Many, many thanks to everyone who has donated to help us in this transition to a new stage in our lives. Chris is doing excellently, and continuing to work hard at physical therapy. We were able to purchase a custom wheelchair with some of the funds. Our next step is to get a vehicle that Chris will drive and be able to have full independence!
Thank you to everyone for supporting Team Michels with your gifts - Jessica and Chris need your support to adapt to the challenge in front of them - thank you!
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(excerpt from Caring Bridge Page)
On the afternoon of Friday, June 6, 2014, Chris was in a life-threatening accident. While riding his dirt bike, he landed short on a double jump. He was airlifted from Woodstock, Illinois to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois with a possible spinal cord injury. Upon arrival at Condell, Chris underwent a CT scan. The results of the CT scan were grim. Two of his vertebra, T11 and T12, were fractured, his spinal column had been completely dislocated so that the top portion of his spinal column was compressing the bottom half into his pelvis, and finally, Chris’s spinal cord sheath had been damaged.
Due to the injuries sustained to his spinal column, Chris had been paralyzed below his waist and could not move or feel his legs. In addition to the injuries to his spinal cord, Chris fractured his right clavicle, four ribs, and bruised his lungs.
Dr. Robert Erickson was the neurosurgeon on call at Condell, and Chris was in surgery by 9:20 PM. As we waited through the next 6 hours, Dr. Erickson worked to repair Chris’s back. He realigned and adjusted Chris’s spinal column on the operating table and then fused the T11 and T12 vertebra together. He placed 6 rods into Chris’s back to stabilize the L1 through T10 vertebra so that Chris would be able to sit upright in a wheelchair. Around 3:00 AM early Saturday morning, Dr. Erickson emerged from the surgical suite. He explained that there are times when he opens his patients’ backs and immediately closes them because there is nothing more he can do to help. But, in Chris’s case, there was a lot he could do to help. Dr. Erickson encouraged us that Chris will live a fully independent life.
Following the successful surgery, Chris remained in a medically induced coma through Sunday morning. His breathing tube was removed by 10:00 AM on Sunday morning. Even while fighting for his life in the ICU, Chris’s resting heart rate hovered right around 75 beats per minute, a true witness to the excellent physical shape he’s in! He was moved out of the ICU on Monday, June 9 to an orthopedic recovery floor at Condell.
While on the recovery unit, Chris was remarkable. He had few issues, aside from the pesky side effects of painkillers. He received daily physical therapy to get him moving into a wheelchair, which was encouraging to witness when considering the severity of his injury and surgery.
Chris moved to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) on Saturday, June 14 to begin his recovery from this traumatic injury.