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How do you answer the question “Will I ever walk again?” after a spinal cord injury?

How do you answer the question “Will I ever walk again?” after a spinal cord injury?

Sigmund Hough, PhD

Neuropsychologist/Spinal Cord Injury Service, VA Boston Healthcare System

Read Bio More Videos by Sigmund Hough
Transcript
In this world, you learn that there is no “yes and no”. There’s too much “yes, no and sometimes” that happens and I don’t really understand it, but it does. To rule something out completely, I don’t do that. I’m trying to spend ti... Show More

In this world, you learn that there is no “yes and no”. There’s too much “yes, no and sometimes” that happens and I don’t really understand it, but it does. To rule something out completely, I don’t do that. I’m trying to spend time saying, “What is it that you’re grappling with?” And of lot of times they’re grappling with, “Well they said I’m not going to walk because of the level of injury, but here’s a person on YouTube that talks about stem-cell research. And here’s someone who is doing something in another country that they can’t talk about, but it’s going to give them the ability to walk if they have enough money.” When you talk to people who’ve been injured for years, they say “It doesn’t really matter because you have to live today, and if you bank on years ahead, and forget about today, you’re going to miss out on your life now.” So we talk about that in terms of how do you get back into the reality of the day without losing your hope of what you had wished, what you strived for. But you still need to use the wheelchair and you still need to use the crutches—you still need to use yourself the best way you can now and not just think about the years ahead. But I never take a way hope because historically hope is what kept us going forward for many, many, many years.

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How do you answer the question “Will I ever walk again?” after a spinal cord injury?

Sigmund Hough, PhD

Neuropsychologist/Spinal Cord Injury Service, VA Boston Healthcare System

More Videos by Sigmund Hough
Transcriptadd

In this world, you learn that there is no “yes and no”. There’s too much “yes, no and sometimes” that happens and I don’t really understand it, but it does. To rule something out completely, I don’t do that. I’m trying to spend time saying, “What is it that you’re grappling with?” And of lot of times they’re grappling with, “Well they said I’m not going to walk because of the level of injury, but here’s a person on YouTube that talks about stem-cell research. And here’s someone who is doing something in another country that they can’t talk about, but it’s going to give them the ability to walk if they have enough money.” When you talk to people who’ve been injured for years, they say “It doesn’t really matter because you have to live today, and if you bank on years ahead, and forget about today, you’re going to miss out on your life now.” So we talk about that in terms of how do you get back into the reality of the day without losing your hope of what you had wished, what you strived for. But you still need to use the wheelchair and you still need to use the crutches—you still need to use yourself the best way you can now and not just think about the years ahead. But I never take a way hope because historically hope is what kept us going forward for many, many, many years.

How do you answer the question “Will I ever walk again?” after a spinal cord injury?
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