Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday July 23rd

I woke up immediately wiggled my toes and moved my leg to make sure it wasn't just all a dream. Checking my phone it was flooded with text messages and emails from friends and family expressing their excitement for the night's events. The word had truly spread like wild fire and I was far from experiencing this wonderful event alone even though I may have been the only one in the room I felt like the whole world found out as quickly as could be. I put down some breakfast and in walked Carey for someone had mentioned that I had something to share with her. I showed her what had happened and she of course freaked out feeling my legs, making me do it again and again, bubbling with joy, sharing the moment with me. She then decided "You are not going to hand group, you are coming with me for we need to teach you as much as we can today about how to exercise and strengthen these legs." I got out of bed and headed straight to the mat in the gym where we went through several exercises that I could do with my new found movement. She put me in a leg sling hanging from the ceiling to eliminate the gravity and allowed me to move my leg back and forth to strengthen these wonderful firing muscles.

After my session with Carey I met up with Diane who just returned from her two week vacation from Montana. She had a great time with her sisters and was happy to be home. Diane was also truly excited for me for all the improvements she could very easily see having been gone for two weeks. My fingers have also come a long way and increased their own movement drastically. She showed me a bunch of new skills and we figured out a couple of tools that my dad could easily build to work my hand muscles to the fullest.

After working with Diane, we ran to the room, continued to pack up some things and then headed to the canary room for some lunch. After lunch I headed to the gym to go over some more stuff with Carey about my care in the near future. Then for the next few hours I ran around just finishing up odds and ends so that we would be ready to leave tomorrow.

At 2:30 I had a swimming appointment up on the 12th floor which I had been looking forward to all day. I ran up there, jumped into the swim chair, got put on the lift, dropped in the water and began swimming. Swimming is unbelievable and really really fun! I could float on my back, swim under water, and even do laps. It is truly quite amazing. After about an hour in the pool, we headed back downstairs to the 7th floor where I got dried off and changed just in time for my next appointment which was another massage. It felt like another spa day between swimming and massages, how could you ask for more? Truly, the perfect ending to my last day of therapy at the number one spinal cord Rehabilitation Institute in the country.

After my massage we finalized the first ordering of my medications I will be going home with. While on the phone with Walgreens in walked Pat Keagen, a good buddy from high school that now lives in Chicago. Pat, Kalli and I decided to walk over to Walgreens to go pick up my new prescription. We then headed to subway, got some food and came back to RIC, ate dinner, talked about the latest and greatest then headed to my room to start my FINAL RIC nightly routine.

As excited as I am to go home it is going to truly be hard to say goodbye to all of the people that have gotten me this far. RIC is truly an institute that allows you to learn all the skills needed to help yourself and get back on your feet. I have learned SO much about not only myself but every facet of my injury; from training sessions to therapy this place is the total package. I feel completely confident to leave and begin my journey towards an independent lifestyle and there is definitely no way I could have done it alone. There are endless amounts of people that have created this new found confidence in which I will never forget. Thank you all.


  1. Who knows, this rate you may not need to use your remaining weeks of therapy at RIC!! But you make sure you still tell them "See ya Later!" because you WILL need to go back to visit and show them how well you have recovered. And your successes are such an inspiration to the other patients there AND to the staff who work tirelessly trying everyday to improve someone's future. They NEED you to lift them up, too. You inspire so many people and right now, that is your gift to share. Thanks for sharing it with me!

    Love and more prayers,

  2. hey hip,

    it was so awesome to read everything you're going through. even though i knew what to expect i still got excited reading it. i seriously can't believe it's your last night at RIC. from our younger, partying days i'm pretty sure we both know how to make an entrance but you definitely know how to make a memorable exit man. the only way it could've been a more perfect, hallmark moment was if it all went down during the golf outing. not even hollywood could come up with a script that good. i know the entire 7th floor has to be inspired and encouraged by your attitude and unbelievably speedy recovery so far.

    i hope diane gave your pops some good ideas for tools to work those fingers and hands because i know kalli's gotta be getting tired of typing these enormous blogs. you just progress so rapidly there's too much to keep up with and type each day. you gonna be able to get online and be around when you're not rehabbin during the day? i'll keep your ass busy relearning how to type whenever you're up for it. we can do it AIM style or through facebook, either way we gotta get you on a comp again. i don't expect any blog posts for the next few days, you got way too much goin on for that but hopefully the story can still be told to your hundreds of friends and family.

    good luck with the move brother. it's gotta be a real real exciting time for you right now. i know i'm excited for you :-) now that you're gonna be getting settled in and gettin in to a new routine don't forget that i'm still down to ship anything back or help get you and kal your shit back whenever you guys want. you know the number, later man.

