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How You Became Spinal Cord Injured

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332 replies to this topic

#1 shynook11


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Posted 22 October 2010 - 10:19 PM

I was wondering if you would be willing to share your story about how you ( or you family member) became injured / paralyzed? I am in awe of all of the courage and honesty I read on these boards.



#2 dron


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 12:12 AM

I became paralyzed at the age of 17 playing hockey. I fell headfirst into the boards with 20 seconds left in the game. It's been 26 years and counting.
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#3 Jess67



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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:00 AM

Logging, deadfall from behind. 20 yrs ago and still seems like yesterday. And Dron, thats a sad way to get it. My whole life was hockey. Just street, league, and rental. That is my biggest thing I miss.

#4 1positivethinker


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:17 AM

High speed MVA (motor vehicle accident) when a semi collided with our school bus and we rolled multiple times into a field, I was only 6 years old.

Hello, my name is Christie, and I love my friends!
When life gets you down, grab a cloud and examine the silver lining. --Me

#5 photogal



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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:44 AM

I'm 17 and have Transverse Myelitis at T4/5/6. I am partially paralyzed although I know it could be much worse. That TM started back in April and I have been getting progressively worse since.
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#6 JimG


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 02:51 AM

Snow skiing.

I was racing my (then) 15 y/o son and a group of little kids from a ski school came out of the trees right in front of us, so I immediately took to the side to keep from running them over.

Unfortunately....it wasn't groomed on the sides of the run and I crashed.

Walked around with a broken L5 for 18 months and the herniated disc at T6 for 30 months before getting them fixed.
Adversity doesn't build character.....it reveals it.

#7 Oldsparkie



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Posted 23 October 2010 - 04:31 AM

Fell eight feet from a ladder and landed on my toolbox, ten years ago. At least I haven't had to climb a dam ladder since.
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#8 The Black Sheep

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 04:33 AM

I'm a Transverse Myelitis diagnosis. I fell asleep when I had mono, and the virus got into my spinal cord and swelling strangled the nerves. We believe I may have herniated the T5 disc a few days before I was paralyzed, when I fell gently off a trampoline, giving an opening for the problem to start. I was 13 then, and I'm 25 now. I'm only partially paralyzed and have normal sensation, minus temperature or pain, but very little movement beyond wiggling my toes, ankles and a little bit of pull in my hips and knees.

Edited by The Black Sheep, 23 October 2010 - 04:34 AM.

3 doctors diagnosed me with hysterical paralysis (weee!), 1 diagnosed an incomplete T7, another T2 and the last (and most accurate) T5. Trampolines are BAD. Sleep is unpredictable. And never kiss strangers. Life has moved on.

#9 dingle



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Posted 23 October 2010 - 07:24 AM

In September 1965 I was hit by a Black London Taxi which came through a traffic light at red on a Saturday morning at 1,30 am in London and I still don't what I was doing there.

#10 airart1


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 09:17 AM

i fell asleep while driving, overworked, nothing spectacular, layed in field for 6-7 hours till i was found.............

#11 Edinburgh Colin

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 09:54 AM

Low speed motorcycle accident, strong gust of wind, I was only doing 25mph and was blown towards an embankment, so I jumped off as you do rather than rolling down a hill with a big lump of hot metal. When I stopped bouncing and rolling it hurt a lot. But I managed to get back up the hill and get on the bike and ride home. Put the bike in the garage and walked into the house and sat in the lounge feeling stupid and in pain, last walk I did.
Fracture of T2, internal bleeding 7 vertebrae laminectomy 34 hours later and then months of hospital.

Should have been going faster!!!
Impossible only describes a problem that needs viewed from a different perspective

#12 davjed


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 03:43 PM

Friend said I was too drunk to drive so he took my keys to drive himself. He lost it on a curve and I wound up in a ditch with a car on top of me. He wasn't injured of course......

#13 DannyR


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 06:01 PM

Not absolutely sure. Mine was a dengerative condition where I had 2 herenated discs putting pressure on the spinal cord. I was run over by a car when I was a kid,drunk driver on the sidewalk, and 40 years later I got a stiff neck that wouldn't go away.Doctors think this must be the cause because of the type of injury. First I lost the use of my hands then I couldn't walk. It was about 6 weeks from the time I got the stiff neck to surgery, but when things started going real bad it was only a few weeks. Last day I worked was January 19,2009 my surgery was February 10,2009. I got the stiff neck right after Christmas 2008.
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#14 sh1wn


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 07:02 PM

I was drunk and thought it would be a good idea to walk on the railing of a bridge, not my brightest idea. I was 23 and I fell around 30 feet and landed right on my head. I was awake for a few minutes after I hit and I knew I was f*@ked. After that I don't know what happened for about a month and woke up a quad, happened spring of 2007.

