Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Where we are now
It's been a while since I've had a real therapy session because of the surgeries and infections. As a result certain muscles and joints have tightened up. So, this week I worked with some of Renee's PT students at U of I (Indianapolis, not Illinois) for their final exam. One day they had to evaluate me and the next day they had to work with me on a home exercise program. I saw 4 students over the course of 3 hours so I got really stretched out. It was really a lot of fun and helped me feel good about my new situation.
A while back I talked about how I felt like I needed to embrace my disability as opposed to allowing it to change who I am. Talking to the young man's family while I was in the burn unit and working with the students at U of I is part of that. Of course, I have to admit that I am not the same person as I was before the accident but, even though there's less of my body than there used to be, I feel like more of a complete person.
The incision from the last three surgeries (they kept opening the same one) is finally healed. This is extremely important because it means that I can finally get it wet. So, now that you're all updated I'm going to go take a much anticipated shower! Have a wonderful week!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Driving Thing
The evaluation consisted mostly of eye, coordination, strength, balance, and observation tests. At the beginning, the OT who was conducting the evaluation told me that she would take me for a ride and that she was going to drive so that I could see how the hand controls worked. On the way to the car she asked me if I would be comfortable driving. She drove us to an empty parking lot behind Glendale Mall and then had me slide into the driver's seat.
There is a lever on the left side of the steering wheel (just underneath the turn signal) that controls braking and acceleration and a knob on the steering wheel to allow me to turn the car with only one hand. To brake you push the lever forward and pull it back to accelerate. This seems backwards to me so I did have a slight tendency to confuse the two. However, after about fifteen minutes of driving back and forth in the parking lot she asked if I was comfortable enough to drive us back to Cross Roads, which is at 46th and Keystone, and I said yes. We went through the neighborhoods so that I could practice with stops and turns and then I parked the car when we got back. I even stayed in the lines and didn't hit the curb! (my Kindergarten Teacher would be proud!)
It takes ten hours of actual training but the instructor can cut that short based on the students performance. Then I will have to take a driving test at the BMV and get an amended license. Unfortunately there are only three trainers and the training schedule is full, so I may not actually get to drive again until sometime this fall. In the meantime, I can start looking at different vehicles and seeing how comfortable they are with my prostheses on and off. They don't want me to purchase a car until the training is completed because we really won't know exactly what assistive devices are necessary until then.
That's all I'm gonna give ya for now so have a great week and let me know your thoughts!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I met with the Infectious Disease Doctors today for the first time since the infections were identified. (That was the surgery before last) They were happy with what they saw and said that they wouldn't need to see me again unless things changed. Unfortunately they also extended my end date for the antibiotics so I'm tied to the couch every night for at least two hours until July 21st.
My therapy visit with Renee went well. She was pleased with the condition of the wound. It's still bleeding a little but she says it's even better quality than last time. She then stuck her fingers into my gut in an attempt to get my psoaz (sp?) muscle to release. Sadly, the attempt was only partially successful. In order to get that muscle to release she has to push through my abdomen to a muscle that's attached to my spine. It's not comfortable and gets very difficult as Renee laughs at the faces I make which then causes me to laugh which seems to result in her having to start over. The last half hour I walked at the parallel bars with just the right leg. I'd forgotten how hard that was but it was nice to be vertical again.
Hopefully Dr. Stewart will take out my stitches next Tuesday and then comes the drivers evaluation. Things are moving forward again and I'm doing fine. Still tied to the house more than I like but that will change soon enough.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Third Times a Charm
Don't get me wrong, the night of the surgery I threw up twice due to the anesthesia, was in a lot of pain, and couldn't stay awake for more than about ten minutes at a time. When I woke up the next day I was still in pain, hadn't urinated in at least 15 hours (we've decided I'm part camel), and had been awakened several times throughout the night. With all of that in mind, I felt emotionally better than I had in weeks, and I hadn't even taken any drugs yet!
Renee and I talked about this while I enjoyed the chocolate croissant and coffee that she brought to me. She felt that this was a good sign and that it probably had to do with my subconscious awareness of my improving overall health. Since second breakfast (hospital food) didn't bring me down I figured Renee must be on to something. I mentioned it to Dr. Stewart and she said that she felt that I was more intune with my body than most patients and that it was probably a good sign that the infection was gone.
I'll be continuing with the antibiotics for another four weeks and it will definitely be a set back in regards to walking and advancing to the permanent prostheses. However, I'm going forward with the driving evaluation on the 20th and I'm certain each week will continue to bring progress.
Of course, I want things to move forward faster and with no set backs but, with each set back comes a deeper understanding of my new way of life. While I was at the burn unit a 27 year old man, who had lost his left leg and left arm in an electrical accident, was just waking up. They were having a real difficulty due to the language barrier as he only speaks spanish. With the help of the Chaplain, who is Hispanic, I was able to speak with the boys parents. They seemed to feel better about their son's future when we finished talking and I will go back and speak to their son after he comes down off the drugs. It may be a strange way to look at it, but if it weren't for the continuing infection, I wouldn't have been there to speak with them. And, yes, it did me some good to talk to them as well.
Have a great weekend. I'll still write on Wednesday and I promise to keep you informed. Keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming. No matter how positive I am we're still not out of the woods yet!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Actually-he looks and sounds wonderful. Hopefully he'll be home tomorrow and can update you then himself. More to come...
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
The thought was that perhaps having the stitch removed might speed up the healing process in that particular area. The rest of the incision has healed up nicely. I get to see Dr. Stewart on Tuesday morning and will hopefully be cleared to be fit for a new prosthesis. If that happens I should be up and running (walking, I don't run) with in the next two weeks! Any spiritual help you can focus in that direction will be much appreciated.