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Thread: I met a Vet 66 years post injury......

  1. #1

    I met a Vet 66 years post injury......

    I met 3, WWII Veterans who were paralyzed during the war. They have been living with SCI for 66 years. I want everyone to think about this because no matter what kind of a crappy day you are having it is nothing compared to what these men had to go through 66 years ago.

    Before WWII if you had a SCI you usually lived 2-4 years and that is if you were a para, quads usually died within the first year. Death usually occured from infections. During WWII a lot of antibiotics were developed and a lot of men with SCI survived after the war. There were roughly 2500 paras throughout the USA and the medical field had no idea how to deal or take care of SCI patients. The attitude was to place them in hospitals and leave them there because they would soon die. So if you have a SCI imagine being in a hospital where there is nothing. No equipment, no medical supplies, and the Dr's and nurses have no idea how to take care of you because the books haven't been written. That is what these men had to go through and a lot of them died within the first few years. I asked them if they died because the lack of treatment, they all said that they died because they gave up. To give you an example of the type of treatment they use to get. There weren't any caths, no ICs, no Foleys, not even condom caths. At night so they wouldn't pee on themselves they would use a clamp, which was a type of scissor clamp that they would put accross their penis. In the morning they would unclamp it and then empty their bladder. They used wooden wheelchairs with the casters in the back the first couple of years. This was 40+ years before the ADA.

    It was humbling yet inspiring. These men had such an amazing view of life and you could see why they have lived so long. So having SCI/D is not the end of life, it ends when you give up. Nothing else matters, there is no excuse why not to live and move forward. I now know that I can and will grow old in my chair.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    Nice post Popo. Years ago when I was a student I was lucky enough to know a few vets from WW2 and Korea, some of the really first group of people to survive SCI long term. I learned a lot from them, and a couple of them live in my memory forever.

  3. #3
    Very inspiring Popo, these men must have been very strong individuals. I've started thinking this very thing, that I will grow to be a old man even though more than likely I'll remain a paraplegic the rest of my years and in a wheelchair. You are so very right about attitude. I currently have a friend I've been playing Tennis with a couple times a week who is 65 years old and has been a paraplegic for over 30 years, this has given me a lot of hope that I may make it to my 70's and still be fairly active. You learn how to adapt, new and better ways of doing things and even beating problems you thought might be bigger problems than they were.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  4. #4
    Where did you meet these guys, Popo? I had a feeling there were still a few survivors around. Can you comment on the nature of their injuries - quad/para, complete/incomplete? We are here because of what was learned by the MDs treating and experimenting with those guys.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    Amazing. Did they have all the necessary relevant equipment they needed now? How did they avoid pressure sores with clamps on their penises? Wonder what they did for women ... there MUST have been a female injury somewhere.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  6. #6
    Great stories from the WWII vets, Korea, Vietnam, etc. We see a fair number of them, especially current vets; Iraq, Afghanistan. Amazing success stories from the older vets, all paras btw (from my experience) who, through simple longevity, are very impressive.

    The newer vets, many quads as well as paras, are living with their injuries because of what the older vets had experienced and the advancement of medicine / care. Where, at one time, the mortality rate (infections, etc.) was much higher, today, most vets who survived the war can and do lead very fulfilling lives - careers, families, sports, etc.

    One of the first SCI "vets" I met, probably a month or two post-injury, was injured in Vietnam and was some 40yrs post. I was awestruck, "How did you do it?" I asked, "survive and thrive all these years?" He turned and said "Just keep moving son, keep doesn't stop.." Today, 11yrs post myself, those words ring through every day and I repeat them to our (Craig) patients here.."Just keep moving.." I think of it as paying it forward.

    Thanks to all of the SCI vets, military or not, who continue to motivate me and lead by example.

    Onward & Upward,


  7. #7
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Hampshire, England.
    The rear gunner on my father's flying boat crew was left a quad after a botched landing, surprisingly he lived for about two years before succumbing to a kidney infection.

    When I was first injured my father couldn't get this out of his mind and was convinced that I was always on borrowed time!

  8. #8's obvious that your dad doesn't realize the medicinal and preservative qualities of a fine red wine..

  9. #9
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Hampshire, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Chappell View Post's obvious that your dad doesn't realize the medicinal and preservative qualities of a fine red wine..
    Yes Chris it's wine and beer that does it for me!

    I've tried to educate him as to the health giving qualities of the grape but at 90 years old he's convinced that it's the two large gin & tonics he downs before dinner that keep him in fine fettle and you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

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