Thursday, September 28, 2006



Just got finished typing a long entry about speaking to Renee's PT students at the University of Indianapolis, the results of a cat scan, another potential surgery, a visit to the Burn Unit, and continuing to increase my time walking. When I went to publish it something happened and I lost it. I'll try again tomorrow evening. Sorry for the delay.

Oh! What I though I lost made it through cyber space afterall! Read on!



This has been a very busy week! It began Monday when I spoke to Renee's Physical Therapy students at University of Indianapolis. I spoke about the accident and the experiences I've had from waking in the hospital till now. This coming Monday I'll be working with them again in a lab situation so they'll have the chance to work with me a little bit. The students asked a few questions but we didn't really have a lot of time. Some did stay after to walk with me in the hallways. I'm looking forward to working with them more.

On Tuesday I had to be at Wishard at 5:45am for a cat scan. Another attempt to find out why I can't fully extend my left hip. At 8:40 I had an appointment with Dr. Mullis, the new Orthopedic Surgeon who is involved with my case. The cat scan showed that there is extra bone that has grown in a muscle in my hip. This bone is blocking my extension. He can operate and it would give me the ability to regain most of my extension to be able to stand up straight and hopefully balance without holding on to so mething. Unfortunately over 80% of the muscle would have to be removed. This would make it more difficult for me to walk.

We then waited until about 1:00pm for Dr. Carbone so that we could speak with her, Dr. Mullis, Renee, and the Prosthetist all at once. Mike, the Prosthetist, pointed out that the prostheses are meant to help me walk. Sure, standing is a part of that, but walking is the most important.

The final decision was that we would see where I am in three to six months. There's alot more that Renee and Mike can do. As Mom points out, I really haven't been working with the prostheses consistently for very long. Right now I feel that in three to six months time I will hopefully be able to work around the issue with the hip extension and find my own way to stand without the surgery.

On Wednesday I returned to Wishard for a follow up visit with Dr. Sood in the burn clinic. The burn clinic is outside the main burn unit, so I rarely see the nurses and therapisits who watched over me when I was an inpatient. Every time we go to the burn clinic I think about going in to visit them but I said a long time ago that I wouldn't go in there again until I could walk in. Now, I've been there as an inpatient a couple of times since the accident but that was while I was recovering from surgeries. Yesterday I walked in for the first time.

It definitely caused a reaction. I saw a couple of the nurses on my way in and several of the therapists came to see me while I was waiting for Dr. Sood. After I spoke with him I stood up and walked over to the main unit. Dr. Sood told one of his nurses to take pictures and at one point suggested that he take video! Once in the unit I several of the nurses and staff came out of rooms and offices to see me. It was very rewarding to see the smiles on their faces. I visited with them for a while and then walked back out to the elevator.

Renee is continuing to work with me on walking in pulic places. This past Sunday I wore the legs to my Grandpa's apartment so that he could see me walk again. He's only seen this once and that was in the early days when one of the knee's still locked. It seemed to lift his spirits, although he was quick to offer me his chair! One of the residents in his assisted living community even commented that it looked like I was doing better with my legs than he (the resident) was. I'd wager he'd still when in a race. Maybe I'll go back and try to take him in a couple of months!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Walking in Public

This past weekend was the French Market at St. Joan of Ark. The Catholic church that's two blocks away from my parents house. Renee, in her quest to keep me challenged, thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take my first steps in public. The french market is outdoors in the church parking lot with great music (for the most part, there was a tenor who managed to clear the area out a bit), lots of food, good wine, and what seemed like thousands of people. Everyone had on sandals and I was more worried about smashing someones toes with my crutches than I was of falling on the asphalt!

However, at the risk of smashing toes I did walk. It was a bit scary and I wasn't able to walk as far as I usually do. There were a lot of people around so there was quite a bit of stopping and standing while waiting for others to pass. For a first attempt at walking on uneven ground with crowds aroundit went well. A few of the kids around stared and I occasionally heard comments like "Mommy, his legs aren't real!". Don't worry, that doesn't bother me, infact I usually get a smile and a laugh out of it.

There's a little girl at church who, the first time I went to church after the accident, asked me where my legs were. I told her what had happened and she was visibly concerned. This past Sunday she was in the entry when I walked into the church. The smile on her face when she saw me walking made my day. Later, when the kids went to children's worship she even gave me a little wave as she went passed me in the aisle.

