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My son

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  • My son

    On May 27, 2011, my 16 year old son was at the beach. When he dove into the wave he hit a sandbar and crushed his C4 damaging his spinal cord but did not seve it. He was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo Hospital in California. After 8 hours of surgery he was put into a hypothermic state and a drug induced coma. Prior to surgery he was breathing on his own, conscious and was able to flex his left arm and nearly touch his nose on two occassions. After waking up and coming out of his sedated state, he says he can feel cold and hot on his legs and arms and feel when people touch him, primarily on the left side of his body. My question is, over the last 3 days he's had a shocking sensation jolt throughout his body, which are becoming more frequent. Can someone tell me what this means and is it a good sign he has this sensation and can feel hot, cold and people touching him, even though he hasn't moved.

    Loving father,

  • #2
    Hi Tony, I'm not an expert, but they sound like positive things to me.
    Hopefully others will chime in.
    I'm truly sorry this is happening to your family.


    • #3
      Tony, your son probably still has swelling related to his injury and the surgery. The sensation he is feeling is a great sign. The shocking sensation may be from the nerves trying to make a connection. It also may be what is called neuropathic pain that he may have to manage over the long term. It is really too soon to be sure. What do the doctors say about these shocks?

      Your son is what is called an incomplete injury and therefore, his level of potential recovery is totally unknown. I really hope you have been doing your research on rehab facilities. He needs to get to a good rehab center as soon as possible. A good rehab facility is going to be what is called a model center. Generally, all these centers do is SCI and brain injuries and they really know what they are doing. Most of these facilities can work with patients while they are still in an ICU status as long as they are stable enough to get there. The sooner rehab starts, the less ground he will loose while he heals enough to make progress (does that make sense?).

      You have found a wonderful resource here that will serve you, and your son, well over the months and years ahead. I can totally relate to your situation as on March 18, 2009, my 17 year old son was hit head on while on his way to school in severe fog. Ryan is an incomplete C-2 with TBI. He is highly functional to the extent that he has bladder and bowel control, feeds himself, uses his computer and telephone, attends class at the local college and is as much of a pain in the butt as any teenager. He was totally non verbal for more than four months (took that long to get rid of the trac and he never got the hang of a speaking valve). He did not eat for two weeks longer than that (teenaged boy+no food=one very unhappy teen). He would tell his speech pathologist that he did not care about talking, he only wanted to eat and drink and she was in control of that.

      Your family is in for the fight of your lives. Rehab will be the hardest thing he will ever do, but more than worth it as he sees progress with his independence at whatever lever it turns out to be. Walking again is not out of the question. If not for his ortho issues (crushed both legs in same accident), Ryan would be walking. More than two years post injury, he is still making progress. It is a long hard road that will impact your family in ways you cannot imagine at this time.

      With the sensation your son is having at this time, his potential is unlimited. He will have to work hard and so will you. This does not mean that he will regain any or all function but he will get all he can.--eak
      Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
      mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
      Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09


      • #4
        Tony, so sorry your son was injured but glad you found this community. EAK is correct, find him the best rehab facility. If you have questions about that post them on here. You can also contact the Christopher Reeve Foundation, they were very helpful to me in the early days. They sent me resource materials and spent time anwsering questions on the phone.

        It is so frustrating to not have the answers you want, every injury is so different, the healing process takes a long time and the medical community does not always have the answers. Everything you said in your post sounds very positive!

        My son was injured when he was 14, he turns 16 next month and is doing well.


        • #5
          Tony, so sorry about your sons injury, but it does sound positive that he is having sensations, even if unpleasant ones. Keep writing here and asking questions as they come up, as there is a wealth of both experience and knowledge here.


          • #6
            So glad you found us, sorry you had to. Please come back and let us know how he is doing, and ask more questions.

            Have they started talking about moving him to a SCI rehab center soon? This should occur sooner rather than later. Ones to consider (and ideally visit before he selects and is moved) are the following:
            St. Jude's (Fullerton)
            UC Irvine
            Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital (Downey)
            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


            • #7
              Tony, so sorry to hear about your son's accident, but so glad you found us.

              the fact that he has feeling below injury site is encouraging, the nerve pain he is feeling could be a couple of things. I had mva 7 mo ago and was told I probably would never walk, I am walking it is not pretty yet and I use a cane when I go anywhere, around the house I walk balancing with furniture, walls anything I can touch. I have neuropothy from my knees down, the burning stabbing fire and ice pain. They think I got it from my accident and now my nerve function is trying to fire back up and it sends a signal, I am on meds for the nerve pain and most of the time it is tollerable. I also have lots of swelling which is normal yet.

              I think it is a good sign he can feel even hurtful pain is progress, much better than not feeling at all.

              You and your son are in for some hard work recovery and PT was so much better than just laying in the hospital bed. I wish you the very best as a Mom nothing is harder than our children hurting. You also will be his biggest cheerleader.

              Keep us posted there are so many caring people on here that have lived this day to day and can give you words of wisdom.
              JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

              Live Well--Laugh often


              • #8
                Hi Tony
                Look here
                it is a good web site and a great location. Don't give up or let him. Hugs to you and your family.


                • #9
                  Welcome Carecure Tony

                  Ask questions and do your research. KLD is the expert here along with the others with children who have responded to you...

                  A model SCI center is the best.

                  I wish you good thoughts, hope, and prayers for your son

                  Hang in there and feel free to ask for anything you need here.
                  T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                  My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


                  • #10
                    Hi Tony--as others have already stated, we are so sorry about your son's accident. I've personally found in my 2 plus yrs that any new sensation, although painful it may generally be, has been a good sign. I'm fortunate in that, although I don't walk well and experience lots of spasticity and pain, I am able to stand and walk. If I can encourage you or relay any of my personal experiences of my early on recovery, please don't hesitate to send me a message. Many prayers and best wishes to your son and entire family!!


                    • #11
                      I'm sending you wishes for a safe placement at an SCI specialty facility...and then lots of healing to come. There are a lot of inspiring people and stories on this site so I hope you come back often and let us know how your son is doing. I think we all can sympathize with the trauma that something like this can wreak on the lives of everyone who encounters a sudden injury like his. I know it's not easy. However, it sounds as if he has some good sensation going and I hope that it's the nerves recovering. Stay strong!


                      • #12

                        How is your son doing now?

                        Many people here can provide helpful thoughts, advice, and/or prayers.

                        God bless!

                        Bill Miller
                        Wheelchair users -- even high-level quads... WANNA BOWL?

                        I'm a C1-2 with a legit 255 high bowling game.