2
    I am assuming Spaulding in Boston? At C7, if he was healthy before, he should be fully weanable from the ventilator. Pneumonia early on is common and is something that needs aggressive treatment before they can start weaning.

    Worse case, even if he does not get any more return (which it is too early to tell at this point), at C7 he has the potential to be fully independent in his own self care, drive, transfer himself, and work (as well as be a dad) following rehabilitation.

    Are you close to him still? It is so important now that his friends and family stand by his side and provide support and show their love. He will know you are there, even if he is sedated.

    I would encourage you to read these articles by Dr. Young which are posted on this site:

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/index.php?page=viewarticle&afile=27_February_2003@ AcuteSCI.htm

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/index.php?page=viewarticle&afile=24_June_2003@Spin alLevels.html

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/index.php?page=viewarticle&afile=14_March_2003@fam ily_adjustment.htm

    I would also recommend that you request a free copy of this book from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

    http://www.christopherreeve.org/site..._Paralyzed.htm

    I assume he is not a military veteran? If so, it would be to his benefit to get into the VA SCI System of Care.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    His immediate family is rotating shifts to be there for him, but live 1 hour away. I am trying to help, gathering info, as we(his son and I) live across the country. It's easier for me to be optimistic, as I'm not the one who is there, looking into his scared eyes. The family is also having difficulty getting info on and understanding his prognosis. I want to understand and know what to ask. He is conscious and refusing morphine, so he knows what's going on. He is aware of that he probably won't walk again. He's very scared he won't regain feeling and/or use of his arms. He can't feel them now. He has no anal feeling right now. Can that return or is it a sign of something?

  4. #4
    I know all of this is new and this is a great site for info. My son is year and a half post injury. Doctors typically paint a sad picture for recovery. As soon as he is well, stable and done with acute care, talk to him about exercise recovery such as Project Walk. It is a place of hope and a C7 injury would do very well there. So glad we did not believe all the written material we were given. My son has made remarkable progress and I have met several with C injuries who are now walking. This a a life changing event but doesn't need to be a life ending event. You can visit Project Walk at projectwalk.org. There are centers like PW opening all over the country. In fact, if he is in Boston, there is one there. I wish you luck with all of your fact finding. There is lots of info out there. Just know that there is hope...I don't mean false hope, whatever that is but people making huge strides everyday.
    Luke 5:24

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tgoodwin View Post
    I know all of this is new and this is a great site for info. My son is year and a half post injury. Doctors typically paint a sad picture for recovery. As soon as he is well, stable and done with acute care, talk to him about exercise recovery such as Project Walk. It is a place of hope and a C7 injury would do very well there. So glad we did not believe all the written material we were given. My son has made remarkable progress and I have met several with C injuries who are now walking. This a a life changing event but doesn't need to be a life ending event. You can visit Project Walk at projectwalk.org. There are centers like PW opening all over the country. In fact, if he is in Boston, there is one there. I wish you luck with all of your fact finding. There is lots of info out there. Just know that there is hope...I don't mean false hope, whatever that is but people making huge strides everyday.
    My son was at Spaulding in Boston 5 years ago. I know its only been a couple of weeks but by finding this web site you will gain much needed support and knowledge. The nurse has given you great advice. I hope and pray the best for you and your family. Great people are working hard for spinal cord issues!

  6. #6
    Thank you, tgoodwin and mckeownp. He was on the job when this happened and it's a work comp case. I want to be sure he gets the best rehab available. It's just so hard to know whether the care he's getting IS the best. He was moved from Lahey Clinic SICU to Spaulding rehab on Friday. They had him upright yesterday, so he was not feeling so helpless and condemned but he is still on full vent, can only move his head, and can't eat.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by healing View Post
    Thank you, tgoodwin and mckeownp. He was on the job when this happened and it's a work comp case. I want to be sure he gets the best rehab available. It's just so hard to know whether the care he's getting IS the best. He was moved from Lahey Clinic SICU to Spaulding rehab on Friday. They had him upright yesterday, so he was not feeling so helpless and condemned but he is still on full vent, can only move his head, and can't eat.
    Spauldingrehab.org will overview their program headed up by Dr. Kevin O'Connor. They are building a new facility in the next few years. The current hospital is old.

    Steve Williams' Model SCI Rehab. at Boston Medical Center is very involved in the latest issues. A great resourse is their "Stepping Forward" program.

    Brigham & Women's transitional pain research is cutting edge.

    Boston therefor has a lot of options.

  8. #8

    I'm a c7/c8 incomplete s/p 32 years - my BD is 8/26/77:)

    I was vented and all the works (major internal injuries). I was blessed and received different degrees of sensation, feeling and some motor function for over 15 years plus a having a kick ass attitude helped. I'm about 90% independent as long as I don't flip out of my chair.

    In old school terms he's a newborn. Way to early for any determination of return IMHO. It's not easy but I enjoy my life and it's journeys. When he's able and ready I could answer a lot of his concerns if he wishes.

    Hang in there!
    Lynarrd Skynyrd Lives

  9. #9
    Free Bird...thank you for the encouragement. He is very scared right now. His fear is that he won't get use of his arms back. I think correspondence with you would really help him once he is capable. BTW...he is also a Skynyrd fan.

  10. #10
    Did you understand the doctors to say C7? If so, then he should already have the following arm muscles working:

    C5-Deltoids (shoulder)
    C5-Biceps (flex elbow)
    C6-Wrist extensors
    C7-Triceps (extend elbow)
    C7-Wrist flexors

    C8 gives you individual finger flexion and extension, and T1 the intrinsic muscles of the hand (spread the fingers), so if he is officially C7, he should already have a lot of arm movement. If not, then you need to question the physicians again.

    (KLD)

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