Ramblings on healthcare, medical education, and life with a spinal cord injury
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Prelude – About the Injury

If you are already familiar with  my particular injury, then you may feel free to skip this particular post.  For those who don’t know the details (or want more), feel free to read on to see how I wound up where I am.

On Sunday night, January 27th, my lovely and amazing better half had just headed home to prepare for a long week, as is our usual routine.  We had eaten dinner in from a nice restaurant in the neighborhood, from which I chose the gorgonzola-encrusted filet mignon with two glasses of red wine.  I had been working from home on some issues for the better part of the evening, and all of that finally wrapped up around 10:30pm.  Shortly thereafter, I stood up from my desk.  I do not remember standing up, and I do not have a clear recollection of what transpired.  What I do remember is, from sitting at my desk the next thing I knew I was lying on my stomach on the floor in pain.

It took no more than a couple of seconds to realize that I couldn’t move my legs.  Somehow, I managed to roll myself over from my stomach to my back and kept my neck level and aligned.  Doing such without the ability to use one’s legs or hips is quite a challenge.  I’m sure adrenaline was the key.  Rolling myself over using just arm strength and momentum is getting easier now, but it is still a challenge and not something I can readily do in one fell swoop.  Realizing that I quite possibly had a spinal cord injury, I thought back to my EMS days and knew I had to stabilize my spine immediately.  I grabbed a book that was handy, fortunately of just the appropriate size, placing it gingerly under my head to keep my cervical spine aligned.

Little did I know at the time, my spine was anything but aligned.

I cannot possibly explain the thoughts and feelings one has upon realizing that paralysis is a very real possibility.  I begged, pleaded with God.  I cried.  I thought things I won’t repeat here.  I felt scared.  I felt hopeless.  I felt alone.  I felt petrified.  All of those thoughts and feelings alone are life-altering.

I saw that my phone was sitting on top of my desk, with the charger cord dangling off the desk.  Using a loose cable that was close by, I lassoed the end of the charger cord and managed to pull my phone off the desk.  It landed close enough to me, and I called my girlfriend to rush over with keys (since EMS and FDNY’s only alternative would have been to destroy a heavy wrought-iron gate or carry me up and down some VERY narrow, steep steps).  And I called 911.

Within 10-15 minutes, she had arrived and then let EMS in when they arrived.  After they called for some help carrying me out the narrow halls in a cervical collar and immobilized on a board, we were on our way to the hospital.  The shock of the situation still hadn’t faded, but the journey was just beginning.

Be Sociable, Share!