I just saw that the AmA about the guy who broke his spine and walks again (http://redd.it/1bbt3r) seems to interest a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to collect Karma interesting to share an other point of view.

I broke my neck in August 2011 (C 5/6) when I jumped on a bank of sand in the Danube. The result is a traumatic spinal core injury, which lead to a complete paralysis of most parts of my body. This means now I am only able to move/feel my head, my shoulders and parts of my arms/hands. Most likely for the rest of my life.

I am typing this with the knuckle of my little finger. AMA

edit:sorry, I am now back on my computer and trying to answer all the questions. Normally I am dictating most of my text. But I am German. I tried switching Siri to English, but I guess my accent is so bad that it doesn't really work, hehe. JAJA KRCHKRCH

edit2: proof http://imgur.com/a5sRaxT (home alone right now, but the mods seem to have removed the post so this crappy pic is the best I could do!)

edit3: http://imgur.com/IE0hHhX a pic of my hands. cant move the fingers, but I am able to hold/lift stuff, because my fingers close when I bend my wrist

edit4: Because you are so nice and curious I uploaded a video which is really precious to me! I guess it helps you guys to see me in action. my friends made it when they surprised me at my homecoming: http://youtu.be/p74xTxO-2Po

Comments: 995 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

jroudle552 karma

When you dream do you still have use of your whole body? I've always been curious about dreams of people who go through life changing experiences such as this.

Captain_Tetraplegic716 karma

yes I am never in my wheelchair in my dreams, but "disabled" most of the time. It is really weird. eg I am sitting on the toilet an peeing. Suddenly I remember that I am not able to pee, because I am paralyzed and really confused. or I am walking/ standing at the airport and realizing that I forgot my wheelchair

stuff like that...

Travdog229 karma

Wait so you can't pee? Do you have to use a catheter or something?

Captain_Tetraplegic621 karma

yes. not being able to walk is one of my least problems. When you see someone In a wheelchair you always think that's the main thing. but the organs are paralyzed, too. the blatter is a huge bitch and the bowel is super stupid

Time_for_Stories481 karma

Stupid bowels, always thinking they're the shit. Fuck you bowels!

Captain_Tetraplegic262 karma

but on the upside it can be trained. You usually get a certain rythm you can rely on

TheCodexx124 karma

Wait, so how do you recognize the need to use the restroom?

Captain_Tetraplegic410 karma

the autonomic nervous system reacts when the blatter is full. heat, goosebumps,..

when it comes to having a shit, I dont recognize it until I smell the mess

alias77769 karma

Wait so how do you urinate or have a bowel movement? We're honestly curious, don't be embarrassed.

Captain_Tetraplegic247 karma

http://imgur.com/wXvvPZi there are many ways. for me it works like this you connect the catheter with a bag and then you push the whole green thing in your penis until it's in your blatter. gravity does the rest

I empty my bowel once a day with the help of laxative so I can be relativly sure to be safe until the next day. But accidents happen and when you around babies and it starts to smell you just hope it wasnt you

mysterybkk16 karma

ok, so i'm gonna go into some really graphic territory here.... how about diarrhea then? sometimes i get it quite bad, to the point that i'm shitting liquid 8 times in a day. what exactly would happen to you in a case like that? do you have to wear adult diapers sometimes just to be safe?

Captain_Tetraplegic25 karma

yes and yes

jxj2442 karma

Are you familiar with the bladder and bowel control available through Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)?

FES is a lot more than just extremity control, though it is quite useful for some enhanced upper function (e.g., shoulder joystick that can put the hand into a variety of useful positions).

And there is also diaphragm stimulus for pacing and depth.

Captain_Tetraplegic37 karma

no but it works quite good for me the way it is right now

DeckerR13 karma

So how does your body function if your organs are paralyzed? For instance if your kidneys were paralyzed how does your body regulate waste?

haystackrat44 karma

The organs function separately. I believe what OP means about his organs being paralyzed is that he has no conscious control over them, eg. he can't decide to take a dump; his body just does it, same for his bladder.

Captain_Tetraplegic61 karma

yes and no. eg the urethral sphincter doesnt open anymore

same with parts of the muscles you need to breathe

fredspipa65 karma

Are you likely to regain the full use of your fingers?

There's many keyboard applications for touch screens that could really help with typing with a knuckle, like Swype.

I 'know' that if I was paralyzed, I'd do anything in my power to maintain my ability to interact with computers. Maybe my priorities is off, but losing that ability would devastate me more than not being able to walk.

