Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spinal Cord Injury — any questions?

That's me, number 26, on my back, in the end zone, September 3, 1971. It was the end of my first life and the beginning of my new life as a quadriplegic. The journey I was beginning has been extraordinary, with many ups and downs. It was a traumatic event that affected not only me, but all my family and friends. It also affected the community and many people in the area around Worthington.

Click on the image to enlarge:

Dr. Roger Hallin was a physiatrist who happened to be at the game that night. He was also my rehab doctor when I was in Worthington. One day my physical therapist had me on the mat in the PT gym doing range of motion when Dr. Hallin came in. He gave me the best advise I have ever received. He said, "I want you to learn everything about your body and your injury you possibly can because you will be in situations when people won't know how to handle you, and you will have to tell them what to do."

I have learned a great deal about SCI, it's effects, the hope for a cure, and much more. However, a friend just sent me a website with answers to many other questions I had not even thought about.

The Morton Cure Paralysis Fund has a wonderfully informative website you can peruse and learn from by clicking here.

The following paragraph comes directly from their site:

"Spinal cord injury is devastating, not only for the injured person but for families and friends as well. While much information is available on the Internet, most of the material is scattered and out of date. This article summarizes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by people who are encountering spinal cord injury for the first time. Spinal cord injury disconnects the brain from the body. This leads not only to loss of sensation and motor control below the injury site but may be associated with abnormal activities of the spinal cord both above and below the injury site, resulting in spasticity, neuropathic pain, and autonomic dysreflexia. Many functions of our body that we take for granted, such as going to the bathroom, sexual function, blood pressure and heart rate, digestion, temperature control and sweating, and other autonomic functions may not only be lost but may be abnormally active. Finally, contrary to popular notions about spinal cord injury, recovery is the rule and not the exception in spinal cord injury. The recovery takes a long time and may be slowed down or blocked by the muscle atrophy and learned non-use. Finally, there is hope. Many therapies have been shown to regenerate and remyelinate the spinal cord. Some of these are now in clinical trials and many more should be in clinical trial soon."

If you are at all interested in learning more about spinal cord injury, I encourage to check out their site.

I look forward to your comments.



1 comment:

Danielle said...

Hi! I have been reading your blog and web page. I am a disabilities specialist at Adrian College in Adrian, MI. I am looking around for speakers for our Disabilities Awareness Week (March 2009). I have found your story very compelling. Would like to hear if you speak to college age students and your fees. Also, would you be willing to travel to MI? Can't wait to hear more.

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