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How do we tell him?

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    after reading felieh's comments, i wanted to add that make sure he is getting turned properly... every 2 hrs. or so for pressure relief. i was in a conversation yesterday with a new patient at the Shepherd Center whereas her husband is in a trauma hospital and already has sustained a pressure sore.. if he does, it will just add weeks, sometime months, depending on where it's at... several ppl. here can attest to pressure sores and how to prevent...

    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches. It's more like a jar of jalapenos--What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    If you ain't laughing, you ain't living, baby. Carlos Mencia


      It's been almost 20yrs since my last visit to Good Sam, but if it's as good as it was back then, it's a WONDERFUL hospital.(I was quite the accident prone kid w/a seizure disorder) I've seen other members here mention having been there, hopefully one of them can speak up and recommend where he should be going for rehab.

      You've gotten lots of good suggestions from everyone here so far. Please keep coming back and keep asking questions. with the movement he's already gotten back, they are right that it appears that he will be functioning much better than a complete C4.

      We're all here for you & the rest of his family. Please let us know how his progress is doing.
      L-1 inc 11/24/03

      "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......


        Originally posted by AuntDeena
        He is moving his arms and hands, both arms and his left hand are strong and he is moving his right hand, but it is a bit weak.
        I'm confused by how you know this, because you said in your first post that he's in a coma and is to be awakened Thursday?

        I don't have any magical answer for you, but I think his father should be the one to tell him along with the doctor, or at least be there with him as the doctor tells him.

        How did you find CareCure, by the way?

        My best to your nephew and your family in this trying time.
        Last edited by Scorpion; 9 May 2006, 10:30 PM.


          They have let him awaken slightly about once a day to check his responses, then they immediately put him back out. He is in a special bed that moves him on a schedule. So far there doesn't seem to be any pressure sores. His father will be the one to tell him, of course.

          I found CareCure doing searched on the web and clicked on a link one of the Christopher Reeves sites.

          Good Sam seems like a wonderful hospital. The floor he is on only deals with SCI. There is a rehab center there that he will most likely be going to. It is 2 1/2 hours away from where he lives, but his father and sisters will probably move there to be as close to him as possible. Right now his father is staying at Ronald McDonald House (bless them!) and my nieces are staying with other family.

          I am hoping that the psychologist at the hospital will be of some help through this, but the doctors have yet to suggest it. I put in a phone call to that department today and will pursue it myself.
          Last edited by AuntDeena; 11 May 2006, 10:42 AM.


            Originally posted by felieh
            It sounds like the poor kid has suffered massive injuries to his body. I wonder if initially you could soften the potential blow by telling him that his body has suffered tremendous damage and shock and that in the coming days and weeks, things will sort out for themselves and he'll see what kind of function he has. But use the massive injuries as a way to soften the message.
            I agree with felieh.
            Don't let ANYONE tell him he will never walk again. Keep alert to those who seem negative and get them the hell away from your nephew. Clergy is good, pyschologist...maybe...but I'd have a one on one with any person I was considering or want to be around when the time seems right to talk about the what if's, no matter their being professional or family.
            I don't know that I would just tell him about his friend. I guess I couldn't until he asked of this himself is what I am thinking.
            My heart aches for you and yours but there is hope and he is alive. Take care~ T.
            "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.


              I agree with what others have said. Keep it brief without major details. Don't tell him he'll never walk again. He will undoubtedly ask more than once what has happened to him.

              I'd wait until he asks about his friend, but that's just me. He's going to be overwelmed once he begins to come around, the drugs wear off and he's weaned from them. He'll ask about his friend. When he does, I'd tell him then, but not before.

              Focus on what he needs when you're with him. Handle your feelings and emotions away from him. Let him guide you as how much info to give him about the details of the accident.

              I wish him, you and his family and friends the very best.


                He has enough to deal without hearing that he won't walk again. Just one blow after another. I agree with waiting til he asks.

                My cousin was in a motorcycle accident that broke two verts in her neck and killed her fiance. She was awake when the doc told her that she needed to remain very still. she broke her neck, and movement could paralyze her. In the same breath, he told her that her fiance died. She lost it and came up off the gurney. I would love to give that doc a piece of my mind. The thing is, she damaged herself pretty bad by coming up off that table. The doc should have kept his mouth shut. She doesn't remember what happened and still asks where her fiance is.

                A lot of us here have went through the stages of grief with our injury. I would talk to the clergy at the hospital. See if the hospital has someone who works with families and traumatic situations that you can talk to about this. It's not going to be easy, and chances are he's not going to remember the first time you tell him.


