Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. Paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms.
Sub C3 describes my level of the spinal cord injury. It means the last vertebrae that works is C3 and that the damage is immediately below. C4 and C5 are broken, as is the corresponding spinal cord.
The higher up the break, the more severe the paralysis is, and my paralysis is very high and probably complete, the doctors are saying. The sensation and movement of the corresponding parts of the body are completely affected.
I got the full package; I can’t move or feel my hands or legs.
C4 damage is quite a game changer:
- the diaphragm, the most important breathing muscle, is affected. Some people concerned can’t breaths on their own. Luckily I can. However coughing and sneezing is a daily challenge, mainly to prevent pneumonia.
- the extensor muscle is affected and thus the possibility to move the hand up and down is gone.
Conclusions currently for my all day activities:
- can’t drink by myself
- can’t eat by myself
- can’t wash or brush teeth by myself
- can’t transfer myself to and from bed
- can’t catheter myself
- need to use power wheelchair with head and chin control for driving
- can’t click keyboard, computer mouse or any touch device like a smartphone
This is why care, assistance, and technology are so important for me, but this is expensive and is why my health insurance hesitates to pay for it. However, I will fight to integrate back into social life, if necessary with legal support.
Here is my proof: This is the first blog post I wrote on my own without any personal assistance, just with the help of technology.