The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that injuries are the leading cause of death for children and adults ages one to forty-four. Motor accidents, falls, and assaults are the leading causes of trauma.
U of M is a level one trauma hospital. Higher levels of trauma centers such as U of M have trauma surgeons on call, trained in Neurosurgery and Orthopedics. U of M is prepared to deal with traumatic situations. They were prepared to deal with me!
I was flown to U of M via helicopter, and hospitalized there for nearly three months after my accident in Oct. 1994. Daily I had help, around the clock from amazing doctors, nurses, and staff who provided the best care! When my discharge date drew nearer, I was deeply saddened. I never wanted to leave. Who is ever sad to leave a hospital?
U of M became my home. I was safe there. Being in a wheelchair was okay. Being damaged was accepted. It took two to three nurses to turn me in bed from one side to the other, and a lift to put me in a wheelchair. I was paralyzed.
I developed a system. I learned how to deal with a catastrophic situation–Spinal Cord Injury. I was getting comfortable, but it was time to go home. I prayed to God during the day, and wrote letters to him at night. I took calls, socialized, visited with family and friends, and was being homeschooled. I attended all of my physical therapies.
How would my life be in a wheelchair? What was to become of me? How would I go back to school? What would my friends think? Would I have any? I was scared. Life sometimes happens whether or not we are prepared. Life happened to me.
I’ll always go back..
I saw my surgeons that operated on me in the first hours after my accident last week. I have x-rays of my spine every four to five years. I still see my Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon. It was a team who saved me!
I walked into the new Mott, which is beautiful by the way with vibrant colors. It’s good because it keeps the kids distracted. I was surrounded by children with differences, some like mine, some different. They were all accompanied by their parents. We all shared one common goal–to achieve hope and healing there. I was the only adult waiting to be seen.
My pediatric doctor has followed up with me from day one. After all these years it is nice she has stayed with me. I was in Pediatrics when my accident happened. I’m now 34. The x-rays of my spine looked good; she said there is no deterioration of my spine due to aging. A Nurse practitioner came in who remembered me, and a Physician’s assistant came in to meet me.
I went to see the other Orthopedic surgeon who operated on me. He works with adults but my Pediatric surgeon called him in at the time because she needed “help.” I was hurt so badly. He came in to shake my hand. I hugged him, and thanked him for saving my life.
It’s interesting, usually a doctor sits and examines you and starts asking questions. This doctor just sat–I didn’t shut up. Telling him how awesome I’m doing. How I do everything by myself, take out garbage, grocery shop, live alone, pay my own bills. He was amazed. I showed him and the nurse practitioner my walking. He said my walking with the crutches looked like a “normal gate.” That made me happy.
U of M is a leader in research to improve life for individuals with SCI. I’ll be happy to participate in upcoming studies, to improve the quality of life for people with SCI.
C.S. Mott Children’s at the University of Michigan, YOU are forever written on my heart…