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Thread: Acute spinal cord injury experiences

  1. #121
    All VA Medical Centers are required to have a social worker who functions as the Spinal Cord Injury Coordinator. This person is responsible for assuring that local SCI veterans are linked into the hub-and-spokes model of SCI care in the VA system. If you contact this person at your local VA, they will arrange to help you with eligibility applications, and also arrange for travel to the designated VA SCI Center (there are 20 in the USA) for rehab or any specialty SCI care needs. Locally the SCI coordinator will often work with a VA Support Clinic which consists of a team of a nurse, physician and social worker who have undergone special national training as well as on-going training at the hub center, and serve as the "spoke" clinic for day-to-day care needs.

    Veterans of military service with an honorable discharge are eligible for VA care. Veterans do NOT have to be service connected. For some, there is a small co-payment. All SCI/D veterans should be rated Priority 4 or lower, and it is very important to be sure that this is noted (the lower the number, the higher the priority).

    You can get to the VA website at www.va.gov, or more directly at this URL: http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/spinalcfs.html but you may find more help more readily by dealing with the National Service Officer for your area at the Paralyzed Veterans of America www.pva.org All veterans with spinal cord injury or disease are eligible for free PVA membership. The NSO works for the PVA, not the VA, and their job is to serve as the SCI/D veteran's advocate with the VA. They can help with eligiblity issues, benefits, and help file appeals and necessary paperwork for you.

    As coldheart noted, VA SCI Centers have staff (physicians, nurses, therapists, counselors) who have special expertise in SCI. Equipment available is of the best quality and state of the art, unlike what you will find with Medicare or many insurances. Active duty patients with SCI/D should be referred to their designated VA SCI Center within 3 days of their injury (per DOD regulations).

    KLD

  2. #122
    Senior Member darrel's Avatar
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    well, my story is not as bad as most of you but here goes.It was the 24 of Jan.'06, I got off work and wasfeeling like crap had the flue or some walking crud.I took some cold/flue med., nyquil and was about to lay down when a friend called said that he needed help skinning some deer from the last openning ofthe year it had been freezing out so the deer were good, my G/F and me show up out at his hous and we went to the barn, and saw that he had nine deer hanging. I set up our little area with the coolers,knifes,ect.. I had skinned the first deer and opened my first beer, and started drinking it, not very fast because I still didn't feel that good, as I finished quartering the deer, I finished my beer. We were kidding around talking smak to each other, the other people that was to so never did, so I offered to stick around and do a couple more to help my friend and his wife out,itwas still early so I started another deer, as I began the first cut the pully set up slipped and the deer fell, so I grabbed a latter that was there and climbed up to get the end of the rope that went up into the rafters, all I remember was reaching out for that rope. the next thing that happened was I found my self on the floor lying face down in a puddle of blood. I went to get up and found that I couldn't move, that was when I realized I was messed up,I asked for help getting up and every one thought I was kidding (like normal) then I told them I was serius that I can't move they came over and rolled me over and got a bunch of paper towels for my face. they asked if I wanted them to call an ambelence I told them it would take two hours for them to get there, load me in the van, my G/F can take me, I'll be there in 30 min.
    Now this is the part that I still don't remember, my G/F tells this as she saw it, she said that I was reaching for the rope and then I through my arms out and did a nose dive off the ladder and when I hit face first my body went over my head and bounced off the deer.
    we got to the hospital and she ran in for help, they started yelling at her for me being in the van, I finally got their attention and explained the sittuation, they put a collar on me got the flat board under me and of to the E.R. they take their x-rays, CT scan and are trying to get lifeflight out from Peoria,Il it is about 30-60 min before they got there due to the weather(40-50mph winds). I get to Peoria after the worst flight I had ever took. They start asking me all sorts of questions and I'm coherant the hole time,they ask if it is okay for the students to look in and do their assesment I tell them yes,just why can't I move? why can't I feel anything? they do their x-rays and then the CT scan from hell starts. I'm not a big fan of hospitals and this is a prime reason. they have me in this thing and they are moving me in all sorts of posisions, trying to get my arms above my head, now I'm starting to feel pain that I have never felt before, they are trying to tell me I have broken both my clavicals. I'm argueing with them that they aren't that they were broke years ago. they don't listen or they just use this opertunity to charge me an extra 10k to have this other Dr.come in and more x-rays, and back to the CT scan. to find out that I don't have broken clavicals, then they have the nerve to ask if I had ever broke them? I had a few choice words for them and they tell me that I didn't need to get angry. needless to say that got more of a response out of me.they take me to cardiac ICU and I have these people coming in 3-4 deep poking me and asking if I can feel this if I can feel that. this went on about5 or 6 times and I'm not getting any type of answers after 6 hours of not knowing this lonely young man walks up and starts poking and prodding and this is when I finally had enough and told him that "I'm tired of you Doogie Howsers poking me and to get the f*** away." well that was the first time I had somebody talk to me directly, he informs me that he is my Dr.and that he doesn't care to be called names. and that they won't know how much damage there is until the swelling goes down some and they can get me in for a MRI, maybe 3-4 days. After about 6 more hours they move me to a room. Now I recognize this area far to well, this is were my Grandparents had been, my father had been. holy crap,I'm up here were I saw most of my family for the last time, now the shock is whereing off, now I'm starting to get scared. after some more morphene and an hour of staring at the ceiling another Dr.comes in with his student, and they start stiching my head (middle of one eyebrow to the middle of the other, 15 in all) he explains to me that my nose is broke in 3 places, my pallet is broke then he realizes that I have several scars and has me open my mouth, that is when he says you didn't tell them you have a cleft pallet? no, nobody asked. that was when he told me that my pallet had only shifted, and that I may need surgery on it and reconstructive surgery on my nose. well i'm moved to another room after awhile, buy this time I'm beat, the morphine is hitting home and I don't care any more,I nodded off. I woke up acouple of hours later to find that the room they had moved me to just had to be the room my Granddad was in, now it is time to spaz. I got them to move me and they finally put me in the nero ward sat there for 3days got my MRI done. another Dr. comes in and starts mumbling a bunch of stuff that I dont understand other than he's going to operate on my neck and cut 4 bones,scrape the inside of them and put plates in to hold them. and then says that I'll never be able to work again. this is just a blow to me, a workaholic not able to work. we ask if I'll ever walk and that was when he informed me that I wouldn't walk out of the hospital and that I would be lucky to see 70% return. three weeks later after busting my but in rehab I did learn to walk all over again, the Dr. was right I did not walk out of there,they woudn't let me but I did walk around the van and with help I got in. aweek later I was back and had the lapenectomy C3-C6 when I arrived at the nero ward I was C5/6 I have gone through 18mo. of theropy and now I am at a C6 level. I can dress my self most days with out help, I have learned to manage a fork and knife, I can write with the aid of grips, I ended up with 70% use of my left side and 50# of grip. the left side I have 30%use 5# of grip, and spaticity so bad that I can't open my right hand, my right foot drops and I can't move it I can lift the right leg about 6" off the floor. I did have a silent heart attack that night we figure the fall is what brought me back. it has been 21mo.now and next week I can finally have the reconstructive on my nose done. I am scheduled for testing for the baclofen pump in two weeks with any luck it will help. I am able to walk about 100 yards with the assistance of a quad cane.

