Told He Would Not Walk Again — Reeve Connect
Reeve en Español
Comunidad de información y apoyo para las personas que viven con parálisis y sus cuidadores en español.

Told He Would Not Walk Again

cstone Member Posts: 1
My husband broke his C4, 5, and 6 in a diving accident on July 4th, only 2 months after our wedding day. He's gone from completely paralyzed after the surgery, to now being able to move both of his arms, wrists, shoulders, able to use tenodesis to help with feeding himself and he was even able to wiggle his toes for the first time three weeks ago. He's working so hard and he has such a great attitude. He's able to use his abdomen muscles to help balance sitting up by himself (with use of leg loops). All of our specialists and MDs have told us that there's no way to know if Nathan is going to be walking again, and that every SCI is different, and really it's just going to take time to figure out what's permanent and what's not.
We've been really trying to work on his upright tolerance and that's been one of his goals over the past couple of months. They started him out in the tilt table and he was doing alright with that, so they moved him to the standing frame. It was much harder to keep his BP up, and so he has only been able to tolerate maybe 2 minutes before his BP is back in the 70s and we have to put him back down. His PT mentioned earlier in the week that we might want to stop pursuing that goal so heavily at the moment, and focus more on his upper body strength since he's doing stellar in that category. Yesterday, at his PT appointment with his regular therapist, I asked her again if she thinks we're going to put the goal on the back burner. She said it was going to be up to us - if that goal was worth it for us to keep working on it now. I said, "Well, the goal ultimately, of course, is for him to walk again." She said, "That's a really unrealistic goal, this is more for him to stand again and do things in a standing position." I let that sink in even though I had a lot of questions for her, although I was afraid to ask. About 5 minutes later, I mustered my courage to ask the question that was running on a loop in my head. "When you said that walking is an unrealistic goal, do you mean just right now or do you mean, like, forever?" And she told me, in front of my husband, as non-chalantly as talking about dinner plans, "No, he's not going to walk again." At my pause, she continued, "We go off an algorithm, and if he was going to walk again, he'd have a whole lot more movement and response in his legs than he has now." I did argue with her there, but has anyone gotten this news and become so enraged like I did?
How dare she, who is not an MD - who can't know the future - who has no idea what's going to happen in the next 6 months/year/5 years, tell my husband to give up hope and not work toward walking again? I get there's an algorithm. I understand that. But everyone is different. Hope is such a driving factor in this recovery, and I am just so stunned and angry at her completely dismissing it, right to his face. I'm so frustrated and think it's so irresponsible and unprofessional. How could she possibly know? And she could have said the same thing, but in a way more tactful manner. She could have told us that with the algorithm, there's supposedly no chance of him walking again, but miracles happen, and maybe we should put that goal on the back burner for the time being and revisit it once we reach some more attainable goals. To tell someone they can't do something puts that defeat in their head before they even try. I'm just so defeated and angry.
Thankfully, Nathan (my husband) took it not-too-seriously and tried to calm me down while I was shouting in the car on the way home about how irresponsible it was of her to say anything for a fact.
I'm just wondering if anyone else was told they would never walk again, and have made improvements to show that they were wrong. I need to know that there's hope, that we can get through this. Obviously I will love my husband if he was completely paralyzed, but the fact that he can wiggle his toes I feel like is a huge sign that that's not the case.


  • leksa
    leksa Member Posts: 12
      Wiggling the toes is a good sign. The nerves are trying to repair themselves right now. He will get vibrations from the tip of his toes and eventually it will move up his legs into his fingertips. That's what happened to me. I broke my C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6. I was told I would never move also. I am a quadriplegic with partial movement. The vibrations lasted several years.
      There are always exceptions to the rules. When it comes time be diligent exercising.
      I wish your husband well. Never give up.
Sign In or Register to comment.