Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday July 1st

My peaches, pears, bacon, milk and orange juice came as usual. Truthfully, it was a little difficult to put down for I was feeling a little bit under the weather. I have been feeling great for days and days so I guess it is to be expected to finally have a less than perfect morning. Part of why the morning started out poorly was I woke up extremely soar and in some pain. I don't want to blame it on it but I think it may have been due to the fairly thorough massage I had received the day before. It doesn't mean it wasn't good but I think it might have been a little more than my muscles were used to. So anyways, acting kind of slow and sluggish I tried my hardest to get going. While I was eating, my mom showed up, for Kalli was off buying a cake for Joey's last day and looking for some new shorts that will help with my cathing for me. Mom spotted me as I got out of bed and I headed to hand group. One of the things I was experiencing was kind of a strange, cold sweat that made me feel both hot and slightly cold, very unsettling. I got to hands group and just tried to ignore it.

First, in hands group, I undid and put back together a couple pairs of socks. Then, an older gentleman named Steve, who seems to be pretty loaded and has a couple boats, and I began a really slow game of battleship. Steve has even less hand movement than I do and was taking five plus minutes to put in each peg after I would launch a missile. We played battleship for around 40 minutes and I think I launched 5 or 6 pegs. So, it was a bit of a slow game and I even fricken lost for he found one of my ships and we considered that a win. But, it seemed to be helping him and it was encouraging because I had played battleship two weeks before with a guy named Ed and it was kind of the opposite story. It was taking me three or four minutes to get each peg in and now it seemed pretty easy to pick them up and slide them in. So, I definitely could notice an improvement in my own hand movements. Repeating an activity is really the best way for me to judge and notice my own self improvement. Otherwise, it is just slowly day to day and from my own perspective it is hard to tell if I am improving at all. Whereas if I repeat an activity it is quite obvious to compare it to my first try.

After losing in battleship to the slowest missile launcher ever I had an hour break until my next PT with Carey. Carey could tell right when I got into the gym that things were going a little sour for me today. Her and I talked over my symptoms and she took my blood pressure just to make sure there was no need to get a nurse or doctor involved. We realized that I was about an hour late on my pain meds and from my experience in the past if I let that get overdue I experience a very strange tired feeling where I believe my body is fighting the pain and becoming exhausted due to it and I don't even realize it. We got me a pain med and I wanted to just keep plugging along so she got me up on the mat and wanted to practice the proper way to stretch myself out now that I was able to sit up on the mat. Several of the stretches include laying down and getting up and if you can't do that on your own, well then, you might as well have the person with you getting you up stretch you out too. So, using what looked like a karate belt we proceeded to go through several different ways to stretch out my legs on my own. There was only one that was fairly difficult, the rest I was able to pull off without any problem. My new skill of popping up from laying down was quicker and quicker each time I tried. As I started getting into the stretches and working my body, meanwhile my pain medicine kicking in, I really started to feel better. The slight nausea I was feeling had gone away and I think I was able to work right through my morning gloom.

After PT Kalli returned from the store with a surprise cake to celebrate Joey's last day here at RIC. He has learned so much and improved so many of his functions and daily activities. It is hard to see him go but it is really exciting to know how much easier his routine will be when he returns back home. So many of the things he has rediscovered and accomplished here create an enormous amount of freedom in many ways. So, I went into the room and asked Joey if he would come and eat with us in the canary room because it was his last day and I was going to miss him. He agreed and we got our trays of food and headed in there. When we got there Kalli had the box with the cake and we popped it out on him, letting him know how much we are going to all miss him. He was very appreciative and the cake was delicious. Now, I'm not usually a dessert or cake guy whatsoever, but the simple, moist, just vanilla cake and the type of frosting that was on it was really delightful. We shared it with several other of the people we have become close with throughout our floor and had a great lunch celebrating Joey's departure.

After lunch I was supposed to go to OT exercise group but needed to go and cath first. This was the first time I did it without any help from RIC staff and there were three different options of catheters to use that we needed to trial to see what would work best. So, I tried two different kinds and it took longer than I thought it would. I ended up being 40 minutes late for exercise group and was able to just squeeze in at the end to throw down a couple beats.

