The man who we recently covered with a complete paralysis, has a life that is constantly on the breaking point. He never knows when it will take a nose dive for the worse.
Since a football accident left him paralyzed as a quadriplegic, this paralyzed man has to undergo very intense paralysis treatment just about every day ensure that no other damage is done to his body as a result of his major spinal cord injury almost 25 years ago. But what often gets overlooked in paralysis injuries are the secondary conditions of paralysis, which 17.5% of the American population must live with day to day.
For this man, paralysis treatment means that he must have a full-time nurse on site at his apartment 24-7. When he wakes up, his nurse will greet him to place pills inside of his mouth, a catheter into his penis (so the urine in his bladder can drain) and suppositories are put in his anus (if he is due for a bowel movement). His vital signs are checked, as well as his arms and legs for sores and lesions — the nurse stretches them so they do not stay in one position for long. From there, he is wheeled into the shower on a waterproof wheelchair after which he is dressed for his day.
This is this man’s life with paralysis for at least the first few hours of each day.
Disruptions to this daily routine often include a trip to the emergency room, such as the time in April, 2009 when this man had surgery to treat a urinary tract infection, a common condition found in quadriplegics, as well as kidney stones. During the operation, his blood pressure spiked and nearly killed him. This was the opposite of his other brush with death in 2007, when he could not breathe and his blood pressure dropped at an alarming rate. Back in the late 1980’s, he contracted a blood clot in his lungs. The possibility of losing your life at any point is enough to send even the best of us over the edge of despair.
Yet somehow this man remains positive, upbeat, and active almost every single day. Working on his own personal paralysis treatment of fitness exercises and sports (he is still an avid football fan, despite his history with the game), he also takes time to travel from his Miami home, including visiting his former university, The Citadel, when they retired his football jersey in 2006.
Within his paralysis, he had found a courage and drive to help others like himself.
Starting in 1999, a fund was created to fund a search for the cure to spinal cord injuries, as well as to provide hope to those living with paralysis. His outlook for recovery is high. Maybe that attitude is precisely why he has been able to get everyone — from self-made business types to high profile celebrities — to contribute money to the cause. His organization has high hopes for the future of paralysis treatment, with research growing in the form of stem cell research and as well as improving how we diagnoss paralysis by making it more accurate and faster. At the Miami Project — which works with him on a professional and personal level — the former football star can use a Lokomat machine for exercise, whereby he is able to stand upright and use his legs to walk through the power of electric stimulation. On those days it feels as though his life is back to the way it was. Before his accident. Before his wheelchair. Before his life changed forever.
Nobody has a clear answer as to how or when paralysis will be cured. But if you listen to this man, it seems as soon as tomorrow.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury, we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 or please click here for a free consultation with an experienced paralysis attorney. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay anything until we recover money on your behalf.
This is part three in a five part story.