Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday June 29th

Today was the first day my mom was back from her weekend away back in Appleton. She spent some time with friends and family and headed back to the cabin for about half the weekend as well. I had talked to her Sunday night on her way home and she was excited to see me early Monday morning. breakfast came as usual right around 8- I had already been dressed at about 7 by the night nurse who was just finishing his shift. So when my mom arrived at 8:30 I was fully dressed and sitting up about halfway done with breakfast. She told me all about her weekend as I finished up and then spotted me as I transferred into my chair.

Like usual, my first activity was OT Hand Group where I started out by placing these small little pegs into a series of holes, pretty darn simple. After I was done with the pegs the group leader handed me a flannel button down long sleeved shirt and asked me to unbutton and rebutton all of the buttons going down the front. With my hand function that I have, I basically had to use the palms of my hand to pull the buttons out of the holes which worked pretty well. Now, buttoning the shirt back up was a totally different animal. You really need to hold onto that button in order to shove it through the slit in the shirt for each one. So after struggling for about ten minutes trying to even get one I came up empty handed and a bit frustrated. So the therapist dug into her box of magic tools and pulled out a device for buttoning. It was a type of holder that slipped onto your hand and had a wire piece coming out of it that created a little loop that you first put through the slit and then grabbed the button and pulled it through. This device worked great and in about two or three minutes I had the whole shirt buttoned. It's pretty amazing, all the little tools, whether it's a knife for cutting your food or a wire handle for buttoning your shirt, that have been created for people with low-functioning hands to do normal everyday activities. After the shirt was completely unbuttoned, OT Hand Group was pretty much over and it was time for OT one-on-one with Diane.

We headed to my room where she wanted to work on a couple different things in my bed. I transferred over into the bed which again I need to mention, keeps getting better and better- seeming to be less and less effort for me every day. The first thing that we did was testing me on my balance in order to cross off one of my goals which was five minutes sitting on the edge of the bed without assistance with my balance by using my hands. So she had me holding my hands in the air and then swinging them from side to side over my knees without having to use them to correct my balance. This was totally achievable but definitely wore down my abdomen because afterwords I felt a bit wobbly having worked my core so hard. After achieving the sitting on the edge test, Diane had me lay down in the bed and begin taking off my shoes and then my socks so as to put them right back on and try tying my shoes. I was able to take everything off with ease, but then when it came to putting on my socks and tying my shoes- there's a little higher difficulty level there. I did get both of my socks on and eventually had my shoes completely tied, but it was crazy- with the first shoe I tied the laces in probably 6 or 8 minutes and the second shoe I had tied in no more than 2. Talk about learning quickly! My roommate Joey was actually sitting in the room watching because he was bored and didn't have anything going on at the time. Both Diane and him were quite amazed how quickly I was able to tie my shoes with the function I have in my hands. Joey even said, "Boy, RIC should have video-taped that. That would be good for one of their learning sessions."

