How did your accident happen and what level are you?

ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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I broke my neck when I was 15 years old at the beach on Memorial Day in 2010. I ran into the water with a group of friends and saw a wave coming towards me. I decided to dive underneath it as I had done hundreds of times before. I grew up going to the beach my whole life. When I dove underneath the wave I hit a sandbar (a hill of sand underneath the water) headfirst instantly breaking my neck and becoming paralyzed. After I hit, my whole body went numb and I could not move a muscle in my body. I was still fully conscious laying face down in the water and could not even lift my head out of the water to take a breath. At that moment I accepted I was going to die that day. After what felt like and eternity, I felt this weird feeling on my back like someone was tapping me. It was one of my friends checking on me to see if I was okay. When I did not respond and my body started to float back out with the tide he knew something was wrong. He ran over to my body and flipped me over so my face was out of the water. I took a huge breath staring straight into the sun. He grabbed my hands and pulled me out of the water by them onto the sand. I remember looking at my arms as he let go of them and they fell to the ground as if they we not a part of my body. I tired to lift them, but they felt way to heavy. At the time my friends thought I was messing with them. I kept trying to say I can't moving anything, but for some reason I could not talk. Blood was coming from my mouth, when I hit my head I bit my tongue. Once they saw the blood they realized something was wrong. A lifeguard called 911 and an ambulance came and took me to the hospital. I was diagnosed as a C-4 incomplete quadriplegic. 
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
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  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 55Moderator Moderator
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    I came about paralysis in the oddest, most random way possible. I was lying in bed on an early Tuesday afternoon, nursing what I thought was a head cold, when I felt an acute burning sensation around my waist, like I was being branded with a circular branding iron. It came and went in about two minutes. I felt physically very uneasy and the need to be constantly moving. At one point I hopped out of bed to go to the bathroom and staggered across the room, like I was drunk. I decided to take a warm bath and the moment I lowered myself in the water, my skin felt on fire. Now my walk back to the bed was torture. I had trouble picking one foot up after the other. It was like walking in quicksand. A few more minutes resting in bed, now in a mild panic, and when I attempted to get back on my feet, my legs collapsed and I fell to the ground. Now I was in a complete panic.

    In a span of hour and a half, I was paralyzed from T-10 down. I was diagnosed with a neuroimmunological disorder called transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spine, of, as they say, ideopathic origins. Why it occurred, experts in the field don't know. Why it occurred to me, they have even less of a clue.

    If you are interested in knowing more about transverse myelitis or similar rare but often devastating neuroimmune disorders, go to the site of the Transverse Myelitis Association at https://myelitis.org.

  • jaarchjaarch Posts: 48Moderator Moderator
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    Well, the short version is, I turned right on a left hand curve. Here's the full story. I was riding my motorcycle up a mountain road that turned out to be a very dangerous road to be on. I was passed by four different cars, that were coming down the mountain, in MY lane! Luckily, I was hugging the edge of the road so there was enough room for them to pass but I was a bit freaked out. As I entered a slow sweeping right, I saw the road made a hard left about half way through. I slowed down, downshifted, and got set up for the left. At some point, I realized I was close to the centerline and I started thinking about a car coming around and making me a hood ornament. I tried to adjust my position in my lane and completely threw off the geometry of the bike and the curve. It all happened so fast, I'm a little fuzzy on exactly what happened but I think I picked up my head and the bike made a beeline for the right shoulder. I realized I was going off the road and immediately went into my emergency stop procedures. As soon as the front tire left the pavement, the bars went full lock right and the bike stopped. I went up and over the windshield and did a perfect pile driver on top of my head. T-3 and T-4 were both crushed and a big chunk of T-3 pushed in and cut my cord.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    Wow that is a crazy story @jaarch. Thanks for sharing.
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    Wow!  We all have some stories to tell don't we?  I was injured due to my type 1 diabetes.  On a Saturday morning in October of 2010, I awoke with a severe hypoglycemic episode (low blood sugar).  I was disoriented and wouldn't let my wife do anything to help me.  She said I was talking like a little boy and even ran outside in my boxers to get into my truck.  When my wife came to get me, I ran inside the house and hid from her.  The next thing she knows is she hears this sound like I was falling down the stairs.  What it was, was me, falling over the banister from the third floor of our house, about 12 feel down to the second floor, onto a hardwood floor.  I don't remember how I fell, the ambulance to the hospital or the helicopter ride to the regional trauma center.  The first thing I remember is waking up in ICU about a week after my surgery.  I suffered a T2 incomplete injury paralyzing me from the nipple line down.
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 259Moderator Moderator
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    Hey guys,
    My boyfriend (Dan) is a C6 level and he had his accident while we were on vacation in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. Dan and I were on our very first out of the country when he dove into the shallow end of the swimming pool, fractured his C5 and began to drown. We have been exactly 3 years in a wheelchair and 3 years without. Life is a crazy, wild ride but here we are! :)

