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My brother may be paraplegic

(18 Posts)
JessieMcJessie Fri 13-Apr-18 23:46:49

Brother (aged 40) fell from a roof while at work a week ago. He is slowly regaining consciousness after induced coma to control brain swelling. Scan today has suggested that his spinal cord is damaged at T12. I have read this almost certainly means paraplegia. We are grateful that he is alive, of course and thank God the cord damage is not higher up. So grateful. But he was a very very fit and active man who loves to travel. I can’t bear to think about how life for him is going to be. Anyone have experience of this? He is married but has no children.

OP’s posts: |
IronicWittyUsername Fri 13-Apr-18 23:56:05

What a stressful time. How are you coping

stayathomegardener Fri 13-Apr-18 23:59:01

I have nothing useful to say but bumping with thanks

thereinmadnesslies Sat 14-Apr-18 00:01:52

My mum because paraplegic following an accident in her early 40s. Like your brother, she was seriously ill so the paraplegia diagnosis was a better outcome than our fears she would die.

So in practical terms, once your brother is medically stable he will probably be transferred to a spinal rehab centre. In the south east there’s Stoke Mandeville and Stanmore. Rehab will teach him how to function as a paraplegic, so skills like self care, using a wheelchair, and input on the mental side as well. My mum was there for several months. They will also source a wheelchair.

You might want to think about the adaptations required to allow him to go home, so a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. Rehab can advise on this and also connect you to the local nhs equipment supplier for kit like shower chairs and special beds. Unfortunately patients get stuck in rehab until they have a suitable home to return to.

It’s really hard and I feel for your brother, but he will find a way to get through it. Physically active people seemed to cope best with rehab (learning to transfer from bed to chair requires amazing arm strength) and with a bit of bravery it’s possible to live a full life.

PM me if you have specific questions x

Brenna24 Sat 14-Apr-18 00:03:33

What are the Drs saying? It depends a lot on the level of damage. My Dad managed to fracture his neck and get away with no nerve damage at all. I hope that he is as lucky.

thereinmadnesslies Sat 14-Apr-18 00:04:05

www.spinal.co.uk - is a useful website and they have an advice line.

QuoadUltra Sat 14-Apr-18 00:04:46

Where is he being treated?

How very scary for you and all your family. I don’t want to give false hope but amazing things are possible with nerve repair. Amazing. Try hard to take a day at a time (easy to say) and do what you can to support them with empathy and positivity.

SD1978 Sat 14-Apr-18 00:06:14

I understand your fear- but until he is Confucius and testa can be done- the level to which he’s affected, if at all can not be worked our. Yes he may be facing life in a wheelchair, but he might not. Regardless there will be a long recouoeration oeriod. As hard as it is you need to wait- you don’t ajd can’t have all the facts yet. All the best.

SD1978 Sat 14-Apr-18 00:07:32

Holy hell. The level of errors above makes me hang my head in shame. I hope you got the gist at least.

LascellesMoustache Sat 14-Apr-18 00:07:55

I don't have experience of this but sounds so stressful, and I'm sure there will be a lot of unknowns while you wait to see how things develop. I just wondered if there is maybe a charity out there that offers a helpline where you can talk or get advice, or be put in touch with someone local to you who has been through similar?

Also, have you been in touch with the insurance company of who he works for, or his insurer? They may also offer support or advice as it's in their financial interests that he makes the best possible recovery. Make sure you keep copies and notes of everything in case you can claim, then at least any adaptations that are needed could be paid for.

Does his trade have a trade body? They may be able to offer support to, practical, financial etc.

Just a few thoughts as seems like such a horrible time for you and I'd be deverstated if it was my brother going through this.

JessieMcJessie Sat 14-Apr-18 08:30:03

Thanks everyone. Sorry to those who have also experienced this and inspiring to hear about your Mum thereinmadnesslies.

He is in Glasgow and the hospital has a leading spinal injuries centre so I know he will get the best possible care. You’re right that there is nothing approaching a diagnosis yet-he’s still in intensive care and, although stable, not fully conscious and I am acutely aware that something sudden could still happen. It’s just that the MRI has given us this new information and I guess that I am trying to think to the future even if it’s in a negative way. All over the place really.

I’m a solicitor so fortunately the insurance/legal side is very much my area and I will take charge if that on behalf of him and my SIL (to the extent they want me to).

Also fortunate is that they have just bought a new house and it is a bungalow (they were about to convert the loft into a second floor but I guess it will be a different sort of work being done now).

OP’s posts: |
Justanotherzombie Sat 14-Apr-18 08:36:30

Not my family but a close friends. He was in his 40’s with 3 young kids and had a fall from a roof on their farm. It’s been utterly devastating and he was in hospital for a year. When he woke up he was extremely positive and though I’m sure he’s had extremely dark days, he’s refused to be anything but grateful to be alive. He now has a tiny bit of movement in one hand so can use a wheelchair. Their home has been adapted and the farm has ‘roads’ put in so he can go from building to building and stay involved in some capacity.

I’m so sorry this has happened to your family. My greatest hope is that your DB can come to terms with it as much as possible. But it is a devastating thing to happen.

MaybeDoctor Sat 14-Apr-18 08:45:15

What an awful situation. flowers I had a family member become steadily more immobile due to terminal progressive illness and it is a horrible adjustment for those around the person too. Be prepared to experience some reactions yourself, in ways that might be unexpected.

stoneagemum Sat 14-Apr-18 09:03:48

If his work was a construction type industry the lighthouse club http://www.lighthouseclub.org/ may help with practical things.
A brilliant organisation that I am proud to raise money for and have known people who have benefited from their support.

thereinmadnesslies Sat 14-Apr-18 10:32:56

JessieMcJessie - thinking back, the best advice we got was to not become my mum’s carers. It’s really important to keep the husband/wife and brother/sister relationships rather than becoming patient/carer. So the rehab unit discouraged us learning to do personal care as much as possible so we kept seeing mum as mum. Some of the personal care around paraplegia can be invasive especially bladder and bowel care (although this depends massively from person to person and also depends on the location of the spinal injury). Your sister in law might feel she wants to do everything for her DH, but longer term that will erode the relationship they have. The local authority will provide carers, whilst this is intrusive it will also free your sister in law to have a life.

Pythonesque Sat 14-Apr-18 11:52:18

So sorry this has happened, and I can absolutely understand your need to think and plan for what might be coming up in the future. In your position I'd be doing the same. However, I would say that at 1 week it is very early days. The extent of the injury will only become clear over weeks at best, and depending on what they have actually seen on the scan, and what your family have been told, this could be anything from substantial recovery to total paraplegia.

With the brain injury he will be in for a prolonged period of rehab no matter what. Being there for each other will make a difference. Here's hoping that things move steadily forward from here.

JessieMcJessie Sat 14-Apr-18 14:42:33

Thanks everyone.

OP’s posts: |
Penfold007 Sat 14-Apr-18 15:01:02

I'm the child of a paraplegic parent. Their spinal injury was caused by a virus many years ago and is now progressing to tetraplegia . Have a look at www.aspire.org.uk/ they are a spinal injury charity run by spinally injured people and an amazing source of support.

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