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My spinal injury

You can see how the vertebra is squashing the spinal cord.

The Injury

Post surgery. Screws, plate and tubes in me.

I dislocated and broke vertebrae c5-c6. C7 is the one that usually pokes out the most, so it’s the two above that. My spinal cord was squashed and emergency surgery was performed to release the pressure. 4 screws and a plate were inserted as well as bone from my hip to fuse that part of my neck.

Movement

The further up  the neck you hurt the less movement you have.
With my level of injury I have movement in my neck, shoulders, upper back muscles, biceps. I have half my wrist that work, and pec minor works but pec major doesn’t. Despite having movement in my arms I am still a quadriplegic (There are different levels).
My fingers don’t move at all (not one little bit), as well as my stomach, lower back muscles, and of course my legs. I also have no control over my bladder and bowels.
I have flickers in my triceps and even though I hope for these to keep improving, flickers don’t necessarily mean the muscle will regain full function.

Sensation

I have normal feeling to just above my nipple line. One side of each arm feels normal with the elbow side feeling numb, I can hit my elbow and not even know. If I hold my hands out away  from my body with thumbs up, and you ran a string from index finger to index finger, everything above this I can feel normally and everything below this is numb sensation. So My thumbs have normal sensation, my index finger is 50-50 but after this I can’t feel.
There are some other  places down the rest of my body where, when touched, there is a pins and needles sensation. One of these places is my feet. But I can’t feel my skin, I can’t feel hot or cold, and I can’t feel pain (which isn’t a bad thing sometimes haha).

Other Perks of a Spinal Cord Injury

Other than the obvious limitations in movement, there are a lot of other inconveniences with spinal cord injuries that before my accident I wouldn’t have known.

Temperature – My body can’t regulate its own temperature. Meaning when I go outside and its cold/hot my body can’t heat/cool itself back to normal temperature. I learnt this the hard way when I went outside on a reasonably cool day with just a t-shirt on, my temperature dropped to hypothermic levels and I had to be wrapped in a space blanket for a couple of hours.

Spasm – Messages sent to my brain below the area of injury are blocked by scar tissue and nerve damage, so when my body is stimulated below the level of injury it causes my body to spasm. This is very noticeable when a muscle is stretched, when my legs are moved, and when some sort of pain occurs below the level of injury. This makes sleeping difficult when my legs are stretched out, doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in my chair knowing a spasm can happen at anytime, and makes transferring hard. But most of all it is annoying and uncomfortable.

Pressure sores – Are caused by lack of movement, or pressure on an area for an extended period of time. As I’m sitting on my arse for most of the day if I don’t pressure release every 2 hours or so I will get a pressure sore. I pressure release by either putting my head between my knees for a minute or by going side to side taking weight off each butt cheek for a while. Pressure sores can leave people in bed for months going from one side of their body to the other, unable to get up in there chair. I had to do this for a week when I had a minor pressure sore caused by a seam in my pants.

CatheterI have no control over my bladder and have to use a catheter every time I go to the toilet. Catheter with an extension tubing into the toilet. Because I’m putting a catheter down my penis all the time I am very susceptible to urinary infections.

Bowels I can’t just jump onto a toilet when I want to. It is a very regimented process, certain medication is taken at different times to ensure I can go at a certain time of the day. It takes me at least an hour to go to the toilet and to have a shower.

Dysreflexia –  Is a medical emergency that causes head aches, profuse sweating, flushing of the skin above the level of injury, anxiety, and high blood pressure which can lead to a stroke. The causes of dysreflexia can be a blocked catheter, constipation, urinary infection, injury below the area of injury and reaction to  medication, an ingrown toe nail can even cause dysreflexia.

