Hello Minnesnowta

23 Sep

Hello friends,

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? As proof of my dedication to all of you, I am writing this post during the Vikings’ inspiring, but inevitably heartbreaking game against the 49ers.

First and foremost, as my Catholic education has taught me, the thank yous.

-Thank you to the Triggs/Wallerius families for their hospitality and generosity in our time of transition. Since apparently it takes more than three weeks to completely renovate and adapt the first floor of a house, having a fantastic apartment three blocks from our home while construction was taking place was a God send.

-The UW hospital 4th floor rehab staff (I think now that I have left your care you can finally see this website). You guys are all amazing and I wish I could hang out with each of you, but in a setting where I am not naked half the time.

-To John Henry Hunter whose fancy fingers are typing this post. Thanks for the help in moving, you’ll receive your paycheck via mail, I promise.

-Thanks to the transition team that got the house ready for renovation (especially EClo and KJ- your sweat and blood never goes unappreciated) and helped move us back once construction was done.

-And finally to the two people without whom none of this would be possible, including that one time that I broke my neck: Dr. James C. Cloyd III and Mrs. Therese Bowman Cloyd, my loving parents. Both of you have been amazing, inspiring, frustrating, and unconditionally loving supporters throughout this entire crazy experience. Though this injury is terrible and I wish it never happened, it has brought our family closer together (but mom I don’t need to wear my seatbelt in the shower, I’m not going anywhere).

Phew, now that we’re done with the required thanking stuff, we can get to the real story. This will be formatted in more chronological order beginning with me leaving the hospital and ending with me in my new, amazing room at 4820 Maple Road eating sour skittles.

(to enter a midstory gem, I no longer have to wear my neck brace, making my everyday life roughly 750% better.)

On August 30th I was discharged from the UW-Madison Hospital. I was hoping to roll through a gauntlet of high-fives from all the staff who had undoubtedly grown to love me over the 8 weeks I was there; unfortunately I was not able to create enough force on the wheel chair to roll through more than 1 high-five at a time. Next came the death van ride provided by Uncomfortable Industries. For the 4 hour ride from Madison to Minneapolis (it’s definitely 4 hours, anyone that says its more, to you I say nay) I imagined the helicopter to be furnished with steak sandwiches and Blackberry Izzies. But the helicopter must have been double booked. Now, I’m not a big complainer and if you were to ask my mom to tell this story she might even use the word “suck”, but I’m going to complain about this van ride. After a few hours of keeping my head free from sharp, malicious objects; the relentless radiating bumps of the road began to affect me. Apparently 5 weeks after a spinal surgery, 4 hours packed into the rear of a ten-year old mini van is contraindicated. I could go into detail about the pain and discomfort of the ride, the claustrophobic nature of being in the van “trunk” (no vents), wearing a neck brace and two seat belts on my power chair, and, lastly, the disappointment of not easily being able to go into the gas station and get a 99 cent rib sandwich… I could complain but I won’t.

As noted above, the first floor of my parents home has been redesigned to make it wheelchair and Thomas accessible. This includes many awesome things: a expanded and redesigned bathroom with a roll-in shower (complete with sand-toned tile for a calming effect), a personalized brick sidewalk into the house, widened and automatic operated doors, and a taken over living room (you know that room in your house that no one ever goes into? That’s the room I’m in). Though I have no formal training in home construction and design, it apparently takes more than three weeks to redo an entire house with the amenities as described above. We stayed in an apartment for 12 days while the construction was completed. Many episodes of NCIS were watched in the apartment (Thanks again Triggs/Wallerius families).

After my comfortable stay in the apartment, my parents and I moved back to our home on Sept 12 to a buzzing hive of activity as the builders rushed to finish construction. A lot has happened since then including starting PT and OT at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, adjusting to my life with a spinal cord injury (I hate the term “handicap”, it sounds permanent), adapting to the reality of my limitations in such familiar surroundings, which has proven to be challenging and disheartening.

Given the length of this post and the closeness of the Viking’s game, I am closing for the time being, but expect more details sooner rather than later.

As always, thanks to everyone who reads, thinks, prays, or vibes my way. I’m just now realizing how long my road will be. So please keep it coming, the vibes help.


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

9 Responses to “Hello Minnesnowta”

  1. Emily S October 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Hey Thomas,
    I wish you knew how many times a day I think about you. You are such an inspiration- and your blog isn’t half bad either 😉 keep on working hard pal. I’m sending lots of good vibes your way.

  2. Diane Fittipaldi September 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Thomas – I loved reading this latest post. It is fun to see your narrative style develop as these blog posts unfold – – so inspiring. I look forward to your updates and wonder how you manage to muster such determination and drive. It is nothing short of remarkable. While I am sure you have your moments, you’ve shown such courage. Thanks for taking the risk to put yourself out there and share your recovery with us.

    I’ve been working on my dissertation at St. Thomas and I ran across a voice recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Look into it. It gets great reviews on Amazon and my cohorts at school say that after you train it to your speech patterns, it is remarkably accurate and reliable. You are a gifted writer with a wonderfully authentic voice, it would be so interesting to see where this natural talent of yours leads.

    Glad you are home and getting settled. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Sending you love and warm wishes.

  3. Jon Bartel September 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Yo dude, stay strong me and girls think and pray for you every day

  4. Monica Bohl September 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm #


    I am glad you’ve made it home! I follow every post and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers every day.

  5. Alex Falenczykowski September 24, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    MR. Hawkins would be proud of the construction of your post. Keep working hard at Sister Kenny. Each ounce of sweat is going to pay off in a big way long term. I know I speak for many when I say that your attitude is unbelievably inspiring. Your deep-seated belief that progress will continue to occur is remarkable; while not having even a hint of being pollyannish. The day I found out about the accident I thought I would be spending the time we have together giving you strength. Recently I’ve realized that you have been the one giving me strength all along. You have been such a blessing to everyone in your life. No one could ask for a better friend.

    • audracious September 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      A wonderful post. I don’t know you and I love you.

  6. Lily Glickstein September 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Wonderful post, I know you can get through any and all challenges adjusting to home life with all of this. Still thinking of you all the time.

    Go Vikes (although it might be fruitless)!


  7. Chris Akiba September 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    T-man – I’m sending serious vibes your way. I’ll be back around Thanksgiving time and I will show up at your door with an inappropriate amount of sour candies. Keep at it – you’re a serious inspiration.

  8. Betsy September 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Love the fancy new site tomas. Thinking about you everyday and can’t wait to see you soon.