Creating Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord Injury
It was August the 23rd, a Wednesday and I was coming to the end of my afternoon walk with my dogs. It was about 5.15.
My phone rang and I knew without looking, that it was our son Pete because somehow, I had put a different ringtone on his number.
Answering I was thrilled that he was calling but it was not Pete it was his mate, Rob.
My heart fell. If Rob was calling on Pete’s phone there was a problem.
At the age of 20, Pete shattered his C3 vertebrae, crushing his spinal cord.
After a 6-hour operation, the amazing surgeons had secured his spine and we had to wait to find out the long-term damage to his spinal cord.
This sudden trauma for our son also became our trauma, a family trauma and we were thrust into a state of unknown. An unknown of what was ahead of us. An unknown of what long-term damage there would be. With no clear answers to guide us.
We clung to hope. The hope was that Pete's spinal cord would regenerate new healthy cells, repair itself and he would be back on the hillside of the borders of Scotland whopping and hollering as he went.
Hope turned into reality.
When a person and their family of a spinal cord injury are thrown in at the deep end it is the OT staff that help them with managing the reality of life and help them focus on rebuilding skills to organise their “new normal”.
Many families are dealing with this reality right now. They will be struggling with:
1. Finding their new normal.
2. Finding the skills to live the best life they can live.
3. Fumbling through managing a smooth transition back to home life.
Families like mine look to their OT to be the vital cog in a complex wheel between the hospital and being home and living as a family unit again.
- The importance OT has on the whole family not just the practicalities but also mental wellbeing.
- Reinforce the vital role NHS OT has in rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury.
- Rehabilitation isn't just about the practicalities of life but also about feeling human and reassurance in managing a return to home.
- Understand the important role the community OT has in re-establishing life at home after a spinal cord injury.