Ryan Gebauer Endures Multiple Surgeries and an Endless Sea of Doctors and Nurses

While Ryan was unconscious, he multiple surgeries to stabilize his neck.

Editor’s Note: Ryan Gebauer was on the bank of a canal after falling 30 feet and breaking his C3 and C4 vertebrae. He couldn’t move, and wondered if he was paralyzed like Christopher Reeve. Part 2 of a 5 part series. 

When the ambulance arrived, it only took Ryan half a block to where a helicopter was waiting to airlift him to a trauma center. “I remember being transported from the ambulance to the helicopter and being asked questions. Then I lost consciousness,” he recalls. He was taken to North Broward Medical Center and woke up 2 weeks later. “Once I woke up, I wanted to know when I could go home, and be with my friends. I learned that my C3 and C4 vertebrae were fused together. While I had been unconscious, my parents had been doing a lot of research on spinal cord injury. They had me go to another hospital to have an additional surgery. The doctor there was trying to give me as much mobility as possible so that I could have a better quality of life. He redid the first surgeon’s work. After my second operation, I went through several setbacks. I had to be put on a trach, have a feeding tube put in my stomach and got bed sores. They tried to give me enough nutrition to fight off the bed sores, but I finally had to have a skin graft on my buttocks due to the bed sores getting so bad. When the doctors went to remove my neck brace, they realized that I hadn’t been stabilized as much as they thought, so I had to have another surgery. Because of the third surgery, I wasn’t able to go to rehab as quickly as most people with spinal cord injuries do.

“My mom was having issues with everything that was being done. I wasn’t healing as fast as I should have. The skin graft on my buttocks wasn’t healing properly, and my mom thought I needed to be transferred to another hospital. I had been in Jackson Memorial for 2-1/2 months and then was transferred to Pinecrest Rehabilitation and Outpatient Hospital in Delray Beach, Florida.  I was there for 3 additional months.” At Pinecrest, Gebauer was able to come off the trach, he had to learn how to breathe to strengthen his diaphragm and his lungs, and he learned how to use the computer and how to verbalize his needs. He was being retrained and reintegrated back into the community. He learned he was paralyzed like Christopher Reeve, but he wasn’t on a ventilator. Pinecrest was where he finally started to do rehab and realized the extent of his injury. He was paralyzed from the neck down but could move his shoulders up and down and from side to side.

When he got to rehab, Ryan learned the extent of his injuries.

When he got to rehab, Ryan learned the extent of his injuries.

To learn more about  Ryan Gebauer and ways he’s working for the community, go to www.rollingryan.com.

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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