Nick and I had an intense conversation on the drive home from Project Walk this evening. We were both getting a little heated, but certainly not at each other. We were talking about the times when his doctors and surgeons told me he would “never walk again.” We’ve talked about it before, but tonight was the first time Nicks gotten even mildly angry about it.
How dare they tell his family something so definite on the very first night of his injury? And furthermore, once he was awake, each time they tested his feet for sensation or movement, they told us that whatever returns in the first three weeks is it; that’s all he’s going to get back. Then after several weeks, they changed it to three months. Either way, it’s complete bullshit! These doctors are putting ideas and expectations into their patients brains. Maybe they should be a little more aware of the facts before trying to educate the patients’ families.
Since we’ve been in the spinal cord injury world, we’ve learned that the window of maximum recovery is much longer than 3 weeks (more like 2 years), and varies greatly based on the individual. I wonder how much feeling and function might have returned in Nicks feet had they not been amputated? I only say that because his glutes, hamstrings and abductors are slowly waking up after 8 months. I am not implying that either of us are having second thoughts about cutting his feet off. Not at all! They were so badly broken, that even if sensation returned, they would have been unusable. I just wonder about it, that’s all.
Nick can’t wait until his next neurosurgeon appointment. He’s going to walk right in there and tell them, “Thanks a lot for telling my family that I’d never walk again. I’m glad we didn’t listen!” …or something like that. He has a few months to practice and get it right.