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Lives that have drastically changed.....

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    Lives that have drastically changed.....

    Hello, my name is Suzanne. I am speaking on behalf of my Son, Chad Lapp. He will turn 29 on the 26th of this month. On June 6, 2010, he had a diving accident that broke his neck. The c5 was crushed and c6 was badly damaged. He was life flighted to UTMB in Galveston. The following day he had a surgery to replace the c5 with a doner bone and a metal plate screwed to c4 and c7 to stabilize the neck. The next day had two metal bars attached to the other side. We were told he would never breath on his own. After 3 weeks he was off of the vent. After 6 weeks in the hospital he was transferred to TIRR for rehabilitation. He left UTMB with a sacral bed wound that ended up being a stage 4. He also got pneumonia, so between difficulties with that, low blood pressure issues and the wound he could not participate in therapy and was transferred to a LTAC to heal his wound. In September he had plastic surgery, they moved some muscle from the top of his butt cheek to fill the hole and did a flap. The next 3 months were horrible pain as Chad had feeling coming back. He always had feelings in his legs but could not move them. His hands were numb and could not move fingers but can move his arms. He came home on December 15th. I had to quit my job to stay home and take care of him. We were both scared to death, but I learned quickly what needed to be done. I had watched daily what the nurses and doctors were doing thru the whole process. I learned how to suction the treach, how to cath and about the bowel program. The teach was removed before he came home, He came home with a foley instead of me cathing every four hours. Home health set up physical therapy, occupational therapy and a nurse. The nurse comes once a week. PT and OT come 3 times a week, this week to be our last visits and hopefully back to TIRR for phase 2 rehab. Chad’s PT, Paul is an awesome man. He has worked really hard with Chad. He is moving his legs a little and has stood him straight up. In the last 2 weeks he is having violent body spasams. I do not know what to do about them. Chad does not have a regular doctor so I can only call on the doctor he had at the LTAC, he said to give an extra dose of the Baclofen, that has not helped. He currently is on 15ml 3 times a day. Paul said they are called clonous spasams caused by intensely stretching muscles. I have not found a lot of info on this.
    Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrows cultivate compassion. Those who have suffered the most will become the happiest......

    Hi "Chadsmom,"
    Welcome to the Care Cure Community. I'm very sorry your son has had such a difficult time since his injury and that he has not been able to get a good rehab experience. Try to get him to that center TIRR (Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) as quickly as you can. There will be doctors who specialize in spinal cord injury who will be very effective in prescribing the medication he needs.
    Meanwhile, here is a definition of Clonus Spasms that may help you understand the condition better.
    Clonus Spasms are convulsive spasms, or clonus, is a series of rapidly alternating contractions and partial relaxations of a muscle. In some nervous diseases, convulsive spasms involve complex groups of muscles and may result from changes in the normal pattern of motor neuron discharge.
    Here are several threads that have appeared on this website that might give you further information.

    I hope you son benefits greatly from resuming a good rehab program.

    All the best,


      I am sorry for the experience you are going through, it is a very common tale here on CC. You will get lots of great help.

      Two things. I also get very strong spasms whenever I stretch my body, say when going from the chair to bed. If he is getting spasms without major position adjustments, you may want to check for a urinary tract infection which is not uncommon with foleys, or some type of bowel impaction. Have him read about autonomic disreflexia. Surely others will jump in soon with many other suggestions.

      For many of us it gets a little better with time. Both of you hang in there.
      T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003


        Thank you GJ and paramoto.I will look at the links or threads, I am still trying to learn this site. Also trying to get Chad to look and jump in. Suzanne
        Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrows cultivate compassion. Those who have suffered the most will become the happiest......


          hi chadsmom.
          very sorry for what has happened to your family. please dont hesitate to ask anything at all.
          welcome to care cure.


            Hello and welcome to CareCure, Suzanne and Chad. I don't know the answers to your medical questions, but there are many kind and knowledgeable people here who can help - and you'll find a great deal of support from people with similar concerns. Best wishes to you both.
            Last edited by Bonnette; 13 Jan 2011, 5:24 PM. Reason: grammar
            MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


              Welcome chadsmom,

              Lots of good information here. My son was injured nearly four years ago. Hang in there, the first year is rough! So much to learn.

              Another good place for info is the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. They have a handbook (it's free) that has an incredible amount of information and is a great resource. You can call and request one or go online.

              Also, finding a doctor that specialized in SCIs is vital -- as is getting a local doctor that can at least handle stuff until you can get to the specialist. A key thing is you and Chad learning as much as humanly possible about SCI and the related issues. Don't be afraid to question a diagnosis or medication. You are the advocate and sometimes ya gotta get tough. Not always fun, but definitely necessary.

              Hang in there!
              Ugh, I've been kissed by a dog!
              Get some hot water, get some iodine ...
              -- Lucy VanPelt


                Hello Suzanne, Your son has been through a lot, but so have YOU.
                My husband fell from a tree Oct 2008 and broke C4,5 and6, but had damage to C3 area of spinal cord also. It is hard to believe everything that has happened since.

                He was able to get off of the vent, but a few months after leaving rehab at Craig Hospital he got very sick with pneumonia and nearly died. He now has a trachea so we can suction. He is fully paralyzed from the shoulders down.
                Fortunately he has avoided the skin problems and severe spasms, but the neuro pain is rough.
                I also have a 29 year old son and my heart goes out to you. I.
                A year ago he qualified for a waiver program. I left my job to care for him along with a parade aides as no home health agency will accept him.

