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Thread: my son recently paralyzed

  1. #1

    my son recently paralyzed

    hi -- my son is in the Navy and was in a car accident on 2/24/06 -- he is currently in rehab in the VA hospital -- he has an L1 L2 break with pins and rods -- his back surgery was on 3/7/06 -- his spinal cord injury is incomplete -- what are his chances of walking? the doctors are very skeptical, but i have been told that they prepare you for the worst, but hope for the best -- this has been very devastating to me, but he is dealing with it alot better than I am -- any input from this forum would be very much appreciated. shelley

  2. #2
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Warwick, RI USA
    Hi Shelly,

    With such vague information on his injury it's anyone's guess as to his chances of walking again. The possibilities are numerous.

    For now, be very grateful he's still on top of the grass. Focus on his immediate health and DO NOT let the doctors and nurses take your hope away. Even if he leaves the hospital in a chair there's much on the horizon that looks very promising.

    Your son and your family are now on a new journey. You are all members of a new team, a team that we have all been forced to join as well, paralysis. There's a wealth of information here and much support from folks that have been through the paralysis academy of hard knocks already. We're all here and will gladly chat and lend any support and suggestions we can.
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3
    thanks alot for replying so quickly -- he had severe internal injuries -- they removed his spleen and part of his liver -- he lacerated a lung also -- they performed his surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital and after 4 weeks there they transferred him to the VA -- I don't feel like they are taking in to account his other injuries now -- He is getting feeling back in his legs, he can move his hips, just yesterday he moved his big toe on one foot -- they don't act like this is any big deal -- I am getting very discouraged with them, but my son is staying positive -- He is very lucky to even be here, but I stayed in San Diego for 5 weeks with him, but had to come back home to Oklahoma -- It is really hard for me being this far away from him -- I just wish they would be a little more positive, but they are preparing him for life in a wheelchair -- I keep wondering if there is something they know about his break that they aren't telling us?

  4. #4
    Senior Member queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Garden on the Green, Indiana
    I'm a burst L#1, 5/20/04 with surgery the next morning. Hospital for 6 weeks and in Rehab for 6 weeks using a walker when I got home. I'm 60, so your son will recover much quicker than I did. I now walk with just a cane. And seldom use it in the house or garage. I use a whlchr for long distance but hopefully soon that too will be retired.

    I didn't get the Harr rods, tho my doc did suggest it at my 5th office visit. To that I said "no", they should have done that when I was under the knife the first time. Instead I got the birdcage @plates and screws from T12 to L#2, to replace my burst L#1.

    Curious why they waited (11) days to do the surgery on his back, unless he had some other major injuries.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me...

    I lost 30 lbs and all muscle mass so Rehab was very slow for me, but I loved those parallel bars alot. And I wore a very hot, uncomfortable brace that I hated, but it felt so good when it was on...wasn't allowed up unless I wore it.

    Rule No.# 1 in here, don't believe the doc's they can't give you an accurate outcome...they don't know which nerves were damaged and which were's strictly a wait and see. I can't feel my legs from the knees down and my toes were curling but I've solved that problem and working on strengthening the old toes so they can hold me up...still have a balance problem there, no ballerina yet.

    Take care and do keep your spirits and hopes up, he'll have better days to come.

    Your life is what you make it, and only you have that choice!

  5. #5
    Senior Member queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Garden on the Green, Indiana
    Request copies of his x-rays and CT scans. I have mine which shows the birdcage/plates'n screws....looks like a car cigarette lighter too.

    Tell him to take those pain meds and get with rehab when he's ready!

    Prayers to him and to your family...

    Your life is what you make it, and only you have that choice!

  6. #6
    queen -- thanks for replying -- yes, he had severe internal injuries and only given a 5% chance to survive the first few days -- they had to get him stable enough to perform back surgery -- although I reviewed my first note and I mistakenly put 2/24/06 -- it was 2/26/06 -- but still, it was tuesday the 7th of march that they did the back surgery -- he was on a ventilator for two weeks after his accident -- he has a 12" incision on his front and an 8" incision on his back -- his white blood cell count is very high, and his platelets are high also -- so he still has some other issues besides the spinal cord injury -- i just hope they are telling us everything -- i feel like they are being too negative and i am being too positive -- my son is somewhere in between -- now i really appreciate the courage other people that have paralysis have -- i never realized how so many things in your life change

  7. #7
    Most rehab programs focus on being realistic about what can be achieved in rehab. Did they say it is impossible that he would ever walk? Did they say it was unlikely? No one can predict if he will walk or not at this time, although at over a month post injury with no significant return it is extremely unlikely that he would be walking at the time of discharge from the rehab center. He needs to be prepared to be highly functional at a wheelchair level at that to take care of all his own needs. Later on if he gets some return, then that can get worked on as well through outpatient therapy. It would be dishonest to mislead him that anyone can determine if will ever walk, but also to mislead him that he will and create a false hope. He needs to work hard in rehab now so that he can move on to the outpatient and long term healing phase.

    I hope you are talking in detail with the various members of his rehab team and especially his case manager, who can help you deal with being so far away during this time, and also help you learn how to work with them to the ultimate benefit of your son.


  8. #8
    Shelly you found the right people to help you at this site. They will guide you. The research you do here will help you and your son. These members are gracious. Best wishes.

  9. #9
    Thanks alot for replying -- I know that they have to prepare him to take care of himself -- before his back surgery they told us he would never walk again -- after the surgery they said he would "probably" never walk again -- that we had to be prepared for that -- I realize that we should be prepared for that, but every little thing that changes gives him more hope until he tells them or they see what he can move or feel -- then it just seems like they shoot his hopes down -- he has told me that he doesn't even want to tell them when he feels something different, or moves something different because they seem to have a negative reply -- thats why i feel like maybe there is something that they are not telling us -- something that they know that we don't -- i just want him to keep his spirits up and not just give up -- he is resigned to the fact that he will still be in the wheelchair when he leaves rehab -- his target release date is 5/24/06 -- he has been making plans to move closer to home to where there is a VA hospital and continue his rehab -- we would just like to have a glimmer of hope

  10. #10
    There is always hope. Don't let go of that. Your son can "feel" any negative energy, so surround him with the positive. He's still alive, sounds like he's not on a ventilator, he's able to move that big toe, which IS a BIG thing. I was also told I wouldn't walk again, then they changed it to I would never walk again unassisted. I now can walk unassisted for any length of time, and also so much more. I also have a very supportive ring of family to help, listen, and encourage me to keep going. Just knowing that if I needed it, I could talk to any one of those in that circle of support helped me to keep going. Good luck and I'll keep your family in my prayers.

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