Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday July 6th

I woke up and began sitting in bed trying to get my blood pressure under control as I slowly worked myself upright. I could tell something was a little off today and I was not feeling 100%. After I took my morning leak I noticed that I still felt as if I had to pee after I had already gone. Also, my legs have slight spasms, usually triggered by some sort of movement or touch. These spasms seemed to have increased significantly. They don't hurt at all, just a strange uncontrollable feeling. Both increased spasms and the constant urinary pressure are symptoms of having a bladder infection. So, I reported these symptoms to my nurse and asked him to please do a urine culture so that I could get the situation under control. It is very frustrating because the system that I have down for cathing myself is incredibly sterile and has very, very little chance of infecting myself. But, in the middle of the night there is one cathing in which I have to wake up from a dead sleep in order to perform it myself. So, in that weak moment, tired, usually under-dosed in pain meds, I allow the PCTs to cath for me. Most of them are tired, don't have a very sterile conscious outlook on the process and when it comes down to it, what do they care? It's not like they are going to get the bladder infection. It is very frustrating and from now on I am going to make an incredible effort to slap myself awake and start taking care of it myself. Eventually I will have to anyway and for now I can't afford to get another bladder infection and allow it to put a damper on my therapy.

So, I got out of bed eventually about ten to fifteen minutes late for hand group with a cold sweat and just a crummy feeling all around. I worked with some nuts and bolts, threading and unthreading them to start off as a warm up. Then, I was engaged in a game of connect 4 with my buddy Anthony who is also a high level C injury. He has less mobility than myself and he rocks a power chair. Taking the pieces and dropping them in to the connect 4 game board is a good workout and struggle for Anthony but for me it is very easy and not a challenge at all. So between feeling crummy and being bored with a much too easy task I let that sun of a gun beat me.

After hand group I had an hour break so I went back to my room to try to relax. My mom offered to put me into a pressure release, where I lay back onto her lap. We ended up both taking a 45 minute nap in that position. After the nap it took a second to get myself to wake up and head out into the main lobby for OT Exercise Group. As soon as I got into the group Kate, the leader, took one look at me and said "Are you feeling alright Andrew?" I told her that I had a bladder infection and wasn't feeling up to par. Somehow or another I was able to push myself and keep up during the whole exercise session.

Afterward,we went into the canary room to eat some lunch and socialize a bit. After lunch Kalli and I decided to go outside to try to get some fresh air. It was beautiful out and really the perfect temperature. But even with the beautiful weather I wasn't able to kick the way I was feeling. I've always known since the beginning that there were going to be days like this. Times in which, even the strongest person in the world, can't help but break down a little. As we were sitting outside I began thinking about how it is so strange any time in life when you break an arm, or catch a cold you know that it is just temporary, whereas this is something that is going to stay with me for life and that became difficult to think about, especially in a moment when I was already down a bit. Kalli, of course, hugged me and let me know that it was all going to be okay. She made me feel a lot better and we headed back inside.

Once we got back inside we had a bit of time before my two o'clock appointment with Carey. So, we went to my room and Kalli and I set up the E-stim I am borrowing from my Uncle Paul to do a little electro therapy on my hands. First we did the right and then the left, imitating the same timing in which the machine RIC uses controls on its own. It worked great and I got some really good movement out of my fingers.

Once we were done, we headed for the gym for my last therapy of the day. Carey also could tell that I wasn't my same cocky, jolly self. Her and I love to joke around. She said well, why don't we take it fairly easy and just do some stretches on the mat. She said you can work on the ones we learned last time where you stretch yourself. So, I transferred from my chair to the mat and followed the exercise packet Carey had given me and stretched myself out one page at a time. The stretching felt good and I was beginning to feel better than I had earlier. After stretching for the whole hour I decided that I wanted to get some weights in as well. So, I went over to the corner of the gym to my favorite machine that they call the rickshaw and worked on my triceps. I bumped the weight up 10 pounds, from 50 to 60 because it was becoming too easy, which is always a great feeling. I did six sets of fifteen and called it a day while my mom sat and watched, doing some bicep curls of her own. Most of the exercises I do really work my shoulders as well. So, I asked Carey if she would mind hooking me up with the heat pack for my shoulders, for they were pretty sore from the rickshaw. There were a couple other people in the gym and we all sat and chatted while I relaxed with heat on my shoulders for 15 minutes.