#15 julibugs


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 09:09 PM

This is how I introduced myself to the forum in May -

since I wrote it I spent 12 weeks in hospital after another emergency admission to hospital - My Cauda Equina not quite finished with me, I have lost some of the limited function I had and suffered damage to the nerves suppling my kidneys, it was good to write it all down then and good to revisit it today. I am moving on, I still think about suicide but I have a lot to be thankful for: this forum and all the brave people who visit it, my family which has now grown with the arrival in Sep of another granddaughter in New Zealand and especially today because for the first time I have looked after my third granddaughter and she is staying the night. Today has been a very good day.


Three years ago I was fit, active and in full time employment, life was being very good to me.

I am married, not for the first time - our combined family has 9 children with 6 still living at home, we have a partly renovated house and three beautiful grand daughters who light up our lives.

My first spinal injury resulted from a surfing accident just about three years ago - I was struck in the back of the neck by a surfer who was surfing in the bathing area. Apart from some spectacular bruising I felt fine after the accident, checked over by a doctor friend who was on holiday with us and just felt a bit stiff and uncomfortable. A few days later I began to get tingling in my R hand - over a period of about two weeks it spread to my whole arm along with terrible pain. It took six weeks for me to be seen at the spinal unit - a scan confirmed that I had a disc pressing on my spinal cord. For reasons I'm still not sure about no operation was offered and I learnt to live with the pain - which has been constant and debilitating. When it got to the point where I could only work and sleep with no energy for my family I gave up work.
This changed my life - and our family finances. I have always been an optimist, my new life gave me precious time with my eldest grand daughter and time to go and visit my daughter and grand daughter number two, in New Zealand just weeks after she was born. At home I spent a lot of time with my dying father iin law - I had a new routine, every day I went to the nursing home and gave Dad his breakfast, read the paper to him and my reward was to see the occasional smile and the infrequent but amazing moments of pure clarity from this lovely man who was being stolen by dimentia.

One day in September last year I hurt my back - doing nothing in particular, the pain was severe and broke through the armoury of medication I was taking for my arm/shoulder pain, my legs went numb, I had a loss of sensation in my saddle area. I rested, phoned the GP and was diagnosed muscle strain and given diazipam over the phone. Days pass in a fog of pain and pins and needles. Eventually a GP comes to the house, I am examined "have you had any incontinence" "no I have the opposite - no urge to empty bladder/bowels, I have to strain to pass urine" , GP sticks pins in me that I don't feel. I need an urgent MRI - a phone call will be made to spinal unit. I am afraid - instinct tells me something bad is happening. No word comes from GP or hospital - I am told an appointment will be sent in the post. It can't be that bad then, can it.
I struggle on I miss days with my father in law - too much pain to move. The consultant asks questions, no examination - "no I have not been incontinent, I have the oppisite blah blah" You will be sent an appointment for an MRI More weeks pass ..................................

The MRI technician is concerned - I am struggling to walk now, I have developed a shuffle, my good arm uses a crutch to support me - my feet hurt so much, I can't lift them up, I have had UTI's that have put me into a high fever, there is pus and blood in the urine that I struggle to pass. I have to wait for another appointment with the consultant. I go to my GP my bowels have stopped working - you are constipated its the pain killers, have laxatives. This becomes my dirty secret, the smearing, the knickers changed several times a day, and the strong perfume to cover up the smell of my rotting bowels.

My father in law has a chest infection - he has stopped smiling, it's time for him to go. For there own reasons the rest of the family won't/can't visit him, so I sit and talk to him. Christmas will be different this year, no cards are sent, the kids make mince pies and decorate a tree and I sit some more. I go back to see the consultant - the questions are repeated "no I'm not incontinent" "you need an urgent operation we will write to you". When the letter comes my husband cries - he will get his wife back at the end of January. On the 18th Dec my father in law is grey - he is going today maybe tomorrow. Family come, my new grand daughter lies asleep in his dying arms - the only cuddle they will ever have. Night falls and the family go away - I lie next to him and comfort him, my husband comes and we wait. In the early hours of the morning he slips away, his suffering ended at last.

