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Thread: Tears of Gratitude

  1. #1

    Tears of Gratitude

    I have tears of gratitude that this site exists.
    I'm new here. I became a caregiver when my brother got slammed by a wave in Nantucket surf. He's now in rehab in Boston beginning his 3rd week. I want to help him. . . & I am helping him. I'm asking for help about how to best help him.
    Helping has a lot of facets. I know I help just by showing up & watching sports with him. Just being with him I feel is valuable. And while I wish that I could get him to talk more about how he's doing, both physically & emotionally, I know that everybody has their own pace. And that a lot of communication is non-verbal.
    I got caught up in the desire to help with Rescue Remedy, Vitamin C & B complex, St. John's Wort, fresh (non-hospital) food, etc.
    Then I started doubting the quality of the rehab: they seemed understaffed, trying to hire a social worker, have yet to meet the case manager, several days my brother didn't get a full 3 hours of therapy, the weekend nurses didn't seem to care. . . Maybe he should have gone to the other rehab. And then I heard that was probably more understaffed. Then I heard of Shepherd Center in Atlanta. But these are my doubts, not my brother's. He hasn't voiced any significant discontent there.
    I imagine that my brother's attitude toward his healing process is probably the most important ingredient. Attitude has a lot to do with who you are. . . but it helps to be around upbeat people who can inspire you. . . & push you beyond your limits.
    I wonder how important it is to be pushed (in a positive sense) in his rehab experience.
    Right now he doesn't have much strength in his hands (C6/ASIA A/Complete). I understand that most of his recuperation (physically) is going to occur in the first six-- or even three-- months. Does that sound right? We all like his physical therapist & I think she's doing at least a good job. But how would I know?

    Since I believe that his attitude is one of the real keys here, what can be done. . . & what can I do to help him with this?
    I took care of my mother many years ago when she was dying of a brain tumor. Even though we lived 40 minutes from New Haven I didn't find out about Bernie Siegel & his work until late in my mother's care. By then she was bedridden & very weak. She was tired after raising 6 kids, living in a difficult marriage, etc. As I look back (which I know ain't a good idea!) I wish she's been less passive, more of a fighter. But that wasn't her.
    My brother's character is a lot different.
    As I write this I realize that I need to get more comfortable talking with him. I'm his eldest brother. It's been many years since we lived in the same house. And living in different parts of the continent, we haven't stayed close.
    So it's helped me a lot just setting this all down & knowing that some people who have been there-- or near-- will see it, sigh, laugh, & if so inclined, write.
    Heartfelt thanks, -M22

  2. #2
    Cheerleading helped me. When my friends showed up and I was in therapy I liked to show off my new tricks. I realize now they probably looked pathetic, but I'd worked hard for them and loved my friends for applauding.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Even just having company is important. Visits and phone calls. I did my rehab in Boston last year, Boston Medical Center, and I know that just as I was leaving (mid may 2005) many of the therapists were leaving in the near future, or had just left. WHere is he?

  4. #4
    was i the only one who preferred just sitting alone in my rehab room watching tv and eating


  5. #5
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    North Carolina, USA
    Michael, WELCOME to care cure. As always, we are so sorry for the reason you have found us, but so glad that you have now that you need us. I am a caregiver to my husband who was injured 18 years ago by diving off a dock into too-shallow water. We met 3 years ago, so i didn't experience the acute shock you are going through now, but many have.

    First, GET HIM TO THE SHEPHERD CENTER. that's sort of cutting to the chase, but it is so important to his long term recovery. Their website is and call them at 404-350-7345 or 1-800-SHEPHERD (after hours or weekends, please call 404-352-2020). They have intake counselors who will fight with you to get him there.

    And yes, BE POSITIVE, push him but also allow him space to feel the impact of this massive life change. Come here often, we are kindred souls in this family affair of spinal cord injury.

    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  6. #6
    Senior Member ChopperChick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Northern California
    My husband would have loved to have me there day and night and would prefer my company to anyone else, but, when I couldn't be there, he liked company from anyone. Even now he likes to have people around.

    ust showing up to watch sports with your brother is perfect. Sorry that you 2 are going through this. This site is awesome for info, questions and even just to vent.

    Good luck to you and your brother.

  7. #7
    Senior Member queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Garden on the Green, Indiana
    Nope, donz you're not alone! I was so pooped after each rehab session, especially during the afternoon, it always seemed the longest. I was the happiest just sitting in bed with my brace on, not being in pain and not having to talk to anyone.

    I had difficulties sleeping at night and I always longed for visiting hours to be over and my ambien to arrive.

    You brother most likely enjoys you just being there and asking him how his day went and telling him he'll have better days ahead! We may not always believe ya, but we still liked to hear it.

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

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Alberta, Canada
    It helped me alot having my mom and sister there for me. It was comforting knowing I had someone there to help me. Even if they were just sitting in the room while I was working out in rehab it would help me feel a great deal better. I think just being there for him will make a huge difference in his rehab both physically and mentally. All the best to you and your brother.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    where everyone knows your name
    they say recovery happens the most in the first six months, then it may begin to plateau. they used to say (this is what my rehab told me) that you get all your recovery in the first 18 months, then that's it.

    it's not true. everyone has potential to recover after that point, but it may be very slow.

    as long as your brother is very motivated and wants to get better, you won't need to encourage him. if he slips, which he very well may, just nudge him even if he'll hate you for it. he'll thank you later.

    i'm c6-7 inc. i also had no hand function. mine slowly came back and almost two years later, i function at c8-t1. i'm incomplete.

    i had my family come to visit me every night (my rehab was an hour away) and that was VERY good for me. i got so clingy too, which is the opposite of me. a good support system is essential in a crisis like this. this is the worst time to truely feel alone.

    o and by the way, a lot of us don't do everyday necessities (transfers, clothing, getting chairs,etc.) by the book. i know my rehab yelled at me for it. just as long as he's safe and doesn't endanger his skin, it's fine.

    good luck and sorry to hear that you and your family have to face this, especially your brother.
    Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway

    Frank's blog:
    My regular blog:

  10. #10
    Senior Member michaelm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    montville nj usa
    Welcome. When I was first injured, I wanted to see friends and family especially during the long weekends.
    I second what Zilla says. Another good rehab is Kessler Rehabilitation in NJ (973-731-3600).

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