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.

4 Responses to “Salty, Sassy, and Sloppy”

  1. Uncle Richard February 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    I am glad to see you enjoy Fringe. I have been a faithful follower of Walter, Peter, Olivia since the beginning. I was sad to see the finale but who knows what the future holds. As to your news, it’s absolutely
    wonderful, tremendous along with your persistence,
    perseverence and faith. You have held fast continuing to do so and never relenting.

  2. Alexa Bartel February 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Breakfast is always a good thing. You are amazing, incredible and you look good.

  3. Sydney Kase February 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Hey Thomas,
    I got a big ol’ Mardi Gras cake that feeds a crowd with your name on it. Say the word and I will deliver it to your door. The word is sassy, or salty, or sloppy.

  4. Eric February 14, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I’m looking forward to the day when you are tearing up calf muscle competitions again! Keep up the good work, sounds like some good progress is being made.