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Thread: Brand New T12 injury. . . so many questions???

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  1. #1

    Brand New T12 injury. . . so many questions???

    Hi all, my name is brad and my wife caitlin was in a car accident thursday the 12th, its has been a long scary 4 days, we have been told very little but we do know that she has a fracture at t12 and at the moment she has yet to regain any feeling or movement. We as a couple and me as her husband have so many questions I don't even know where to start. From what I have read a good rehab facility is the first key to recovery, but I have no clue where to look, we are in northern california, I know shriners is a great place but my wife is 20 therefore to old for a children's hospital but I have yet to find anything here in norcal. she also wanted me to ask is there any suggestions that experienced paraplegics might have on how to get the most out of rehab, she is determined to walk again and wants to do whatever she can to get there ( she is stubborn as hell lol). Im sorry for the long rant I just have so much going on in my head, me as her husband I have no clue what to expect in the coming months or what I can do to help her, I want to do whatever I can to help but I dont know what it is I can do or expect. I just found out about this site today from one of the RN at the hospital and I am already getting so much info, thank again

  2. #2
    So sorry to hear of your wifes injury. My hubby was injured 2/17/2011 and is incomplete c5-c7 (they keep changing it). He now walks with a cane and has a little foot drop in right foot so he will get fitted for a brace. Many thought my hubby would never walk again. This struggle is unique to each patient. To maximize her return its important to stay motivated and work out as much as possible. At the same time its inportant to accept the return you get. My hubby is blessed and happy to walk but wishes he had more return in right hand...

  3. #3
    Likewise so sorry about your wife's injury, it is in the early stage so hopefully her condition will improve. T-12 is a low sci so that is a big plus. 32 years ago Craig Hospital in Denver was considered one of the best places for rehab, and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to go there. I haven't kept up but there are rehabs in Ca. My advice for rehab is try as many things as they offer, as gaiting, fes, cycling ... she'll want to get as fit and healthy as possible. My other advice is to think about the limits of her body, and be aware of asking too much of it, just sitting too long can cause a sore that will take a long time to heal.

    Best wishes for her recovery, Craig80

  4. #4
    So sorry to hear about her injury. it's way to early to figure her level of recovery. A good rehab facility is absolutely necessary to get started right and begin the learning process. The Shepherd Ctr in ATL was very good for me, full of caring people and they have a place for family to live while there, Good luck! This is a great site for info.

  5. #5
    Welcome to our forums. So sorry you had to find us, but we can help.

    I would recommend that you not "settle" for a general rehab program in the Sacramento area, such as the one associated with UC Davis or Mercy Hospital. If you have decent insurance, try to get to a specialty SCI acute inpatient rehabilitation center. Although still a distance from you, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose has a very good SCI rehabilitation program. They used to be a Model SCI System Center. They are also CARF accredited as a Spinal Cord Injury System of Care (only two others in Northern CA for adults; one is Kaiser only, the other in San Francisco).

    Right now, it is critical that everything be done to prevent any pressure ulcers, which could hold her back from full participation in a rehab program. Talk to the nurses and ask what they are doing to prevent these. Participate at least twice daily in full-body skin inspection with them so that you start to learn what to look for.

    Please come back and ask questions, and once she can join us, have your wife join our community as well.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    I would second SCI-Nurse's recommendation about Santa Clara Valley Medical. My husband was injured 7/9/11 (T4) and he spent 4 weeks there. They were great and we definitely went home feeling like, between the two of us (and our family), we could take care of him. He's now fully independent and has had a quite remarkable recovery.

    While she's in the hospital, I'd encourage you to do what you can to make your house/apartment wheelchair accessible. Also, try to maintain optimism in the face of all this. Every day we have to choose to be happy and choose to make the best of what is really a pretty dreadful situation. She'll especially need you to keep her spirits up.

    If you're in the Bay area (as we are-feel free to send a private message if you'd like to contact us), I'd FULLY recommend SCI-FIT for post-hospital and outpatient PT. I can't say enough good things about that program.

    Sorry that you had to find this site, but glad you did so early in your wife's recovery period.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    So sorry about her injury. I am T12-L2. Break level is usually different from where the function level is.

    I walk with a cane and AFO's. I learned to walk in a pool so don't get to frustrated now. It will take at least a few months to figure out where she is at a function level.

    I was injured at her age and I am 23 years post injury.

    Rehabilitation is important but getting the most out of life is important too. I am not saying walking is not important but focus less on walking and more on living with the injury. Early on, my focus was on walking and I didn't listen to what my doctors were telling me. I was determined and refused some things that I should not have because I was focused on walking.

    If you are able financially, I would also recommend Craig Hospital in Denver or Shepard Center in Atlanta Ga. I have been treated at Sheps and it is excellent.

    Keep us updated and ask any questions. You have a long road ahead of both of you but you can do this and she can too.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  8. #8
    Hi Brad, I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's accident. Since it was so recent, I'm sure you have no idea of what to expect with her recovery. Doctors may try to predict but time will ultimately be the judge.

    I was injured when a tree fell on me during a tornado, leaving me with an L1 injury. That was a year-and-a-half ago. After four days, I wasn't even able to turn over in bed. It was a month before I could sit up on my own. Recovery is a long process and that fact sometimes isn't properly conveyed to those injured.

    I have a few suggestions for you:

    Open a Caringbridge.org site for her. It's a great way to stay connected with family and friends and to let them know crucial information as it happens. They can also post messages to her through the site. I still have my bridge site going and find immense comfort in it.

    As soon as she is able, find some things to do outside of her hospital room. It's so scary to suddenly be injured in such a way and then trapped in a room. Wheel her around the facility, go to the cafe, have cappuccinos. If the weather permits and the hospital has outside space, get her out. I can say enough what an emotional boost it is to see the world after being confined.

    Stick with her. Not only you but those closest to her. She will need you, stubborn as she may be. Assure her that you're in it for the long haul. If you were a team before, carve out an even stronger team together now.

    As for rehab, yep, she should give it all she's got. Work hard with the PTs and she'll have the best possible chance for improvement.

    I now walk with hiking poles and haven't used a wheelchair in almost a year. My mobility isn't perfect and I get tired easily. However, I can go shopping, to church, I drive, have been back at work for nine months, work out at the gym. Life isn't exactly back to normal, but it's good.

    I hope that she has a speedy and full recovery!

  9. #9
    Thank you everyone, caitlin is feeling better today, but she is still in alot of pain, we did a skin check today as so far so good (thanks SCI-Nurse) we have started looking into santa clara valley and we are going to talk to her RN about it 2maro so hopefully we can get a time table for a transfer, thanks again everyone for the advise. We are doing are best to keep are heads up and a smile on our faces even in this hard time. caitlin wants to get on here as soon as she can but until she is able to she was wondering if there is anything she can do while she is just laying in the hospital that will get her a head start on PT? Thanks again

  10. #10
    She should be getting PT in the ICU, at least to work on maintaining her flexibility (range of motion = ROM exercises). Is she getting a back brace? As soon as that is available, she should be sitting up in a chair, although only on a good pressure reducing cushion, and with weight shifts (the PT should teach her this) every 15 minutes.

    (KLD)

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