Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9th

Day five. Another full non-stop day of therapy, working from start to finish. This morning my printed schedule didn't start until ten o'clock but I figured I would get up early anyway and try to get up there by 9 for at least one more hour before my first class of recreational therapy. So at 8:00 while I was doing my routine out of no where my wonderful PT, Carey, comes flying in the room cheery as can be saying "I don't have anybody at nine so get your butt up there by then". I think it is really impressive that all of my therapists here care enough about me to go out of their way to keep me busy on their off hours. Not only could she have taken the easy route and pretended to do paperwork or something else she jumped in the elevator, came off the floor she was on, came down to my room and found me at 8 in the morning an hour ahead of time to make sure that I was out of bed and ready to go. Even though I was planning on it, it felt really good to see how much she cares. So, I got dressed, out of bed, teeth brushed, old spice pure sport on, and wheeled upstairs for my nine o'clock session with Carey.

I got up there and jumped on the power assist bicycle and pedaled for a good forty-five minutes. After that, I went into the main lobby area to join my recreational therapy group led by Mike. Mike had a good half dozen state of the art wheelchairs, tire samples, the latest and greatest tools and several other things incorporated in wheelchair maintenance. He showed us some of the new designs that are out on the market from tippy bars to fold-able hidden wheelchair breaks. It was great to learn what is out there and how to maintain your wheelchair.

After the session, Sarah, one of the other PTs, had a PT Group in the gym. I jumped on the mat and she had me time myself as I broke down my chair all by myself. I broke down the chair and then put it back together in five minutes. After that, I jumped back in my chair and went over to the ricshaw pumping out 6 sets of 15 slow and controlled of 90 lbs.

After I was done pumping it out on the ricshaw it was time for lunch and my noon medication. So, we stopped by the sixth floor, grabbed my pills and then went down to the cafeteria to get some food to eat back up on the 7th floor.

After lunch in the canary room with a whole new group of buddies filling solid elbow to elbow one of the large oval tables Kalli and I headed back to the gym for some more therapy. I didn't have any sessions at 1:00 so Kalli and I grabbed the wrist weights strapped in and did five sets of 15, both horizontal and vertical on each hand. After thoroughly exhausting both of my wrists, which I really need to strengthen in order to have proper extension of my fingers, I ran to the bathroom and took a quick pee before my two o'clock psychology group with Dr. Wilson put me in again.

On my way over to psychology group Ed, my 6th floor case manager, stopped me and told me some great news. Ed has the same position as Rose, who was my case manager last time I was here, which is the communication between RIC and each person's insurance provider. Ed had put together all of the Dr. and therapist's recommendations and field notes to present to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Now, Carey had mentioned that she was fighting her hardest by putting together a great set of notes explaining my progress day by day. So, Ed explained that he had reported all of this to Blue Cross Blue Shield and they came back with a different tune than we have heard in the past. First off, they approved me for nine more days of therapy which brings us to the 19th and he also talked with my benefits group and they assured him that there was no limit on my inpatient therapy as long as it was medically necessary and I was seeing progress. Of course this news lit up my face and excited Kalli and I immensely.

Whistling dixie I rolled into the canary room for the psychology group. We went around the table and talked about progress that we have seen in the last week and what our goals were for next week. My goal was to walk 500 feet by the end of next week which everybody seemed to think was maybe a bit high but I knew was totally achievable at the rapid pace I am seeing right now. We ended the session with a breathing exercise that Dr. Wilson felt would be very helpful for any of us and that proper breathing is definitely important in a lot of situations.

After the psychology group I headed back into the gym to meet up with Sarah, another PT, who I was scheduled to be with from three to four. Sarah and I decided to start out in the parallel bars for she had not seen me standing yet and wanted to get a feel for where I was at. As I started wheeling towards the parallel bars, Vari my orthopedic consultant showed up with my KAFO for my right leg. A KAFO is a leg brace that is custom fit from my upper thigh all the way down to my toes. So, I slipped it on for its first fitting and it felt like a nice leather glove, the kind a limo driver would wear on a cold winter day. So we did a couple steps with both my braces on and then decided to take it out into the hall where we would have a lot more room to play with. We got out a measuring wheel that looks like a blind persons tapping stick with a four inch wheel that counts the number of feet you roll along. I got up between the walker with Sarah's guidance and started trucking along. With several breaks in between I crushed yesterday's top score of 140 feet by walking a whopping 229 feet before total exhaustion!!! It was really a pretty fun trek for along the way I had Kalli and Sarah and there were several PCTs, like Given and Zebe, my Drs, Dr. Kim and his resident Sam, and then at the end Carey, my primary PT cheering me along. For those of you that have been here, you realize that the floor is a big rectangle with the main reception desk in the center. 229 feet is achieved by starting in the middle, on one side by the reception desk and walking all the way to the back, around the nursing station, and back to the center reception desk area on the other side. So, basically, half of the loop. So, Wednesday I walked 52 feet, Thursday I walked 140 feet, and today I walked 229 feet. There you go Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield - how's that for progress?

