Kick It

10 Apr

Hello everyone. It’s been many weeks since we last spoke (or many new episodes of Castle for those using the Fillion system). I hope this message finds you well.

For the Minnesotans, look out the window and compare what you see with 6 weeks ago. See how nothing has changed? The opposite of that degree of change has happened to me (for all non-Minnesotans we are predicted to get 6 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. It’s April. My hands get dirty everytime I go through slosh. Get it together troposphere). This change, this ebbing and flowing change, has provided both ups and downs. On the positive ebb, last week I was able to independently move one of my legs; on the negative flow, my continued presence in, on, and around a wheelchair really pisses me off.

I pass my days with a structure of appointments and sessions. I tell myself that every second of every day I need to focus all my energies on getting better (not just walking again, but also using my hands and fingers, going to the bathroom on my own, regaining core strength, and deepening my knowledge of czarist era politics (I still can’t wrap my head around Rasputin)). The difference between promising a 100% effort and giving 100% effort is the same as telling yourself you will wake up early tomorrow and actually waking up early. This is what I struggle with most since I got hurt, feeling as if I’m not doing everything I can. That at some point in the future I will look back and regret that I let someone else roll me up a ramp rather than doing it myself. Not doing enough, but really isn’t that what we all worry about? I’m just in a position to complain about it to a wider audience, thankfully I have a few people willing to listen to me complain.

Beside those ancient cerebral fears only Frazier could work out, the thing that haunts me is the Imaginary Healing Deadline. Most physiatrists will say that 6-12 months is the primetime to regain function after a spinal cord injury. However, I’ve had physical therapists and other physicians tell me that one can regain function up to 2 years after an injury (these timelines are just what I’ve heard, they are officially non-sciency/research based. And as my typist ….father …. Dr. Cloyd just pointed out medical care and opinion often lags behind advances in science including rehabilitation research). Also in reality a person 5 years out from an injury can still recover a small degree of function. Based off this extensive research and hearsay, I have it locked in my mind that by 15 months I need to be on my two feet walking. I can be walking with a cane, walking with a walker, walking with pain, or walking like a stalker; but I need to be on my feet. Thus, the Imaginary Healing Deadline was created. As of today, I’m 9 months out from my injury. October 8 looms dark and foreboding in the distance like Mt. Doom from Weathertop or The Wall from Winterfell. That being on my mind so often does have a flip side, endless motivation to stand mfing up, which ends the dreary report and begins the happy….

As I mentioned before I moved my leg. You didn’t think I would mention that in passing and not elaborate did you? As you can see in the video located below, I’m lying sideways on a horizontal PT mat with my left leg even with my hips on what is called a powder board (low friction board). The metallic noise you hear is a wheeled skate that further reduces friction and the angelic one is that of my PCA and PIC, Casey. To summarize, I was using my glut and hamstring muscles to push my leg down. I’m able to push and pull with both legs, but this movement had the most flash and was begging to be on camera. So that’s really good and awesome and so is….


The TC Classic Golf Tournament that I’m hosting on June 21-22 in Monticello, MN. A delectable blend of music, comedy, booze, pig and golf to pay for the very therapy that is helping me move my legs (guilt trip). Please visit my scroll up for more information. You don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want you, but my mom will probably cry if you don’t. And she is one of those criers who makes other people cry when they see her crying.

Thank you all so much for the consistent and shockingly tremendous help you have offered my family and me. I appreciate it all and swear that I will repay each and every one of you. I promise.

Yours in recovery mode,

Fire and Blood,

Thomas of House Targaryen


8 Responses to “Kick It”

  1. Diane Fittipaldi April 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Thomas – great post. Thanks for opening up and sharing with all of us. I love reading about your progress and am so encouraged each time you check in. There are always milestones that have been achieved and new news to celebrate. You are remarkable.

    I have three immediate reactions to offer.

    I find the idea of goal setting to be a double edged sword. Goals help drive us forward and motivate us to achieve. Keep your eye on the prize so to speak. You’ve always been good at that and I put you in the high-achiever category for sure. Just look at the education you’ve received, the jobs you’ve had, the schools you’ve gotten into. Clearly you have a track record of setting your sites on something and have moved rapidly to attain. It has served you well and that’s a good thing.

