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Stepson broke T4-6 last Saturday

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    Stepson broke T4-6 last Saturday

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, stumbled upon when researching SCI. My stepson was in an accident Dec 10, had surgery that night. Broke T4-6. I'm really looking for information on what to expect in the next week(s), month(s). I know every injury is different, and of course we still don't know to what extent his injuries are. He can feel when you touch him but can't move his legs. He's still in ICU right now, as they're having difficulty stabilizing his blood pressure, and he's still not really eating.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. He is in Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.


    Thank you, we know it will be a long road. He can feel everywhere (dull) when you touch him but has no movement. He is 19. Thanks for the info about the blood pressure, that helps. Have you heard if it's possible that he can learn to walk again with this kind of injury?


      Welcome to CareCure. By blood pressure problems I assume you mean extremely low BP. As smashms so aptly put it, in the next months he will be training for his new normal. Having an SCI now is very different from 30 years ago. Today there are much better chances of complete recovery. Encourage them to take rehab very seriously; it is a very short opportunity these days.

      Lyndhurst Rehab is a bit of a gong show, or at least it was in the late 80s. Great rehab, but partying was rampant.


        lol, I never would have thought of that, sounds like a frat. Thanks for the smile I'm not sure where he will be sent yet, but we will see to it that he takes it seriously, I agree from what I've been reading it makes all the difference, how hard you work especially in the first few months.


          oh and yes his blood pressure keeps going very low



            Make sure they are checking his skin and turning him so he doesn't develop pressure sores, this is critical.


              Hi Jodi,

              My husband Earl fell 30 ft. from a tree, and had a T12 burst fracture 7 months ago. He was flown by helicopter to Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Med Center. When he was admitted the MRI showed a 70% compression of the spinal cord, and he couldn't feel anything below his waist. He could move his left foot a tiny bit. They did surgery, and they did not expect him to walk again. It was a very grim picture, to say the least.

              For the first 3 days he had nothing below the waist - no feeling, no movement. On day 4 he moved his rt. leg a little, and that was just the beginning. He went to inpatient rehab for 6 weeks, and they had him up and walking with a walker on his 3rd day there. It wasn't pretty, and only a short distance, but he did it.

              Fast forward 7 months, and today he is walking with AFO braces on both legs (you can't see them if he is wearing pants). He went from wheelchair to walker to 4 prong canes, to 1 regular cane. He still has issues with nubmness on his feet and the back of his legs, and balance, but he is walking very well. He has just a slight limp, and he is only using his cane outside on uneven ground now.

              I know that when he had his injury I found a lot of information here in the beginning, because the doctors tell you so little. But some of it was scary too, because so many people don't have a lot of return. Our nurse case manager (it was a work injury so we have to have a case manager) told me that the dr's just don't know in the beginning, and they tell you very little. She said that where they are after surgery is just a starting point, and everyone is very different. Needless to say, when we went to his neurosurgeon for his first follow up, he was so excited to WALK into his office (with his walker at the time) and prove the doctor wrong!!

              I hope that your stepson has a wonderful recovery as well. Feel free to ask any questions.



                Thanks so much Missy, a huge congrats to you and your husband! How wonderful I would be thrilled if he could walk clumsily even if it takes some time. You are right, they tell you very little and I guess that's why, they just don't know. I also read that the damage can spread over the first weeks or even months so they really wouldn't know long term. It's just good to hear that it's possible. Lou is not moving anything, I think he'd be super excited if he could get a toe to move! It's just been 4 days so maybe we will get some movement yet, you give me hope. Thank you!


                  "Make sure they are checking his skin and turning him so he doesn't develop pressure sores, this is critical."

                  They have been putting pillows under one side and then the other, they said to prevent bedsores, I'm not sure about the skin, I will ask when I'm there tonight. I know they did give us a pamphlet on taking care of the skin but they haven't talked to us much about it. Thank you!


                    Hi Jodi, I'm so sorry to hear about your stepson. It certainly is something to shake a family up. You have an important thing going for you....a reasonable understanding of what might happen and how long it might take. You're right that every recovery is different.

                    The best thing you can do for your stepson is stick with him and encourage him. Whatever recovery he gets, make sure he makes the most of it. It will be his job for a long while.

