Most bodily injuries heal over time with the proper medical attention. But a spinal cord injury is usually permanent. An accident at work that damages your spine can cause paralysis for the rest of your life. Depending on the site of your injury, you may lose the use of your legs, arms, torso and neck.
Changing everything about your life
Paralysis means a massive life change. A lot of disabilities can prevent you from going back to your old job or working at all. But paraplegia or quadriplegia will impact your life in ways that less severe disabilities might not. If you cannot walk, you probably will rely on a wheelchair to get around. You will lose a great deal of independence and might depend on family members or a home health aide to bathe, get dressed, use the toilet and eat. Physically active hobbies that you used to enjoy, like skiing, playing basketball or hiking, may no longer be possible.
Acceptance is possible
Still, life goes on. It is common to grieve your loss of mobility and even feel despair at times. But the human spirit can be remarkably resilient. In a recent story on WebMD, a woman who was a promising athlete when she became paralyzed in a swimming accident at just 18 years old. Besides having to adjust to life in a wheelchair, the woman felt “shattered” and like she had lost her identity. But with the help of her parents and her spiritual beliefs, she emerged from her shell and now enjoys things like painting.
Over time, you will learn to accept your limitations. If your injury was work-related, workers’ compensation can help you with your medical bills and other expenses to help you with your adjustment.