AuntLore:

I'm so sorry. My husband was just 28 when he was injured -- C5/C6 complete -- and I truly understand how devastating this is. You are trying to sort through a myriad of medical and administrative decisions -- all of which are incredibly important, as well as trying to soothe the one you love who suddenly can't feel or move his body not to mention your own shock. The grief, panic and stress levels are overwhelming.

You did well to find this site so soon. Post all of your questions -- we'll answer them. Everyone on this site has "been there" and we want to help.

I can't comment on Shephard although I hear it's great. I think any SCI site is surprising once you get there - there is a lot of responsibility put on family members from the start, and at least one family member should be with him at all times to make sure he gets proper care. Turning is essential so that he doesn't get any skin breakdown.

Try to get as much time in rehab as possible. Be prepared to be there for 3 months. While he is there, start on home modificiations asap. Also, order the shower wheelchair asap once you get to rehab so that he has that ready when he gets home. Take your time when choosing his wheelchairs -- don't let them rush you. Demand to see all makes and models. With his low level of injury he may wish to use "powerassist" wheels on a regular manual wheelchair -- ask about that when the time comes.

If you have good friends or family members nearby, try to get a schedule going for homemade meals to be delivered every night -- nutrition is essential and rehabs often fail on this point.

This is an important time, work hard, take deep breaths and keep smiling for him.

Brighter days

PS - you'll hear that there is a new "normal" your family will come to know. That may seem hard to believe, it is for me too, but I can say that over a year post-injury there are new routines now, new ambitions, and still a lot of laughter in our lives.