(Sara Boverhof is the wife of Peter, a C6 quadriplegic since 2019 due to a farming accident. They have 7 children and share their new life on their blog Walk and Roll)
My husband Peter’s accident happened July 20, 2019 when he was cleaning up after a big storm the night before. While trimming broken limbs off a tree while standing in the loader tractor bucket 12 feet in the air, the limb knocked the bucket throwing him off balance, and he fell, landing on his neck and shoulder with his head resting in the wheel of the front tractor tire.
He sustained breaks in his cervical spine at C2, C6 (the doctor said that vertebra was decimated) and C7. He also had a small fracture at the base of his skull. By God’s grace, C2 was a small fracture as well, not requiring any surgical repair, but he ended up with a fusion from C5-T1, spacer for the C6 vertebra and an 8 hour emergency surgery.
At the time of his accident, he was sole owner/ operator of his own tire business, working on anything from semis to heavy off road equipment, 10-12 hours a day plus we were building up our little homestead/ farm. His income was our only income as I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years. Our 7 children were aged 15, 14, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 4 at the time of the accident.
The transition from dad being strong and able to do all things to him needing a lot of care has been challenging, but our kids have been amazing and have adapted quite well. In the 6 weeks Peter was in the hospital and rehab, we let them ask all the questions they wanted to and we spoke very openly about dad’s deficits and new needs.
Nothing was a taboo subject for us and that openness was key in getting them adjusted to this new normal. The best advice we received as we left rehab was from his nurse who was a daughter of a quadriplegic and she said “Teach your kids to help with as much as they can.”
Getting them more involved in his care has saved my sanity and has kept them involved and engaged in ways I could’ve never anticipated. Kids are extremely resilient and when they help, they feel valued and appreciated. We did get some comments about letting kids take care of him, but we don’t let anyone speak into our life things that are negative and unhelpful- they have no idea what living after a spinal cord injury is like- so we educate and extend extra grace while continuing on our journey.
This month marks 22 months post accident. While my husband will never be back to his “old self”, we do everything we can to make this new life as normal as possible. He has a chair that he’s able to get into every part of the farm he wants, we are equipping a tractor with a lift so he can be out in the fields again and are working with some amazing people to make this new normal as well, normal, as possible. He is getting stronger and happier the more he’s outside and involved the day to day. We have a routine again.
Friends, if you’re new to this life, please know there’s going to be better days. The first bit as you’re adjusting is HARD. There is a grief process for sure- allow that to happen. You may need to take each good day and cling to it with all you’ve got for a while. Ask for and get help when you need to.
There are some amazing organizations available that are there to help. If you have kids, get them involved as much as you can. Be honest with them about everything that’s going on, what changes there will be and let them ask questions. They will be amazing.
– Follow them on Instagram at @walkandrolllife
– Visit their blog Walk and Roll Life