I'll be honest, walking is hard. It makes my back ache, I sweat, and true control is difficult. Not being able to fully straighten my left hip continues to prevent me from really balancing. I know that, in time, these things will improve. Consider all of that and then add other people to the mix. What makes it worthwhile is the comments of encouragement I get from others, even perfect strangers. So, this is the next step in therapy, walking in public.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Same old stuff

Well, it's been another medical week. But, before I get in to that let me thank you for all of the kind words about Cleo. She was a very important part of my life for a long time. I'm ok, a little lonely, but I'm ok. Your words of support have been extremely helpful. In time I'm sure I will find another companion, or one will find me.

The week started with a visit to the Ortho clinic at Wishard. This was a follow up to the on going cellulitis issue. I should have been finished with the antibiotics when I saw them but, unbeknownst to the Ortho team, Dr. Carbone had seen me last week and changed my antibiotic. Dr. Carbone reviewed the bugs that I had back when I was on IV antibiotics and felt that one of them might not have completely gone away. So, she switched me to an antibiotic that would attack that bug directly and it seems to be working.

The doctors in the Ortho clinic gave me a much better report on the bone scan than the last visit I had. They confirmed that the results were negative so we don't need to worry about anymore issues with the bone or any deep infections! I also got to meet Dr. Mullis, who is taking over Dr. Stewart's responsibilities. He's no Dr. Stewart but he seems knowledgeable and definitely cares about his patients.

I'm getting yet another new socket tomorrow. This time it's the one on the right leg. It's funny because we thought that one was a perfect fit but, we were wrong. It feels like I have total contact with the socket but it's always looked a little long. Turns out that my leg was about 3 inches away from the bottom of the socket. It's just so tight all around that it felt right. So, I'll be losing a couple of inches in heighth tomorrow. Hopefully this will bring back a little bit of balance as well.

Walking continues to get easier. My endurance is increasing. Now the shaking and sweating doesn't start until I've walked about 200 feet instead of 100 feet. Last week I made the mistake of doubling the distance I walk at therapy so now Renee expects me to do it all the time. What was I thinking! Really though, it's the support that I get from her and the positive comments from everyone else there, patients, therapists, and staff alike that makes me want to do more each week. I even practiced walking in the parallel bars with only one hand today. I can tell you that we are a long way off from a cane!

Thursday, September 07, 2006



I found Cleo in a parking lot at my hotel in Corpus Christi about eight years ago. She was approximately three years old at the time. I didn't want strays hanging out around my hotel so I told the staff not to feed her but, they did anyway and so did the guests. She was extremely cute and would follow me around the hotel whenever I did my outside property walks. She wouldn't meow or beg, she'd just follow a few steps behind. Eventually I broke down and I'd pet her while on my walks. There was a lattice work fence around a gas meter at the front entrance that she liked to sleep on. Over time it became a normal everyday thing to pull up to the hotel, get out of my car, and visit with her before going in to work.

One night, after Cleo (her name was simply "cat" then) had been around for about a month a bad storm was coming. I walked outside and yelled "hey cat" and she came out from underneath a car in the parking lot. I gave her a little food and picked her up and put her in my car. I stopped at a 24hr Walmart on the way home and got all the supplies needed for a cat. When we got home I made an attempt to give her a bath. She never scratched or bit me but she certainly put up one hell of a fight!

From that night on she's slept by my side everynight and wouldn't leave my bed until I got up. She had these little furry mice that she played with like a kitten. At 11 years old she'd still come tearing through the living room batting her mice around, sometimes tossing them high up into the air. She'd even play fetch with the mice but she never really got good at dropping them right next to you. She'd get close but you still had to reach for them.

For eight years I've been treated to the gift on unconditional love from Cleo. Whenever I would come home she would walk into the room and roll around in the middle of the floor to say hello. Each night I'd carry her to the bed and she'd stay there until morning. When my alarm went off she'd walk to the head of the bed and push on my shoulder with her paw until I'd wake up. After the accident, when we moved her home from her temprorary care takers, she came straight to me. Whenever I'd move from room to room I'd turn around and she'd be there. Somehow, eventhough I couldn't pick her up and carry her anymore, she knew where to be and when I needed her.

On Saturday morning I took Cleo to the vet for her annual check up and vaccinations. Other than a few minor concerns the vet wanted me to watch, she came home with a clean bill of health. Approximately six hours later she died. She spent the afternoon outside and came in when she was ready. She appeared normal and happy as always but, about ten minutes later, we found her laying on the floor panting heavily. My Dad, Jamie, and I tried to get her to an emergency vet but she passed away in the car. Now she rests in my backyard between a Rose bush and a Golden Rain tree.

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