                    In the meantime, help his recover as much of his life as is possible and get him back to as many familiar activities as possible. Recoving from something as traumatic as he's experiencing can be an isolating experience, even when you're surrounded by people.

                    I wish him and the family the best as he makes his way through recovery. Use the people and resources on this site to get answers and support whenever you need it. I'm rooting for you!


                      Jodi, so sorry to hear of your step son. You did stumble on a wonderful website with many people who are here to help out. It is very early to know what the outcome may be his age is a plus to put up a good fight. My family was told I was paralyzed, but not true, I was in mva a year ago and am walking with a cane, it might not be pretty, but I can get out.

                      It is going to be his full time job to get better and probably alot of rehab. He is going to feel overwhelmed and is going to need alot of family support along with tears and many hugs.

                      I wish the best for you, your stepson and the rest of your family. This will be a joint effort with all of you.

                      Keep up the faith and always ask questions.
                      JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

                      Live Well--Laugh often


                        Thanks Smashms, I will check on those things. We are in Ontario, but are very lucky to have great hospitals and SCI rehabs, I've been told one in Toronto and one in Hamilton, both fairly near to us, are cutting edge.


                          Thanks Jeapow and Truly, we are very lucky to be in a small town with a huge community of friends and family that are supporting him. He's just beat cancer, was in chemo and then radiation until the summer for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, was told he was cancer-free in November. I'm so thankful that he had a couple of months to build his strength back up before this happened... Now we know why he wasn't allowed to ride his snowmobile or dirt bike while in cancer treatment. My point is, we've created this huge network of people over the past year to help us through that so we will just have to hope they have strong enough shoulders to carry us a little longer.


                            Jodi, gosh just getting over chemo and now this injury. We are told we won't get more than we can handle sometimes we wonder though.

                            In the past two years I had emergency gall bladder surgery, a total knee replacement, L1Burst fracture and a pulmanary embolism guess I have a guardian angel hugh? The rehab to my back is my biggest challenge. It has been a little over a year and sommetimes it is hard not to look back to before my accident. I know this is normal and your step son will surely feel the same way. Especially when you see able bodied people walk so normal and easy.

                            I am thankful I can even walk with a cane, like I told you I was suppose to be paralyzed. I have neuropathy and am learning how to deal with that, it does not sound like your step son has that.

                            Prayers for your whole family you sound like a wonderful step Mom, he is lucky to have you. Also you need to take care of yourself. Keep us posted.
                            JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

                            Live Well--Laugh often


                              Hi Jodi,

                              I'm so sorry to hear about what has happened to your stepson. These early weeks post-SCI are difficult and overwhelming, to say the least.

                              My husband had a very similar injury in July. He fractured T4-T6 and also cracked C7 (no spinal cord damage there). As everyone else has already said, be sure to go to a good rehab center that specializes in SCI-you really need to go somewhere that will teach your stepson and whoever his caregivers are going to be how to take care of him once he's released from the hospital. You need to know what to do with skin, bowel, and bladder issues. As a T4, he'll probably be able to do most everything on his own at some point. My husband really relied on others a lot up until his brace (a TLSO) came off 8 weeks post injury. I would encourage you to look into outpatient rehab options while he's in inpatient rehab. Try to have things lined up for his therapy before he leaves. The rehab center should do some of this for you, but we also wanted to add in exercise therapy and other "non-traditional" things, so we had to do this on our own.

                              In terms of recovery, as everyone has said, it's still too soon to say. My husband has recovered a lot, but is not walking. He's hoping to begin using KAFO braces in the new year, though, so that he can start working with a walker.

                              I think our definition of recovery has changed a lot since he was first injured. In the early days and weeks, neither of us could accept that he might not walk again-recovery at that point meant walking. We didn't know anyone before this who had a SCI and were unaware of all that can be done in a wheelchair. Make sure your stepson meets other people with SCI while in the hospital. It really helps to see other people who have been where you are, and to see that they're doing well, walking or not. While we still hope that he will walk one day, we also now know that our life and our family will be great even if he doesn't.

                              You've found a great resource here, and are lucky to have found it so early. I know CC has been a tremendous resource for us over the past 5 months.