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Thread: My best friend and her injury

  1. #1

    My best friend and her injury

    My best friend of over 20 years last year suffered a spinal cord stroke that left her paralyzed completely from the waist down. She never got any recovery and when she got out of rehab she came to live with me. Her family is from out of town and she didn't want to start this new way of life alone. Originally it was going to be temporary but we realized we really enjoyed each others company and it made sense to make it permanant. We made some adjustments to the house to make it more accessable for her. She had really adjusted well to her injury, went back to work full time, and we did things pretty evenly in the house.

    Three days ago she woke up unable to move her hands/arms. Her hands are now completely paralyzed and her arms she has no sensation in them but can move them. They are extremely week but she has movement. She is in the hospital and they are trying to find out what happened. The MRI shows an event happened around C6-C7.

    So the reason for me posting is that I need to know what I have to do for her to beable to come home. Will she be able to transfer if she can't use her hands? If not, what kind of lift do we need? I saw the ceiling ones which are nice, but then she wouldn't be able to get transfered onto the couch, etc. Will they have aids come in to help with personal care? She always cathed on her own I am guessing she own't be able to so now what happens? will she be able to eat on her own? She will need an electric wheelchair now, how can we get her to dr's etc with this wheelchair?

    Sorry for all the questions, just overwhelmed I guess. She is holding up ok considering. She told me I need to accept she can't come home like this. But I disagree. This is her home now too and I will do whatever it takes, just need guidance

  2. #2
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    I would ask a physatrist (rehab medicine doctor), Physical and Occupational Therapists these questions. They might be able to direct you. They do have lifts that you can buy, but they're very pricey. Insurance might cover it, so check into it. I think she can be transferred to the couch and back up using the lift. She might also need a personal care attendant for daily living. Check into that because insurance may or may not cover it depending on what kind of insurance you have. There are quads who cath on their own and even transfer on their own. It depends on the motor functioning. Given the level of her injury, she should be able to eat on her own, IMO. Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists should know a lot more about that. When it comes to the motorized wheelchair, you would need a van with a lift or a ramp. You can also get her a regular wheelchair and assist her with the pushing if you cannot afford a ramp van or a lift (they can be pricey). Vocational rehab might be to help you. Good luck!

  3. #3
    you are indeed a best friend...I don't see the hospital releasing her until she is well enough to manage...perhaps they will tranfer her to a rehab to teach her the new skills she will need...hoping she has good insurance...there are many lifts available, and many do transfer without a lift, however much depends on weight...I weigh 120 pounds, my son weighs 230...no way would I risk my back or dropping him so we use a lift...as far as having assistance for her care much of that is another insurance issue...and a state issue if she were to qualify for assistance...does she have any work related disability? Good luck and keep coming here, there are many good people with lots of answers to your questions! hugs, judy

  4. #4
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    You are a wonderful friend, and we would all be blessed to have someone in our lives like you. Now....breathe. It is only three days so it is far too early to predict outcomes. Many quads can manage things, although slower than paras. Some quads push manual chairs, other use power chairs. I am a C5/6 and do my own transfers, feed myself, and even vacumn the apartment. At C6/7 she will definitely be able to feed herself, and do most if not all of her personal care, just maybe slower than in the past. Keep writing us with updates and questions. There are many people here who will help you with information as you need it.

  5. #5
    Thank you for your help. I assumed obviously wrongly that she wouldn't beable to do some of the things mentioned because of no use of her hands. That is good news. I know they already evaluated her for an electric chair but she already told me she would rather learn to use the manual chair, we just didn't see how it would be possible. How do you wheel if you have no grip? Sorry if these questions sound dumb. They don't know what caused this, from everything it looks like another spinal cord stroke. They said to have one is rare yet alone two but thats what everything is pointing to. She is being moved to the hspital rehab unit and then will come home and go for therapy I guess. At any rate, I am trying to reassure her that this house will always be her house too and we will make it work, things will be ok!

  6. #6
    You're truly one in a million! Yes, she could come home, yes, there'll be changes, yes, you'll both have to 'adapt' and a care giver would be a great idea if possible. You could check into used medical supply stores for a lift - there's (99% of the time) nothing wrong with them, they're just not needed anymore for whatever reason. I have zero feeling in one leg, but with canes, I can still walk a bit - I just have to pay attention to my feet, she should be able to do the same with her hands, (IMO - in my opinion) with rehab & hard work. She might even get return, only time will tell. Good luck & keep going! Keep us up to date, if you would, there's always someone here who'll just listen if that's what you need. Also, try to get your friend to come along to the site - there's a lot of insiration & help here.

  7. #7
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    There are no dumb questions, so do not worry about that. Some quads push with their palms pushing down on the handrims, but there are also handrims made with projection knobs (usually 8 on a wheel) to push against. A power chair will give her a world of freedom outside and in places like malls and museums, so while she might not like the idea it is often a liberating machine even if she wants to push a manual chair inside the house you two share. Again, keep posting and asking anything at all!
    I think with her level of injury she will eventually be able to transfer using a sliding board and not need a lift at all, so you might not want to rush out and buy one!
    Last edited by Eileen; 10-20-2009 at 05:32 PM. Reason: added more

  8. #8
    Eileen is right, she'd know more about quads than I do - I'm an SCI-D agravated by injury, but have full use of my hands & arms. Just remeber that there's ways of getting what equipment you need. Talk to the rehab social workers - they should be able to help.
    Last edited by Coleen; 10-20-2009 at 05:43 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    If you go to this link and look at the third picture down there is an example of the projection handrims I mentioned.

    http://www.pridemobility.com/quantum...s/handrims.asp

  10. #10
    She should be going for another complete inpatient rehab program, and part of this program should be helping her (and you as her closest "family") to figure out how she will do things differently, and what different equipment she will need now. Don't let them just send her home from the hospital. With a cervical injury it is that much more important that she go to a specialty SCI rehabilitation program, not just a general rehab that occasionally sees SCI patients.

    Did they determine what is causing her repeated spinal strokes? This should be investigated as some causes such as AVMs or arterial inflammation may require some treatment to prevent recurrence. She should also be evaluated for these types of possible formations in her brain as well.

    What is her actual ASIA level of injury and completeness at this time? Many people with C6 injuries are totally independent, although this does take some time and extensive therapy which is ideally done in an inpatient setting.

    (KLD)

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