Spinal Cord Injury The Afterlife

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Am I talking about death here? No, I’m talking about life after a spinal cord injury. Why did I phrase the title of this article as I did? Because for many people who suffer a spinal cord injury, their first thoughts after being informed of paralysis, or wheelchairs, or a severed spinal cord, causing the patient to never be able to walk again, is indeed death. “Why did I even live?”

I know that was one of my earliest thoughts after I was able to understand what was going on. Once I regained consciousness from my three days of coma, by awakening to a breathing tube being pulled from my throat, I was advised that I had an accident.

Maybe a few hours later, it’s hard to recall exactly, I began to comprehend the great distress in the doctor’s face and voice as he communicated to me about how my spine was broken in three places and the bone fragments had severed my spinal cord, and as a result I would never be able to walk again. Maybe it was at that time that I first wished myself dead.

Now its twenty-two years later. I’ve had twenty-two years of using a wheelchair for mobility. I’ve had twenty-two years of “Afterlife.” My spinal cord is still severed. I still have paralysis from chest-level down (T-4 to be exact). I have multiple wheelchairs; a basketball wheelchair, a tennis wheelchair, an everyday wheelchair. Over the years I’ve probably had close to 10 different wheelchairs. All of the chairs, all of the catheters, all of the baclofen, all of the leg bags and tubes, all of the paralysis paraphernalia thanks to one moment in time of loosing control of my car, hitting a guardrail, tree, and house, snapping my spine in three places and injuring my spinal cord.

Wouldn’t it have been better if I just didn’t have this kind of after life and experienced the bog finale afterlife instead? Well, I can’t answer that for sure because I have not been able to compare the two side by side. But I can tell you that you can have a life and a rather rewarding and fulfilling life, if you so choose, even after a spinal cord injury.

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