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Dealing with a tragedy.

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  • Dealing with a tragedy.

    Hello everyone:

    This past weekend my nephew was in an accident and will not walk again. He just came out of surgery today where they installed a titanium part to help repair his spine. The spinal cord was completely severed. The break was at 12/1,12/2.

    My question is: Do any of you have any good ideas on things I might be able to build for him to help out?

    I am considering buying him a mini lathe in a year or so, after rehabilitation. He is 16 yrs. old and was into sports. I hope will get back into sports when he can come to grips with his new life. The accident happened while he was on his way to a volleybell game at about 7 AM.

    Thanks for any and all comments

  • #2
    Buy the lathe and offer encouragement and patience, It will be a long hard row to hoe
    but in he can build his confidence and self-esteem in the end it will pay off.
    I work with welder who has the left side of his body paralyzed, he's the best welder Iv'e ever seen, does more with one hand than others do with two,What I admire most about him is that he isn't too proud to ask for help or my light of his conditon at times.
    Good Luck, God's speed. chief
    Non, je ne regrette rien.


    • #3
      Rough way to go.

      I'd get him something to help him through the depression. I didn't get better from my injury till I throwed all the pain-depression medication away.

      A UNIMAT lathe would get a youth started. Slow and they demand paitience. I learned a lot.

      I am doing fine with my disability, They computed it at 27% and suggested I draw social security. I have worked as much as I wanted to since.

      I did have to quit kickboxing, and trade my kickstart only bike off. Tradeoffs.

      Now I am looking into air ride shocks..


      • #4
        Sorry to hear of the accident. It will be tough on a fellow so young but it is great that he has somebody like you to pitch in and help him through the tough parts to come. I think getting him a small lathe is a good idea.


        • #5
          Let me know when you get to the lathe and I will ship him some appropriate sized tool bits to get started. Carpe Diem. Never know what to say for these things but even the worst things seem to be for the best somehow. Just real tough to see it at times.


          • #6
            We are all sorry about the tragedy, it goes without saying.
            I think what you suggest is a very good idea, as other have said it will take a while and depression is probably the biggest stumbling block.
            Tell him what you aim to do to gauge his reaction and in the mean while if he's interested a couple of good books on the subject won't go amiss.

            The two I would suggest are Table Top Machining by Joe ?? the sherline guy.
            Practically I think this book is overpriced and not much practical use but it goes show in very good quality what can be done with a small lathe. It's a nice apetite wetter.

            Second book is the SouthBend book How to run a lathe. This has got to be the simplest practical book out there.
            Sorry I can't post links on where to get them stateside as I'm not familar with US sources. Perhaps other can chip in here?

            John S.
            Nottingham, England.

            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


            • #7

              Sorry to hear about your nephew's accident.

              It's good to hear that you will be there to help him through this tough time.

              The book Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin contains some good basic information and inspiration.

              As far as projects to help him. That's pretty tough.



              • #8
                Machining is good, if you can set up a shop for him. Ramps, obviously, clearance for a chair, low benches with a lot of overhang. Low storage, easy access to drawers and such.

                Don't force him into anything. It will be exceedingly difficult, and as mentioned, depression will be a major factor. Keeping him occupied will be good, but it's also very easy to go overboard, and be opressive and overbearing. (It may not feel like it to you, but to the depressed, possibly suicidal person, it's easy to misinterpret.)

                Focus on the creativity, and again, be ready for the inevitable anger, depression and the whole "I can't do this!" thing.

                How about an art table or drafting table? Some technical pens, some french curves, some Berol colored pencils. Pick up some books on sketching and penciling and a bunch of art tablets. Let him tell you how he wants the foldaway table attached to his chair.

                Get him a fast computer, maybe a laptop with a WiFi card to a DSL setup in the house. Plenty of storage media, and be prepared to keep the thing up to date (processor-wise, as well as peripherals.) Encourage actual research and learning, not just spending all day IM'ing buddies down at the cyber-cafe.

                If he agrees, get him into computer classes: programming C++, JAVA, MySQL, even HTML. See if you can steer him towards Microsoft Certification- in fact, hot grades and a certificate in MSCE, and, cynical as it sounds, being disabled, would all but guarantee a good job with some firm (typically a bigger place under some legal or political pressure to hire minorities or disabled.)

                I don't necessarily advocate "working the system", but neither should an opprotunity be passed up.

                Along with the programming, there's also database entry and similar work- letter writing, story writing.

                Get him some clay, or plasticene. An airbrush, a small quiet compressor and a set of Createx water-based paints. Pick up a subscription to Airbrush Action (that's a real magazine) and see if he gets inspired.

                Have him help you set up some remote controls for his house. A couple inexpensive key-fob type remotes or a universal-type radio-frequency PC controller and he can turn lights on and off, adjust or tune the stereo, radio or TV, answer the front door or phone, etc.

                Wood carving. Oil painting. Hell, set him up with a hot PC with a lot of big discs, some self-feed scanners (they make such things) and help him start a business converting people's old slides, 35mm negatives and 8mm home movies into modern digital formats. (My dad has a huge pile of all three we'd love to see on a videotape or DVD.)