                This site has helped me find more SCI info than any doctor in our city. It is really a shock once you get out in the community.
                Use the search key and also the caregiver threads, even if old can help you realize you are not alone.


                  Hi Suzanne,

                  I hate spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and what they do to the afflicted and their family caregivers. Your whole world has been turned upside down and you have so much left to learn about the care Chad will need. And how to figure out what it is that he needs. We SCIs are kinda like animals going to the veterinarian... we know we have a problem but we don't know where it's coming from or what's causing it and at times, even as humans, can't even verbalize it. Damn.

                  Anyway, there's no doubt that Chad's bladder is bacterially colonized since he's using a urethral Foley catheter. Colonizations aren't supposed to be treated with antibiotics until they reach the severity of a full-blown urinary tract infection (UTI). The definition of a UTI is having symptoms such as fever, chills, severe malaise, elevated WBC in the blood, flank pain, or AD. They both, colonizations that are on the verge of turning into a UTI and full-blown UTIs, can cause muscle spasms. Intestinal impactions can cause almost identical muscle spasms as UTIs so only experience will teach you what the difference is. And since every SCI is different, even an ingrown toenail can express itself with similar muscle spasms. It's insane!

                  Chad is going to need a urologist and hopefully you can find him one that has experience with SCIs. A urologist inexperienced with SCIs probably won't know the difference between a colonization and a full-blown UTI so request a urinalysis and a C&S (Culture & Sensitivity) test and Chad will probably be prescribed some antibiotics. SCIs are considered "complicated" cases so get enough antibiotics to treat for that degree of intensity. It's usually 30% more than what's prescribed for an ordinary UTI.

                  Once you know that Chad's bladder (and his kidneys too) are bacteria-free see what happens. Maybe- hopefully the spasms will stop. Be aware though that antibiotics can cause diarrhea and sometimes they can cause constipation. See how easy this SCI stuff is! If they cause constipation the spasms may stay because now he's intestinally impacted and getting spasms from that condition. Let's hope not. In some men, when their bladder is heavily colonized or they have a UTI, their genitals may shrink up. The all embarrassing "Shrinkage Factor". If this is the case with Chad it's something to watch out for the next time he gets muscle spasms.

                  There is so much to write about on the topic of spasms that it's hard to know when and where to stop at. Make sure his flap surgery is healed properly and that there's no tunneling going on. The flap may look good on the outside but next to the bone it can be infected or beginning to turn into another pressure sore. Most or many pressure sores start on the inside, next to the bone, and work their way outward. Make sure the skin isn't mushy to the feel.

                  If Chad is actually getting clonus spasms that's something different. But he may be getting mixed spasms and then just do the best you can and hope you find a good physiatrist (SCI specialist) who can lead you and Chad out of this nightmare. It will get easier with time as you and Chad learn his "new" body. Hang in there.

                  "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria


                    Thank you everyone for your response. I have been learning new things daily.The pressure sore scares me, I watch it everyday. That set him back at TIRR for his first in patient rehab. He just finished with the first round of home therapy yesterday and we hope he will be going back to TIRR for phase 2 soon. There, they will help me get him in with the right doctors he will need.

                    Bob you gave me such good info, thank you so much

                    I wish you all miraculous things to happen and to have peace of mind.

                    Much Love.....Suzanne Chad's Mom
                    Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrows cultivate compassion. Those who have suffered the most will become the happiest......


                      Hi Suzanne. So sorry about Chad. My son broke his neck, diving, on June 4 2004. It's been 6 years (he's about to turn 27 soon). Everyone has given you great advice. Stay on this site and you will learn tons of important info. CC was what saved me! The first year is the roughest! What helped me was to NOT look too far ahead, but rather look back at how far you and Chad have come. I still do that when we have a rough day and it still helps! Keep reminding yourself that there is always HOPE - if we don't have hope, we have nothing. Good luck and we are here for you!


                        Suzanne, I did my rehab at TIRR. It is one of the best in the US. If you have any questions about TIRR or the Houston medical community I will be glad to help if I can.
                        "If you are going through hell-keep going." -Winston Churchill


                          Welcome Suzanne! Keep coming back here... CC has lots of into and great people. My husband is a T11 complete since 2005 and I actually have trouble remembering him being able to walk... Chad is fortunate to have a mom like you and the first year is tough. Hang in there and visit the caregivers thread here at CC for lots of tips and knowledge.



                            Hi Suzanne,

                            Sorry to hear about your sons injury and the complications of dealing with a pressure sore. Glad to hear he's healed and ready for rehab.

                            I'm a c5/6, I was injured in 1984 and went to TIRR for rehab. I live about 45 minutes north of TIRR. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask.



                              Welcome Suzanne!

                              Now that he's healed, it's so great he's going to be returning for more rehab. I've seen so many newbies get kicked out of having chance @ rehab due to an early illness.

                              You & he both will be amazed what he will & can be able to do on his own. Almost 5 years post & I swear it seems like I still learn something new everyday! The best thing you can do is support him without sheltering, if that makes sense without adding insult.

                              Good luck to you both!