Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday June 17th

This morning I woke up and had a nice breakfast - a bagel with cream cheese, cereal, two milks and an OJ. I got dressed in bed with a PCT's help so I would be ready for my first class at 9 o'clock which was practicing dressing and undressing. Diane, my occupational therapist, came and we proceeded to undress my sweatpants, t-shirt, and shoes and then redress. This is probably one of the hardest things I have practiced for moving my legs and bending over to grab them is really quite difficult yet. It is a combination of my weak torso, weak finger grasp, and fat heavy legs.

After that I transferred with a slide board into my wheel chair and headed to physical therapy group. Here, a PT had set-up four different obstacle courses to go through and work on with your wheelchair driving skills. From slaloming cones to working on wheelies, which I cannot do alone right now at all, again due to low hand grip and balance with my torso. Sally (the PT) would basically lean me back while I practiced balancing in a wheelie. We also practiced 360's on a blue athletic mat. This created a much different surface and a lot more tension. This was also slightly above my strength level. I was really only able to get about 3/4 around. This kind of class is good for me and allows for me to have several goals to get stronger in many different ways. Sometimes, when the tasks are presented and I do them on the first try, sure it feels good to know that I did it right away and it was an accomplishment, but it also makes me wonder how much harder should they have had that task so that it pushes me more.

After this class we went into the day room where the director of the program, Dr. Chen, did a presentation on spinal cord injuries 101. I learned a lot, but unfortunately, slowly started physically feeling quite crummy, sweating a little, bit of an achy body, short of breath and quite tired. After about a half hour, I began realizing that my binder, a huge white piece of elastic that goes around me, was larger than what I usually wear and placed really high up on my chest, over my ribs (where it should not be) restricting my breathing to the point where I think it was really wearing me out. We informed a PCT named Mary and she swapped it out for a shorter, better fitting binder. After getting the new binder in place, I slowly started feeling better and up next on the schedule was one of my favorite classes - OT workout. OT workout, like usual, was hard, sweaty, plain old physically taxing, but at the end of it I always feel so good - loose and awake.

Before OT exercise the plan for the end of the day was to go take a nap and try to fight the crummy feeling I was dealing with, but after OT exercise I was feeling way better so we decided to go outside for some fresh air. Kalli and I tossed a bean bag back and forth and Joey (my roommate) decided to join in the catch game. After being outside for an hour or so we went back in. Joey and I did a couple laps in the hallway and then hung out in the day room.

Around 5 o'clock Joey, Kalli and I went down to The Red Tomato (the 2nd floor cafeteria)for dinner. After dinner I came back upstairs and Kalli and I looked through my schedule for tomorrow; it came kind of early tonight. There were five activities planned with several half an hour breaks in between. I do so much better when I stay active, one activity after another, so there is no time to sit and get tired, so we took the schedule and filled in several of our own activities such as leg stretches, nerve-mind connection, bean bags, and exercising (like OT exercise bc I don't have that scheduled tomorrow). Then it was time to get started with my nighttime routine, shower night again tonight! Another great day at the RIC! Again, with its ups and downs, achievements and failures and hope for the future!


  1. Hey Hip, it is really exciting to see that you are working so hard! It sounds like an exhausting program practicing stripping and all. Are they teaching you a future job skill?!!?

    Alex is out here visiting with a friend this week and have been talking a lot about you. Keep working hard buddy!


  2. Andrew I am in tears because you are such a hero in my eyes. All that in one day!! cudo for you. You are a such a breath of fresh air for me. I am so proud to be your older sister. I miss you soooooo much and wish I could be ther eevery day seeing your progress as it happens.

    I don't know if I told you that I'm back at Agape part time, but they just called me and told me that the regular overnight man's wife just went into labor. I'll be putting in some extra time there to cover his shift as he takes 12 weeks of maternity or paternity leave with his wife. they are letting mw work what ever shifts I can take, so i will be able to see you more.

    Yahooooo!!!! I'll be there soon as I can to spend some time with you for a few days. Love you sooooo much and keep your spirit! I have all the faith in you!!!

    Kalli and Mom, I love you so dear and I am so thankful you both are down there with him. Kisses and hugs to all three of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. damn hip you know what man you truly are an ispiration. i know before all this was your daily routine you were doing twice what everyone following this blog was up to so seeing you keeping this active is no surprise to me man. you always were that asshole waking everyone up a little too early in the morning. as much as i complained i always ended up loving you for it so thanks for that. :-) i tried sending you a text with a pic of long beach harbor, the light house and all the sail boats slipped in the background when we were at the yardhouse this evening but since im a cheapass and haven't bought a good enough phone or signed up for a good enough plan i couldn't send it to you. yeah i got a little anth in me, so what ;-) i really appreciate the in depth updates and daily blog info. i can't wait to see all this progress first hand so keep it up man, you got a week and half left of rehab before i'm gonna be knocking at your door

  4. good morning, i have been following your progress and you are very fortunate and sounds like doing very well. Keep up the good work. I know from experience what you are going thru. On my honeymoon to the girl of my dreams we had too much to drink (in Mexico at an all inclusive resort paid for by her parents - bonus) I jumped into the shallow end of the pool, not realizing it and broke my back, shattered vertebreas and shattered several spots on my spinal cord. We have lost everything due to my ongoing medical expenses. Our small group of family and friends tried to keep up at first. We are in debt almost as bad as our country lol. All of my motion and communication is done by a tube I blow into and blinks of my eyes. Good Luck and Good luck to the folks that are helping you out financially the battle has just begun!!

  5. You are a true inspiration my friend.
    Just trust in the Lord and remember,
    the most important thing: "Ask, and it
    shall be given..." Trust. That's it.
    Stay strong.

  6. Hi Andrew and Kalli – awesome job on the blog entries and comments and all. Reading this is SUCH a great way to start the morning!
    First of all your humor, then the explanation of the hard work you’re putting in — both are highly motivational. I wouldn’t be surprised if the RIC staff makes this required reading for all families of new RIC patients.
    Your approach to each of the new challenges you’re given is awesome!
    I can’t wait to see you do that wheelchair transfer in no time flat...actually I want to see you transfer into MY car-- not that beat-up old stinky one you practiced in when I was there. We could head down to the marina, or find a park, and watch all the boats on Lake Michigan! And I promise to bring along my GPS so I don’t get quite as lost as when I was trying to take your mom to the only store in Chicago that sells Rockport shoes! (Did she tell you about our wild drive before I left town Tuesday?) But really – I love Chicago – so no complaints here about the unintentional additions to my itinerary. But Kathy still DOES need those shoes!
    Sooo tomorrow you get to see your sister Laura... I hope the weather is great, so you can get outside to throw beanbags with Grey (Your mom says 21 months is too young to go inside RIC.) Anyway, Grey is absolutely adorable... as are all your nieces and nephews... almost as adorable as YOU were at that age!
    Hope to see you again soon! Love, (Aunt) Maureen

  7. Andrew,

    I had a short talk with Laura. The picture of you and mom and dad made me feel almost like family.
    That bunch will never again play tricks with me! It was new to me, but I wiped them all out.
    Yesterday I walked 4 1/2 miles with a cane. If I can do it, you can do it too!!

    Hope to see you soon
    Jim Krafta