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Thread: Recovery defies odds

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Recovery defies odds

    September 26, 2002

    Recovery defies odds
    Pennsburg teenager learning to walk again after injury.

    By Dalondo Moultrie
    Of The Morning Call



    What Brian Delozier wants most is to be a normal kid. He doesn't want any fuss over him or anyone to pay him any special attention.

    ''I just want to be able to walk through a mall without people being able to tell I was injured,'' said the Upper Perkiomen High School senior.







    Until seven months ago, Delozier, 17, played baseball, was on his high school swim and water polo teams and hung out with buddies every chance he got.

    That was until Feb. 17, when he tried to do a back flip off a ski jump at Bear Creek Ski Resort in Longswamp Township, Berks County. He didn't follow through on the jump and landed on his face.

    Mark Li, chief of neurosurgery at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, performed emergency surgery to repair Delozier's broken neck and injured spinal cord. The surgery was considered a success, but Li said Delozier had very little chance to walk again. Delozier's father, Dave, said he'll never forget when the doctor broke the news.

    ''The doctor asked, 'Can you hear me, Brian?' and Brian said, Yes,''' Dave Delozier said, during a recent evening at the family home in Pennsburg. ''The doctor said, 'Good, because you're old enough to hear this.'''

    Li said Delozier was paralyzed from his chest down. ''We knew he would make some recovery, but we didn't know what kind,'' Li said. ''I told him it was a long shot to walk again. I told him a million to one.''

    Brian Delozier said he always knew he would be that one in a million. Even when he was unable to sit up, Delozier told his parents that he would not have to use a wheelchair the rest of his life.

    After months of physical therapy and working to strengthen his muscles at home, Delozier now uses crutches or canes to walk freely.

    ''I'm very happy he's walking again, but I am surprised he made such a good recovery,'' Li said. ''It's something that happens but it's more of a miracle than not.''

    Now the family, including Delozier's three sisters and his mother, Lisa, is adjusting to his progressive recovery. Three visits a week to an Allentown physical therapist help Delozier regain strength in his legs.

    Therapy consists of leg presses, walking and other exercises. Delozier worked out Wednesday on a stationary bike, an exercise he was incapable of doing a month ago, said Andrew Johnston, senior physical therapist at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Johnston said he's seen remarkable improvement since working with Delozier a month ago. Delozier is regaining his balance more quickly than many spinal cord injury victims he has seen, Johnston said.

    That's important because after losing one's balance, the natural instinct is to place one leg back to regain balance, he said. With injuries like Delozier's, that step back usually becomes difficult.

    Though he is walking sooner than anyone expected, Delozier becomes frustrated in doing things that were once second nature.

    Walking around school takes longer, so he leaves classes five minutes early. Getting out of a chair is difficult because his legs don't automatically do what they once did.

    He said he wants his recovery process to speed up.

    ''At first it was more swift, now, it's like, 'aarrgh,''' Delozier growls. ''It's still progressing but it's moving slower.''

    Delozier has a projected date, Feb. 17 - one year after the accident - to walk without assistance. He hopes to walk into his prom.

    Delozier planned to go to college after high school but now thinks he will take a year to get stronger. He said he wants to get to the point where he needs no help and can go as fast as he wants.

    ''My main goal is to jog again, just to be able to get up in the morning and jog,'' he said. ''I can walk on my own, but I want to get to the point where I can go faster.''

    And, like most teenagers, Delozier has loftier goals for speed, Dave Delozier said.

    ''The biggest thing he bugs us about is getting his license,'' Dave Delozier said. ''He needs a car with the hand controls. He asks us 10 times per day, 'Dad, when are we getting the car?'''

    "If the wind could blow my troubles away. I'd stand in front of a hurricane."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Erin81079's Avatar
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    ''My main goal is to jog again, just to be able to get up in the morning and jog,'' he said. ''I can walk on my own, but I want to get to the point where I can go faster.''
    It'd be nice if I could stand up, period. At least this kid can walk. I'm telling you that these stories are the reason why people expect us to get up and walk, if only we tried hard enough .

  3. #3

    We gotta work

    At getting you a pair of leg braces Erin.

    "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
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Yep. Some people are luckier than others, but these kind of stories tend to skip that part. Seriously - did anyone here, at the time a doctor first told you what your diagnosis and prognosis was, lay back and say, "okay - I'll never walk (or use my hands again, if you're a quad"), or did you tell yourself you'd recover? I know I did the latter.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Erin81079's Avatar
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    Thanks Curtis:-).

    Alan-I told myself "Yipee, I can't wait to use a wheelchair, forget walking. Who needs feet when you've got wheels. I can't wait to do my bowel program every other day and cath to pee."---------------JUST KIDDING!

    Yes I keep telling myself still that I will walk again, but my feet aren't listening just yet. Hope they "wake up" soon. J/k again about the waking up part.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Lucky Guy

    God Bless him!

    ==============================
    "It was once written "To thine own self be true". But how do we know who we really are? Every man must confront the monster within himself, if he is ever to find peace without. .." Outer Limits(Monster)



  7. #7
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    We just didn't want it enough, Erin. After all, if we did, we'd have walked out of rehab, giving the finger to the doctor who told us we'd never recover. What can we say?

  8. #8
    Senior Member dogger's Avatar
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    walk out and give the doctor the finger !

    Alan and Erin , i managed to do that , the jogging [or even a well balanced slow walk ] seems to be eluding me in the 11 years hence . ..i know , i just need to work /pray/wish harder ..

    that will do the trick !
    dogger

    [This message was edited by dogger on Sep 29, 2002 at 09:51 PM.]

  9. #9
    Senior Member Erin81079's Avatar
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    I say we start a Spinal Cord injury commune where we eat, sleep, live recovery. Pray about it, talk about it, surround ourselves by it. If we do that and try hard enough it might just happen (hint of sarcasm). Either that or we will just be big nerds in wheelchairs (or wobly like Dogger:-)) that have no lives.

  10. #10
    Originally posted by Jeremy:


    Recovery defies odds
    What people don't understand about improved treatments for SCI is that the odds have changed a lot.

    What I really find objectionable about these articles is that they miss a perfectly good opportunity to educate the public about medical advances in SCI treatment and the nature of complete vs. incomplete injuries, and simply feed into that tired talk of "miracles", "determination", etc.

    That, and the fact that it makes the rest of us look like losers who just didn't "try hard enough".

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