    But, here is the other edge of the sword. Setting goal-oriented deadlines can put enormous pressure on what are all too often arbitrary dates. I remember people telling me that I’d feel better in a year after my mom died and when that didn’t happen I felt even worse. I never stopped to think that the one year mark was arbitrary at best based on silly averages which included a pool of people who had nothing to do with me. Same is true for you. Everyone has their pace and no two cases are alike. Give yourself the room to have a flexible, fuzzy, moving timeline that offers you a little wiggle room.

    Part three is simply this – – when I hear that most cases do this or do that within this interval of time or that interval of time, I think so what. Those are averages and if I have one hand in a bucket of ice and one hand in the fire, on average I am comfortable. There are always outliers to each and every everything. People whose cases don’t conform to norms and those that surprise the experts. I’m putting my money on that for you. They will write text books about your progress and you’ll defy the odds and the averages, of this I am sure.

    Keep up the hard work, don’t tire of your efforts and by all means stop setting imaginary deadlines.

  2. Jill (Badgett) Van Tassel April 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Hi Thomas,
    We don’t know each other, but we’re related! My father is Tony Badgett and is a first cousin to your father. My grandmother’s maiden name was Cloyd. I just found out about you today. I read about your injury on your blog and I want you to know I’ll be thinking of you and praying for your continued recovery every day! Greetings from Lexington, KY!

    Jill Van Tassel

  3. Carmen Ordoñez April 11, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    Hola Thomas!
    cuánto me alegro de tus mejorías! todo esfuerzo tiene su recompensa y tú vas a tener la tuya, puedes estar seguro de eso. Estamos muy lejos pero espero que me sientas tan cerca como yo te siento a ti. Estoy muy orgullosa de ti! te sigo mandando toda mi fuerza diariamente, así que tómala y utilízala para seguir luchando. Eres muy grande Tomás! Te quiero!


    y no olvides que todas las chicas del mundo siguen queriendo…..

  4. Sandy Abts April 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    As a full blown Game of Thrones junkie I would just like to say that was better than watching dragons fly! Thomas, you are rocking it! Maybe all those years of sleeping on our basement floor provides some muscle memory when lying on rock hard surfaces. All I know is…just keep it going. You are amazing all of us, as always. See you on the golf course. Xoxo

  5. Uncle John April 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Thomas – you articulated a concern I often have about not working hard enough to reach a goal. I’ve felt that and known it but have not been able to state it. You are a great writer with excellent insight!

    House Targaryen? I thought we were bonded to House Stark in the North?

    Love and Best Wishes! Uncle John

  6. Mick Hawkins April 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Good to see the spunk remains…the ever present sign that life is still good.

    I think of you often, Thomas, and regret that I have not presented my typing talents (as long as you have spell check) to further advance your networking.

    We sure had a short summer didn’t we?


  7. Alex Falenczykowski April 10, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    This is legendary. I can’t imagine that it’s a complete coincidence that JP1 3D came out at the same time that this improvement has occurred. Your determination and faith in your own ability to control your destination is nothing short of stalwart. Everytime that it seems like there are few new developments, one just pops up. It’s interesting because its only occuring because of the dividends paid from hard work and sweat equity you built during periods that seem like a plateau. That is why you are such an inspiration. You don’t try hard exclusively when its going well. Rather, you beat hell when you’re in the shit and can’t visibly see improvement in that moment. I love seeing your vision and I’m glad that you share it because it shows the depth of conviction that you have in your own ability and it explains why you have had the results that you have. A person without a vision is like a ship with no rudder. It may travel, but it will never reach its intended destination. Keep building sweat equity and keep that vision honed. I’m so proud to be able to call you my friend.


    • Jackie Stern April 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      That was a terrific video. The family crowded around the computer to watch. Did you hear the cheers and applause? The snow isn’t bad here in New Orleans so we thing spring is a good time for you to visit. Whenever you are ready to come, we are ready to have you. Jazz Fest is only a month away. Maybe a year from now you’ll be here for the 2014 Jazz Fest.
      You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing the good news. Keep it up. We are thrilled.