Thursday, October 26, 2006
How I spent the anniversary
We went to breakfast before church, the usual Sunday morning, although we were a bit late and we had to park across the street. I walked across the street, stepped over the curb, went up the ramp and into the restaurant. That was a little bit more than normal but definitely a step in the right direction.
When we arrived at church we were greeted by a "happy anniversary!" Stated by the security guard whose always ready to help me in. For a moment I thought that it was a strange thing to say but, as the day wore on I came to the realization that it is a happy anniversary, in that everyone involved in the accident survived. Before Sunday school I visited with a young woman from our group who had been the first person from the church group to come to the hospital to support Sarah while the doctors were trying to keep me alive. She told me that she and her family went to Germany shortly afterward and that she had lit a candle for me at every church and cathedral they visited.
As we visited a few others trickled in and I shared with them that I had seen an anger in the mirror that morning that I wasn't really aware of. The others voiced how that wasn't surprising to them and that they thought it was important that I allow myself to feel that anger. I am angry that this has dominated my life for the past year but I am not angry that I've had this past year, and have many more, to overcome that dominance. The warmth and strength of the congregation certainly went a long way to helping me feel better.
Later, after church Renee, with her mother, niece, and nephew in tow, came by to work with me on therapy. Of course therapy was simply the cover for showing her nephew my star wars collection. Stunned fascination was the result! After the kids recovered from room of star wars figures we went to Starbuck's.
I walked out of the house and got in Renee's car and she put the wheelchair in back. When we got to Starbuck's I got out of the vehicle and walked in. We went to the counter where the guys working told me how impressed they were to see me walking. (they've never seen me before but they were still impressed) I got my wallet out, paid for my coffee, and then walked to the table. (Renee carried the coffee) At the table I sat down in a regular chair and the wheelchair stayed in the car. When we were done I stood up from the chair which, didn't have any arms, I walked out, and got in Renee's car. When we got home I got out, walked into the house, and sat down on the couch. Renee brought wheel chair in and headed out with her family.
A few hours later Sarah and Madeline arrived, a little while after that Mom and Dad showed up and we had dinner with my roommate Jamie. Fried apples and bacon with biscuits and pumpkin pie afterwards. It was a lovely fall dinner and a great way to end the anniversary.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
We are so lucky to have Jeremy. There is no doubt in my mind that we almost lost him-not just once but several times over that timeframe. His resilience and determination continue to amaze me even today-one whole year later. It is stunning how much has been accomplished in just one year especially when you consider the initial prognosis. It is also overwhelming to think of how much more there is ahead but I have no doubt that Jeremy will handle it with the same amount of grace and style.
It is also overwhelming to think about all of you. Our family, friends, and supporters. We are so appreciative of everything you have done-prayers, visits, house cleaning, meals, phone calls, babysitting, and your generous donations to Jeremy's account. You were here for him and here for us and I for one will never forget that.
So, to wrap this up (I can be so wordy sometimes) I echo Colleen's words. Jeremy's determination has been truly inspirational. I look forward to seeing and reading about all that will be accomplished this year-maybe we'll do the mini! I am choosing to treat today as a celebration of life and a humble reminder of how quickly it can change.
Here's to Jeremy!
Jeremy - Your attitude and determination throughout this has just been inspirational!
I love you!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Quilts, Cars, and Curbs
I can't tell you how much I am touched by the quilt and the thoughts and emotions that were put into it. Thank you all, thank you all for the support, love, and prayers you have given. The quilt is, of course, on Star Wars material so it fits in perfectly with my house. Cliff's wife Kellie actually has an order to the way she describes my collection. (Perhaps, if we're lucky, she'll describe it for everyone in a comment.) :)
This past week was very positive. My friend Rob from Purdue (the best school in Indiana) came to visit. On Sunday he went to church with us. Sunday began like normal with me putting on the legs and leaving the house to meet my family for breakfast. When I left the house I discovered that Rob was driving a car, not an SUV. Up till then I hadn't tried to get in a normal car with the legs on. It worked and then I had to worry about how I would get out.
When we got to the restaurant Rob parked on the street so, not only did I have to get out of the car but I also had to step over a curb to get on the side walk! It worked and I walked into the restaurant for the first time. Madeline sang at church, it was the best concert ever.
