The following story was provided by Jeremy Kerr to share:
My car accident occurred March 2, 2001. I was 19 at the time and was full of energy and enjoying life to the fullest. Then I woke up and find out I was a T4-T5 para and that I also broke C5-C6 vertebrae and must wear a halo for nearly 4 months all while doing physical and occupational therapy. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I knew God have me a second chance for a reason and I was determined to make the most out of my life regardless if I’m rolling around or walking.
The day before I was supposed to start my first physical therapy session, the nurses had a wound specialist look at my sacrum and they determined I had a stage 4 wound, and it was about the size of a fist. So, they immediately put a wound vac on which helps draw more blood flow to the area and which will increase the chances of healing. Now I am doing physical and occupational therapy with a halo and a wound vac. I made the best of the situation and still was able to make it through all my time while in rehab at Roger C Peace. I was able to go home about 4 months after my accident and I continued to have a home health physical therapist come and a wound care nurse once a week. I had to sleep on an air mattress that the doctors at the hospital recommended and finally about a year later my wound was healed up.
After dealing with a wound of that size and the time you have to spend laying in the bed most days you constantly think about doing weight shifts and making sure you're not dragging your rear end across anything to hard that may cause it to open back up.
Let’s fast forward 10 years after my accident. I was then a supervisor at my local sheriff's office over 911 dispatching and getting ready for work, when somehow I manage to fall out of my wheelchair and later I realized I reinjured my old stage 4 wound. I was told to go to the hospital 2 times a week to wound care. They tried the wound vac again for about 6 months, and I was having to go to work and do everything with that stuck to me. I finally got tired of doing that and talked to a plastic surgeon about doing a skin flap surgery. He was confident that he could get it healed up, and I would be less likely have any more issues with it if I did my weight shifts every 30 minutes. So, I ended up going through with the surgery. I was in the hospital for a week and then they sent me home where I had to lay in a clinitron bed for 8 weeks straight. That was the longest 8 weeks of my life! I watched every season of scrubs and friends during that time. I joke saying my wife was the happiest she’s been in our marriage because I couldn’t destroy the house.
Finally, I was able to get up after 8 weeks and went and saw the plastic surgeon and he advised me that it looked great and that I don’t need to come back but to be sure to always do your weight shifts.
This coming March will make it 20 years of living with a sci and I am thankful that I haven’t had any more issues with wounds. I just want to encourage all new and veterans to sci to continue to do your weight shifts and to always check your skin to make sure nothing is breaking down because it can happen so fast! Also, if you start to notice a wound starting, go to a doctor right away and stay off it as much as you can!
I can list a few more challenges that I had to overcome but this by far was one of the toughest challenges to overcome twice. My advice is to never give up and try to stay positive even in the hard times of life and to keep rolling forward! God Bless!!