My name is Peter Fitzgerald, I am 43 years old and this is my SCI story My injury: On the 11th September 2010 while surveying construction work I fell off a ladder from a height of 24ft. As I fell backwards I landed on my back on the solid rock below. The impact broke many vertebras in my backbone thus sustaining a T11 complete spinal cord injury, the latter shattered and tore into the spinal cord. I was operated upon two days later as I had also swelling of the skull which needed to subside. Rods were inserted and screwed into my back for backbone stability. Post operation result: At first during my stay in the intensive unit I was unaware of the extent of my injury, I may have not been told in order to keep my spirits up also. After two weeks I asked my doctor will I ever be able to walk again, his answer was a frowned face, yet his assistant told me that this was still early days but the injury was severe. The cord was only 10% of what it should be and nearly transected. Well months have passed by and still no progress whatsoever. I have no feel, sensation or movement from below my level of injury. Besides this I am also incontinent and have lost my manly function also.
Life has changed drastically, I was a marathon runner prior injury and also worked part time as a building contractor. Nowadays I spend a lot of time on the computer and occasionally do some physio alone in my house. I have bought a good wheelchair for daily use another for showering and a house lift. The guy who was to sell me a car with ready made hand controls crashed in front of my house on the day I was going to buy it, Bad luck for him or me, well I don’t know. I’m still looking for a car.
Life at the rehab hospital Currently I am back to work full time after a lapse of 5 months in hospital and so called rehab. Rehab hospital was a nightmare; the place was run down, grotty and not equipped to my needs. The nursing staff tried hard to do a lot with so little; not every one can do that job I know, hats off to most of them. Well I acquired two bladder infections, backside bed sores and was surrounded by demented people who were over 70 and 80 years, washing up in bed was very uncomfortable as the showers were not wheelchair friendly. Nurses complained more than patients about the place and work conditions. The two young people I did meet were too depressed to talk/chat and just wanted to stare at the wall all day. To sleep at night was hard there was always someone screaming in pain either next to me or in another room, sleep deprivation got to me. Back home and back to work: Well the day I got back home put life into me, Rehab was just a joke, I am still angry at the Malta government for not providing adequate rehab. It’s useless complaining they get them by the millions and nothing improves. At the end of the day it will all be up to me and my family in providing rehab and care and this costs money and to make it you need to work.
I teach electrical installation and plumbing in a vocational institute. Work keeps my mind off my injury thoughts, while we also need the cash not only for my needs but also for family’s needs. I am married to a wonderful wife and have an 13 year old daughter. I am a bit in their debt as my wife has been struggling to do most of the chores by herself. My daughter has also been very affectionate. I still sometimes get depressed but not so frequently . Small things trigger it off like seeing joggers on the seafront or not being able to climb stairs or stand up to reach a cupboard or when I sometimes wet the bed. I feel a constant burning pain in my legs and get severe stomach pains also. I feel sad when penny my wife gets stressed out, she also works full time and deserves a much better life, a life I cannot provide. My mum and dad have also been putting in their share, forking out money to help me purchase items; Penny drives me to work daily while dad drives me back from work daily... My injury hit them hard too especially when mum sees me depressed. If I could walk would bring so much joy not to me but to all my family but there’s nothing to report. I am a bit disappointed at rehab facilities on this island you’re just forgotten here resources are so limited; I am a bit angry about how expensive my needs are on this island and how people still try to rip you off even in this condition.
To Stem cell or not to stem cell question: . On a positive note many people and friends who came to see me at hospital were very kind and encouraging. The worst thing though is the fact that there is no cure for my injury. I have read so much about stem cells and stem cell treatment clinics yet still cannot form an opinion. If all these testimonials of improvement and cure I have read could only be scientifically proven. The prices charged for treatment are beyond expensive with no guarantees given. Snake oil I say for most clinics situated in doggy countries preying on people’s hopes and desperation. SCI people in Malta are few and not all like to talk about their condition. Well I have never met anyone personally who has had stem cell treatment and still wish to find out more about this subject.
Get in Back on my feet
Well I am back to teaching full time, and have continued building the same building that caused my injury. It is now ready in shell form, 4 stories and a double basement. My wife and I wish to open up a private business, and offices. I ve started a degree course in order to shift from teaching a practical based subject to a theory based subject, so far so good. I ve achieved more in three years in a chair than I ever did when as was not. God willing life is different but still beautiful. Finding the right partner and a close knit family is my secret to success.
Get in touch with me: Finally I would really like to get in touch with people who have spinal cord injury to share knowledge and experience. I really like to view the net for SCI stories; there are some really positive people out there. I admire them for it, I don’t feel alone and hope to build up more positives maybe I too may help others I am a teacher after all. Thanks for reading my story and please contact me if you are willing
Proud of u. U have achieved a lot. I was injured at age 49 ( 3 years ago) in a horrific incident and spinal cord completely severed😥😥😥T3 complete paralysis plus many other injuries. I battle with depression too BUT have also managed to stay very positive by keeping active. Neuropathic pain is a MASSIVE problem tho so how do u cope with pain. Thanks so much Soozi.
I got hurt after my second year of law school. I did intensive inpatient therapy, and as soon as I was discharged I went back to school. I graduated one year later than I had expected cum laude. Then I took the bar (passed it on my first try) and am now a licensed attorney.
Interpreters play a vital role in immigration courts — but their rights are being violated, labor board says. “...they are set to become even busier as President Trump pursues an agenda of mass deportation. Interpreters play a crucial role in immigration court cases: Only 11% of such cases were completed in English in 2015, according to a Justice Department report.”
“Patricia Rivadeneira, a longtime Spanish interpreter in immigration court in Southern California, lost her job after attempting to organize for better pay and working conditions. (Christina House / For The Times)”