Once the shoes were tied our time was up and it was time to hurry up, get in my chair, and out by the reception desk for my exercise group. Since I've been here Kate, one of the full time PTs, has had an intern in which she has allowed to take over and run the exercise group. Now Kate has been telling me for over a week that she is excited to get rid of her intern and get her exercise group back. Just simply because it's boring for her to sit back and watch and not be leading the show. I had heard rumors that Kate really works you hard but as hard as Stacy, the intern, was working us and making us sweat, I just assumed that it couldn't be much worse. Boy was I wrong! Kate is some sort of animal/incredible hulk that doesn't let up for a minute. Truthfully, I couldn't completely keep up and every once in awhile I had to lay my hands in my lap and take a couple deep breaths while she just kept pumping along apparently trying to kill some of the people in our group. She kept asking Mr. Crocket, "Mr. Crocket did you fall asleep?" but we all knew that he was just pretending to fall asleep so that he wouldn't have to keep up with her intense work out. He's probably one of the sweetest old men in the world and quite comical too. At half time we took a break, got some water, and strapped on weights to our wrists. The second half is always pumping iron along with the arm motions. I did a little better with the weights as far as keeping up, but my god, was i soaked in sweat by the time the hour was over- and thoroughly exhausted. After exercise group I had lunch and a total of three hours before my next activity. So I went into the Canary Room, gobbled up some food with mom and decided to hop back in bed for a little nap. Not very often do I jump back in bed and take a little break, but truthfully, this morning took it out of me. I knew I had a physical therapy still to go at 3 and I wanted to be fresh for that because I had a couple of things that I had been wanting to do again and I figured a nap would be just the right way to recharge my battery a bit. I slept for about an hour and then in walked my good buddy and number one blogger, David Endow along with another great friend, Kevin Wilson. The two of them of course, came bearing gifts: the newest Dave cd, ESPN Magazine with an article about a 17 year old who is sailing around the world alone, and some cheese curds but really they certainly didn't need to bring a thing. It's pretty amazing that Endow and Wilson had come all the way from Long Beach, CA, and Albuquerque, NM. We all hung out, shared some stories and got me out of bed for my 3:00 PT. The two of them joined me into the gym where we found Carey and I let her know what I wanted to work on today. Over the weekend, for some reason or another, I got excited about trying to load myself into the beautiful '92 Dodge Spirit practice car on the 12th floor again. WIth all the other activities I've been doing, it's so obvious to me the strength I had gained, and I hadn't done the car for at least two weeks and was eager to try. We headed upstairs and of course it wasn't really too hard. Not saying that I didn't battle and struggle to push myself in and out of that car, but compared to last time, it's so much easier. We headed downstairs and the second thing on my agenda was to practise transferring onto a tub chair that sticks out of the tub and you slide yourself across to get into the shower. My wheelchair was able to line up pretty close to the tub chair so I asked Carey if she minded if I tried to transfer without the slide board, which is really the next step in transfers to eliminate that board. She said, "heck yeah- if you're ready and feel like you can make it, let's do it." So I went and gave it my best, throwing my body as hard as I could from chair to bench- and sure enough, I was able to do it! Now, I need a little bit more strength to get a bit of lift so as to be doing that type of transfer 100%, but boy, it felt good to be that close already. These two activities gobbled up the hour quite easily and my time was up. Endow, Kevin, and I headed back to my room to hang out and talk about everything that's going on. We came to the conclusion that Endow wasn't willing to come to Chicago without trying Gino's pizza so Wilson and him headed out to bring back supper for all of us. This worked well because it's been a month and I've been counting down the days til they need to take my catheter out. The catheter and bag are supposed to be changed after a month of use. Today just happened to be that lucky day. I wanted to wait until I was done with all my therapies to yank that puppy out. So while they were gone, the nurse came in and let her rip. Surprisingly, it was virtually painless, which was a huge relief- for I had been dreading it for somewhere around a month. The next question now is whether my body is ready to start peeing on it's own, or if I need to start a cathing program where I get on a schedule and start cathing myself, which is much safer than having a full time catheter and foley bag for my urine. With a catheter in all the time, there is a very high risk for infection so this is the best option and the smartest step to stay healthy.

Once Endow and Kevin returned, we all mowed down on some deliciously amazing pizza which is full flavored and piled with meat to the max. Once we were done eating, my sister Laura also arrived for a day and a half visit. We all sat around organizing my room, cleaning out my closet, and talking about anything that came to our minds. It started getting late and it was time to start the nightly routine. Today was definitely a great exercise-filled day and I will sleep like a baby tonight. Truthfully, I sleep like a baby every night. My mom has said I was always a really great sleeper- able to shut my eyes and be clocked out within minutes. Today is no exception. Good night, and farewell.


  1. Hey Hip,
    I get exhausted every time I read your blog. You do more exercise in one day than I do in a week...perhaps you can teach me a core move or two for me to work on and we can have a "battle of the bulge" contest! Actually I think we should've started that back when you were working your core with liquid refreshments. I think you have too much of a head start on me already, not to mention our slight age difference.
    I'm so impressed with your list of your accomplishments for today. Mind over matter they say, and you certainly are living proof!
    Hi to your mom and Kalli and the rest of your visitors.
    As always,love and prayers.
    P.S. Tell Endow I am glad he is there so I can finally outblog him. :-)

  2. Hey Hip,
    Just wanted to annoy Endow and send you another post....and he can't do one thing about it!
    Now get back to enjoying your company. I will let you alone for a while...maybe.
    More love and many more prayers...

  3. Three cheers! Thank God for:
    - tough physical therapists who make you work work work
    - magic tools like buttoning devices
    - the ability to tie your shoes in under three minutes
    - meaty chicago pizzas
    - friends and family who support you
    ... and most of all the prayers that everybody has been saying to speed this recovery!
    Keep up the good work.

  4. He has done marvelous things!
    Let us all praise Him with a new song!
    Keep up the good work.
    You are in all our thoughts and prayers
    every day.

  5. hey hip,

    made it to the train station just in time today. it was an interesting car ride downtown chitown with your sis and a gps on the fritz but i made it. i'm gonna try my damndest to be at the golf outing and can't wait to see you perform the smoothest car transfer ever. tell carey all her "hard work" yesterday really seems to be paying off. well it's off to summerfest to see the wailers. no roots but the wailers is just fine by me :-) keep on keepin on brother

    ps tell joey i'll be thinking of him this weekend when the brewers are beating down the cubs

  6. hey tari it's 2-2 on this post now

  7. It's good to hear you're still so motivated Andrew! Every time I see Sarah or Ali I have to ask how you're doing and I always get at least a little story that isn't posted on the blog.
    I was runnin the other day and went right past your old house. I see it's up for rent-- is that the upstairs or is your cousin still livin in your place?