    Elena (Wags of SCI)
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • 619Drake619Drake Posts: 19Member
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    @jaarch
    I am a motorcycle accident survivor as well. In 1989, I had just traded in my old bike on a used Honda 500 interceptor from a dealership and I was driving the new bike home. I lived at the beach and decided to check out the surf on my way to see if I should grab my board and hit the water. Instead, I hit a dip in the road and the bike totally bottomed out on me causing me to lose control and crash into a palm tree. Broke my back at T-5. It turned out there was no air in the front shocks which caused the accident. By the time I was in a position physically and mentally to pursue legal action the bike and the road were no longer in the same condition as the day of the accident making it impossible to prove my theory. I always say I would have made a lousy millionaire anyways. 
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    I just got done re-reading everyone's "how I got injured story" and man oh man what a trip.  But like someone said, we are all still here.  Life is still beautiful to me and definitely worth living.

    Joe
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    Wow @jaarch I am sorry to hear that. I was unable to pursue legal action as well because my accident happened at the beach and I was only 15 years old. I had no idea my life would now be changed forever. However, I am happy to see you have a great sense of humor and a positive attitude! That is huge
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie
    Hey Z, I always remember what Mark Hamill once said after recovering from testicular cancer, " the only disability is a bad attitude."  I couldn't agree with him more...
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    @iamdadman Love it and totally agree!!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • Mnichols23Mnichols23 Posts: 40Moderator Moderator
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    I was injured when I was 17 playing ice hockey. I was checked from behind (not maliciously) and once I fell the other player fell on top of me preventing me from protecting myself from the boards. I slid into the boards head first and broke my C-5. I also had a minor stroke so my right side is a little bit weaker than my left 
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Mnichols23
    You are still here and we are all grateful for that.  I am a T2/T3 and I have a bit more sensation on my left side as opposed to my right...
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    @Mnichols23 Glad you are here to! Did your accident change your views about hockey? Do you watch it?
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • Mnichols23Mnichols23 Posts: 40Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie I love hockey. I watch it everyday. I hold a big charity hockey game every year. Even though it may seem hockey took everything from me. The game has given so much to me.
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Mnichols23
    I love your attitude.  I was at this two week event for people with SCI called Empower SCI and one of the activities was going surfing.  I was sitting next to someone I had gotten friendly with and he had injured himself surfing.  He was very apprehensive and you could see how nervous he was.  When it was his turn, he did it and when he came out of the water (being carried by volunteers on his surfboard) he had the biggest smile on his face.  Surfing 1 SCI 0... your comment about hockey reminded me of that and I wanted to share it with you...
  • 619Drake619Drake Posts: 19Member
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    @iamdadman
    Cool story. I was a big surfer before my accident and have ventured into the ocean only a couple of times and never to surf. They have a big event each year for disabled surfing at a beach in La Jolla,  but I have not tried it. Surfing was such a big part of my life and I really loved paddling hard, feeling the wave catch my board, hopping to my feet and then gliding along the face of that beautiful wall of water. I think I am afraid the adaptive surfing will be a let down and will ruin those memories. I guess I am being selfish with the memories. Does anybody else have a "memory" pre-injury that they hold onto like that?
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @619Drake
    Man, I have a lot of pre-injury memories.  Sometimes the longing for them is not good for me.  I still try to do the things I did pre-injury but of course, I do them differently.  It's funny I came across your post because just very recently I realized how much I miss when my wife would come up to me and want me to hug her.  I stood 6' and she always said how safe she felt in my arms.  I truly miss that.  We bought a love seat that we can sit next to each other on and hold hands and she will put her head on my shoulder which is really nice.  I miss playing golf.  When I was in San Diego, I got to use a special golf cart that stands you up but man it was so hard.  After hitting about 10 golf balls, I was exhausted!  I was always very active and loved playing all kinds of sports with my three brothers and I truly miss that as well.  Just thinking about all of those things makes me sad.  I try to keep the focus on the many blessings I still have and there are plenty.  Yes, but being paralyzed SUCKS!  I am still here though and all the people who love me are grateful for that...