Christmas is quiet and I am glad, I do the basics and I cry in pain - and the new year comes and we have a funeral to go to - I shuffle to the grave side and nobody thanks me for all the hand holding, sitting, breakfasts and talking I did. I don't mind it's what I do. My new career is caring for people.

Two days after the funeral - The pain reaches a new level - I stay in bed, the next day I sleep and get up in the evening to make dinner for my family the pain is like hot knives and I can't eat now it takes too much effort. I pass out, I vomit violently and wet myself. At last I can phone the hospital they will operate and take my pain away.

We arrive in the spinal unit after midnight - the registrar who examins me is concerned, he will phone the on call consultant. He comes back and says they need to do an MRI before they can operate, I cry out how long will it take, I think more days of this will be too much. I know I am really in trouble when he says there will be no wait - the radiographer is on his way now. A kind consultant waits for me when i come out of the MRI scanner - we are taking you to theatre now, we will do our best to save the nerves to your bladder - but it's not looking good.

The operation takes six hours - they untangle the delicate nerves from the disk material that is everywhere, I wake up and the pain is gone, I am so grateful. The physiotherapist comes and examines me, they let me rest. The consultant comes and tells me the damage is extensive and I may not make a full recovery - I don't understand.

They physio comes back - and brings an orthotist with her, they explain how they are going to fit splints to my paralysied feet, she asks how long have they been like this. I don't know - I remember the shuffle, how could I not notice that I couldn't lift them or move my toes.

The catheter comes out and I am encouraged to go to the toilet - they scan my bladder after I pee, there is 1.6L of retained urine - they put the catheter back.

The day I am due to go home - I have been shown how to self catheterise, I have splints that help me walk and a wheelchair is on order, there is equipment waiting at home. I can walk a little bit with my one crutch. A consultant is on ward round - she knows me well, she has been caring for my daughter for six years - she has scoliosis and hypermobility. She takes my notes and reads them - she is angry and tells me that I am her patient now, she holds my hands and asks me if anyone has told me I have CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME, i say no and she tells me I must take advise about my case. I don't understand.

Back at home I use my lap top to look up CES and slowly it dawns on me that this is what I have and it should have been obvious to my GP and the consultant months ago.

I have had a long and difficult recovery - I am exhausted, I wake up and feel stiff and in pain all over my body, I am still suffering from frequent UTI's, night times are a blur of pain and stiffness, my husband has to carefully reposition me, empty my bladder and give me more pain relief.

I now have a diagnosis - Cauda Equina Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Kidney reflux, an antibiotic resistant infection in my bladder and an Auto Immune Problem which is yet to be given a name.

I am living a life that is not mine yet - I am a prisoner in my bedroom a lot of the time, I have got used to the catheters and am very grateful for the wonderful anal irrigation system. Next week I will see a rehab specialist. I have had NU DRIVE fitted for my wheelchair which makes it possible for me to propel myself with my very weak right arm. I often think about suicide and then feel guilty, I think of my children and my grand daughters and then I cry.

Thank you for reading my story.

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Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

#16 Parachute


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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:46 PM

I was injured tackling someone while playing rugby.


#17 charmed1199



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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:18 PM

It started out as slipped disc in 1999 and I had to take a month off from work,then in 2004 I had L-5/6 injury but went thru therapy and recovered slowly. Then Sept'09 had C-4/5 injury. It was a degenerative condition and I am thinking low vitamin D levels.

#18 Soryfam


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Posted 02 November 2010 - 09:09 PM

November, 2007. I contracted MRSA in my spine. It had eaten away T7 & T8 by the time the doctors realized how bad it was. Went to the hospital in an ambulance, had surgery same day, was paralyzed from the waist down for a couple of months, and now some sensation in the legs and can walk with a cane. Have had to have the bottom of my spine fused also. I figure someday they'll just connect it all together in one big fusion.


