You thought the hardest part was hearing the news of the crash that left your loved one seriously injured. Once you learned that he had survived, you believed it could only get better. After a diagnosis of partial paralysis due to a spinal cord injury, however, both of your lives got much harder. After finding out all you can about the injury from his medical team, finding ways to help your loved one come to terms with his injury can make life a little easier for both of you.
Accepting the Diagnosis
As with any loss or traumatic experience, a debilitating injury requires the victim to work through the stages of loss and grief. It is important that you support your loved one as he progresses through the following stages:
Victims of paralysis often refuse to believe the doctors when they are first told of their prognosis. This reaction is a very common defense mechanism that is actually serving to protect the victim from the initial shock.
Once the victim begins to accept his or her new reality, the next response is often anger. The anger may be directed at the doctor or it may come down on family and caregivers.
In an effort to regain control, the victim may go through a stage in which he or she attempts to make deals with family members, doctors, or even God to undo the damage that has been done.
It is easy for a victim of traumatic injury to get stuck in this stage of grief. Feelings of hopelessness and frustration can be overwhelming. A great deal of support and professional help will be needed to move through this stage.
Hopefully, the victim is eventually able to accept his or her situation and can begin to move forward in his or her rehabilitation and recovery.
There is no standard timeline for an accident victim to come to terms with his condition, so it is important that you are patient with him and seek outside help whenever you feel that progress is not being made.
Once a spinal cord injury victim has accepted his prognosis, you can offer support in the following ways:
- Empower him and yourself by gathering as much information about your specific injury and prognosis as possible.
- Check out local and national support groups such as the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
- Avoid random Internet surfing for information. You will come across a lot of misinformation that could be discouraging and delay progress.
Have You Or A Loved One Suffered A Brain Or Spinal Cord Injury?
If you've suffered a brain or spinal cord injury you need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.