    Joe
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    @Mnichols23 That is awesome man! Having a positive attitude and outlook on life is so huge in a SCI injury. I broke my neck at the beach and still love going to the beach and hanging out there. A lot of people ask me if my views about the beach has changed for me and it hasn't. I love hockey! Really enjoying playoff hockey right now! Such an exciting and badass sport!
    @619Drake I can relate to pre-injury memories.. I miss riding dirt bikes. I was a very active kid growing up and enjoyed doing extreme sports. However, I will always have those memories but have come to terms that I most likely will never do that again. It does suck! but it is my reality. I am a very realistic and logical person. I do not like things to be sugar coated. I just do my best to focus on the things I can still do.  
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 259Moderator Moderator
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    Hi All -
    My husband is a C4 quad and he got hurt at work when a load of flooring that was secured improperly fell on his head, instantly paralyzing him from the chest down. That was 5 years ago. He's a C4 but has C3 function in his left arm because he was severely injured on one side more than the other. He had a C3-C7 burst fracture with cage and liquified bone to fuze his neck. 

    Brooke 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • QuadrollinQuadrollin Posts: 2Member
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    I am a c3/c4 complete quad as a result of a dirt bike accident on 1-14-17. The biggest struggle I’ve had with my injury  was the fact that I could have potentially prevented my injury. I always wore protective gear and something called a Leatt neck brace. The day of my accident I forgot it at home and it was and hour drive to the track, didn’t realize I forgot until my friend and I got to the track. The accident was caused by coming up short on the landing ramp of a table top jump. I didn’t hit the ramp fast enough and came up shot. My front tire hit first and sent me flying over the handle bars. I didn’t have a chance to try and react and landed on my head and like a light switch I was paralyzed. About 2 weeks after I had my trach put in and was able to talk again. I had a chance to ask if I had been wearing my leatt brace would I be paralyzed. The response I got was the worst outcome would have been a incomplete or lower injury but possible on sci. That keeps playing over and over in my head and it makes for difficult days. It’s been 2 1/2 years now and I’m learning to deal with mental side of it and doing pretty well health wise.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    Hey @Quadrollin Thanks for sharing your story. It must be really hard to live with the idea that you could have prevented your accident from happening. I broke my neck diving into a wave at the beach as I had done hundreds of times growing up at the beach. I am a c-4 incomplete and just celebrated my 9 year anniversary this past May. Do your best to not blame yourself, everyone makes mistakes. After my accident happened the only thing I could do for myself is keep moving forward. I can't change what happened to me and it does suck, but I am also happy to still be alive and with my family. 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • QuadrollinQuadrollin Posts: 2Member
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    @Zcollie I’ll be honest there where many dark days after my accident and for the first year. As you say we’re lucky to be alive, that thought helped make those dark days less and less. I can appreciate and admire your positive attitude. I was 24 at the time of my accident and I’m 26 now and just trying to stay positive and look for a bright future. 
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 259Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie My husband was paralyzed 5 years at work when a load of gym flooring that was improperly loaded fell on his head (he was a superintendent building a school). He did not sustain any brain damage but his spinal cord was compressed with a burst fracture at C5. He is a C4 Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury and relies on both a power and manual chair. He is fully dependent but works as hard as he can to regain strength even to this day. - Brooke 

