Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday June 30th

My last day with my good buddy Endow. Again, so amazing that he flew all the way from California to visit a gimp like me. Thank you so much Endow. My food came around 8, as it always does and Kalli and Endow showed up shortly after. We hung out as I finished my breakfast and Kalli helped me get in my chair so I could get to the wonderful hand group. Usually we always meet in the canary room and work on different activities. But, today they set up bean bags again and Endow and I got to go head to head. So, we had blue and yellow bean bags and to keep things on the up and up Endow was throwing with his left hand and the therapist wanted me to get an equal work out, so I was throwing every other, left then right. The game was neck and neck. No one controlled the lead for it was going back and forth, but like usual, right at the end I flipped the switch. The last round we went into it was 19-19. Endow missed the board on his first throw and I barried both my tosses for a 20-21 victory for Andrew Hippert! After I smoked Endow in bags, the therapist brought out boche ball. It really is a pretty interesting set. The only boche ball I have ever seen throughout my life were hard round balls that were good for throwing in grass. This set is an indoor and outdoor set where the heavy balls have a bit of a bean bag-ish outer layer to them so you can toss them on a hard flat floor without them rolling forever. So, Beverly and I played about 4 games and she got the best of me in the third game. But I have to admit,and with Endow as my witness, I probably made the sweetest shot boche has ever seen to win the fourth game! Beverly had two balls pressed up against the white ball and I sandwiched mine pushing hers out of the way, in between hers and the while ball. So, it literally went her two red ones, my blue, then the white - all touching in a row! I couldn't have thrown that shot over again for my life, but I guess I was playing for the victory to make it 3-1 instead of tied up.

After boche I had an hour break so I decided to take advantage of my free time and go and pump some iron in the gym. The gym has one of those weight machines where the cables all lead to stacks of plated weights and you can pull on the handles to strengthen different muscle groups. I did about three different set-ups before it was time for my next session. Endow and Kalli kept mentioning while they were sitting there watching me sweat my butt off that "We feel bad just sitting here watching you work. I don't know why we don't grab some weights and get going on this too." We didn't have to go anywhere for my OT with Diane. She wanted to stick in the gym to work on wrist strengthening. This activity is pretty simple. Basically, I lay my arm on the table with just my wrist hanging off the end. She then straps a three pound weight around my wrist and I began doing a series of different exercises pulling it up and down. Three pounds doesn't seem like much but it was really the perfect weight for me, for by the end of the reps she asked me to do I was struggling to finish them up. To finish off the session we worked on putting together some tools to help me with my catheter program. All the little devices or tools they create, or have in stock already, are what she called the cost of doing business. For I had asked her "so, does every one of these little devices get tacked on to my bill as we continue to fill my backpack with things to help me?" With the answer she gave me, I'm thinking bring it on! I am going to suck as many things that can help me out of this place as I can as long as they are all "on the house".

After OT, it was lunch time so we grabbed my lunch tray and we all gathered down in the second floor cafeteria for the crew visiting was a little too large to try to pack in the canary room along with the regular crowd. Meeting me down there was my Uncle Paul, his good friend Jim (an older gentleman that I love dearly and worked with all the years through college when I would go home to work for my uncle Paul), Endow, Kalli, my mom, one of her close friends Amy Pable (Amy didn't come alone - she somehow figures out a way to leave the house with four kids between the ages of 1 and 9, two girls and two boys), my sister Laura and her one year old, Grey. We all sat and struggled to put down the wonderful RIC cafeteria food. I only say that because like I have mentioned in the past - the food here is hit and miss and boy did I miss with the driest chicken sandwich anyone has ever tried to choke down.

I'm on a four hour cathing program and by the end of lunch it was time to go and pee. So we went upstairs, got the duty done, and headed to my next therapy, a PT with Carey. First, I jumped onto the mat without a slide board, which has been a difficult thing because my tricep strength isn't quite there to get enough pop for it. Then, she had me moving across the mat sliding my butt from one side to the other. Then, and this is the biggest thing of all, and is a huge accomplishment for me, was she had me laying down on my back and I used a technique where you put your hands in your pocket, push your elbows down onto the mat, then throw you arms back to catch yourself and then push yourself up so that you are sitting all the way up. Before I was able to accomplish this, there really was no other way for me to sit up from laying down. That can be a pretty frustrating thing knowing that once you are laying down on a flat surface you can't even sit up if you want to. Carey, Kalli and I were all thrilled with the new accomplishment and now I am doing it like nobody's business and it is really pretty easy.

When PT was done we headed back to my room to meet up with my Uncle Paul, Jim, and my Mom. My Uncle Paul had brought a massaging machine and his magical fingers to give me a good shoulder and back massage. He worked my muscles all up and down my back and throughout my shoulders. It really felt pretty good and was relaxing. When he was all done with me my back felt like a pillow. From there, we decided to go and play some cards. The whole group, plus Joey, headed to the canary room where we proceeded to play an entire game of Tricks. Somehow, my Uncle Paul pulls off the game of his life without crashing even once, winning it by 20 some points. I came in second and who really cares about the scores after that. Paul was so excited about his perfect game that he asked to have the score sheet ripped out of Kalli's notebook and he stuck it in his pocket to be framed.

After Tricks, we had decided to head to a nearby sushi restaurant. It is pretty interesting how many places have wheelchair access that you don't realize. The restaurant that we went to, we actually had to use a lift in the building next to it, then come in a special back door in which one of the employees went and unlocked for us to enter into the restaurant. But, one way or another, they did have wheelchair access which was great because it was a nice place and I think we all enjoyed it! Thank you Uncle Paul for treating us all - it was wonderful to see you and Jim.

Kalli pushed me home and Paul and Jim headed their own way as did my mom. By the time we got back to the RIC it was time for our nightly routine and I was thoroughly wiped out. In fact, I fell right to sleep and didn't even remember to call Kalli, which I do every night before I go to sleep. I actually woke up at 5 in the morning and realized it so I called her anyway cause it is better late than never. She seemed to appreciate it and I fell back asleep. Another great day of therapy and good friends and family. The highlight of my day was truly the new popping up technique on the mat which was huge for being able to stretch myself out.

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