Recovery After a Spinal Cord Injury

Recovery After a Spinal Cord Injury

When are we healed?

When does recovery end after a traumatic illness or injury? This is my question for today. Are you considered healed after rehab? Are you finished when there can be no more physical improvement? Is it purely mental and your recovery is what you choose to make of it? Is recovery only complete after a genuine acceptance of the circumstances?

Normally I have very strong opinions on any topic thrown in my direction. This question has been bothering me for the last few weeks. I was speaking to an old friend from high school who had been diagnosed with a heart defect. He told me he had endured a transplant 3 years ago, but he was still struggling to come to terms with what had taken place in his life. Physically he’s healthy, his problems now are all psychological. Would you consider him to be healed?

It has been almost 8 years since my accident. I had thought that I had reached the point in my life where I had dealt with all there was to put it behind me. Now I question whether there is ever a point where we are completely healed. I have always tried to maintain a positive attitude towards my new life. I try to only see what I can do as opposed to what can’t be done. Let’s be honest, there will always be reminders of what we can no longer have and those moments will sting. Does that mean that we are still struggling with things? Is it possible to let it all go?

Was there a defining moment in your life that you felt meant you had reached a full recovery? I haven’t had a moment like that. Am I broken? I am still learning that I can do new things that I never thought would be possible. I can stand by balancing myself against the kitchen island. Am I confident enough to let go? NO! I can’t feel my legs and I never will again. I’m okay with that, but I still try to better myself and prove my doubts wrong. Does that mean I have not reached a point of acceptance with my limitations? Will this be a never ending journey in life? Life should be a journey. I’m not sure that this is something I want to continuously deal with until I die. I don’t mean the physical stuff, I am okay with living in a wheelchair. I am fortunate enough to be able to be completely independent of any outside help. I do find it interesting and disturbing that I never felt this way before about my “disability”. I suppose the real question is not when are we healed but if we are ever healed at all.

3 replies
  1. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    It’s not a matter of acceptance; I think nobody can really accept a condition of disability, specially the severe ones. This is a matter of the mankind nature… as living things, we tend towards surviving when we are in trouble or living frustrating situations. The everyday struggles are meant to be because we want to stay well and improve in what we do… exatly the opposite of “acceptance”.

  2. Sally Willmot
    Sally Willmot says:

    I am an incomplete para, and have decided that although there are so many things I can no longer do, there are so many things I CAN do. I had also been sexually abused (raped) by a relative between the ages of 8 and 12, , treated like a dirty horrible girl, been lost and unstable most of my life…..and now the final injustice. My horses taken from me, my dancing life gone, any hope of being independent gone…..But guess what? I am the person I am today because of all this. Yes, it still hurts..yes I still have nightmares. Yes I am in constant pain. I don’t think it is possible to ever get over it or to let everything go. But it is possible to continue to look for positive aspects of our life that enrich us..things that if we were not in the position we are in, we would miss entirely. And to answer your question, I am broken, I will never heal. Was there a defining moment in your life that you felt meant you had reached a full recovery? No. But I had a magic moment when I was almost at rock bottom, constant pain and walked like a spastic duck. I was told I was lucky. Well, every night I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. EVERY NIGHT. One day, while on holiday with family up in Cairns, I saw a poster for snorkelling…I was devoting every spare moment of my miserable life in the pool, trying to be as good as I could be and failing miserably. Something inside me broke was excitement. Against everybody’s advice, I booked a trip out to the reef and went, all by myself. In the water one leg went one way, the other floated off with a mind of it’s own and you know what? I Didn’t care. I hung on to a floatation device and I snorkelled! For hours! Suddenly I had a new “bucket list” and life turned around. I began hobbies I did not know existed, I laughed again. If someone asked me if I wanted my legs, bladder, bowel etc to function properly again, but the price was to change my life as it is now…I’d decline. I am happy within myself and without actually wishing or trying for huge improvements, I just welcome whatever comes to me and embrace my life. I am, and never will be healed. But I am ME..a different me, but a real live strong me, with new appreciations and gratefulness for my life. ALL of it, good and bad. Sally

  3. Kim Russell
    Kim Russell says:

    There is no real level of acceptance but I don’t think that means we are not “healed” as such and I too don’t think I’ll ever reach a stage of “full recovery” 30 yrs post my spinal injury I recently caught sight of myself in a camera at the R T A & still thought ” what the hell are you doing in that chair”. You get on living with the best you can. To me life is all relative. You make the most of what you can & strive to be healthier & happier like everyone, regardless off your situation. Some days are great and some are simply just damn difficult & so the journey continues…..

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