No announcement yet.

Noob T3-T7/A/Complete

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Noob T3-T7/A/Complete

    I'm about six months out from a T3-T7, ASIA A, conplete injury. I was an amateur, competitive cyclist on a typical evening training ride when a reckless driver tried to beat a yellow light and nearly killed me. In spite of it still being daylight out and in spite of three flashing lights on my bicycle this driver didn't see me. In her words in the police report, she couldn't see because the setting sun was in her eyes. So, thus blinded, she accelerated and then cut a left turn so shallow that she hit me as I was existing the intersection in the opposite direction nearly head on. My upper body went through her windshield and my lower body went over the roof. My T7 was shattered and my cord suffered a severe contusion at T7. My injury was categorized as T3-T7 because I have numb patches on my upper back up to the T3 dermatome. Otherwise I'm present as just a T7.

    I spent a week in ICU post-op then was moved to a rehab hospital where I stayed for four weeks. I wore a TLSO brace any time I was more that 30 degrees from horizontal for the first three months but did manage to get home about five weeks after the accident. I did PT and OT in the rehab hospital and then at home until the end of the first three months. At that time I transitioned to outpatient PT where I have managed to recover some minimal motor control in my hip flexors, glutes and, to a much lesser degree, my hamstrings and glutes.

    The extent of recovery today is being able to make some movement on a powder board and taking a few small, assisted steps on parallel bars with the PT blocking my knees, etc.

    The toughest part has been professional. I was an executive managing four company sites, but the parent company refused to allow me to return to work. They even stated that I could not be a leader from a wheelchair. I had considered my colleagues at the parent company to be friends but they utterly abandoned me over my disability. So now we're engaged in a dreadful litigation dance.

    At home my wife is my caregiver and she's been amazing.

    I struggle with pretty severe paresthesia and substantial spasticity. On top of that I have pretty significant pain from the 5-vertebrae fusion.

    My other current struggle is isolation of sorts. I used to spend many hours (~10 hrs/week) cycling with teammates and, of course, work days with colleagues. Today I work on getting better and trying to figure out my next career move before we blow through savings.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

    Glad you found this site. Sorry about what happened to you.
    I find it amazing that your company just flat out said that you "could not be a leader from a wheelchair."
    Wow. There are so many examples of leaders that use a wheelchair...the current governor of Texas uses a wheelchair. Some members here on Care Cure have their own business or are in a leadership position within a company. That really just blows me away that they said that to you....


      It blew me away too. I had been handling my situation relatively well, maintaining a positive outlook, etc. when this declaration was made (to me in person at my bedside at home) and it was my darkest moment since the wreck. I had worked for this company for 16 years. In that time I started one of the subsidiaries from scratch and led two turnarounds of older, underperforming companies. The parent company management is Eastern European so I think they have very different cultural views about the disabled. I also have since learned that they pulled some real stunts on the US employee base that I would never have stood for so I have to imagine there was an element of getting me out of the way so that they could do some rather unethical things to improve their own wallets.

      That's one of the hardest parts; the US employees were like family and we had great teamwork but they've blasted holes in that and now people are paranoid and fearful of the next shoe to drop.
      T3 complete since Sept 2015.


        Sorry to hear of your horrible accident!
        I hope you pursue the employer as their decision that 'a leader can't be in a wheelchair' is downright stupid and inhuman, and appears it would fall under the law: Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have not already done this you need an attorney to look into the ADA issue and you could be looking at a settlement or position in the company with "accommodations", which employers need to provide in such a situation. Please consider fighting for your rights. It will help the rest of us too! A potential settlement would help you transition into a different job or career. And, every state has a vocational rehabilitation program that may help you identify a vocational plan, etc.


          Welcome to the CareCure Community! As we always say, we are glad you found us, but sorry you had to.

          I can only second the comments above about pursuing this violation of your civil rights under the ADA by your employer. I hope you are working with an attorney who is expert in EEO and ADA law and regulations, and that you don't let them get away with this.

          Also, with your background in cycling, have you looked into handcycle use? You might even be able to continue to do rides with your old friends if you become proficient in this. We have a lot of members who do this, and at the SCI center where I work, we offer a weekly spin class/introduction to handcycling workshop. You may be able to find something similar in your area, but talk to others here on our forums too.

          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.


            Thanks triumph and SCI-Nurse. Yes, I have a good attorney and we're going after my former company. We have one last effort at mediation before we file our lawsuit and EEOC violations. I'm hopeful it can be resolved without a protracted lawsuit, but, then again a court case would allow me to make the details public while a settlement will almost certainly include a gag of some kind.

            SCI-Nurse, I am going to get a handcycle. Actually I want two: one to race and one with a foot pedaled tandem so my wife can ride with me. I found one place that makes foot/hand tandems but the foot rider is in front and my wife doesn't want to steer so I'm still looking.

            I'm pretty sure I couldn't keep up with a regular bicycle but I wonder if some of the electric assist handcycles could allow me to do that. Seems handcycles top out around 15 mph on flats whereas a normal bike will be closer to 28-30 mph. I also don't think I'll be comfortable riding on streets with such a low profile so I'll likely stick to bike paths. I definitely need ways to get my heart rate up again.
            T3 complete since Sept 2015.


              Nice that you will get back into biking. I raced in race chairs for 12 years, then retired and got a handcycle just for recreational use. Husband is paralyzed too and also got handcycle. We biked together on paved trails. Loading them in and out of our van along with us in our two wheelchairs was pretty tricky.

              Pretty sure there are folks on CareCure who use the battery powered unit for handcycles. I believe you can also shut it down to handcrank manually. I don't know what speeds the power unit can get up to. It may allow your wife to use a regular bike on rides with you, without her slowing down.

              Bike-On has web site and answered lots of our questions about handcycles.