Got your attention, didn’t I? This particular post is written specially for those of you who might have chanced upon this blog by searching for terms such as “C2 neck fracture” or “halo vest”. My guess is that you might have found yourself in the same shoes as me – Currently nursing a c2 neck fracture with a halo vest.
Hello There! 🙂 Since my accident, I had a couple of friends who prompted me to share my experience with others on my blog and it has been something on the back of my mind since. Reading other people’s experiences of coping with a neck fracture and living with a halo vest had helped me tremendously to adjust to a new lifestyle so I would also like to do my part and pay it forward.
Life behind Bars
Life in a halo vest is certainly no walk in the park. In fact, second to lying on my back 24/7 for 10 days in the hospital, it’s the next hardest thing I have to deal with. For the first couple of days, I unleashed a floodgate of tears as it was difficult moving around with this 4kg metal contraption screwed into my head, let alone trying to adapt to a normal life. Not forgetting the frequent backache, shoulder ache and neck pain.
But trust me, life will get better after the initial weeks. I’ll be honest and real with you to say that you will need to make major adjustments to your life and be dependent on others, but it can only get better. 🙂 There are days that get incredibly hard but I always tell myself that I’m very lucky and blessed to have survived a broken neck and this halo vest is giving my neck the chance to heal by itself and hopefully regain most of its original mobility. So yes, despite the fact that living in a halo vest is a bitch most of the time, I’m thankful that it’s keeping me alive and I try make the most out of it.
Is it even possible for you to sleep with this thing on your head?
Oh yes. In fact, as bone healing requires a lot of energy, I sleep more than I ever did before my injury. Make that 12-15 hours a day. But it is usually interrupted blocks of sleep as I tend to wake up at every 2-3 hours interval. Personally, I find it most comfortable sleeping 60 degrees upright, on my back, on a recliner. Put a small towel in between your neck and the bars for extra comfort.
Can you remove the vest to shower?
Unfortunately, no as you have to wear this halo vest 24/7. What I do is to wet a small towel with diluted soap and sponge bathe; My mum helps me to clean my back while I do the front. It is, however, not an issue to shower the lower part of the body.
How about washing your hair?
Personally, this is a nightmare for my family and me as we have tried various methods to wash my hair but to no avail. On this note, I must say that I’m very lucky to have a stylist who’s willing to go the extra mile and wash my hair for me. Living in the tropics with high humidity means my hair gets oily and dirty very fast so I try to make do with twice weekly visits to the hair salon although slight dandruff still remains as a problem. 😦
How do you even fit into any of your clothes?
Well, I don’t. Honestly, I don’t even wear any top when I’m at home. For modesty sake, I’ll have a handkerchief covering my private bits at the front and another at the back but otherwise, I pretty much walk around “naked”. This is also the only time I can go bra-less with a valid reason lol. When I do head out, I’ll usually don a large-sized boyfriend shirt over the vest. Or a boho dress for special occasions.
I miss exercising!
Trust me, I do too. With yoga and aerial arts out of the picture (and for a long time to come), I felt like I had lost a tiny part of my identity. As I had mentioned earlier, bone healing takes up an incredible amount of energy and I get tired and sleepy pretty easily these days. All the hard work gone into working out my core and muscles seem to have gone to waste. 😦 Welcome flabs! But I know how important sleep/rest is to aid in recovery so I’ll do whatever it takes for a faster and complete recovery.
What else do you do to fill up your day?
Sleep! Honestly, I used to have such a hectic lifestyle that I hardly have the luxury to do nothing. I know it sounds so cliché but I do reflect a lot about life and try to take each day as it comes. These days, I seek pleasure in catching up on many shows – From American sitcoms to drama crimes to documentary shows – , reading, playing with my 3 lovable dogs and catching up on a backlog of blog entries. It certainly helps that my relatives and friends ensure that I have some form of social interaction by visiting me at my place. 🙂
Oh yes, I even booked myself a house-call manicure and pedicure just to pamper myself!