Several people are leaving this week which is making me realize that I too am going to be going home eventually. It really is not that far away, could be as soon as three weeks from now. This place teaches you a lot, but also cares for you quite a bit. It is exciting, yet interesting to think what it will be like back in my own home.

After we left the gym we headed to my room for it was time for me to take a leak again and then figure out what to go get for dinner for I had chosen a voucher for tonight's meal. My mom, Kalli and I headed downstairs to the second floor to get some food from the cafeteria. My mom and I got gyros and Kalli picked delicious looking pepperoni pizza. We brought it upstairs and ate it all while watching this crazy show on Animal Planet that was basically about when animals turn on people. It was amazing from crazy elephants to arm swallowing alligators we couldn't believe what we were seeing.

After dinner I gave my mom a hug and she headed home. Kalli and I headed to my room to do a little blogging and get ready for bed. Today was probably the most difficult day that I have had in the last three weeks or more. But, truthfully, I am still really proud of myself because even feeling crummy I didn't miss a single therapy and I did three or four extras with Kalli or on my own. Most of the people in here would have either just laid in bed all day or maybe made it to half of their classes. In fact, while I was sitting in the gym working my triceps on the rickshaw there were two other people just sitting and chatting and one person working with a therapist but the rest of the gym was empty even though any one of the 27 people on the floor could have been in there working on other things, putting in a little extra credit. But, of course, I was the only one in there working out and I have a fricken urinary tract infection. It blows my mind how some of these people feel like they are forced to be here and in a way they fight it as if it is punishment. But, what they do will not affect my therapy for I have a plan and many goals in which I will continue to strive for, even if every couple weeks I get challenged with a day like today.


  1. Andrew- Yes it is completely inevitable that you will have days like this and break down, but know that it is okay. You have and continue to make progress every day and are an inspiration to many. Know that there is NOTHING you will not be able to do! You are a strong man and with your family and friends behind you, you will accomplish so much in the future! Keep up the strong work and great job making it to all your group sessions today!

  2. Hippert,

    Hang in their man, its sounds like you are really doing well. I hope that you are feeling like your same "usual cocky self" son enough!

    Bob Schmelzer

  3. hey hip,

    damn, rough day man. that really puts it in to perspective, especially for people who bitch about the little things and think their glass is half empty when everyone else has one that's half full. you of all people are allowed a day like this and i'm not really surprised you still made the most of it and gave it your best. you keep pumpin those 60s and workin your way up the ladder and you'll be able to start chargin admission to the gun show baby! i'm glad carey's there to keep your cocky ass in check but also to roll with the punches and hook it up on those occasional off days. she seems way cooler than those night nurse PCT assholes who keep screwin your cath up. it wasn't the same person was it? remember to keep your pimp hand strong if need be hip. i can't wait to "hear from andrew" one of these blogs but you worry about crossing those goals off the list and i'll keep in touch daily brother. peace

  4. Andrew- Wow good for you for pushing through! Well hang in there, you are quite amazing! I was thinking of you when I was leading an exercise group today at the nursing home I work at. I was thinking about the people I was helping, and thinking that you were doing exercises as well, the people I help are a wide range from younger people with strokes, or rehab people to the long term, and also some pushing around ninety years old also. And how you and they are quite the inspiration! Stay strong!

    Jenny Laird-(shorty)

  5. Hey Hip, I'm sorry to hear you had such a suck-ie day, but some days are just that. You're entitled to a few, for sure. But you are a Hippert, so I know you'll be right back in your game. Hey, we want to come see you on Tues early eve. if that works for you. I have just the thing to cheer you up, only hint-it takes batteries. May come in handy with those PTC's if they ever show-up again. We are going to MI and wanted to visit with you if you are up to it and have time. Give me a call (920-585-2020) or Steve (920-740-6770). Only a couple weeks til the Hippert Open! I can't wait! Hugs, Barb Wilhelms, and Steve and Anna

