Dear brave young man:
We know you have been through a lot and are continuing on a really long
journey. Our son is about your age with an lumbar spinal fracture and
paraplegia this past winter. He has more function and movement than you
but has gone through and is going through his own convoluted road to his
future, living with the effects of the damage to his spinal cord.
The sense of anger and loss have been real and deep. This is not fair to
anyone. He has not lost this anger entirely, because he looks everyday at
the effects of what was a totally unexpected accident. He says he woke up
from his postop narcotic haze to be told he was paralyzed. How does one
process this change?
After a period of time in a traditional 20th century rehab facility, he
moved to Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore for intensive inpatient
activity-based rehab, definitely a 21st century approach to medicine. He
learned something, which I hand on to you. You have probably been told
you will never --------(fill in the space). However, the body and the
spirit are more mysterious than we or the medical professionals know.
Set yourself a goal. What it is you want to do or have in life? Make it
realistic but high. Find competent trained professionals who can make it
happen. Then, start toward reaching that goal. The very act of starting
off on that road changes you and those around you.
Could this road take years and lots of sweat and energy? Very likely.
Christopher Reeves did not get a cure. He did change and improve his own
life greatly but it took years. He influenced countless people,
paraplegic and those who are not, along the way.
You mentioned wanting to get more agile with your hands. What specific
funny or serious thing would you want to be able to pick up.? Have you
been wanting to use your DVD remote again? Play chess? Type on the
computer keyboard unassisted? This is a goal personal to you.
One of our new friends wanted to get to swim. Getting the bowel training
under control suddenly had new meaning and urgency. He is not yet able to
get to the pool, because of other related issues but he has done several
of the things my son would really like to do. For this young man, those
activities pale in comparison to the water. For my son, he is redoubling
his effort to do what his buddy can do without difficulty now.
I will close with our best wishes and a picture, see attached.