On Monday Renee and I met with another amputee who is also a Prosthetist. He had some great suggestions and was very positive about my situation. We met with my Prosthetist today and some changes are going to take place. Another new socket on my left leg and my left leg will also be altered to compensate for the alignment of my hip. This will hopefully allow me to stand straight up and put weight evenly on both legs. We'll see...
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Cliff, his wife Kellie, and their baby Anna came for a brief visit on Tuesday night and Wednesday. Cliff and I have been friends since college and were roommates for about four years. This was the first time that we've seen each other since the accident. They came to visit while I was in the hospital, but I was still asleep so that doesn't count.
Unfortunately they didn't have a lot of time but we did have a nice dinner at the house. Wednesday morning we went to the Marriott, where we all used to work, to have breakfast. I walked in and we were greeted by a small group of our old friends and co-workers. They were all thrilled to see me walk but, I think Anna was really the big hit. After breakfast we visited with my parents briefly and then went home to watch the video of their wedding.
They hadn't seen the video because it was taken for me. I was supposed to be in the wedding but was in the hospital at the time. There's a part of the video where they're passing a phone around before the wedding. I'm on the other end of the phone. It was strange to hear them talking to me and remember laying in the hospital bed at the ARC having those conversations. It was an emotional moment then, and almost more so sitting there and watching the other end of the conversation with Cliff and Kellie yesterday.
The therapy session yesterday was tough. I went to U of I and met Renee and a couple of her students. We went out in the wind and light drizzle and walked to a building with a fairly long ramp. The ramp was pretty steep at one point and, to be honest, I was a little worried about it. Going up the ramp was no big deal, although it I was pretty tired by the time we got to the top of it. Going down was the part that made me nervous.
The last time I walked down a ramp both of my knees bent at the same time which generally means I'm going down. Renee caught me that time and I haven't walked down a ramp since. So, that's why I was nervous. Plus, the ramp we were walking down yesterday was made of concrete and a little steeper than the wooden ramp in my garage. As I started down the ramp I found myself taking smaller steps. It took longer but I felt much more secure. I've also started keeping one leg straight as I walk down which seems to give me more stability.
After the adventure with the ramp we walked back to the building where their classes are and did some endurance walking in the hallway. Renee's got this thing about making me work really hard and then, when I'm really tired, asking me to walk as far as I can. I guess it works, because I am feeling more confident. In the next couple weeks we're going to be trying stairs and also getting up from different types of chairs.
Right now the only chairs that I'm comfortable standing up from and sitting down on are fairly rigid chairs with arms. For me to leave the wheelchair behind I'm going to need to be able to sit in pretty much any type of chair that's available. The chairs at Circle City (the restaurant at the Marriott) have arms and are rigid enough that I think I would be able to stand up from them. It didn't occur to me until I was there that I might have been able to leave the wheelchair behind when we went in. I think this may be the first step towards an empty wheelchair, me realizing that I can go places without it. We're not ready for the empty chair yet, but I think that day may be closer than I originally thought!
Friday, October 06, 2006
Last Saturday Renee and I went to Target. It's one of my favorite places to shop. The point was for me to walk someplace where I would normally go. It went well, I still had to sit down about every 100 feet or so, either to add socks or simply just to rest. There was a little boy who asked his mom about my "robot legs". I asked him if he wanted to see me walk and his eyes got huge as he said yes! I stood and walked until the little boy and his mom were tired of following me. He thanked me for showing him my "robot legs" and moved on with his mom. Shortly after getting home I realized how happy it made me to have been at Target walking and decided that the only way this was going to become normal was if I made it a point to walk whenever I leave the house.
So, on Monday I walked into a classroom at University of Indianapolis where I sat with small groups of Physical Therapy students. Later on that afternoon we went outside at Uof I and I took my first step over a curb. I've stepped off of a curb before but this was the first time that I went up over a curb. I did need a little assistance from Renee and encouragement from the students. Although, by the last try I only needed minimal assistance.
The rest of the week I continued to wear the legs when I left the house. Getting more practice getting in and out of vehicles and walking on different surfaces like grass, parking lots, and carpet. It's easier for me to see some light at the end of the tunnel now.
I also finally got the approval from Voc Rehab for assistance with modifications on a car and a lighter, more compactible wheelchair. We're going to start with the wheelchair so that I can try getting in and out of different vehicles with it. Unfortunately the process is still going to take a long time. Potentially several more months due to the process within Indiana Voc Rehab but, eventually, I will have a car!
Alright, that's it for me this week. Sorry for the delay. Can't wait to hear your comments.