As Robert Thompkins climbed to the top of Green Valley Falls in September 2005, he had no idea that in a few short moments he would never walk again.
He made the decision to jump off a cliff into the water below, never knowing how incredibly shallow it was. As he hit the rocks beneath the surface, he severed his spinal cord from the T12 to the L3 vertebrae. He was 25.
Such an accident can either destroy a person’s ability to see the beauty in life or reinforce it. The now 33-year-old Thompkins chose the latter.
Hi, My name is Raffy. Located at Lamitan City Basilan in the Philippines.
What started out a dream has now become reality. I began writing Not Without God a couple of years ago, and I wrote sporadically in the beginning. As both of my parents battled serious illnesses I realized (yet again) how precious life is—and how our time is short. My book describes how I healed from near-fatal injuries as a result of an accident that left me paralyzed at sixteen. While crossing the street to get to my friend’s bus stop, I was hit by a car. It’s a miracle from the Lord that I’m alive and able to walk.
“Are you okay?” my student asked concerned.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?” I responded in a confused tone, but I knew why she asked.
“Oh, it’s just…because you’re sitting today,” she started to stutter as her voice got lower almost not claiming what she just said.
As I rolled my wheelchair to the front of the classroom under my desk I assured her, “Oh, yea, I brought my wheelchair today.
My dad fell in church the other day. He said it happened as he was going down the steps. He felt a shooting pain in his back shortly before and there was nowhere to sit. As he walked down the step his leg gave out, he collapsed. Other church members hurried over to catch him. He suffers from Sciatica and some arthritis. He turned 80 last July. Aging can bring about some of this. I think he’s becoming addicted to these cortisone shots. He’s had several and always seems to think that is the cure. Once the medication wears off, the pain comes back. I was talking to him about the importance of exercise and moving around. I notice he doesn’t move around as much. Naturally, when we don’t move our body weakens.
I kept thinking, if it’s that hard for my dad to move without having paralysis. Imagine how much harder it is for the paralyzed? Well, I can imagine, because I have been.
Did something catastrophic ever happen to you? Where your life changed in an instant? Did you wake up in a hospital bed, not knowing where you were, or how much time passed? It happened to me. I never thought I would be hit by a car at sixteen years old, while crossing the street on my way to school. Nor did I think once I survived the accident, it would live with me every day for the rest of my life.
I was flown to the University of Michigan hospital, where I underwent 12 hours of emergency surgery. My injuries were so severe, doctors predicted I might not make it through the night. The first several days were critical. My spine was dislocated, and broken at the L1-L2 level. I had a fracture in my C1 vertebrae. A broken left femur, a broken right tib fib, and a broken left tib fib. I was paralyzed. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse! And that wasn’t even all of my injuries.
The damage from primary and secondary insults of spinal cord injury can result in various hemodynamic alterations. It is important to understand the presentation and time course of these changes, in addition to the management of each, to avoid further clinical deterioration and complications.
Traumatic spinal cord injury has an incidence of 10,000 cases per year with a prevalence of approximately 200,000 people in the United States.1 These numbers do not account for deaths in the field, which are estimated to occur in 16% to 30% of these cases. The patient demographics mirror that of the general trauma population with the average age around 30 years and a male predominance. Although motor vehicle collisions account for roughly half of all spinal cord injury cases, other events including assaults, falls, work-place injuries, and sporting accidents account for a large portion of the rest.2
DOCTORS feared Michael Wakeman would never walk again after he crashed a billy-cart into a car.
The 13-year-old had completely dislocated his spine, compressing a disc and squashing the nerves supplying the muscles to his legs, bladder, bowel and genitals.
Michael was riding the old cart down a road in Mount Colah in Sydney’s north six weeks ago when he hit a parked car and spun 180 degrees, slamming his back into the side of the car.
An ambulance helicopter transferred him to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where doctors found he was completely Paraplegic on his left side, and had just a flicker of movement on his right.
“When I looked at the scan I felt sick, it was so awful,” consultant neurosurgeon Brian Owler said.