It was the morning of June 18, 2018, some time after 7:00 a.m., when I wrecked a motorcycle and broke my neck. I had flown head-first into a ditch with the motorcycle following shortly behind me. The driver of the truck that I almost hit stopped to check on me. He had prior experience as an EMT (which always helps), and as any good Samaritan that almost got hit by an idiot on a motorcycle would do, he waited with me till the ambulance arrived. While we were waiting, he informed me that the motorcycle was on top of me, to which I asked if he could remove it. No such luck. It was right after that, that I passed out and don't remember anything that happened for 9 days. I learned that while I was passed out I was transported to UVA via Pegasus! Too bad I missed it (at least I remember the ride in the Blackhawk during my National Guard days).
It wasn't until June 27, nine days later, that I would come out of my medically-induced coma to join reality. The results of my stupidity were coming to light as I realized I couldn't move my legs and my arms felt like rubber bands. What the heck?? Why did I have this neck brace on? Aw, sh**. Joslyn gently broke the news to me and I received it with groggy acceptance; although, I had gathered from my partially lifeless body laying there that something was amiss.
I had broken my fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, pinching my spinal cord, which would require surgery to fix. By the end of the day I had the surgery done on my neck, which involved fastening a titanium plate to my C4 and C5 vertebrae. I ended up spending a month at UVA due to the extent of my injury and would transfer to Encompass Health (previously HealthSouth) for a month-long endeavor of PT and OT.
That month at UVA was by far the worst part of my whole recovery, but understandably so. The days seemed long and the nights, even longer; I would have to take oxycodone to help me sleep. The days consisted of early morning check-ups from doctors and nurses, uncomfortable and annoying, yet necessary, x-rays of all my vital areas, having my daily meds and fluids pumped into my stomach, a shot in my stomach to prevent blood clots, and the PT and OT. One of the huge downsides to breaking your neck is the loss of control of your bladder and bowel and having to relinquish those responsibilities of cleaning to others. Thank goodness for nurses and techs that don't give a crap about cleaning it up!
On top of breaking my neck, I sustained other injuries. I broke ribs 8-11 on my left side, a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) on the left side, a broken clavicle, and a broken scapula. Along with those injuries I sustained heavy damaged to my sacral area, I had really bad bruising on my butt.
If you want some visuals from the accident and my rehabilitation check out the Pictures and Videos page.
- June 18, 2018-Motorcycle wreck around 7:00 a.m.
- June 27, 2018- started to come out of medically induced coma.
What is a spinal cord injury (SCI)?
In my own words, an SCI or spinal cord injury is a condition that affects the central nervous system due to trauma from motor-vehicle collisions, recreational activities, autoimmune disorders, and some diseases.
According to the National Institute of Health at https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Spinal-Cord-Injury-Information-Page:
"A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord don't completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis."National Institute of Health. “Spinal Cord Injury Information Page.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 27 Mar. 2019, 16:20, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Spinal-Cord-Injury-Information-Page.
Available to read is a copy of a paper I wrote for an English 112 class titled "Brain and Body: A Unique Couple".