    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie
    hi Brooke,
    I am glad to hear that your husband is fighting for as much independence as possible.  I am 68 and work out with a personal trainer twice a week, get in my stander at home, do stretches on my mat table at home and have some dumbbells that I also use at home.  It helps me psychologically as well as physically...
    Joe
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Quadrollin
    I can totally relate to the feelings of "if I had only"... I injured myself due to my type 1 diabetes.  I had a severe low blood sugar episode and as a result managed to fall over the banister from the third floor of our home down to the second.  It was about 12 feet onto a hardwood floor.  The irony of it is that there were glucose tabs not 6 feet away from me that in my very confused state didn't use.  The first almost 2 years I kept telling myself that I would rather be dead than in this blankety- bland wheelchair.  We are still here though and that is a good thing.  I have come to realize and appreciate the many blessings I have in my life...
    Joe
  • DarlaDarla Posts: 4Member
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    My son was playing with some kid in the hallway at the hotel we were staying at. He was 2 yrs old, the other boy was 9. The boys mother was supposed to be watching them. My son had a backpack. I was told the two boys were fighting over the backpack, the boy got the backpack and threw it out the window, we lived on the fifth floor. It was an old building, the window sills were only 2 feet from the floor. My son looked out the window to see where the backpack went and the older kid come up behind him and pushed him out the window, he fell 6 stories and landed on a flat rooftop, he had a lot of internal injuries and became a t3 level. It was terrible! My son has never lived a life without pain, he was never able to jump and play like he used to. If I could give my life to make his better, I would do just that. 
  • allygrizzardallygrizzard Posts: 5Moderator Moderator
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    Car accident survivor here! On January 31st, 2015, I was driving my 6 week old puppy to the vet for her shots. I live in a very rural area in Georgia and livestock and hay are a huge deal here. Most make an income farming and take it very seriously. So serious that someone felt the need to steal hay from a farmer and take off down the road in their hay truck when the owner caught him in action. When he was on the run, he just so happened to be coming at me head on in my lane. I swerved to miss, causing me to flip end-over-end for 75 yards. I was ejected and thrown 50 feet from my car, landing flat on my back. My first thought when I landed was my dog. I tried to get up, but couldn't move, because it paralyzed me instantly. The homeowners of the home it happened in front of called 911 and did all they could until the ambulance arrived. I don't remember anything after not being able to move when trying to get up. I was put into the ambulance and then taken 1 mile down the road where a helicopter could land and I was life-flighted to Grady Memorial in Atlanta. I took my last breath in the helicopter and was rushed straight into immediate surgery when I arrived, because when I landed on the ground at the scene, it not only paralyzed me instantly, but my spleen also ruptured, causing all of my organs to bleed internally and caused 2 internal tears in my stomach, collapsed lungs and also a C2 fracture in my neck. I had my spleen removed and tears repaired, but still wasn't stable. Surgeons didn't expect me to make it through the night, so I stayed in ICU on the ventilator. 3 days later, I was stable enough to undergo X-rays and CT scans of my back and brain, where they saw my entire back was shattered and spinal cord injured at T-12. So, the next day I went into an 8 hour back surgery and had my entire spine re-constructed with rods and screws. After, I stayed in ICU on the ventilator until I had my lung surgery to open my collapsed lungs back up and then was able to begin very intense physical, occupational and recreational therapy at the Shepherd Center. I had to allow my neck injury to heal on its own with a neck brace for 16 weeks, due to C2 being the hangman bone. It would've killed me instantly if my surgeon performed surgery on it. I was at Shepherd for a total of 7 1/2 months, including in-patient, day-program and out-patient therapy and I wouldn't be where I am today without them! I'm completely independent, married and living my best life! Lilly, my puppy, survived too with no injuries! ;) She is now 4 years old and my service dog! 
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @allygrizzard
    Hello Ally,
    Wow!  What a story.  I am glad you are still here and part of our group.  I am also so happy your puppy made it and is now your service dog.  That is freakin' awesome!  Congratulations on living your best life.  That is what I try to do as well.  I am getting my doggie trained to be my service dog.  I find out more about it next week.

    Joe
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    @Darla

    Darla,  I am so very sorry.  That is a gut wrenching story.  When it comes to our children, I think any parent would do anything to take their place.  I was 59 when I was injured from a fall and have often wondered what would be more difficult; getting injured so young like your son and never experiencing being able-bodied or being injured at my age after having a life of being able-bodied and now losing it all.  I still have not answered that question.  I don't think there is an answer.  Peace and much love...

    Joe  
  • ctlive2skictlive2ski Posts: 2Member
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    I worked as a Nurse/Nurse Practitioner and had been receiving epidurals for over 10 years for back spasms. On Dec. 11, 2011 when I was 56 the pain physician "missed" and injected the wrong solution into the wrong place. Talk about a perfect storm. I was immediately paralyzed on the right side (hemi) and rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital since I was having trouble breathing (C5-7). The only thing I remember for the next 24 hours are the ambulance ride (I asked the "attendants" if they could intubate and they shook their head "no"-- seriously?) and a constant barrage of residents/drs/med students/ nurses poking and prodding and saying, "Can you feel this?"  The next day I was transferred to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I remained there for about a month receiving intense PT/OT. In the meantime my husband and sons had to make the house handicap accessible, install a lift for my wheelchair, and make a bedroom on the 1st floor where I remained for the next 4 months. My outpt. regime began immediately at Magee Hospital in Philly. I had PT/OT daily for the next year, and am able to walk with a brace/cane. I still have no feeling in/use of my right arm/hand. I tried to return to teaching nursing at Drexel University, but chronic pain has left me unable to work. I've had 4 back surgeries since the injury, and will be having the 5th one on Sept 3rd. PT has continued to this day because of the surgeries. I am indebted to the Christopher Reeve foundation for enabling me to walk. (I did locomotor training.)
    Finding a purpose after having my profession ripped away (iamdadman, I get it!) was the most difficult part for me. I began volunteering in a poor socioeconomic are near us in 2015. I have found that very fulfilling. Also in 2015 our 1st grandchild was born, and now we have 4 grandsons. 
    Life is challenging with the chronic pain. It's difficult for my husband/family to understand (probably partly due to the fact that I try to be strong for everyone else). I also miss not being able to hold my grandsons unless I get on the floor (that's an interesting site to see!) or someone puts them in my arms. But there are some positives. Instead of biking, hiking, and skiing, I now swim (with a belt), kayak (with a special glove) and walk (if not in pain). I'm also a Health Mentor at Jefferson for Medical/PT/OT students. Life goes on....


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