EDIT: patronizing text removed.

Captain_Tetraplegic330 karma


Swype looks nice, thanks.

Please people stop being concerned about being insensitive! This ama is made for open thougts and questions. I have a fb wall full of sensitive get well wishes!

MaximusPower80 karma

Go fuck off.

Just kidding.

Does the sympathy get old like sometimes you just want people to shut up about it already?

Captain_Tetraplegic64 karma

pitty got old pretty fast. At least for me. With sympathy it depends on the way it is expressed. I guess everyone is open for a honest compliment!

YKML76 karma

I have a similar injury from July 2012 and in the vast majority of my dreams I am unchanged. Sometimes certain aspects of life since then appear in dreams. In one I had still broken my neck, but I had regained all normal abilities.

Captain_Tetraplegic79 karma

yeah, most of the people I met told me the same! Even after many years

2100Furnace304 karma

How do you have sex? If you don't mind me being so blunt?

Captain_Tetraplegic1111 karma

I don't mind at all. I think this is what the ama is for I dont need it for my vainity.

Yes I have sex! It is really weird!

Hard to explain, here is a video I made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

Captain_Tetraplegic105 karma

ok I owe you a proper answer to this question. the penis works because it is not a muscle controlled by the brain. I easily get an erection when someone touches my dick (yes it was embarrassing in the hospital). With Viagra the erection stays stable (tbh better than before) so technically the penetration works.

I am of course lying on my back. I am able to touch her, but as I cannot open my hand it is a bit weird. Just try caressing someone with your hands closed.

In general it feels good to be close and for me it is super important to be able to please her. Kissing is awesome and her licking my ear really turns me on.

But I dont feel my dick at all. This is really weird and of course a problem for her. If I don't see it I simply don't know if we are doing it. There is a sort of climax, my muscles contract, but it's not a great orgasm.

I hope this helps...

seashanty57 karma

If he can't control his bladder or bowel, I don't think he can have sex.

A related question though; how do you relieve sexual tension?

Captain_Tetraplegic324 karma

I can control it. Most of the time at least. I didnt shit my pants for a couple of month now, mama is really proud!

But seriously: my biggest fear ist accidently starting to pee when receiving a blow job

BoyFallDown1 karma


Captain_Tetraplegic4 karma

bc it is interesting?!

BoyFallDown2 karma

I deleted my response. I thought you had bailed from the thread, I didn't mean to hijack your question.

Captain_Tetraplegic4 karma

you can add your own opinion! I guess for you it is a lot different

organizedmutiny243 karma

I can't imagine getting news that I probably wouldn't be able to walk again.

What was it like when you first found out and how has it been adjusting?

Captain_Tetraplegic468 karma

I was alone in an isolated room at the ICU and the doctor just explained it in two sentences and left. It was the worst moment of my life.

Adjusting? mh, I guess humans are designed to get used to everything...

Rushiin167 karma

What were the two sentences?!

Captain_Tetraplegic392 karma

something like: "I don't know what they told you before, but your chances of winning the lottery are higher than being able to walk again. we will start the surgery soon."

P-2626135 karma

Are you greatfull the Dr was honest and direct, or did the approach/bluntness make it harder to cope with.

Captain_Tetraplegic328 karma

To be honest I don't know. He was a surgeon at the ICU and I guess Scrubs tought us about how surgeons are, hehe

Priapulid68 karma

I need you to go back in time with me. This is not a joke.

Captain_Tetraplegic148 karma

safety not guaranteed

Theblandyman24 karma

Is that movie worth the watch?

Captain_Tetraplegic79 karma

imho yes if you are into weird nerdy people/stories

fuck_they_found_me36 karma

Have you been able to adjust to your job? did you have to leave?

Captain_Tetraplegic93 karma

I am a freelance filmmaker. I was in the hospital/rehab for over a year. I am back in my new home for eight months now. I am slowly starting to work again, But I am still far away from earning money again. eg I cannot shoot a commercial

Ninja_Guin24 karma

If you can't shoot, what about the directing side?

Captain_Tetraplegic72 karma

that's the longterm goal!

AmericanMustache16 karma

Could you go into more detail about this please? I find this very interesting. I can't imagine being strong enough to deal with news like this.

Captain_Tetraplegic72 karma

Normally you would talk to people about this, but you are not able to talk for the first weeks. So you have to deal with it on your own.

