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.