Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tested and Proven

My physical therapist is doing sensory testing on me today. With my eyes closed and head turned away, she begins. Following a dermatome chart, she touches different areas of my upper chest and arms with a pin. I respond “sharp” or “dull.”

Laughing she says, “That’s incredible, Berta. What level are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a C-4* complete. My spinal cord is severed.”

“That means all you’re supposed to feel or move is your head.”

“I know.”

She checks her chart again. “You’re testing at T-4** on your chest, C-6/7 on your arms, and even some distant sensation that is difficult to classify. Tell me again about your injury.”

“The initial classification was C-5/6 complete with very little strength, and no stamina or control. A year after the injury I was still struggling with weakness in my arms, and I couldn’t hold my head up. An x-ray revealed that my neck wasn’t fused, and I needed surgery.”

“In surgery, broken pieces of my fifth cervical vertebra were removed, and a piece of my hipbone was wired in place from C-4-7.”

“Four months later I returned, and after several tests were completed the surgeon began the exam. He seemed perplexed, rude even, as he tested function and sensation. I was able to do most of what he asked. He looked over my chart and shook his head. ‘Well, I’m going to release you to go home and I recommend you go to physical therapy.’”

“Seventeen years later a friend, who is also a radiologist, encouraged me to have a cervical MRI, ‘Just to see what’s going on in there.’ What was going on was an obvious lack of spinal cord from C-4-7. I’m thankful no one told me that little bit of information in those early days. I might have quit trying.”

“That’s amazing. What do you think it is?” She’s still looking at the chart.

“A God thing.”

“God is healing you, isn’t He? “


In Christ Alone,

* C: cervical
** T: thoracic