But to be honest, you get so much medication, that your brain doesn't work properly anyways. Propofol...

For me it got hard later...

Went_To_Jared146 karma


Captain_Tetraplegic25 karma

You seem like a great guy. You are right, being scared is bad. I have to admit that I think too much about possible obstacles!

euid0132 karma

Sorry man :-\ it's awesome that you can move a finger though!

Captain_Tetraplegic340 karma

nah, I am just dropping it on the keyboard ;)

RedZaturn249 karma

If any asshole calls this guy out for typos....

Captain_Tetraplegic218 karma

hehe, I cant get used to typos myself. sometimes I am writing an email for half an hour.

wc311532 karma


Captain_Tetraplegic223 karma

heh I know :/

for this ama I had to lower my standards, my arm already hurts!

CrazyBoxLady83 karma

I don't know how long you've been paralyzed, and I don't want to give you false hope. However, a close family friend was paralyzed from the neck down when he was t-boned by a truck running a red light. He has a live-in caretaker and is confined to his wheelchair. This happened almost 20 years ago.

Initially, he couldn't even move his head, he could only speak (slurred), eat, and blink on his own. Today, he has full use of his head, shoulders, arms, and almost normal use of his hands. Even as little as 5 years ago, he could only hold something if you put it in his hands and closed his fingers around it. Now he can lift objects almost over his head, and feed himself.

Not to say that you're hopeless, but don't ever give up. It might take 20 years, but you could realistically see improvement in your motor functions. Good luck :)

Captain_Tetraplegic200 karma

thanks! Even if the doctors don't give me any hope, I would be lying if I would tell you that I don't believe I will get better.

and there is science...

pawnzz3 karma

So can you use two hands? How are you doing characters like ; and )? Serious question :)

NotUniqueUsername26 karma

The Sticky Keys functionality in Windows that makes us all angry allows you to just press shift and it acts as pressed.

Captain_Tetraplegic32 karma

Mac has the same function. I didnt know it from the beginning and really had a hard time doing smileys with my elbow ;)

JohnAbruzzi123 karma

How old are you and how old were you when this happened?

Captain_Tetraplegic176 karma

28 and 27

2100Furnace122 karma

Does it 'feel' like as if you let your arm fall asleep, or how does it feel to be paralyzed? Cold?

Captain_Tetraplegic240 karma

This is really hard to explain. I don't 'feel' anything real. no sensitivty at all. But a lot of the time it feels exactly like my limbs are asleep. In the beginning this was really hard, because you have the feeling if you just try hard enough you could wake them up.

It is not cold at all. most of the time it feels warm, even when my feet are ice cold. you have to be really careful, eg whren showering the autonomic nervous system is fucked

Cowmurder119 karma

Do you still get the urge to masturbate?

Captain_Tetraplegic210 karma

yes and no. This is still really weird for me. It changed. Let me try to put it this way: I dont get the urge from my dick like it was before. Which was the main force behind the urge to wank. But sometimes it makes klick in my head and I want to see naked chicks. Yet porn doesn't turn me on at all anymore

percyhiggenbottom91 karma

Sand! I am now adding beaches to my list of places to fear. How big was the fall? Or was it just a freak accident?

Captain_Tetraplegic96 karma

no fall, I was already in the water

SmileyMan694105 karma

How exactly did it happen?

Captain_Tetraplegic61 karma

I was in the water, running and took a header

rhythmMAN38 karma

A dive?

Captain_Tetraplegic56 karma


krokodiesel90 karma

How are your friends reacting to your situation?

Captain_Tetraplegic198 karma

really amazing. They helped me so much. They carry me when there are stairs, cook at my place, drive me around,...

HW9077 karma

With exoskeletons becoming a more viable option to allow people to walk, would you consider getting one and are they demonised in the wheelchair community like cochlear implants are by the deaf community?

Captain_Tetraplegic98 karma

An exoskeleton doesn't make sense at all for me. I would need help to put it on and off, so I would still rely on others.

I dont know what the wheelchair community thinks about that...,

drum_playing_twig36 karma

Why would you ever take an exoskeleton off???

Captain_Tetraplegic112 karma

constant pressure on your skin is a huge problem.

teleclem70 karma

How do you handle day to day tasks? Transport?

Captain_Tetraplegic158 karma

with help! I have 14 hours of assistance each day. Public transport is pretty good to use with a wheelchar. Stairs arew my arch enemy now!

