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Feldene (Piroxicam)

Franklin grew up in a neighborhood where violence is a fact of daily life. He had dropped out of high school after tenth grade, and at age twenty-one he was working in a factory and living with his mother and siblings. Franklin had formed an early attachment to a girlfriend he’d met in junior high school, and by the time of his injury they had a young son. Though his girlfriend and son lived with her family, Franklin saw them daily and was very close to his little boy.
Franklin was shot while walking in his neighborhood. It was a random street shooting, and Franklin thinks the teenagers who shot him were trying to “prove themselves” for gang membership or were just showing off. Franklin was shot first in the leg, then in the back. He remembers lying in the street, waiting for help. “1 had a lot of wounds and bleeding. I turned myself over and realized I couldn’t move my legs. 1 didn’t feel much pain.” But Franklin remembers feeling scared and alone. He could see some people sitting on a front porch. “I asked someone to come over and talk to me while I was lying on the ground. Someone called for help and someone came over and talked to me.” Everything seemed unreal. When the ambulance came, Franklin remembers the paramedics cutting off his pants and putting him on a board. “Police were asking my name and address, who to contact,” he recalls. “Then they put me into an ambulance.”
Franklin’s memories of the immediate aftermath of the shooting are somewhat vague and jumbled. This is typical in cases of trauma. At the hospital, he recalls, “I was awake while they were pulling the bullets out of me. When they got me back to Intensive Care, that’s when I finally slept. They had to close up a lot of flesh wounds. I think I got hit in my lung – I had some tubes.” Franklin later found out that he had been shot twelve times. He had a collapsed lung, which was repaired. Fortunately the bullets had missed other vital organs, so he was able to survive the assault.
The doctors told Franklin that he had a spinal cord injury at T9 (the ninth thoracic or upper back, vertebra) and that his prognosis was unclear because he had a lot of swelling around his spinal cord. Until the swelling went down, they wouldn’t know whether he would be able to walk. Franklin recalls feeling overwhelmed. He couldn’t focus on the meaning of the doctors’ words, so he told them to talk to his mother.
When the doctors determined that Franklin had a complete spinal cord injury and explained the consequences, he cried a lot. He realized he would have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He imagined life as a paraplegic as much worse than it turned out to be. “I was lying down the whole week I was in acute care,” he remembers, “and didn’t think I’d be able to do all the things 1 can do now. I got dizzy when I got up, didn’t want to bother with it. I thought I wouldn’t be able to deal with it.”
That first week, Franklin was scared and sad. He and his family cried a lot, though he recalls that his mother, girlfriend, and siblings were always there for him and told him “everything was all right, whatever happened” to him.
Franklin’s medical condition stabilized quickly and he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital about a week or so after his injury. His mood improved immediately, as he started getting out of bed every day, became more active, started lifting weights, and “started feeling like 7 can do this’; stopped saying 7 can’t do it.’” In rehabilitation, the staff showed him how to get in and out of a chair, get dressed, and check his skin. “Once I started doing things on my own, I felt like everything was going to be all right,” he recalls. “Even if I can’t walk, I’ll still be going about life, doing the same things that I always did, just a little bit different.”
Injuring your spinal cord transports you into a whole new territory. What can you expect during the “wilderness” phase? This depends on the individual. Each person’s experience, and each person’s base of knowledge, is different. And spinal cord injury affects people differently, depending on the location and type of the damage. The level of injury (where on the spinal cord the injury occurs) defines the point below which paralysis can occur. Whether the spinal cord is completely or partially damaged determines the extent of the weakness or paralysis. How quickly emergency intervention begins and the quality of medical care received also affect outcome. Franklin was young, strong, and lucky. Someone else – someone older, younger, weaker, or with a different injury or outlook – would have a very different experience.
Nearly everyone with spinal cord injury requires emergency room care, acute hospitalization, and inpatient rehabilitation. In many cases, surgery is required to stabilize the spine; other people do not require surgery. Some have long hospital stays; others, short.

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