Archive | August, 2012

Wheelie in Aisle 3

23 Aug

Good day everyone, it has been for me. My good amigo Jason Curry is in the house and providing the dexterous keystrokes to post this message.

The most important thing I need to say is thank you. Thank you to Pat, Julie, Cassie, Jesse, Darwin, Michael, and especially Casey. You are all to thank for me being alive today. All of those who read this post, please pray for them as you pray for me, for without their quick thinking and calm demeanor there would be no CarePages update to read today.

Another quick thing to get out in the open. In this post, as well as future posts, I may or may not make a few “I can’t feel my legs” jokes. These are for me as much as they are for you, because without comedy–especially in the face of tragedy–what are we but animals? For example, in a recent PT session, I was in a rather vulnerable position when in walked my Attending and no less than 15 medical students. As both my jaw and legs dropped, they continued to move towards me in a menacing fashion. As they approached me, I inquired of their intentions, which were to observe my spasms and the reactions that drive them. Fortunately I crave attention so I was happy to have the audience. After a few foot taps and twists, the “Oooos” and “Ahhhhs” started pouring from the crowd. Then a very young looking third-year medical student came to test the reflex of my left knee. After tapping my patella, I immediately shrieked, “OWWW!” and stared at the medical student. The mix of confusion and fear on his face, along with the shock of the crowd, made the invasion of my privacy completely worthwhile.

And thus the “I can’t feel my legs” joke was born.

On a more serious note, I know I always emphasize the positive: the milkshakes, the candy, the double quarter pounders with cheese’s whenever I need them… and of course my recovery progress. But to be fair, there are some challenges I face daily. The spasms I spoke of before have actually calmed down in severity, but with that comes an increase in neuropathic (nerve) pain in my forearms, fingers, and entire lower body. When I wake up in the morning it’s a stiffness of pain like I’ve never felt before, but fortunately throughout movement during the day the pain does subside. Again, I see this as a sign of my body waking up and have a reason to fight through the pain.

One other challenge that I have faced, and made me respect the wheelchair bound even more, was my brief trip to the market on the first floor of the hospital. Not only could I not open the freezer doors to reach my Vanilla Frappucino, but when at the register I could barely reach the counter top to hand over my credit card. This all took four times longer than normal, which clearly made a line behind me. Although no one seemed to mind, it was embarrassing and extremely humbling. But I know after a few more weeks in my wheelchair, I will be doing wheelies in the aisles and endo-ing up to the register.

To end on a positive note, my Occupational Therapist mentioned that in her substantial history of working in a rehab unit, I have by far the most function for any patient that she has seen with a C5 injury. I take this as a jump start to my recovery, so I’m already ahead of the game and know my progress will continue.

Thank you for your time. Sorry for the long post. Thanks to all for your messages; I read each and every one of them (the flattering ones twice).


Click here to see comments from Thomas’s orignal blog post on Care Pages.

The Good, the Bad, and the Closing Ceremony-selfish plea

12 Aug

No need for hellos, we just spoke. On top on everything else you all have done for me, I’m again asking you to continue to pray for a quick recovery of my fingers.


Click here to see comments from Thomas’s orignal blog post on Care Pages. 

The Good, The Bad and the Closing Ceremony

12 Aug

Hello everyone. I apologize for the delay in putting up a new post. I’ve been busy strengthening my shoulders and transferring to and from my bed (actually milkshakes and watching the Olympics-closing ceremony is going to be great)-Spice Girls are on in 30). A lot has happen since the last post-some good, some bad. This injury has taught me to start with the bad.

The nurses call it tone, my PT calls it clonus; I call it spasms. They struck with a vengance in the last few days. It began with a few leg shakes, then progressed to more intense movements. These spasms have moved from my legs to my mid-section to my arms. This often happens with a spinal cord injury. I’m not worried because this is a sign that my body is waking up from the initial spinal shock. Fortunately, God invented a thing called drugs. In this case a antispasticity product called baclofen, which helps reduce the intensity of the spasm. However, it may take some time to get the full benefit from it.

Now on to the good news. I’ve officially regained the use of two muscles-one in my upper chest and in my wrists! The one in my wrists is controlled by the C7 area of my spinal cord, which is two better than the original injury. That’s a good thing. Beyond that I gotten stronger and much more competent in use of my manual wheelchair, which is the chair I prefer to use. Along with my muscles, I’ve also regained sensation in several parts of my body including my back, my legs and, most excitingly, tingling in my feet. Understandably my doctors are not able to tell me this could mean, but I do know its a good thing. Is another sign of my body waking up.

With an official discharge date of Aug 20, reconstruction of my parents home in Edina has begun. The re-modeling will accommodate my wheelchair and unique needs (Thanks mom and dad). Though the 4th floor rehab team at the UW Hospital has treated me well, I’m excited about coming home and beginning outpatient rehab at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis so I can focus on re-gaining what I have loss. I’m looking forward to being close to my many friends in the Twin Cities, which will allow me to take another step toward returning to a normal life.

Millions of thanks for the millions of things you have done to help me and my family through this unfortunate period of time. Goodbye to you all. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be training like Missy Franklin in my recovery.


Click here to see comments from Thomas’s orignal blog post on Care Pages. 

Total Recall

4 Aug

Hello all. I hope you are doing well. I apologize for the lack of posts over the past week. I’ve been busy with rehab, visitors, and some expected complications. As an update on my function, I now have sensation in 3/5 of my fingers in my left hand and 2/5 in my right hand. I’m told that this is the first sign of regaining finger function.

I’ve been using different types of medications and exercises to regain finger movement as quickly as possible. I’ve also identified a manual wheelchair that has most of the functions that I require. Its tiring, but fun, to roll around the hospital in a manual chair.

This weekend, Aug 3-5, my good friends Ryan Ball, Clay Herman, Abbey, and Eric Anderson came to visit. We went to see a movie-Total Recall (awesome!). Getting out of the hospital is always nice! We hung out and laughed just as we did before the accident.

Two more weeks of in-patient rehab and then its back to Minnesota before I know it.

Thanks again for all your prayers and positive thoughts. I truly appreciate them.


Click here to see comments from Thomas’s orignal blog post on Care Pages.