Iromside86 karma

How would you like to be treated in public. I Always want to aid disabled people in any way possible but don't want to offend them in any way ..DO you like it when people smile at you or do you think its mocking?

Thing like doors and such should I hold them open or allow you to do it youself?

Captain_Tetraplegic223 karma

That is a difficult question. Help is always nice when it is needed. Like holding doors open. I know that it is really difficult to see if you should offer help. so I am never mad at people for asking. Unfortunately a lot of disabled people can be really bitchy.

smiling is always nice. I usually smile first because it helps people

super pro tip. If you talk to me for a little longer try to get down on my level, crouching,.. I really really appreciate that

jxj2455 karma

Stairs arew my arch enemy now!

Are you a... Dalek?

Captain_Tetraplegic77 karma

eh is this a doctor who thing? I only know this series from what I see on imgur!

Lympwing270 karma

...How did you take that picture of your hands???

Captain_Tetraplegic47 karma

I have help from 5pm to 1:30am. (and 8.30am to 2pm)

elvis_jagger58 karma

Did it hurt when you broke your neck or did it just go numb?

Captain_Tetraplegic76 karma

no not at all. I wasnt unconscious. I was confused why I wasnt able to lift my head above the water level and really didnt realize what happened

Homosexual_Panda43 karma

Don't give up hope. Stem cells! I think I heard that at the rate we're going, if it was made legal, total spinal cord fixing is less than two decades away :)

Edit: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252982.php. dogs walk again after stem cell treatment

Captain_Tetraplegic92 karma

Yeah I know about this field of research. It looks promising, but the hzuman body is sooo complex

and tbh spinal cord injuries are a small market, not much money to make...

chest_pains19 karma

It IS legal!......In Panama. I don't know how safe it is though and it costs about 15k I believe. But it's something.


Captain_Tetraplegic90 karma

A guy I know went to Panama and came back fucked up. So thanks but I pass ;)

bwoosh37 karma

He came back fucked up? What happened if you don't mind me being super nosey? :P

Captain_Tetraplegic71 karma

brain damage but I think it was a rookie mistake the doctor made

hudson79140 karma

was breaking your spine in any way a positive thing in your life?

Captain_Tetraplegic335 karma


Crabaooke39 karma

Did you lose any friends after the accident? Did they become awkward/uncomfortable around you?

Captain_Tetraplegic77 karma

no not at all. I've heard that it happens a lot. imho if people do this they never were friends

legomistress36 karma

Do you have a partner and if so how have the two of you handled this

Captain_Tetraplegic88 karma

yes but we came together over a year after the accident. Humour is the key

creativestarz35 karma

How old are you? What do you do for a living?

Captain_Tetraplegic54 karma

28 and I am a freelance filmmaker

YourACoolGuy23 karma

Have any work you wouldn't mind sharing?

Captain_Tetraplegic130 karma

Yes, but I don't want to use this ama as a marketing thing!

squatly25 karma

can you provide some proof please?

squatly-3 karma

I have removed this post until proof has been provided, as no answer has been given within 2 hours

Captain_Tetraplegic31 karma

I posted proof now. sorry I didnt see your post earlier bc I was answering all the top questions

squatly18 karma

Reinstated, thanks!

Captain_Tetraplegic13 karma

sorry again!

nerf_irelia16 karma

Did you have any hobbies before the incident that you can't enjoy now?

Captain_Tetraplegic75 karma

does wanking count?

I guess I am lucky that I wasn't a gifted musician or athlete. Losing this must be hard.

but I miss dancing when I hear music

KillaStorm100011 karma

Can you use an electric wheelchair with the limited usage of your body you still have?

Captain_Tetraplegic9 karma

sure. I am using a normal wheelchair and can drive on my own in my apartment

Mythic34311 karma

How did you take this picture http://imgur.com/IE0hHhX

Captain_Tetraplegic22 karma

I have help from 5pm to 1.30am!

Ciano10127 karma

What simple task can you not do that people wouldn't think of and you really wish you could?

Captain_Tetraplegic16 karma

popping pimples!

I guess being able to leave the bed/apartment on my own would be awesome!

boogieman1175 karma

After starting the Game of Thrones series, I want to call you Bran for some reason.

Captain_Tetraplegic24 karma


w2g4 karma

Have you done lots of psychedelics yet? I figured thats what I'd do...

Captain_Tetraplegic8 karma

no, but maybe I should...