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Thread: girlfriend is a new quad

  1. #1

    girlfriend is a new quad

    Hey, people. I just joined this forum. Kim, my girlfriend since my senior year of high school, became a quad over the summer in a diving accident. She broke her C4 vertebrae and has no feeling or movement below her shoulders. She just returned home from rehab, and I'm trying to figure out how to proceed from here. I love her, and I have zero intention of being one of those dicks who cuts and runs after the girl gets injured, but I'm just sort of clueless here. Things are actually more awkward between us since she returned home. While she was in the hospital and rehab, it almost seemed like her paralysis was more abstract. I would visit and try to keep her spirits up, but the harsh reality of her injury wasn't staring me in the face. This is tearing me apart inside. She actually seems to be adjusting better than I am. She was supposed to start college this fall on a soccer scholarship, but that's obviously not going to happen. Her spirit and determination are so strong, that I wind up feeling really guilty when I go home at night and cry to myself. Excuse my ramblings. I was just hoping that some people here might have some insights for me, whatever they may be.
    Ray

  2. #2
    Hi Ray,
    It is a good thing that you found this website. Everyone here is so supportive, and informative, I don't know what I would have done without everyone here. Just remember, NO-ONE can tell you what she may/may not get in return of function.
    Keep us updated.
    God Bless,
    Cathy

  3. #3
    Senior Member ~Patrick~'s Avatar
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    Welcome Ray, I am sorry we had to meet like this. Feel free to ask whatever is bothering you. Does she have access to this site? We have a few folks that surf using voice recognition software. All I can say is give it time. Not that it gets better but you become more tolerant. Welcome

  4. #4
    Howdy Ray,
    I've been (am) in a somewhat similar situation. My wife was injured roughly a year ago. There may be some differences between the boyfriend and husband relationship, but I suspect that we share some of the same concerns and feelings.

    One difference might be your level of involvement with her injury and rehab. As a husband, I got to have full access and involvement with the rehab process and was fairly knowledgable and comfortable with the injury by the time we returned home. As a boyfriend, her family may have taken the lead on that and you may feel less comfortable with the whole deal. Learn all you can about her injury. Not just to help her, because she needs to take primary responsibility for her own care, but to help you feel at ease around her. Nothing like knowledge to ease the uncertainty.

    It's not surprising to me that things have been more awkward between the two of you since she returned home. The rehab setting is very structured and rather exciting, filled with hope and (hopefully) a peer group of similarly injured people. Once home, however, the harsh reality sets in. As new as her injury is, I would definately lean towards hopefullness and optimism.

    Of course she might be feeling uncomfortable around you. It's an inconceivably huge injury to deal with. She probably has all kinds of uncertainty about her future, jobs, love, etc. Just wondering how to survive can be all consuming. So, I think you need to not add additional pressure to her. Certainly be supportive and talk to her about your issues and the things she is scared of, but give her a little space too. Take her out if she's up for that, or spend time with her in a setting she is comfortable with.

    As far as your stuff, it's OK to go home and cry. Hell, we'd all think you're nuts if you didn't. I used to have people get all concerned when they'd catch me stealing a few tears. I'd just explain that it's OK, it's just where my head was at the moment. And it really is OK. It's a huge thing see someone you love so drastically changed.

    On the upside, life goes on. It won't be exactly the same, but it really doesn't have to be any worse. In fact, it has much potential to be a stronger relationship. I thought that was a sentiment that I came up with, but as you poke around on this forum, you see many people expressing the same thought. It's actually true. You laugh, go places, have fun, sex, fight, and everything else that life entails. You just do it with a lot more patience, compassion, and admiration.

    Hang in there.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kate's Avatar
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    Hi, Ray--sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. I'm sure if you read through some of the questions people have asked, you'll realize there's a lot of wisdom here. I don't know what could be tougher to face than sci, but you're already way ahead of the curve, just by connecting here.

    BTW, I thought the first couple of months out of the hospital were pure hell. We're almost 3 yrs down the trail now, and I can assure you that things will change. Anyway, welcome!

    Kate

  6. #6
    Guest
    She actually just got her computer hooked up with VA software. I told her about this site, so she might show up here once in a while if she can.
    Originally posted by Pat(wheelinarcher):

    Welcome Ray, I am sorry we had to meet like this. Feel free to ask whatever is bothering you. Does she have access to this site? We have a few folks that surf using voice recognition software. All I can say is give it time. Not that it gets better but you become more tolerant. Welcome

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Hi Ray,
    I was injured 3 1/2 years ago at the c4/c5 level. I was 36 years old, married for 14 years with two young daughters (I'm a female). I had everything to live for with those 3, but I still didn't want to live early on. I didn't want to be a burden to anyone. As it turns out, I'm not. Sure, my family helps me a lot and have to do more around the house, but we still have a great life. Time makes a big difference. Every "first" is very difficult--first time coming home, going shopping, etc. it does get easier. espousal below gave a great response--especially the last paragraph. Life does go on--love, laughter, etc.

    Hang tough...just remember, everybody has their issues, some are just more visible. Life is what you make of it.

    Regards,
    Sue

  8. #8
    Senior Member poonsuzanne's Avatar
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    Ray, you are a great great guy...the world will become colourless without geniune people like you...Suzanne

  9. #9
    Member Cbowen162's Avatar
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    Ray,
    from what I've read, you are an amazing person. I broke my neck almost two years ago, so I know what it's like to go through the first stages of quadriplegia. I was married before this happened , and my wife left me. The fact that you have stayed with your girlfriend, despite her injury, means more than you could know to those of us who have lost loved ones due to our injuries. Please be patient with her. She is going through a situation that cannot be explained by mere words. Just remember that she has only changed physically. She is still the same person that you fell in love with. Once she has adjusted to being a quadriplegic, she will appreciate and love you more than could ever be expressed.
    If you or she has any questions, please contact me. I will share anything I have gone through to try and help you.
    Chris

  10. #10
    I am going to sound like a polly parrot -- but you sound like a great guy!

    Be assured things will get easier -- and it's true that family and friends take injuries harder then the injured!

    hang it there HUG

    ~*~*~Priscilla Katheryn

    Dec. 7, 2002 I became a Mrs! WOW! one year already!!

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