Hello and Welcome to this Blog about how José and I are learning to conquer Tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs). Following José'...
Month 3 - Rehabilitation
It's been three months since José's accident and he continues to prove that he has a fighting spirit.
Shortly after my last update we had a case conference with his consultant to find out the extent of his injury and to see the MRI images. It was confirmed to us that José broke the very highest vertebrae in his neck, C1, but fortunately this fell away from the spinal cord. He also had fractures to the base of his skull, most of his neck vertebrae and into his back. His spinal cord is damaged from C2 to C7 (pretty much all of his neck) and he caused soft tissue damage to his neck. In short he is a very lucky man to be alive, but he is unlikely to regain any functional movement or feeling. We all feel VERY lucky indeed to still have him.
Having said all that, and just proving how each Spinal Cord Injury is unique, José has already had his tracheostomy reversed, despite expectations to the contrary, and doesn't need any ventilation even at night. Getting rid of the tube in his neck has helped his swallowing, so he is now eating regular moist food with ease and drinking a great deal of fluids (no beer yet, but it will be allowed when he's off site!). His aim is to have the feeding tube removed as soon as possible.
José's tolerance of the wheelchair has also increased and you're more likely than not to find him up and about when you visit now. He has moved from a chair pushed by a carer to an electric chair that he controls with his chin, and as you'd expect is already asking for the speed to increase and I have to trot alongside - I never could keep up with him on wheels.
His physio now involves an FES bike. This involved shaving his legs so that electrical pads can be attached to his muscles to stimulate movement whilst the bike offers resistance; incredible technology. They were surprised that José still had muscle strength in his legs after three months, it just shows how strong he was.
Last week José and I had a date! Two nurses took us off site to a pub away from the hospital, where we confused the server by asking for two tables for two, and we had a lovely lunch. This was José's first trip out to the real world, and a big milestone. We were both nervous but we encountered no problems and no staring, and I managed to feed him without choking him or making an unsightly mess.
Another first last week was the reintroduction of José to Bradley (our dog). There was no doubt about recognition, Bradley sniffed José out straight away and seemed to know that only his head was working; going straight for full face kisses - good job I had wet wipes. When I took Bradley again yesterday he knew exactly where we were and why.
All in all we are making incredible progress and making plans for when José is returned home.
Having such tremendous support from friends and family is making a huge difference to both of us, thank you all, we wouldn't be doing as well without you.