Another busy day at the RIC. Started out with hand group where I played with several different peg board type developmental tools to work on my hand motor skills. It's fun going to the different groups, you get to know the different patients better and better.
Because I didn't have occupational therapy exercise group today, Kalli and I went back to my room and turned on the music and did our own arm exercise. We did many of the same moves from class.
After our own interpretation of Richard Simmons,was physical therapy where I got back on the tilt table. Carey, my PT, slowly moved me up higher and higher as I could handle it with my blood pressure. I go tall the way up to 50 degrees, which is only five degrees more than last time. But, really I was able to stay there a lot longer than last time! I was on the tilt table for a full hour which is a really long time. It is kind of funny, we did the exercise in my room on our own because I didn't have arm exercise group that day but of course while i was on the tilt table Carey made me do arm exercises for the whole hour to try to keep my blood pressure up. So, I ended up doing an hour and a half of arm exercises and it made me feel like jello.
After getting nice and lightheaded on the tilt table we rolled over to the canary room for some lunch. After a bite or two, of an actually pretty darn good ham and cheese sandwich, in rolls Tari, Kelly, and Taylor VanHoof, a good friend of mine, Ashley Wilhelm's (previously VanHoof) mother and sisters. They didn't come alone - they came bearing gifts galore - books, food, and best of all a homemade "Shake of the Day". This is a fun dice game that includes a shaker, five dice, and a custom decorated money jar designed by Tari. It is a simple game - basically you pay a quarter to take three shakes on the dice in order to achieve five of a kind. If you get five of a kind you receive half of the money that is in the jar. The kicker is, just like the name of the game, you can only play once a day, that way some fool can't just sit and keep paying in until he wins. Anthony, Al, and myself had a "Shake of the Day" behind our bar when we lived together in Milwaukee on Bartlett street. It was such a fun game and people always wanted to play. I believe Ashley even won about $70 on it one time! It paid out several times and was just another fun part of the bar. Now, I don't have a bar in my room here to put it behind, but it will just have to sit next to my stereo and I expect everyone who visits to shake. We had a great little visit and it's nice to know that Kelly is living just a short distance away in Chicago here now too. The longer I am here the more and more people I end up finding that live here. My cousin, David Denor, also stopped by again to drop off a couple of good newspapers and magazines that the publisher he works for has accounts with. One being Plastics News, which was a newspaper that I received back in San Diego twice a month and is kind of an interesting insight into the plastics world, in which my industry is engulfed in.
After lunch, Mike, the director of recreational activities here at RIC,found me so that he could give me a tour of their facility and show me what was all available in his department. Mike is the guy that set up my sailing adventure, which I am still so freakin excited for next Wednesday. So, we went upstairs to the 9th floor, which is also the pediatrics floor, and he showed me their main room. The room had all the equipment to do pottery, a pool table, the same TV that I have back in San Diego to play WII on, lots of plants and supplies to do gardening and much much more. Mike made it sound like even if there is something that they don't have but are interested in, they are willing to go out and find what is needed to make it happen. He takes people fishing, biking, all kinds of fun activities to get you out and about and not just sitting in your room, which sadly a lot of the patients here I feel like do.
Also, in the afternoon, I got together with Diane, my OT, and learned more about my options with controlling my bladder. Soon, I am going to have to make a decision to keep running around with a pee bag or start cathing myself. Cathing myself is much safer, avoiding bladder infections, but time consuming and probably not all that fun.
After a great little session of bladder management I got together with a new OT, one I have never been with before, Piper. Piper is a really nice lady and put me on the mat and started a drill that turned out to be something I felt was very useful. I have been wanting to really work on strengthening my core abdominal area so that my balance gets better and better. Right now, I actually have a chest strap on around the back of my chair to help me balance and I would really like to eliminate that strap and just balance on my own. So, in order to do this, she basically had me sitting on the edge of the mat table and she would kind of shove me from all different directions and I would have to keep my balance. It was kind of funny in the beginning she shoved me about three or four times and then I took an arm and gave her a good shove back. Her and Kalli both started laughing. She said that's funny, for all these years no one has ever done that and she was really surprised they haven't. After pushing me for a while she then had me lift one arm at a time and then both arms out in front of me which made it even harder, but really worked my entire core. I hope we do this drill more and more because it is something I would like to work on right now and I could feel it after we were done - that it had helped.
Soon after all of my classes were done a good friend of mine from middle school, high school and college - Anjali and her boyfriend, Ryan, came to hang out and visit. My roommate, Joey, wanted to head to Treasure Island (grocery store) to grab a couple things and I had never been there before so I wanted to go on that adventure as well. So, Anjali and Ryan actually became our pushers and pushed us about a block and a half to the grocery store. It is a great, old store with all kinds of neat little treats. I even saw the biggest cheese wheel I have ever seen in my life! It made me think "Baxter, you ate that entire wheel of cheese? I'm not even mad, I'm impressed!" After the cheese wheel we picked up some flowers and brought them over to the apartment for Kalli because she was off babysitting then and it was one of the first chances I had while she was gone to get her something nice for all the wonderful things she does for me. After getting the flowers in some water we scooted home to start my nightly routine.