DISABILITY ACCESS: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
Provided by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
By Willie Davis
My initial reaction after waking up in the hospital was that of shock, despair, and being scared. I could not feel anything or could not move any part of my body (shoulders, hands, or legs). The doctors told my family that my body was suffering from “spinal shock”, a condition where the body and nervous system has been traumatically injured/effected and this in turn will cause the body to go into “shock”, adjusting to the damage. I was put in a “coma state”, in which I was given a heavy dosage of medication and drugs to relax my body. This was done for 3 to 4 days.
After a few days, I was informed that my body had some time to adjust and they needed to conduct surgery on my back to fuse the spinal cord. Including the insertion of Herrington Rods to stabilized the back and vertebrate, and replacement of 2 vertebrates for which they took pieces of my hip bone. Once this was complete they put a body brace around me. This I kept on for nearly 1 year. My recovery period was somewhat sort, because after 1 month in the hospital I was sent over to the Rehabilitation Hospital to begin working on my independent living skills. Including the need to take care of myself. I felt like I was living my life over again, as a baby. The only difference was that I was in a man’s body. My mental well being and capacity was very mixed up during those early months. I had to get help from almost everybody and my attitude toward getting better was not very good. I often thought about ending my life.
As time has moved on, so have I and have come to grips with my spinal cord injury. It took me nearly 2 years after my injury to come to grips with reality. I soon graduated from college with a degree, attained my first professional job, and was even dating again.
Today, I live a somewhat modest life and enjoy the sweeter things – family, independence, happiness and growing old. The following information I feel has been pertinent to my experiences and spinal cord injury.
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