Hello everyone! Once again we have had a longer moment away from each other than either one of us bare to handle. So let me get you updated on what is going on and the latest movements.
But first, I need to take the time to thank everyone that worked on, attended, and donated to my benefit at the Wave. The benefit turned out so awesome. I enjoyed strolling around all night talking with friends, family and people I had not seen in years. Again, I was amazed by the support and generosity people continue to show. Helping me in this time of need has created an incredible sense of security and comfort which means the world to me since the last thing I need to be worrying about right now are finances. Through my experiences I have learned and seen that there are many out there that are not as lucky as me. As you can see, if you were at the benefit, there is such an enormous support group helping me along the way to stay strong and move forward. My family and all those who helped on the benefit did such a great job putting it together. People continue to comment on how wonderful everything was put together; from large prizes, like the moped, to cute and hilarious Mike Brown on the mic for the paddle wheel spin and win, everything came together as a huge success. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you that made that day a great success!
So, basically I have gotten a second job and it includes working out, doing therapy, and keeping up with all of my medical paperwork and phone calls. This is what every day consists of for me for at least another year or so. When I am not working on this second employment I am heading to RIC for my second evaluation to determine when to finish up my last two weeks of insurance covered inpatient therapy. So, last Wednesday, Kalli and I headed to RIC around 10am to make it in time for my 3:00 appointment with Carrie and Kim, my physical and occupational therapists. We once again met them on the third floor so that we could check in and head to a evaluation room. Kim and Carrie each took their turns poking and prodding as they took notes while reviewing their previous notes to determine the progress I have made. Since I had seen them three weeks ago, my finger extension was continuing to improve, my right ankle mobility has also improved, my right leg (hamstring and quad) have both increased strength and have begun to move,and due to many prayers my left butt cheek has started to fire. There are many other muscles that are also included in the movements that I am now seeing but I just don't know all of their names. All together the evaluation went well and the ladies were once again very impressed with my home program between equipment we have created at home and the Theda home care ladies that have been coming every week to work with me. They mentioned that they never really heard of such a wonderful homecare therapy program. Both Kim and Carrie felt that I was ready and they wanted to get me back at RIC to fulfill my inpatient therapy. After they finished evaluating me, there was some extra time before Dr. Kim was scheduled to see me. So, they brought me to a set of parallel bars in the center of yet another large workout gym. Every time I go back to RIC they bring me to a different floor, or area of a floor where I continue to learn how huge and extensive their abilities are. Carrie and Kim have me wheel my chair up and in to the center of the parallel bars where they once again have me stand. But, this time Carrie wanted me to really push it and had me attempt to walk for the first time. Guiding and helping me Carrie and I took about six steps before I was exhausted and needed to sit back in my chair for a little break. Then, Carrie strapped my legs into a set of KFO's which are basically leg braces. The leg braces were straight out of the movie Forest Gump, metal with leather straps that harness your leg straight from hip to ankle allowing you to walk while supporting the legs straight. Now, unfortunately, I didn't take off running breaking them into little pieces like Forest but I did walk a good ten feet or so with the braces shifting my weight back and forth from one leg to the next. The braces really support your leg amazingly and allowed me to feel very comfortable with all of my weight down onto them. Without the braces, my legs really want to buckle and collapse at the knee and butt. Thoroughly exhausted, I sat back down onto my wheelchair again, excited and grinning ear to ear. Kalli of course stood by videotaping catching this moment on tape for us to enjoy in the future. It was very encouraging and truly made me feel as if walking was not out of reach.
With both of my legs showing movement now it is really encouraging as I strive for my walking dreams. Before when I was having great success with the left leg while watching the right sit idle it was difficult to feel as if I was going to be successful in this path towards walking. But now that both of my legs are in tune with my dream of walking again my hopes are renewed.
After meeting with Carrie and Kim we had my appointment with Dr. Kim. Dr. Kim went through a simple question process, asking how everything is going; meds, physical, bowel/bladder, pain. He expressed that he too felt as if I was ready to come back and finish my time at RIC but it came down to having an open bed. Dr. Kim was adamant that he wanted me to have a bed on the seventh floor and for me to start on a Monday so that I got the most of my short two week stay. After they took my vitals and we finished talking with Dr. Kim we headed up to the seventh floor to drop off four slide boards that my dad hand crafted for the therapy gym. We handed them off to Colleen, one of the physical therapists who was really impressed and went on to tell us how the one board we left with them last time that my dad had made was a real hit in the gym. Everyone was requesting it, saying they wanted to use the "hippert board". I told her once again it is the least we can do and as long as they don't paint on them we might even bring some more.
We jumped in the car and headed back to Appleton. But, on the way home we decided to call a couple of our friends to get together for dinner in Milwaukee. Amazingly, within the hour and a half or so it takes to get to Milwaukee from Chicago we were able to get 15 people to meet us at a cool mexican restaurant on the south side called LaPerla. Most of them were all college friends and it was really great to see them! After dinner and a margarita we got back on our way.
At this point RIC has called me back and let me know that there were no beds available for this week and they will keep me informed on when they can get me back there. There are two or three people being discharged this week but there are also a couple people waiting to get in to the seventh floor straight from injury. So, depending on how it goes, I will hopefully get in next Monday or possibly the Monday after that one to finish up my last two weeks.
This past weekend we took advantage of the wonderful weather which could be some of the last summer temps we will be seeing in 2009 by getting out on Baxter, my ski boat. We had a full boat filled with our friends and my sister Laura and her daughter Grey. It was Grey's first time out on a boat and she of course behaved wonderfully and even got a chance to drive on Mark's lap. Even though I am disabled and can't walk I am trying to continue to do as many of the things that I used to which helps a lot dealing mentally with the situation. It of course is always difficult to keep your mind off what all you can't do anymore and activities like going boating help to remind me that there are so many things I still can do.
Thank you to those of you who are still following my progress, sending food and praying. Please keep up the prayers!