  6. Hey Hip,
    Sorry to read that you had a down day. Even still you amaze all of your blog fans on your focus and persistence. I have shared your story and your incredible attitude to many people who don't know you personally but know what happened. Each and every one of them is always so impressed. So cut yourself some slack on your off were way overdue... I am sure you will be full steam ahead tomorrow...
    Ashley texted me today to tell me that she was able to get off for your golf outing and asked me if I wanted to golf with her. Now THIS I have to see. The blind will really be leading the blind that day. I have golfed about 10 times total in my life...the last few were "scrambles" with Dave's old company. We are trying to add 2 more to our incredibly powerful duo. Got a few e-mails inquiring as we speak. Anth threw in his positive 2 cents worth saying that we will have to be the last ones to tee off so we don't annoy anyone behind us. He also expects us to miss the dinner portion of the event. (Apparently the wedding bills must all be paid for, since he is talking awfully smart for a new son-in-law, don't you think?) I'm thinking he's missing the point of the event...
    I hope you wake up tomorrow, re-energized and ready to take on the RIC world full throttle.
    As always, love and a boat load of prayers...a sailboat load to be exact!

  7. You are doing well, my friend, just hang tough. You need to continue to wrap your mind
    around the idea that you control everything!
    Only you!...well...and just play this
    hand that you've been dealt. You are sooo
    lucky to be alive, man, you are still amazing
    me with your self-insight. Continue to be
    strong...I know you can! There is always
    someone worse off..........

  8. Andrew,

    When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on ~ F.D.R.

    thinking of you and yours often.

    blazer's from Appleton

  9. Morning Hip,

    Hope today finds you waking up on the better side of the bed. I was thinking the other day i didn't get a chance to say bye to darnell so if he's still rollin around, wearin cologne and rockin some crappy r&b or rap tell him shorty number 2 says stay up pimpin. i'm so glad Kalli was already dubbed shorty before i got there. it's such a girl's nickname i hate to rock it. That shit was hilarious though when joey said "just walk down the hall and once you smell cheap cologne and hear bad music you'll know it's his room" hope you're new roomate to be is half as cool as joey was. wouldn't hurt if he/she was half the redneck he was too :-)

    switching gears for a moment, remember that dwayne wade commercial where it's just shot after shot of him getting his ass kicked, knocked to the ground and hurt then it says "fall down seven times, stand up eight" well even if you don't i do and it reminds me quite a bit of you man. when you have one of those Andrew and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (great kids book) moments remember to shake that shit off and stand up in your own way. you were in miltown the same time d-wade was so i know you know how to make it happen. i'm no tony robbins but that's my motivational pitch for the day. like i said in an earlier blog, keep your head up hip or you won't see all the good things coming your way. (it shouldn't be too hard the next month or so with that damn neck brace :-)

  10. yo hip,

    just got off the phone with al and the first thing he asked after "how's it goin bro" was "what's the latest word on hip, i know you check up on the blog pretty frequently" i guess pretty frequently's a good way to describe it :-) we're gonna meet up saturday and enjoy a beautiful california summer day. i'll get him caught up on all your amazing progress although i don't know if 60lbs is gonna impress him. see if you can kick it up to 70 by saturday so he doesn't talk some shit ;-)

    even though we only got to meet up once a month or so it seems a lot different without you down in sd kickin it real wiscompton style. everyone at the house misses borat and the crazy swedes (what a great party!) sometimes cali folk are little much, i'll take a swedish exchange student or sailing instructor over a rapper, actor or model any day!

  11. You are such a fighter!
    Amazing determination...

    Gina V.

  12. Eating a good ol' Radish Sandwich and thinking about you bro.

    Love you very much

    Laura (the sister)

  13. Andrew,

    You are an inspiration! I am sure that the people who are down in your therapy groups look up to you and your attitude-it would be hard not to. Keep up the good work! You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Matt & Monica Keough

  14. Hey Andrew, UTI's suck!!! No matter what I do, I always seem to get 3-4 a year. Thank God for Cipro, that's the antibiotic that is a miracle worker for me. I have found that taking a cranberry supplement has decreased the occurences quite a bit.

    UTI's also DO mess with your mental state. Take those days as rest and do what you can to shake it off bud!