  3. #123

    Exclamation W. T. F !!

    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Active duty patients with SCI/D should be referred to their designated VA SCI Center within 3 days of their injury (per DOD regulations).

    KLD
    WHAT!!?!?? When did this become regulation KLD??

  4. #124
    There has been a DOD/VA MOU to this regard since at least 1988. The MOU has been re-written and revised at least 3 times since then. I can get you a copy if you want it.

    Of course it may be longer than 3 days before the VA can admit the patient (travel distance, medical stability for travel, etc.) but the appropriate VA SCI center (closest to the patient's home of record or place of desired residence after discharge) MUST be notified of the SCI within that time frame so they can start working on getting the patient into the appropriate VA SCI Center.

    There is poor enforcement through the DOD though, so the PVA is currently working on trying to get this legislated as law, which would give it more teeth and would create penalties for failure to comply.

    (KLD)

  5. #125

    Thanks KLD

    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    There has been a DOD/VA MOU to this regard since at least 1988. The MOU has been re-written and revised at least 3 times since then. I can get you a copy if you want it.

    Of course it may be longer than 3 days before the VA can admit the patient (travel distance, medical stability for travel, etc.) but the appropriate VA SCI center (closest to the patient's home of record or place of desired residence after discharge) MUST be notified of the SCI within that time frame so they can start working on getting the patient into the appropriate VA SCI Center.

    There is poor enforcement through the DOD though, so the PVA is currently working on trying to get this legislated as law, which would give it more teeth and would create penalties for failure to comply.

    (KLD)
    Well, seeing as how it's over 17 years late, I don't think I need a copy of the MOU (memorandum of understanding?) KLD, thanks anyway.

