Eyes Wide Open

A Perspective From Within

Testing, Testing… 1, 2, 3


In probably the fourth or fifth day in ICU, three residents came to administer what is called the ASIA exam.  Prior to this injury, I had no idea what the ASIA exam was. This is not an exam to test my geography knowledge nor is it something you can study for. ASIA is an acronym for the American Spinal Cord Injury Association. Without going into too much boring detail, the test is used to document sensory and motor impairments following spinal cord injuries. It is based on neurological responses, touch and pinprick sensations and the results are classified into five categories on the ASIA Impairment Scale. The exam also shows if you’re complete or incomplete, being complete is not good. I won’t post the scale, you can Google it and find it online. In my opinion, this exam is so terribly subjective. When administered by inexperienced medical professionals it can give you a demotivating label. Well, the Rehab residents gave me a brief explanation of the exam… pinpricks, dull, sharp etc.

The last part of the exam is what I will refer to as the pièce de résistance and explores the muscles that apply to the sacral region of the spinal cord. The most accessible muscle that can be explored to be rated is the sphincter muscle. This part of the test requires a glove and two fingers, if you know what I mean. It’s a good thing if you can feel their fingers, it’s not a good thing if you can’t.

Understanding the spinal cord and these types of injuries is very complicated. But what I do understand, the sacral region is way below my injury, which means if I can feel something, signals are getting down the spinal cord. Well, I couldn’t feel shit, no pun intended. I really couldn’t feel much anywhere to be honest with you. At that point I did not even know that there was a complete or incomplete, which was probably a good thing. Thankfully, they didn’t tell me which one I was, but later on I found out they had deemed to be complete.


6 thoughts on “Testing, Testing… 1, 2, 3

  1. Wow Mary, your plog is incredible I have learned so much just reading it the last two days. You are an inspiration to all of us. Just keep up the good work and I look forward visiting you every Sunday.

  2. Rumor control, rumor control alert!!! (Authorized by MAV). There is some better news to come, but nice dramatic pause, bi-atch.

  3. We are praying for you here at Sandridge… The people on the floor ask about you all of the time… I send your Blog to Jamie Berlin, Jeannie Smith, and Jeff Loving… Everyone of us follow your information and hope that it begins to get better, and soon. Still can’t believe that this has happened to such a wonderful lady like you… You are missed here, by the floor employees, and everyone else….

  4. Hello Mary! I heard about your accident, and after reading your blog I have to say I am in awe. You are truly an amazing person, and I wish you all the best in the world. I wanted to let you know I am going to be praying for you as often as I can, and I cannot over state what a strong person you are. Not many people would experience this and then think, “Oh, a blog is what I need!” I think it is incredibly brave of you to be so open and honest with people. You really inspire me, are absolutely beautiful [yes even with the Rhianna hair], again, praying for you and your family.

    And Ross, you are an amazing person too, I think more men should be like you.

  5. Mary, we are praying for you daily. Your blog is amazing and so are you. You are full of strength, courage and beauty..a true inspiration to others…keep fighting!
    Lisa Craine

  6. Hello Mary,
    I came across your Blog by accident…I was looking for the spinal cord image & ended up at your site. Just thought you would want to know there is a broken link to “Le Fleur”. I figured it out how to get to it by looking at how the other two-word page names were written in the URL. Yay!
    I am dealing with my own nervous system issues, and it was a pleasure to read your blog and get a sense of the passion and drive it has taken for you to achieve the goals you have made for yourself. Mary, you have been an inspiration; thank you for the encouragement to get up, get moving, and get through this current crisis.
    God Bless,
    Kim Schellenberg

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