    Keep up the OT! I'm learnin a lot from your blog- Maybe I could do my fieldwork at the RIC

    Sincerely, Nikki Bolwerk

  8. Andrew,
    Once again you left me in stitches and eloquently explained all things! Man you have got to turn this blog into a book! Jayne Mueller Thill

    PS. May normal voiding patterns return:-)

  9. Hey Hip,
    Tell Endow that posting a comment directly to ME on your post doesn't I am now WAAAAAY ahead. I stay up VERY late so he can pretty well give up on the blog for today. :)
    As always, love and bunches of prayers...

  10. Andrew- I've only met you once but I was real close to Kalli before we all graduated and went our separate ways. It was awful to hear what happened to you but I bookmarked your blog and read constantly. Your progress is awesome as well as your attitude. I know you are getting stronger each day. Your determination should be motivation to all of us to never give up(no matter what it might be) and to live every day to the fullest.

    <3, Shelly

  11. hippert!

    it sounds like you had a great weekend filled with many visitors and even more accomplishments! i am glad to hear that you're meeting and surpassing each challenge that is put in front of you. what you have overcome in the last month amazes me and leaves me speechless, and like others, in tears at times.

    i want to say thanks to you and even more so to kalli or whomever else has typed one of your postings. (having a blog, i understand how one of the last things you want to do at the end of a long day is post, especailly after the strenuous days you have)your blog has allowed me a look into your day-to-day triumphs and challenges. although people may not be posting as much, they are still reading! i have friends of friends that ask me how you are and let me know that they've been keeping track of your story through your blog. your candidness, determination and postitive attitude is extremely contagious hippert and i cannot wait to see how much you will accomplish over the next month.

    keep it up!
    xo mary beth

  12. Hi Andrew,
    It is like reading a novel. Wow! It is interesting and inspiring to read it!
    So I have to tell you about my afternoon. I am camping with a gal I told you in an earlier entry that has had brain trauma and I took vacation this week from work and spending my week with her. So anyway, we are driving back from going into town, and she is starting not to do well, I am thinking she is getting close to going into a seizure and what walks in front of my car as I am trying to keep her calm and trying to race back to the campsite, just as we are about to enter the road to the campground? A family of skunks. So I slam on my breaks and miss the stinky creatures, but they end up spraying my car anyway. Whew! You should have seen the people walking past our campsite and the look on their faces all night. We just laughed! But we did go swimming this morning, and we both liked that, and she seemed to enjoy it and gave you a chance to do exercises in the pool.
    I have been sharing your story with her this week, and Kelly was telling me how one time at therapy session she rolled so far over and so hard she fell off the table!
    Well keep up the good work!

    Jenny Laird-(shorty) but actually today is stinky!

  13. from Aunt Mary
    How is a hospital gown like insurance?
    You're never covered as much as you think you are.
    An expectant mother was being rushed to the hospital, but didn't quite make it. She gave birth to her baby on the hospital lawn.

    Later, the father received a bill, listing "Delivery Room Fee: $500."

    He wrote the hospital and reminded them the baby was born on the front lawn. A week passed, and a corrected bill arrived: "Greens Fee: $200."

  14. Even the snail.....made it on the ark.

  15. Hey Hip,
    Is there a way for me to forward something I get in an e-mail to you? I have gotten some pretty funny U-tubes and pictures that would surely make you laugh, but I am not sure if (how) that can be put on a blog....and maybe that would open up a can of worms that you really don't want opened? (Your Aunt Mary's jokes got me thinking about this). I will cut and paste the written ones I get that I think you may find funny or inspiring.
    As always, lots of love and a pile of prayers.
    PS I'm lighting a big candle after church this morning so you should feel a surge of energy shortly afterwards. :-)
    PPS Tell Endow not to even bother trying anymore....

  16. Hip!

    Laura C here, just catching up on your blog and wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. You are accomplishing so much and I read your blogs and I am simply shocked by all that you can do in such a short time period.

    My prayers and thoughts are always with you...
    I may even take my turn at the golf outing, that will sure bring tons of laughter because I am terrible at golfing.

    Take care dear and keep up the good work.

  17. Hey Hip!

    You crazy exerciser, you. Sounds like you're doing a fantastic job with your therapy. I'll never look at buttoning my shirt the same way! Keep up the good work.