  3. God bless you and all the people who have been praying for you. This is the proof that God is always listening to everyone's prayers. Keep up the good work.

  4. Such wonderful news Andrew! I hope your moves goes well. Maybe I can stop and see you sometime next week. I am so excited for you!

    Jenny Laird-(shorty)

  5. Andrew, I agree with Rosie and all the others! Your positive attitude carries you to these wonderful accomplishments in your life. Not just your physical strides, but the many many people that are so obviously drawn to you.... All of us..including the people everywhere you do not know, feel personally connected to you. These people now are challenged to "be like Andrew" and "Move" on to addressing difficulties in life as opportunites as you do. You have touched my life with this journey. You maybe had a glimps at the lives you have touched when you attended the golf outing. By the way did you hear the Hanson Family screaming from Sturgeon Bay at the news of the wiggle and movement? Yeah... that was us!

    Consider writing a book Andrew.

    Patti and Jon

  6. hey hip.

    as i sat down to watch Confessions of a Shopaholic the other night (chick flicks, always a guilty and pathetic pleasure) in runs Clay screaming... "Laura, Laura, Hip can move his toes!!" of course I was thrilled to hear the news and couldn't help but begin to ask more questions. As I am slamming Clay with a million questions about your new found skill, the phone rings and sure enough it's you... and Clay begins to announce more wonderful news "he can lift his leg!!"... I had no words, only tears of joy and excitement.

    Since your recovery began, I prayed to God you would walk again... You are a miracle and damnit, you are going to walk! I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished.

    Keep up the good work and remember to take a little time and celebrate your successes, because you deserve it.

    Appleton looks forward to your return.

    Laura C

  7. I sit in wonder at the power of God!
    Thank God!
    You and He keep up the good work!
    You remain in our prayers every day!
    The Prayer Group!

  8. hipp you are the man im so happy with your toe moving keep that shit up man!!!!!1

  9. Michele from MenashaJuly 24, 2009 at 1:22 PM


    I don't know you but I have been reading your blog because my Dad fell from a tree stand 3 years ago and is paralized.When I read that you could wiggle your toes and move your leg all I can say is GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!! You are truely blessed and I wish only good things for your future. God bless you.

  10. Hip,
    It's obvious your determination and passion for life are contagious. You have given many people reason to not only BELIEVE in miracles but TO PRAY for them. Thanks for sharing your bittersweet journey with us. Having your accident tied to Ashley's wedding I have felt a deeply personal connection to you and your recovery and was grateful that you shared your daily rehab....More often than not I'd find myself smiling as I read your comments and ALWAYS found myself marveling at how positive and mentaly strong you were. I truly admire you and your "can do" fighter attitude. I hope you are able to keep posting us about the rest of your recovery. I sooooo looked forward to my daily dose of "Hippert"!
    Much love and a gigantic hug...not to be shared one iota with Ashley!

  11. hey hip,

    hope the move went smoothly and you enjoyed your first night away from RIC. i noticed there were a few more coments for you and sure enough one was from tari so i had to check in again. (it was nice meeting you at the golf outing tari, i like to keep my friends close and my bloging competion closer :-)

    well hip i bet you're being flooded with visitors now that there's no leaving at night visitor restrictions keeping people from harassing you at all hours so i'll just keep leaving you posts :-) well it's off to see the new harry potter with heather and my littlest bro. he's going to brazil on monday for his last semester of college and is kickin it in lbc with us til then. i'll talk to you soon, peace man.

  12. Hey Hip! We'd like to stop by in the morning if you and Mark are around. First, to give you a hug for your incredible accomplishment. Maybe you'll wiggle those toes and show off for us? Secondly, Steve wants to give our old boat prop to Mark Lee and talk with him about the stainless steel one he donated to the silent auction. Thirdly, Steve wants to talk with you about swimming. So, if when you get this, give us a call on one of our cells. And Hip, I am so excited and proud to hear about your wiggly toes and leg. We are blessed to have you in our lives. The Wilhelms, Barb, Steve, and Anna

  13. Andrew! Sooo pumped about your leg movement! Keep it up at home. We're excited to have you closer - it's no San Diego but Menasha has some perks... towny bars... umm... it's just no San Diego.
    Welcome back to WI!
    Jaci and Rick :)

  14. What may I say.....that's just awesome....

    keep moving dude!!!

    Ciao ciao

    Giulio Italy