After I caught my breath I headed back into the gym to pump some iron, starting with the bench press, military press, peck deck, lap pull down which brought me to 4:30 which is all the time I had for we had a 5:30 movie to catch and I still had to go downstairs, grab my sweatshirt and take my pills.

It was kind of funny, while I was working out a couple of the therapists commented "after all that walking you still have energy to pump iron? That's amazing" Then, Rose, my old case manager said "You get results when you work hard, he is a great example of that". We headed to Couple's Retreat for it was the opening night and we had tickets reserved. After the movie, we came home, blogged, and got ready for bed for I was tired and we had some fun plans in store for tomorrow.

Again, a full day from 8 to 4:30, solid therapy, workout and exercise. It has been really great being here and it just supports what I had mentioned yesterday when I was talking with Sarah I had told her how happy I was to be here and her response was "not only is it for you, but it is great for the whole floor to have you here. For I have seen some of the other guys picking up on how hard you are working and pushing themselves a little more than before." Probably more than anyone, I have seen Connor, one of my buddies here from Las Vegas, putting in the extra time between e-stim and pushing it on the ricshaw just like I did during my last stay. I can't wait to see his progress as he moves forward.


  1. 500 feet here you come! Nice work Hip Dawg! Keep it up! Also congrats on the time extension...I know you will make it well worth the money! Anthem Blue cross Blue shield better be ready for more exceptional progress to come!

    Ashley Wilhelms

  2. Good work!!!!Keep it up and keep posting. I am reading every thing about you.

  3. We are so glad you doing well. You really are an inspiration to others. Keep up the good work.

    Katy Lee Connor

  4. Wow Hip...I'm following Ashley Wilhelms blog! That seems so wierd to see Ashley WILHELMS in writing!
    You are a walking MACHINE! That is absolutely incredible! It's amazing what some working butt muscles can do for a guy... ( Hmmmm,that didn't come out right...)
    Keep those gluts firing and keep wowwing them at the RIC...not to mention inspring all the RIC patients to give it their "ALL" as well.
    SOOOOO happy for you.
    Looking forward to the "blog-du-jour" tonight. Keep those posts coming!
    As always, love and prayers for firing muscles,

  5. what great news! i am so happy for you. keep up the hard work. :)

    mary beth

  6. Hey there Andrew. So glad things are going well for you!
    So I did my homework assignment you gave me. I asked my PT gal Jennifer, if they ever work here with spinal cord injuries and she said no not at AMC and that they do go to Theda Clark, so I guess you will be at the right hospital for pt.
    Keep up the good work!


  7. OK HIP,

  8. You are amazing...and I can't wait until
    noon to share the info with the group!
    Best wishes and continue your amazing
    adventure! In God all things are indeed
    possible! Ponder anew what the Almighty
    can do!~~~~~~ :-)

  9. Hippert!
    Holy shit! Your walking ability is blowing my mind! It's so awesome that your hard work is not only paying off for you, but also for the patients around you. Keep up the hard work, man.

    Strap on those running shoes!!


  10. Hi Hip (and Kalli)
    ok enough's enough...where the heck is an updated blog???? you're killing us softly with the suspense Hip...
    as and high stepping hugs

  11. Hi Andrew -- thought I'd take a chance and see if you have an update on here yet... looking forward to hearing how you're doing.

    Your mom mentioned very briefly Tuesday, I think, that you had a return date planned.

    Can't wait to see you and your progress.

    You are awesome!!! I am so proud of you... every once in a while I get a glimpse of where you were that very first day after the accident, and I just get the chills, thinking about your miracle.

    Keep it up! You are great and destined for more greatness, I am sure.

    Please do keep in touch!!

    Love, Aunt Maureen

  12. Hey Andrew, even though we haven't communicated very often please know that you have been in my prayers daily from the very beginning. Everyday I pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen you and be the constant source of your hope to you and your family. Take care, Fr. Dan Felton