After exercise group I had another hour break so I took that time to read a really interesting article in the ESPN magazine Endow brought me about a 17 year old and his struggles circumnavigating the world completely on his own in a 36 foot sailboat. After I got done I headed back to the canary room for my last therapy, OT with Margaret, one of the other therapists. She asked me what I wanted to work on and I had just been thinking about it - I really wanted to focus on working my hand function and getting back as much as I can in my mitts. So, first off to get an idea of where I was at she pulled out a box full of containers and had me pop open lid after lid, cap after cap, to get a quick assessment of where my abilities were. Once she had the picture figured out, she pulled out some pretty neat putty that had about a dozen beans placed within it for me to dig out. So I proceeded for the next 40 minutes or so just slowly pulling and stretching the putty as best I could with the grip that I have to get each and every one of those beans. This activity worked great and I was really happy with the way I could feel it working my hands and making them buzz. Margaret also felt like using the putty was going to be one of the best therapies for rejuvenating my hands so while I was digging for buried beans she went and got me some putty of my own. Interestingly, the putty comes with four small squares of the same material, but much stiffer. As your hands get stronger over time, you add about a half of one of these squares each time you experience the present putty becoming too weak for your new found strength. So as you get better and stronger you can stiffen up the putty and continue to challenge yourself.

After rolling back to memory lane, playing with putty like I did when I was about 8 years old, Kalli and I started figuring out what we were going to do for dinner and the rest of the evening. I had picked a voucher for dinner so we decided that I would jump in bed and she would run down to the cafeteria and pick us out some stuff to share for dinner. After dinner, we did a little blogging and I started my nightly routine.

This day started off a little rough, but I worked through it and didn't let it keep me in bed, or away from my activities - which I have seen too many times from other patients. We all know that each and every one of us is going to have a less than perfect day every once and a while. But, when they come you can't let it take over and hold you down. Kalli and I are looking into catching a Brewer's game this weekend for they will be in town for four days beating up on the Cubbies. I was able to get a number of the person at Wriggly Field that coordinates handi-cap seating. I plan on calling her tomorrow and seeing what the deal is; pricing, transportation, etc. Also, several people have signed up for the golf outing but we still need several dozen more to really make it a booming success. I am getting so excited to be able to attend and can't wait to get out and do something fun, like cruising around on the course for a whole day. So, if you are just waiting to sign up, or may be on the fence, get your butt in gear and come join us for some fun!


  1. Hey Hippert,
    It's been a while since I've read your updates and WOW! You've really been making progress. Way to go on your latest sitting up technique. Glad to hear you got to enjoy a beer. (Much-deserved after those strenuous workouts!) Luke and I think of you often. You are in my prayers. Send my love to Kalli.
    Amy Peters

  2. Andrew-
    Wow you continue to amaze me! You truly are one strong person! I had Kelly, the gal I am with this week read your blog, and she was quite amazed also with all that you have done so far!
    Keep up the good work!

    Jenny Laird (shorty)

  3. Hip,

    It is great to see the progress you are making. Please don't bring up the catheter again as that makes me sqeemish every time. You are a stronger man than I am just to be able to do that yourself, I would rather wear Depends than do that. They must of ordered microscopic tubing for you. lol

    I know at least me, John, Jerry and John's dad are going to attend the golf tournament but we are waiting to see if others may be able to join from the plant and tie it into a territory visit with key customers. I know that Dennis and Kurt have busy upcoming schedules so we will see. I will be sure to fill out the invite once we know the scoop.

    Keep your chin up and keep fighting!

    Brian Heine

  4. Hey Hip,
    Sorry you weren't feeling up to snuff this morning. Glad it was just the lapse in your pain meds and not the swine flu. Whew! That was a close call.
    I think you need a guest book to record all of your visitors. (You have to be getting close to a hundred by now). Forget the shake of the day, you should just start charging admission!
    I will be going up to our cottage starting tomorrow (Thursday)for the July 4th weekend so I am trusting Endow will "have your back" while I am away from my "post". I also trust that he will not blog you to death just to win our blogging competition. Tell him a gentleman would be respectful of his female competitor, and not take advantage of her.
    Know that while I am out of "computer" touch you will not be out of mind and I will still be praying for you.
    I look forward to reading all of your updates when I get back. Keep sharing. It is so nice to feel a part of your recovery journey.
    As always, oodles of love and prayers.


