Serious car crashes happen in the U.S. every day, and the results can be catastrophic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3 million Americans become injured in vehicle wrecks each year.
One particularly disastrous consequence is a spinal cord injury. Treatment often involves multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Between the medical bills, lost wages and ongoing physical therapy, you may need assistance for years. Your life and your family may never be the same.
Doctors categorize spinal cord injuries according to the location of the injury and the extent of the effects. In severe cases, an SCI may result in paralysis. Other ailments include loss of bladder and bowel control, intense pain and reduced sexual function. You may even find it hard to breathe. You may require surgery. You may also need traction to stabilize your spine until the inflammation subsides.
You will likely need to learn how to perform many daily activities again. Often, the key to your recovery is a good rehabilitation team. Your team should consist of a physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist and other medical professionals. You may need to go to a special facility if you cannot find proper care in your area. You may want to find a good therapist or counselor as well. Your mental and emotional well-being are essential to recovery.
If an SCI has left you permanently disabled, you may need help performing many tasks that used to come easily to you. Your employer can provide accommodations, but you may not be able to stay at your previous job. Vocational training may lead to another job or perhaps a whole new career.
At home, limited mobility or muscle weakness may make your current layout hazardous. Rails and handgrips can make bathrooms and hallways safer. If you use a wheelchair, you will likely need to widen doorways and hallways. Ramps and wheelchair lifts can make stairs navigable. You may need your car outfitted with hand controls. Such modifications can become expensive, but the measure of independence they provide makes them priceless.