Saturday, December 16, 2006

Update on my son

Well, we finally saw the doctor on Thrusday and there's no new news.

This time we actually saw the attending, not just the resident. The first thing they did was more XRays, which we expected. They took several films, from the side and from the front. They removed the collar before the films, and my son had to bend his neck for the films. He had to bend forward, so his chin was "on his chest" and he had to bend back, so he was looking at the ceiling. No "pushing it", he was told to bend his neck only to the point of pain.

The docs poked at his neck, with and without the collar, and also asked him to move and tell them how much pain he was having. Amazingly, he only had "mild" pain when he attempted to put his chin on his chest, but he also didn't get even close to his chest! His range of motion is very limited!

The doc showed us his films, including the MRI that was done the day of the accident. He has a displaced vertebra, and that's what they're worried about. If looked at from the side, the botton of one vertebra sticks out a tad more than the top of the one below. It's very easy to see on the films, and really doesn't look like much!

The doc explained that this displacement usually indicates that the disc (the cartilage between each vertebra) is damaged, although there was no sign of damage on the MRI. He also said that it may take "a while" before the damage to the disc is evident on MRI.

The good news? My son can pretty much do as he pleases, although obviously driving is still out, as he has to continue to wear his collar 24/7. He can remove the collar for shaving and showering, but otherwise must wear it at all times.

The bad news? There is still a very real possiblity that he will need to have surgery! It seems that this particular injury, unless it stabilizes, can and likely will get worse over the years, leading to a steady progression of worsening damage. This will cause him to gradually curl forward....his head will gradually move forward, so eventually he'll look like he's about to topple over!!!
This is an example, more severe than my son's, of the dislocation that he has. Note the top vertebra is pushed forward. My son't injury is similar, but not as dramatic....and it's a lower vertebra that's involved.

If this doesn't stabilize, he will need surgery. Surgery means a scarey procedure and possibly being in a halo for several months! (Doc didn't sepcify, but looking online for info, it seems 50/50 that he could be in a halo or just continue in the hard collar.)

So....we're still in a holding pattern. Brian's been told he can go back to work, if they'll allow him, but has a weight limit of 5 pounds, and will have to continue to wear his collar. I doubt his company will allow him back with the collar, but he's going to try!

We still haven't seen the car. Brian and a friend will be going this week to see if they can get any personal possessions out of it. His leather jacket, all his DVDs and many of his CDs are in the car. He also has about $300 worth of stereo equipment in the car and is hoping at least some of it is salvagable. He'll get pics when he goes to the tow company. When I see the pics, I'll post them here.

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