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Fractured cervical spine Print E-mail

18th March, 2010


Yes I did it… I almost died… But I am still here

On the 6th of March I went sailing in the Korinthian Gulf, to enjoy a good day of North Westerly wind after a while of sailing in quite frustrating conditions.

I was looking forward to that day…

In the end, I almost killed myself (literally speaking) in the very beginning of that session and spent that and the next 3 days in the hospital… I had the worst and deadliest injury of them all and what saved me is my good physical shape and the fact that apparently, as the doctors said, I still have a lot to do in my life.

I had the worst injury there is, but got away with it with the minimum damage. My second from the top vertebra cracked in two places, but didn’t move in the least… My muscles helped a lot, and the fact that I spent 1,5 hour 5 times a week all winter in the gym certainly played its role. C2 fracture is also called “hangman’s’ fracture”, as it is the bone that cracks completely when you get hanged with a rope… Quite scary… I was held in the hospital for 3 days, as the day I hurt myself was a Saturday (not a good day to be looking for the experts) and also because cervical spine injuries are the most feared of all spinal injuries, since the potential for significant damage to the spinal cord is high. So it took one or two days to have a second (more specific) computed tomography and for the doctors to decide how they would immobilize the back of my neck.

In the end I got away with it with a hard collar (it’s called Philadelphia collar) with a head-band (I was afraid they would put screws and metal braces in my face because in the beginning they were discussing about it – horrible to even think about it) which I have to keep for 3 months (I am quite convinced it’s going to be good again sooner than that, but I’ll have to wait and see). Then I’ll switch to a soft collar, don’t know for how long –haven’t thought or asked up to that point yet as it’s a long way till I get rid of this thing on my face…

The doctors explained how lucky I am and kept discussing that it is a miracle how I do not have any neurological damage. Fracture of the C1 or C2 vertebra can be fatal and the higher the level of the injury in the spine, the higher the possible damage, since the greater the area of the body that may be affected is. Cervical spine fractures may cause instability, which can lead to spinal cord compression and neurologic disability, so I was really really lucky, as always.

I am at home now, with a new posh bed whose upper part goes up and down, standing as still as a stone (as far as my neck is concerned) for the first two weeks that are really critical for the bone to start healing… quite a challenge I must say, but can’t do otherwise… I am thinking that I will recover 100% so I am happy, because things could have turned out VERY bad… and I think the bone will heal very fast.


p.s. check out the photo, it’s not my own neck, but just to see where the fracture is… 

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