Before his spinal cord injury, Jammie McCool maintained a busy lifestyle with two jobs, one at a self-storage facility and the other as a maintenance technician. Married for 17 years with two children, he always found time for family hobbies like hiking and camping on the weekends. He also enjoys making jewelry, often from gold, gems, and minerals that he finds himself.
During a normal day of work at the storage facility, a storage door fell and struck Jammie on the back of the neck. The trauma left him unconscious. However, Jammie didn’t seek medical treatment after the accident and claimed to feel fine. Later, while spending time with friends showing them how to make a fire bow, Jammie stood up and felt a tear in his knee.
Over the next five to six months, Jammie began having symptoms including difficulty walking and feeling numb from the chest down. He believed these symptoms came from slowing down his active lifestyle due to his knee. So Jammie found a surgeon that could address his injury.
Jammie’s surgeon sent him to the hospital where they performed an MRI. The MRI revealed a complete lesion at the C7 level of his cervical spinal cord. He was put on steroids and told to return if he started experiencing these symptoms again. After being home for several days, his symptoms returned. As a result, Jammie was unable to use his hands, preventing him from dressing, bathing, walking, or feeding himself. He returned to the hospital and underwent a spinal fusion.
“I was in a complete state of shock at first,” Jammie noted. “It was very scary talking with the surgeons about my spine and not knowing how I would do after surgery. It was especially scary with COVID and my family being unable to visit.”
Post-surgery, Jammie was still unable to walk or use his hands. His physicians and case managers recommended continuing his recovery at Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Rancho Mirage. Jammie found support in the staff and was thankful for their care and attention.
“I’ve been so happy since arriving here,” Jammie shared. “The staff has been so welcoming and supportive. My therapist, Dennis, has been a great listener, teacher, and has made me feel very comfortable.”
Jammie strives to achieve his recovery goals so he can see his family and cuddle with his wife and kids. He has even regained function in his hands and has taken on some of his old hobbies to pass the time!
“I am so happy to be able to use my hands again, and I have been making jewelry while here at rehab. I pray a lot and feel Jesus has gotten me through this.”
With his heart set on returning home, Jammie intends on continuing his recovery with the support of home health and physical and occupational therapy. He is excited to get back to his old hobbies and wants to start making pottery with his wife and kids.