Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8th

Hello Everyone. Day four at RIC, once again hardcore from start to finish. Unfortunately this one started a little earlier than normal. Kim came down to my room while I was in the middle of my morning stretches and exercises at 7:30. So, I jumped into my chair, put on some deodorant and headed upstairs to work on getting my boxers and shorts on and off while sitting on the royal throne. So we went into a mock up bathroom that they have on the 7th floor that is jammed full of every bathroom assisting equipment you can think of. Kim was really amazed how well I was able to dress with shorts on and asked me to please wear pants tomorrow. After I was done with my therapy session I headed into the canary room where Kalli had my tray waiting for me to eat some breakfast. One of our friends Mac, Adrian, Kalli and I all sat talking and putting down our breakfasts.

As soon as I was done I went into the gym to do a session of wrist exercises which I am really trying hard to do twice a day and I am realizing now that I forgot to do the second set, so I will have to make sure I get that in tomorrow.

As soon as I was done working my wrists it was time for my 10:00 Lokomat appointment with Carey. So, Kalli, Connor, Carey and I headed upstairs to get harnessed up. Connor is an 18 year old kid from Las Vegas who is really cool and positive all of the time. We have been sharing a lot with him since there are a million questions in the stage in which he is at so it seems pretty fun to be able to help him out and actually have a lot of the answers. Connor wanted to come up with us to see the Lokomat for he is also incomplete and has hopes of getting his legs moving. I rode the Lokomat for a good fifty minutes with a little more weight on me than I had the day before. My doctor told me today that the Lokomat also really seems to help people with their spasms and I honestly think that I already am noticing that a little bit.

We headed back downstairs for it was time for my OT Exercise at 11:00. Kate was our instructor and she really worked us the whole time. It was really cool to actually be able to go just as fast as Kate and use five pound dumbbells versus the three pound wrist weights that I was up to when I left. The exercises were still really hard and got me sweating nicely.

After OT Exercise group we headed downstairs to the cafeteria to grab some grub in order to come back upstairs and eat on the 7th floor. Right after lunch I went back into the gym and started working out by first pounding away six sets of fifteen with 90 pounds on the ricshaw. After that I moved over to the crossover machine and began doing bench press and military presses. As I got about halfway through Piper came over and asked me if I wanted to work on some e-stim. So, of course I went with her and e-stimmed my hands in two different places. While doing that, Justin came over for we had a two o'clock PT walking session.

First, we put on my AFO for my stronger left leg and then a metal forest gumplike KAFO for my right leg for only the AFO was done at this time. We stood up and I immediately could notice how out of balance the two were since the KAFO was made to wear without a shoe and had its own fairly tall heal to it whereas you put on the AFO and slip right back into your tennis shoes. This severely threw off my walking abilities and it was difficult to advance the right leg. I then remembered that I had seen a custom made KAFO in the corner of the gym the day before and wondered how well it would possibly fit me temporarily. Justin went and got it and sure enough it fit alright, just a hair too big. So then we did a couple steps in the parallel bars to test out the new set up finding out that it wasn't too bad, definitely better than the off kilter forest gump brace. So we headed to the hall where we had some more room to roam. I totally blew my walking distance from the day before out of the water! This was really a great feeling. The day before I only walked 54 feet and was tired as can be. Today, with much better form and a lot less weight on my arms for both days I have been using a walker, I walked an astounding 140 feet!!! The best part is I just KNOW that tomorrow, Saturday and Monday will be more and more and more, but today walking three times as far really seemed like a HUGE improvement. I was telling Justin before we walked that I definitely was feeling stronger already for this morning it almost seemed natural the way I was turning over in bed, using my lower body to help me flip. After walking with Justin I was thoroughly exhausted but felt that after a really good leg workout like that it would be good to get on the mat and stretch out my legs.

After stretching out my legs, Kalli and I stayed on the mat and began a whole series of e-stim on both my hands and my right ankle on our own. Earlier in the day, Kalli went down to the sixth floor and got an e-stim machine for me to check out and put in my name for the remainder of my stay. It is a really easy machine to work with and we were getting pretty good results from what we were doing. So, after zapping up everything that we wanted to work on I decided to get back on the weights and finish up my workout. I went around starting off with the bench press and military press then moved over to the peck deck doing three sets of ten on most machines. After the peck deck I moved over to the lap pull down followed by a one arm pull down across my body exercise that I really don't know the name of. That one I do three sets of 25 which really gets me sweating.

Once I was through with all of that it was five o'clock. So working seven to five we both felt that I had a good nine hours of work out in and I could probably call it quits. Plus, the girls were all going home and we needed to get out of the gym anyway because they wanted to lock it up. We ran down to the cafeteria, got some food, ate dinner with Connor and his dad and then headed down to the room to take my pills, blog, and catch the long awaited episode of The Office where Jim and Pam are getting married.

Today was once again balls to the wall, non stop therapy which is exactly what I came here for and I am so excited to be getting that kind of attention. Once again I will be sleeping like a baby. With this intensive therapy and the amount of weight bearing exercises and walking practice I am getting Carey told me to be ready for some great return. It is so exciting to see myself getting stronger and stronger each day that I am here. The way my left leg is really naturally walking along I really have no doubt that I will walk again. For the last two weeks I have not been thinking about walking I didn't want to make that my goal all I can think about is that I am going to run. I had a long talk with one of the PCT's that has worked here for over ten years and I asked him how many people have you seen come back that can run - he looked at me funny and said that's a really good question. He sat there and thought for quite some time and then answered "honestly, there has only been three." He began telling me a little about each and strangely enough they were all C7 spinal injuries. So I know that it is possible and definitely not out of reach and I can't wait to make it four. So, don't worry everyone I am still busting ass and trying my absolute hardest in everything I am doing.


  1. Thought we might see you in DC last weekend, but so glad everything worked out at RIC. Keep up the hard work, and remember we have a place up here for you anytime you want to visit.

  2. Wow Hip....Gotta love your reaching for the stars...not just to walk but to run! I am convinced that you have both the desire and effort to meet that goal. I cannot wait to see that happen for you.
    I hope tomorrow brings even more muscles getting in on the action and firing.
    Give my love to your worldly guardian angel, "always at your side", Kalli. She is as remarkable as your recovery. Hold on tight to her....
    As always, muscle firing prayers and loads of love to both of you,

  3. Andrew -- you are really awesome. I am so so impressed with all you are doing. Saw the video yesterday on Laura's cellphone, and you looked SO natural at what you were doing . . . I thoroughly agree that you'll be running before we know it. Keep up the good work and thanks again and again for sharing!

  4. Hip I am so impressed with how hard you are working. It is so exciting to read about all your new muscle movements! I think that your goal of running is definately within your reach. If anyone can make a full recovery from this it is you. You never cease to amaze me with your strenght motivation and positive attitude! I can't wait to see you so you can show off all your new moves! Miss you Hip and keep up the hard work!
    p.s. Tell Kalli I miss her and love her very much!
    Ashley Wilhelms