So day three begins just the same as every day ends - with stretching and exercises in bed. So, I have to wake up around 6:30 for my first session is at 8:00 with Justin one of the newer PT's. Justin had me get on the mat in the gym in order to stretch a few muscles out quick that I hadn't covered in bed already before he had me strap into some braces and go for an early morning stroll. Unfortunately, my stroll didn't go quite as well as the day before for one, I think the braces were strapped on a little funny, two, I felt quite fatigued from the previous day's intensive workout and three, who really knows. We did several short jaunts, sitting back down in my wheelchair taking breaks in between until our hour was up.
I again didn't have anything for the nine o'clock hour, but of course, one of the girls jumped right in and asked me to work with her. The group of therapists on the seventh floor have done such an awesome job of giving me extra attention on their free hours since they all know I have so much potential and have such a short visit. So, Kate got out the e-stim machine and we worked on a new part of my hand that I have never shocked before. It was really great and I can't wait to do it again. After we were done working on the hands, I asked her if we could please work on my right ankle for I would like to see it to become as strong as the left which basically has full range of motion now and has become incredibly strong. She let me know that she is really an OT and has never worked on anyone's legs and really doesn't know how. I told her that's not a problem I happened to be an expert and would be more than willing to teach her for free. She looked over at Carey, my PT, as if asking for permission and Carey right away said of course, go ahead, he knows what he is doing! So we hooked up the machine and got really great muscle contractions which Kate was really excited about, kind of freaking out every time the ankle would pull back all the way.
After working with Kate I had a PT group so I was able to just stay on the mat where we began a whole series of leg exercises and stretches. All of these different exercises are really great and totally new to me because when I left RIC last time I had just gotten some good toe wiggles and definitely not the full leg movements that I am having now. After thoroughly exhausting every movement in my legs we went and found a wrist strap that you add weight to and began doing exercises in the canary room that will really help my hand movements. But, while we were working on the hand exercises, in came Emily, one of the therapists, who had worked with me earlier that day asking if I wanted to work with her for she had some free time because one of her patients actually refused his session of physical therapy. It is crazy and almost maddening when you hear people refuse therapy. It makes you think my goodness there are people trying so hard to even have a chance to get in here and bums like that are sitting around taking for granted where they are and the talent they have to work with here at RIC. So, of course, I went with her and she strapped me into one of the motorized pedal bikes where I also continued to do my hand exercises simultaneously. Emily really pushed me to pedal the machine on my own as much as possible and it was really amazing how much more I was able to pedal on my own without the machines help compared to just the day before. Another example of what such intensive therapy can so quickly do for you.
After working on the bike with Emily we ran down to get my meds and lunch tray from the sixth floor just to bring it right back up and eat with everyone on the seventh floor. We sat and talked with everyone while eating our lunch until one o'clock where Carey came and got me saying "it's lokomat time again!" We went up to the 12th floor, strapped me in, and again I started walking with the assistance of this amazing machine. When we get back home, Kalli will post videos, unfortunately the internet connection is a little too slow here. Because we didn't have to measure me and work out all of the kinks I was able to walk even longer this time, almost an entire hour.
After working on the lokomat we went back downstairs for another PT group. I got strapped into a standing frame to do around 50 minutes of standing. These are such cool machines where you basically get strapped in and a simple hydraulic arm picks you right up, holding you very steady and secure so that you can practice having the pressure on your legs for extended periods of time without getting so tired. While I was standing Adrian stood there with me continually whooping my butt in Kings Corners four games in a row. After an hour of standing I got my daily session of ricshaw, bench press, military press, peck deck, lat pull down, and a few other exercises that you can do on a really nice crossover machine that they have in the gym. Now, thoroughly exhausted after a full day of therapy and lifting weights Kalli and I headed down to the cafeteria to get her some food and go eat dinner in our room.
After dinner, we got a pass to leave so we could run over to Treasure Island, the local grocery store, and get a little present for JJ, a very high level C3 who has been in hospitals and RIC for three years now. Tomorrow he is heading to his own home, a four bedroom, three bathroom ranch that is finally ready for him to live in with twenty four hour nursing assistants. He is an amazing guy with a great attitude and I wish him all the best. I think I have talked about this in the past but JJ is one of those injuries where he will be on a respirator for the rest of his life and is in a power chair in which he steers with an air pressured straw since nothing moves for him from the neck down. Good luck JJ. It is injuries like JJ that make it easy for me to keep positive and realize how lucky I am, to not only be alive, but as functional as can be.