                  That is exactly what the doctors told us to tell Heather when she was injured. Just tell her what happened. She was only 8 at the time. And her aunt died in the accident. I remember that the rehab doc was in there when we finally told her that she had hurt her back and her arm really bad but didn't go into complete detail until later. She had pretty much figured it out that her legs didn't work.

                  My heart goes out to you and your family at this time. Good luck.

                  Mom to Michael, 16 & Heather, 13, T-12, almost 6 years post.
                  Mom to Heather, age 16, T-12, 8 years post & Michael, age 19.


                    FWIW, I agree with the suggestion of telling him about the accident & he was very badly hurt, and we don't know for sure how things will work out. Which is the truth. I didn't bring up the subject with my wife, but she figured out what was happening while in ICU; it was so heartbreaking for me to answer her questions.
                    For now, his universe is himself. No need to tell him about his friend & make him feel even worse, until he's ready for that - when he asks.
                    You came to the right place. When he's recovered enough to come online, he'll be very welcome here.
                    - Richard


                      I say don't tell him. I mean, don't lie, but since he is so battered up, focus more on the fact that he is alive. As for the part about not walking again. Only god knows that. I am not saying give him any false hope. Always be supportive. When you have to give him negative news, tell him "they said". The doctros said it. His injuries sound very bad and he is so lucky to be alive. He is very young to hear such awful news. Maybe you can send a message to chileansister. Her brother is very young and she might have advice as to how they handled breaking the news.

                      One important thing to remember is he is so fragile. I don't know how I would feel near death in a hospital hearing I would never walk again. I definitely don't think it should be blurted out. Another thing to consider, is if he is on heavy drugs, the truth might not penetrate and just when you think you have broken the bad news and he is taking it well, you will find that when the morphine, norcuron, adavan verced etc. have worn off, he still didn't quite grasp the realty that has surrounded him.

                      Our prayers are with you.


                        This is way too early to know what his ultimate prognosis for walking again. There is no way anyone at this point can say that never walking again is "THE TRUTH". Anyone who tells you to be blunt needs to have their head examined, and knows nothing about the importance of maintaining hope.

                        Be truthful, don't lie, but be sure you maintain hope. I have said this to many people over the years:

                        "We don't know if you will be able to walk again. It is too soon to tell. There is a good chance that your injury is incomplete, but it will take weeks and months for us to know this for sure. Meanwhile, we have to make plans for what you have right now. If you get more back, that is wonderful, and we will work with that 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.


                          Yep... I agree with the SCI nurse. My husband Don was 60 when he fell 30 feet while trimming a tree in our yard and has no memory of the fall. It happened over Memorial Day weekend and he was in ICU for about 3 days before they operated... he had so many spinal fractures that we had no idea what his level of function would be. He turned out to function at T11 which is a gosh darn miracle.
                          My point is... your nephew is so young, with so much going on... it will take months to ascertain the function. The spinal surgeon for my husband held no punches. He told Don... in no uncertain terms what had happened... in fact Don knew he would never even be able to sit up if he did not proceed with surgery... but he was on so many drugs that he does not remember any of this.
                          So most likely you will have to repeat the info many times. Even at the age of 61, we have never told Don that there is no hope because there is hope!

                          This is the beginning of the journey for him... there will be very difficult times and believe it or not.... very happy and joyful times.

                          Please keep coming back... we are all here for each other... This site helps me maintain my sanity and sense of humor...

                          My prayers are with you and your nephew during this very uncertain and difficult time.

                          Wife/caregiver to Don T11 complete May 2005


                            I have no memory of being told of my condition, I was too heavily medicated.

                            I have a memory of being told but it wasn't the first time. I can't offer any personal experience here.


                              I don't have any memory of being told my condition until the day I was discharged from the hospital and destined for acute rehab. They might have told me and I blocked it out, although I doubt it. I think they just didn't have the courtesy to tell me.

                              I knew I was in a serious car accident (I never lost consciousness until they knocked me out for surgery) and that it affected my legs. It wasn't until much much later did I find carecure and know what questions to ask my physiatrist.


                                Thoughts and prayers are with you. Our son suffered a SCI 5 months ago. We all try to remain hopeful and positive that he will fully recover. Be honest, gentle and very supportive. Ask for help from hospital clergy, if you don't have your own. There may aslo be a psychologist in the rehab deptartment you can talk to. Our son was visited by the psychologist weeks before he went to the rehab department. Very helpful. Antidepressants are also good. The social services department of the hospital is also a good place to go for help. Good luck to all of you.