    This sure does BURN ME UP though! And, seeing as this thread is regarding acute spinal cord experiences, I will share mine. And I'll be damned if this isn't page 13! Lots of 13's in my life, bad ones. Anyway, maybe other veterans can learn from my experiences.

    I broke my neck at Ft. Stewart, GA, on post, on duty. The rather large post hospital didn't know what to do with me. This wasn't the beginning of what went wrong, but was a most important mistake. I told this story before.

    From Ft. Stewart it is 40 miles to Savannah where a small very inexperienced hospital was more than happy to take me on and charge the military top dollar. But it is only 100 miles to Augusta Georgia, where there is a VA SCI Center [where I should have gone]. The helicopter flight might have taken 6 minutes more to make the trip to Augusta where I would have received the treatment I was entitled to, and needed. Treatment that, without, led to many complications that wouldn't have happened at the VA. I got a sore to the bone on my coccyx, laying on a standard hospital mattress. They were treating it with "bourbon & bismuth" packs, which I never have identified. I had a pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, a staph infection and other complications. It was a catholic hospital and they were real nice but I sure wish I knew then what I know now!! Curses, don't we all ?


    ETA: Oh, after 45 days in ICU in Savannah I was taken on a army stretcher like on M*A*S*H to an airport in Augusta of all places ! where I was flown to Seattle VA SCI Center on an Air Force flying hospital. The flight took two days, and landed and took off from 4 military bases. All the while I was laying flat on that hard stretcher. It was hell after laying totally still for 45 days.

    KLD, who can I sue ?

    Well thanks for the info, I hope others learn from it.

    Matt
    Last edited by quadvet; 10-04-2007 at 08:15 AM.

  6. #126
    Since VA hospitals are not trauma centers, we still would not have admitted you immediately after the accident, but certainly would have taken you after the initial trauma. Were you asked about going to either Augusta (then move later to Seattle) or Seattle within a few days after your injury?

    Also, while we used to have to live with those nightmare 4-7 day coast-to-coast Airforce Med-Evac flights, the most recent version of the MOU requires that the accepting VA hospital determine for the military the safest and most appropriate method of transporting the SCI soldier or sailor, so we nearly always require them to send either direct (no stops) Med-Evac or pay for private air ambulance, which has made a world of difference.

    You are right...too late to sue the small hospital you were taken to (3-7 years is usually the time limit for adults).

    (KLD)

  7. #127
    Senior Member
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    My acute rehab sory..
    ...It was hell.
    I'm glad I had a damn good OT though.
    I was in Acute rehab for 8 weeks and then transferred to a nursing home/rehab facility for another 8 weeks(seeing what I saw there made me appreciate just having a SCI!)
    Anyways, I came home for a month , then went to stay @ a DRS facilty for another 8 weeks . I had pretty much plateued by then, but atleast I learned to drive.
    Wow. 6 months of rehab-I should be SUPER QUAD by now, but I'm
    far from it.
    Overall, I think a good OT is the most important, you need to know how to live.
    -Shannon

  8. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Since VA hospitals are not trauma centers, we still would not have admitted you immediately after the accident, but certainly would have taken you after the initial trauma. Were you asked about going to either Augusta (then move later to Seattle) or Seattle within a few days after your injury?

    Also, while we used to have to live with those nightmare 4-7 day coast-to-coast Airforce Med-Evac flights, the most recent version of the MOU requires that the accepting VA hospital determine for the military the safest and most appropriate method of transporting the SCI soldier or sailor, so we nearly always require them to send either direct (no stops) Med-Evac or pay for private air ambulance, which has made a world of difference.

    You are right...too late to sue the small hospital you were taken to (3-7 years is usually the time limit for adults).

    (KLD)
    I wouldn't sue anyone, just live and learn and hope to prevent future such incidences.

    I don't recall being asked where I would like to go, or even being told what was available. Some time towards the end of my 45 days in ICU there, I was told that the VA in Portland, OR would be taking care of me for rehab (80 miles from home vs 250 to Seattle, I was happy). But of course that wasn't true and I found out a few days prior to leaving I'd be going to Seattle. By that time it didn't matter how far I had to go, other than they removed my Philadelphia collar for the flight- the VA didn't like that. Thank God they fixed that Medevac problem.

    Now, the only thing that really bothers me is wondering what trauma center I should have gone to, rather than St. Joseph's in Savannah. I don't remember the doctors, but the nurses were real nice, especially considering my complications. They let my three toddler daughters visit within the first few weeks. I had a new litter of puppies they let my brother sneak a few in for a visit. The nurses enjoyed it too. I really liked them, but sure would have liked to been in a better qualified trauma center. Dang it. Thanks KLD.


    Matt

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