Each laborious step Mister G* takes represents a small victory and a glimmer of hope that he will recover from the brutal assault at the end of 2019 that left him paralysed.
The scars and the remnants of the attack in early December 2019 may linger, but Mr G has come a long way in his journey to recovery. The 41-year-old sustained multiple injuries after being assaulted with various objects.
He was admitted to Milpark Hospital on 10 December 2019 after first being stabilised at another facility. Mr G was admitted to the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Auckland Park on 6 January 2020.
When I first examined Mr G, he was fully alert and awake but still had a feeding tube (PEG) in his stomach due to some swallowing difficulties.
He had no movement in his right hand and arm (he was right-hand dominant) and little movement in his right leg. He did have some movement in his left arm and leg.
As both his arms and legs were impaired, he was diagnosed with quadriplegia.
Mr G needed help with most activities of daily living, including feeding, bathing, dressing, and he was unable to walk.
We are delighted with Mr G’s progress after spending 14 weeks with us as an in-patient in the rehabilitation hospital. He is now fully independent and needs virtually no help to perform all his daily tasks.
Mr G can walk without aid, and he uses both his left and right hand to perform tasks.
He has been receiving daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy. He was also initially seen by the speech-language therapist and dietician for his swallowing difficulties. This has now resolved, and the feeding tube has been removed.
Mr G also sees the social worker and psychologist every week. In addition to the above therapies, he also attended Lokomat® (robotic walking) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (neuromodulation) sessions.
When asked about his experience, Mr G wrote the following:
“Surviving spinal cord injury is like a rebirth: a second breath of life. You become an adult child who relearns how his body interconnects and functions as he relentlessly and continuously pushes against the limitations of his impairment.
This has been a personal journey of self-rediscovery and restless kick against physical restraints since my accident a few months ago.
Every little milestone is celebrated because it then translates into a deep source of both motivation and inspiration for my recovery voyage ahead.”
Although Mr G still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, he has exceeded the team’s initial expectations. As we prepare for discharge, we are assured that he will continue to make progress and return to work as a successful businessman.
* I have removed his name to protect his identity