                See if he'd like to try the guitar or piano/keyboard. Technical writing. Have him learn a foreign language and get some business translating manuals and instructions. Circuit board designing.

                There's thousands of things a person can do sitting in a chair. Be prepared to work your way through a lot of them before he "settles" on any one, or any handful. Don't push, but let him know there's plenty of options for him.

                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


                • #9
                  Doc is right!

                  I don't know the full situation, but step back and make sure that you are not doing for him what you want him to do.

                  It is great to be involved, but you must be prepared for a lot of pain, too. He may need someone to feel his. So don't be surprised.

                  Don't hesitate to seek professional counseling yourself. Experts can help you help him.

                  Best of luck to both of you.



                  • #10
                    My condolences, Bernie. I would like to say that your nephew may in fact walk again; I know whereof I speak. This last May 18 my 21 year old daughter was involved in a wreck coming home from college; her boyfriend (unofficial fiance) was killed. Her neck was broken at the C4 - C5 level and her spinal cord both compressed and twisted; the doctors informed us the injury was complete and she would be a quadriplegic the remainder of her life. She spent almost 3 weeks in the ICU (her left femur was broken as well) - all that time on a ventilator so she could breathe. Praise the Lord, today (five months later) she is walking with a cane, has full use of her right arm and hand (to the point where she can do better artwork than me) and some movement of her left arm and hand. I absolutely credit her recovery to my Savior, Jesus Christ; all the doctors are dumbfounded and the therapy staff call our daughter their "miracle patient". I just don't have the words to fully describe the last 5 months except to say that me, my wife and our 2 other children felt "at peace" knowing our daughter is/was under the grace of our sovereign God. My daughter is a strong Christian believer; she knows she'll see her boyfriend again (he was also a strong believer) and while she has had some days when she is sad these days have been very few and far between (in fact, early on in this the doctors and staff thought that our daughter and my wife and me were not really facing reality because we simply were not showing the typical symptoms of those who go through this sort of thing). I was the one who told my daughter her boyfriend was dead; this was 3 1/2 weeks after the wreck and as she had been knocked unconscious at the time this news had been withheld from her until she became physically stabilized. All this to say that miracles do happen - God does perform healing and that EVERYTHING happens according to His purpose - in my mind there are no such things as accidents or coincidences. I'll pray for your nephew and I'll pray that he'll know the peace which comes from our sovereign Lord.


                    • #11
                      I'm sorry to hear about your nephew, my 15 y/o nephew is paralized since birth, but it hasn't slowed him down at all. He loves sports like your nephew and plays wheelchair basketball as well as track. He's so good his coach thinks he has a shot at the Olympic team for 2007! If you have any teams in your area, it might be a big moral boost for him to see what these guys can do in a chair. There may even be a wheelchair volleyball team. Feel free to email me and I'll see if my nephew can help get him through the depression.

                      As the others have said, let him guide you towards what he is interested in, but I think the mini lathe is a good idea to help keep his spirits up. Building a small steam engine or something like that might spark so serious interest.



                      • #12
                        sorry to here of the lads sad misfortune.I wonder if you could be more precise as to what he can and can't do at present cane he or woill he be able to sit supported at a bench.I ask this because I read of achap with a severe spinal injury who had a special slide chair made for him and can sit at the lathe and do woodturning being able to move from side to side on this chair.I hope he proves the doctors wrong and is able to do more in the future.

                        Guero I hope the future is better for your lovely daughter and her faith is helping both her and you I will pray for both of you as I believe in God too. Alistair
                        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                        • #13
                          Thank you all for the many good ideas. Right now my children wife and I are staying back a little as he doesn't feel up to seeing us. He has his parents and 2 other aunts with him most of the time. I am not going to push him into any thing. I guess I'm just looking for guidance from a great bunch of people that I look up to. Your many suggestions are heard and I will probably try them on him and see what he thinks. We are having a hard time dealing with this and feel all we can do right now is pray for him. Our time to help will come. As his aunts and parents will not be there for the entire time of his rehab. They live approx. 2.5 hrs. drive from the hospital. My wife and I live here and will be here for him. Our older son and Kyle are very close. Our turn to help will come and I want to help make a difference.



                          • #14
                            Bernie you sound like a good one to me just what the boy needs well done.
                            Its people like you that bring us down to earth sometimes and make us realise that there are still a lot of good people in the world.
                            I am proud to see the concern you are showing well done the boy is obviously in the best of hands with family like you and your wife around.
                            kind regards Alistair
                            Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                            • #15
                              Keep it slow and lowkey. Maybe, rather than buy him XX, show him what you can do with it and ask if he wants it. Also, don't be afraid of woodworking (which wasn't mentioned previously), and can be a more freeflowing, casual (still dangerous, mind you) hobby than metalworking. There's something very soothing, to me, about a good woodworking project that isn't there in a piece of metal.

                              If religion is a big part of HIS life, encourage it. If it isn't, DON'T GO THERE. I know, (as an athiest) that I would reject that approach if I were hurt... but each person needs something different, and it can be a great balm to the soul.

                              Good luck. He'll need it. He's got a great leg up, with you, but he'll still need it.