#19 wheelinmom


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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:52 AM

mva, 04-22-04, missed a curve, went down a ravine hit a big cement thingy, car flipped end over end 5x, i was ejected out the back window, and flew bout 100ft before landing, i wasnt wearing my seatbelt but it actually saved me from severe brain damage, laid in a cow pasture for bout 20min, someone happened to see me miss the curve...my hero, i broke t-11 and t-12, crimped my cord, broke all ribs on both sides with severe damage to my lungs, broke r scapula, collar bone, minor cuts and bruises and a bald spot on the back of my head...lol we never figured that one out, chopper landed beside me in the field, said i was breathing 2% on my own (thats what i was told but idk how true that is) was known as barbara doe for the first few days, had a stroke on my third day, developed pnumonia, blah blah blah, 6 weeks later i woke up and didnt know anything or remember the wreck, no one actually told me i was paralyzed, my pt came in and put the shell on me and sit me up for the first time, thru her conversation i realized what my situation was...krazi. rehab was a trip, and my introduction to discrimination, i was dazed and confused,(i wasnt sent home with a wheelchair like everyone else and they tried to lie about it)thats another story, well since then i been tryna figure this life out...........tmi, sry :}
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#20 Stickman


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Posted 03 November 2010 - 04:56 AM

Spinal cord tumor (Ependymoma) @ T8-T10

#21 t-diddy



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Posted 03 November 2010 - 07:30 AM

Surfing,,,Was in the barrel hit a little chop sent me over the falls. Shallow sandbar landed on my feet solid, back sore only, drove home, travelling in the ambulance lost the use of my legs. T-10 incomplete

#22 Conflicted Heart

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 03:54 PM

Six months ago, my boyfriend was an innocent bystander in a bizarre shootout with four police officers, who recklessly emptied their guns and shot him in the back of his neck, destroying his C4 vertebrae and leaving bullet fragments in his spinal cord. He has no movement below his shoulders. He is still hospitalized and breathes with the assistance of a ventilator. We are still in shock and devastated by what has happened and have many questions regarding what to expect if he even manages to survive his hospital stay.


#23 Stand


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Posted 07 November 2010 - 10:43 PM

Dove into a sandbar while vacationing in New Jersey, August 18, 2009.
If you don't try, you fail.


#24 S&W Winger

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 07:29 AM

I simply flew into a fence after my motorcycle, upon hitting the sandy ditch, disintegrated into hundreds of pieces beneath me after I skillfully avoided the large bovine who chose to park in the road in my lane of travel, and the d@mn cow won...so I guess I was hung out to dry and was rewarded with my only helicopter ride, of which I cannot recall anything past riding off the pavement to get around the blasted bull...though I do have some recollection of my SO and my Mom arguing over my religion after they told them I wasn't going to make it and to call the priest rabbi reverend monk minister whoever...but then, they stuck the vent back in and I Lived...again...

"A wild patience has taken me this far..."

#25 rey



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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:10 AM

May 03, 2000. i was under a truck doing something when suddenly the truck moved and run over it was painless, only minor scratches, i thought nothing had happen to me, only when i tried to stand that i realized, i can't feel my legs and can't move them.... it was a blink of an eye and i lost everything. :(

#26 stillgotswag


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Posted 08 November 2010 - 02:37 PM

I was shot twice one hittng my neck at c5-c6.
I never did like snakes... so I got out the gutter.

#27 bongorum


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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:09 AM

I was shot during a holdup in a grocery store. I thought I could make a run for it but was noticed by one of the bandits, who severed my spinal cord in one shot. It's been fifteen years now and no one has been brought to book for the crime. Life's a bitch, but you adjust, adapt, and hope you reach the end with a good story to tell.

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“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus

#28 Snakeye


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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:42 AM

This question seems to be brought up about every few months but that's cool. I'm game...I fell off a ladder cleaning my gutters....I know..boring but it's best I can do....

Edited by Snakeye, 07 March 2011 - 03:45 AM.

#29 D. Smith

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:02 AM

I was riding a 07 CBR600 and apparently went real fast then got mad and decided to throw the bike. I threw it and then caught it... Successfully I guess you could say. For the record, I was only trying to learn how to ride in a wide open parking lot.
When in Rome, go naked! --xbox360 tag: Ice764
-- You have to crawl before you walk; You have to slide before you depress; You have to love before you live. --

#30 Barbie4



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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:23 AM

My husband used to be a pilot and decided to build houses inbetween flying jobs. He fell backwards into a basement while building a house.

Spinal Cord Injury & Cauda Equina Syndrome Support

This website is a way for those with spinal cord injuries and cauda equina syndrome to share experiences and advice. Any medical matters, treatments or alternative therapies discussed on this website should be thoroughly reviewed by a medical professional or therapist before being acted upon. Under no circumstances should you alter prescribed medication or a medical care plan without consulting your doctor or care plan supervisor first.