    Whats up brother
    So after a looong 18h trip I'm finally back in Sweden again. Last day at the Pacific was HELL since I had to clean out everything and I pretty much left everything for the last day. Took me from 09.30 - 03.00, slept 45min and then went off to the airport....
    It was with tears in my eyes that I left SD for I have made so many good friends and had so many good experiences, a lot of these thanks to YOU! So thx bro for a wonderful year and I know I'll be seeing you again soon!

    I'm glad to hear you're doing som much progress and that everyday u learn something new! Have u shot any more nurses with the nerfgun :D ?

    Oh and whats happening now that Joey is leaving, r u getting a new room mate?
    Hope he's as cool as Joey.

    Allright man, keep up the good work!
    Say hello to Darnell, Mr Crocket and the rest of the people at RIC from me. AND tell that cute nurse well take her out on "my" 140ft sailboat here in sweden hahahahahaha


  6. Nice pic on the golf invite thingy.
    You are doing so well---so keep your spirits
    up! I think you just have to wrap your mind
    around the thought...."He did not say you
    would not be tested.........He said...
    you would not be consumed!" Be strong
    my friend and keep the faith.

  7. Hey Hip,

    Glad you're pushing though what sounded kind of like a hangover albeit a little different than the hangovers I’ll have this weekend at VH’s bachelor party.

    Also, don't listen to Heine, you're supporters appreciate knowing what's going on with you. Did you try the ole Texas cath?

    If Joey is still there, wish him my best. He's a cool guy, and I'm sure he taught you lots of stuff about spinal injuries. But don't forget that I'm sure he learned just as much from you about attitude, perseverance, and perspective. We’re all learning something through you experience, so keep sharing.

    Thanks for the shout out on the golf outing. It’s coming together but the more the merrier!

    Mark Lee

  8. Andrew ~ you blow me away with your positive attitude! Those three little sentences at the beginning of your last paragraph are a fabulous example of exactly the attitude you have which allows you to succeed in life! You are awesome! ~ You were totally inspirational to Paul and Jim – thanks for your hospitality and for giving Paul such an incredible game of tricks – he showed me the score sheet immediately when he returned home! ~ Here’s hoping that the massage in the long run will have proved helpful in releasing toxins from those muscles and prove as beneficial as it felt immediately following. Have a great day! - love, Maureen

  9. hey hip,

    so i'm back out here in cali and it's kind of odd because i've never really wanted to stay in wisconsin when cali was calling me back home. it really was tough to leave man, although i admit after seeing you this time i left with a smile on my face instead of tears in my eyes. RIC beats the hell out of ICU anytime. your daily progress is awesome to read but seeing it firsthand was indescribable. you my friend have inspired me to start (and continue) a daily workout routine. and you know me hip, i'm not a gym/let's work out kinda guy but if you can do it for hours every day my ass really has no excuse not to.

    on to a little sadder news. i don't think i'll be able to make the golf outing. not only have i not paid my first quarter of taxes but the second quarter just ended and i think uncle sam is expecting a nice chunk of change from me. the plan is to save some money and make it back octoberish for the next big hippert event. i've been keeping my eyes peeled my entire life but i still haven't found that damn duffel bag filled with unmarked 100 dollar bills. it eludes me daily but if i do run in to it in the next few weeks expect to see me at Reid, otherwise i will be an absent. now that doesn't mean i'm gonna stop getting people to go and round up some donations for it, it just means everyone there won't be graced with my handsome presence :-)

    hey man if you make it to a brewers cubs game i want pics galore. i've never been to wrigley so if you make it tell kalli she's gotta be snappin pics left and right. here's a little cubby humor for you: 1) what's the difference between wrigley field and a cactus? all the pricks are on the outside of the cactus. 2)what do the world series and a male bear have in common? neither one has a shot at having cubs 3)what were Jesus's last words to the cubs? don't do anything til i get back

  10. Hey Andrew-
    Glad to read all the progress you are making. You continue to amaze me every time I read your blog!!! And I know what the ted hoses feel like. I try and wear them every day to work, because by the end of the day my legs are swollen and sore!! But they do really work :) I hope you and Kalli can make it to the Brewer/Cubs game this weekend. It is suppose to be good weather! Well anyways, just like so many others have written, keep on writing every detail! I love reading it all!!! You have an amazing attitude and have made us all so proud. Keep it up!