Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

As many of you know, my Dad is a quadriplegic.  He suffered a devastating fall, here in the house, in June of 2006, fracturing three vertebrae in his neck, and compressing his spinal cord.  Within three days, he underwent two surgeries to stabilize his cervical vertebrae and to release the pressure on his spinal cord, after being airlifted to Milwaukee's Spinal Cord Injury Unit at Froedert Hospital.

He spent three months in the hospital, undergoing rigorous physical therapy in order to restore as much function as possible.  He came home able to walk short distances with assistance, but unable to do many things such as feed himself without assistance - the fine motor skills just weren't up to par.  Sure, he had some, but the technical aspects of many tasks never really were restored.  Plus, he tired very easily, and suffered from severe muscle spasms as a result of his injury.

As of today, he has spent the last two years completely bedridden.  Not long after returning home did his injuries take a turn for the worse, with instability prompting a couple very minor falls.  After being hospitalized one time and not receiving the physical therapy he needed, things got worse.  He wound up in a nursing home for approximately a month, and received NO therapy while there.  He came home, got into bed... and never left.

For this reason, I have been an advocate of stem cell research, and its promising studies on repairing spinal cord injuries.  On January 23rd, the FDA finally approved the first clinical trials of stem-cell injection for spinal cord injuries in human studies.

Nature: Stem Cell Research Gets the Go Ahead

Though most likely, this development will never impact my Dad and the prediction of his condition, it may very well be the precursor to many, many others never having to suffer the absolute collapse of their world, in our case, from a trip and fall in a narrow hallway.  This is one area of the world that I will be keeping a close, excited, but still weary eye upon.

3 Harmonizations:

Bee said...

:o( Your poor dad! That is something to look forward too. I don't understand why peole have so many reservations over something that could potentially save thousands of lives.

Larissa said...

My points exactly. People are not "harvesting" or growing feti in order to get these stem cells - many of them are collected from aborted babies. Why not use that potential life to benefit someone else's?

Larissa said...

I should add that he will only be 61 next month. =(