I have talked a lot about Caleb’s injury and the effects it has had on our life together, but I realized today that I have never provided a representation of exactly what his injury is. If all I do is tell you: his spine was fractured/dislocated between T9 and T10, that doesn’t tell you what it looks like. It also doesn’t convey the shock of seeing it on those first X-rays. It was immediately apparent to me that his spine was not supposed to look the way it did. See for yourself below:
While this is not Caleb’s X-ray (it’s one I found on Google to protect his privacy) it is one that is very similar to what his looked like. (For clarification purposes, your T10 vertebra is right about belly button level.) As you can see, the T10 vertebra is protruding into the space where a person’s spinal cord is. Here is my crude representation of what I saw on his X-ray myself:
From what I saw and in my own words, you can clearly see where the vertebra is crushing the spinal cord (in red). This caused so much damage that, while the doctors said it wasn’t severed, the damage was so severe that it might as well have been. Their determination was that his injury was “complete”. While the connotation of the word complete is most often good, in this case, it was the worst thing we could hear. As far as spinal cord injuries (or SCI for short) go, there is incomplete and complete. “Incomplete” means that a person may still have some sensation or movement and also has hope for recovery. “Complete” means that there is no residual sensations below the point of injury, and doctors do not expect to see the patient regain any movement.
Another way to measure an SCI is by the ASIA Impairment Scale. The grades go from the letter A-E. “A” is the worst it can be, and “E” means a patient has all normal functions. Here is the scale in more detail:
Caleb’s injury was ruled as a complete injury, ASIA-A. The two worst outcomes that a person could receive. Despite this, we will never stop hoping for a breakthrough, and we will never stop hoping that maybe, just maybe, the doctors were wrong.
In spite of everything, instead of letting it drag us down, we continue to live life to the fullest together and Caleb doesn’t let anything get in his way.