Archive | February, 2013

Salty, Sassy, and Sloppy

14 Feb

Hello everyone. Just to get it out of the way and to prove my sincerity, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long. I would blame it on my inability to type; but actually, yes my inability to type is why I’ve not posted in such a long time.

Much has happened in the past 6 weeks: I began the ABLE program (Athletic Based Locomotor Exercise), which is spectacularly wonderful. I’m guinea pigging new electrical stimulation methods on the Locomat (a robotic walking machine); the salty grind of a Minnesota winter has joined the party; and I started eating breakfast. As one can assume, these monumental changes have upped my spirits, increased my energy level, and legitimize me lying down at 6 PM.

Before we safely jump into (no diving) the issues, I want to share with everyone a few things I miss to make doubly sure that they are appreciated. Not in any preachy kind of way, but in a kind way like when you see a little kid staring at a dirty window, and then you look at the dirty window and realize that it somewhat it looks like a bad piece of art, but you get it. The things I miss:

1) Tying winter boots in preparation for 3+ inch snowwalking. Being able to cinch up so many rows through the frictionless eyelets is really a great feeling, so enjoy that.

2) Writing with a really nice pen and, more specifically, signing your name on an important document with a really nice pen.

3) That’s it, those are the only two things that I really miss. Everything else I could give or take.

As of today, a true Minnesota winter has presented itself in full form including comically low wind chills and T-shirt deserving highs. What this creates, besides proof that the world is ending, is a sloppy, slippery, sassy quagmire that is discriminatory against wheelchairs. It is too difficult for me to use a manual chair except for plowed areas. My power wheelchair lacks the low-end torque to plow through anything that is too serious (but it does have the high-end speed to throw donuts and drift corners with only a light dusting). In reality I need only to move between my house, the minivan, and to a nearby building. I guess what I’m trying to say is I imagine my first wheelchair winter would be a complete and total ****; but it has proven manageable and only slightly cold, likely because I can’t feel any temperature below my chest (except for my feetsies)

Clever transition.

The ABLE program is an intensive exercise-based therapy with a focus on re-connecting signals from my brain to areas of my body that were affected by the cut to my spinal cord. It is three days a week, 2 and a half hours a day during which I spend 1 hour on a treadmill harness. That is in addition to my twice weekly physical and occupational therapy. During the ABLE treadmill session, alternating percentages of my weight (typically around 15-20%) is supported by a harness, while 2 fitness specialists initiate and lead my legs in a walking pattern. And here is the big news, 2 weeks ago I was able to left my foot from a planted position and initiate a step. I wasn’t able to lift my legs all the way through as my foot was dragging, but it was the first time I made my leg move. Have no fear, I know the word picture that I just tired to paint looks like a dirty window in your mind. I’ll put up some videos and pictures for the visual learners among you. The rest of the ABLE session is devoted to a range of exercises intended to reactivate and strengthening my core. The core, as it turns out, is pretty much used for everything the body does. As a result of my injury, I lost most of the control of my core muscles, both front and back. But now I have contractions and firing of those muscles-though they are still weak. This focus on the core and increased time on the treadmill have made me significantly stronger and I can now sense most of my core and leg muscles moving. It is a strange feeling to know that you are contracting your calf muscles, but not seeing a giant bulge below your knee. Basically, the ABLE program, combined with my outpatient therapy, combined with yoga, combined with acupuncture, combined with breakfast, and with a touch of stupid, impossible patience; I know I’m doing everything I can to walk again.



Now that I’ve gotten paid for my ABLE promo, let’s get real and talk about tomorrow-Valentine’s Day. Who is joining me at the Highway 7 White Castle for a crave case? Honestly

, you have to make reservations there; White Castle has a huge Valentine Day thing-its ridiculous and awesome.

As always there is much more I would like to share and I will try to do so as soon as I can. But more importantly, I want to thank all of you for helping me through this FUBAR situation. I know that I wouldn’t be in the relatively good position I’m now in without the support you have given. As a thank you-Fringe, Science Channel, Fridays, 8 PM.

Chau for now.