Fat gutAlways was fit and kept myself in good shape now I have a fat gut as I have no muscles in my stomach to keep my insides in there.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Simon Kirton
    Nov 12 2012

    Such an eye opener of what you have been through and what you are going through. Good to hear from you and everyone is backing you through your journey 🙂

    Reply
  2. Nov 13 2012

    Jennifer has told me a lot about Spinal Cord Injury and thank you for letting us know your about personal injury, as many friends care and are keen to know how you are progressing x

    Reply
  3. Deborah
    Nov 13 2012

    You are a strong and inspirational young man. Stay strong and be good to yourself…

    Reply
  4. scott riordan
    Nov 13 2012

    thanks so much for sharing this bo bo! You’re an absolute champ, and lucy is such an incredible chick. Will see ya soon pal!

    Reply
  5. kerri59
    Nov 15 2012

    Beau your honesty in telling us about the very personal obstacles you face on a day to day basis is both gut wrenching and inspirational at the same time…..xo

    Reply
  6. Adrian Campbell
    Nov 15 2012

    Hey pal,fantastic to see you progressing so well…Your strength of character and will to win is with you all the way…Thank you for your honesty and insight into your injury,Inspiring to all..Love to you ,Lucy and Family….. Adrian Campbell (Phez) and Family…

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Morris
    Nov 19 2012

    Hello Beau, I am a work colleague of Andrea Phillips and my son is a T12 paraplegic. He fell off a roof 4 years ago – the rest is history. I am firmly of the belief that stem cell research or some other avenue of science will be able to assist you in the future. My son has completely severed his spine so I don’t think he will be in a position to be cured but you – with the extent of your injury – I am sure will be one of the many who will be in a position to be helped. Don’t give up on all your exercising – try to keep your muscles as toned as you can. Keep pushing for funding for research into a cure for spinal cord injury to be a top priority. You have come a long way on your a journey and I wish you courage and strength of purpose for the future. As Winston Churchill said: “Never give in, never give in, never give in.” Cheers Cheryl Morris.

    Reply
  8. louis
    Nov 21 2012

    you seem like a strong person. you are truly an inspiration.

    Reply
  9. Jess
    Nov 21 2012

    You truly are an inspiration to everyone. There is a quote:
    ‘Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all!’
    Never give up, you truly are an amazing person beau.

    Reply
  10. Jess
    Nov 21 2012

    You truly are an inspiration to everyone. There is a quote:
    ‘Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all!’ You are the
    definition of this quote, with everything that you have done to raise awareness. I think that its amazing how you persevere through life and strive to reach your goals.
    Never give up, you truly are an amazing person beau.

    Reply
  11. Aaron Hurle
    Nov 22 2012

    Your an inspiration Beau. Sharing your story, I look forward to the ride. Stay strong.

    Reply
  12. Belinda Jones
    Nov 22 2012

    Hi Beau

    You are doing a great job of raising awareness of spinal cord injuries. Keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  13. Roo
    Nov 27 2012

    Hi Beau, Great to see you on Sunday in the golf cart with Cogs. I am not into facebook etc but managed to find your “blog” with Dads help. What an amazing read mate, well done, truely enlightning and inspirational….hell if i had known, on Sunday, how far you have progressed i would have slipped you in our team to putt for Dylan, you would have done a much better job!!
    🙂 You always showed tremendous “G & D” on the field and now you are showing even more offf. Good luck with the road ahead mate, you are certainly due for some, and if i can be of any assistence, professionally or personally, please call.
    Cheers Roo

    Reply
  14. Alexandra Green
    Feb 27 2013

    I think you are a real inspiration. Reading through the details of what you have been through puts a lot of things into perspective. We have nothing to complain about in comparison to what you have been through. The way you have dealt with his is amazing – such a positive attitude and outlook and you really are making the best of a terrible inspiration. I look forward to reading more about your journey and seeing how far you can go. You are proof that there is really no limit on what you can achieve!

    Reply
  15. Carron
    Mar 4 2013

    Hi Beau. Just checking up on you. What a fantastic job you are doing with the web site and with all your rehab. Looking forward to seeing what you are able to achieve in the future. We are always here for you and Lucy. Carron and Mary

    Reply

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