Friday, January 26, 2007


Keeping Vigil

Yesterday I spent the morning at St. Vincent's hospital. (Don't worry, I wasn't there for me.) A friend of mine was having an exploratory procedure done and asked if I would sit with his wife while she waited. For the most part the outcome was positive. Afterward we went out for lunch and then they took me to therapy at U of I.

During lunch my friend thanked me repeatedly for accompanying them to the hospital. The thing that struck me about it the most was that he stood vigil for me and my family, as many of you did, while I was in the hospital. Even after the worst of it was over he still made it to the hospital whenever I was in for susequent surgeries. So, here's my friend, thanking me for being there, while I'm thinking of all the times he's been there for me.

No thanks were necessary. In my heart and mind I was supporting my friend and allowing some of his good deeds to come back to him. I only wish that I could do the same for everyone. Granted, he kept thanking me partly because he was so hopped up on morphine that he forgot that he had already thanked me! Later, after he'd had a nap he called to thank me again and admitted that he didn't really remember much after we left the hospital.

Therapy yesterday was a huge success. I'd had my legs on most of the day and knew that topping it off with therapy would do me in. Renee picked yesterday to give me a new challenge. One that required balance, endurance, and skill. (Well, ok, it was luck, not skill.) For the first time since the accident I shot a game of pool. By the time we were done I had lost one game, won another, and was sweating like a stuck pig.

Earlier this week I sent an e-mail to my Godfather and his wife explaining what C-legs are. I mentioned them in a blog update a while and I apparently have not explained what they are. They had e-mailed my parents asking about the C-legs and, after I replied, they suggested that I answer more questions on the blog so that people wouldn't have to e-mail me separately. The only issue with that is that there haven't been many more questions lately. So, I'm throwing this out there, if you ask questions in your comments I will make an effort to answer them each week. This would also be a huge help for sparking ideas. I look forward to hearing your questions!

Friday, January 19, 2007


An average day and a good day

A lot of the time people ask me what an average day is like for me. Sad to say it's not very exciting. An average day for me, at least for the last year, has been pretty quiet. I get up at the crack of nine. (No sarcastic comments here, I think I deserve to sleep in.) I feed the cat and make breakfast, which I eat in front of the TV.

After breakfast is done, and I feel like my brain has started to rot from the brainless programming, I generally get on the floor and start my exercises. Sometimes the exercises are done to music and sometimes I try to position myself so I can watch a movie at the same time. The full exercise regimen usually takes about two hours. (perfect for movie watching)

Once I'm sufficiently hot and sweaty from exercising I usually push myself back onto the couch and then lift myself into the wheelchair. (these are the last two exercises) From there I head to the bathroom for a shower. There's no such thing as a quick shower for me anymore. (Shortly after the accident a good friend of mine commented that maybe this was God's way of slowing me down to make me enjoy life. If that's the case, I'm definitely enjoying the long steamy showers!)

After the shower it's usually lunch time. Of course lunch is eaten in front of the TV again. Once lunch is finished I usually work on bills, laundry, or any work that I have that I can do from home. My company has done an exceptional job of keeping me involved in projects throughout my leave of absence. Sometimes the projects pertain to my property, like the website, and sometimes I'm assisting with other operations. If there's no work to be done I indulge myself with watching one of the many TV series' that I've collected on DVD.

That's an average day. The routine has varied several times over the past year. From antibiotic infusions to practicing walking at home. Now that I'm walking whenever I leave the house I've gotten away from walking here. Although, last week I did put on my legs and set up a shelf of Star Wars figures in my den.

The good thing is that average days are becoming few and far between in this new year. I've increased my time at work to two days a week this month and will be adding a third in February. In March I'll add a fourth day and in April I plan to be back full time.

The good days, of course, have been the days when I'm out of the house. Over the past year I was usually at therapy twice a week and had to leave the house for multiple other reasons as well. Therapy days have always been good days. I don't really consider the doctors visits good days but these did give me quality time with Mom, which I've really enjoyed.

I haven't spent much time out in public in the normal sense, bars, movies, sporting events, etc. I just haven't felt that my energy was up to it. I also haven't liked the feeling that I didn't have my own transportation and therefore would either be trapped if I wasn't enjoying myself or would have to force someone else to leave who might not want to go. Sometimes I've worried about this, thinking that I was becoming anti-social. I made a comment to a new friend of mine over e-mail this past week that finally put it into perspective for me.

A good day for me right now is going to use the toilet in a public restroom without having to bring the wheelchair along. (Believe it or not, that was a HUGE breakthrough!) Over the past month feats like that have become more and more common. On Sunday I left the wheelchair at home for the second week in a row. Now, when I decided to leave it behind I didn't realize that my parents were going to make me do a marathon walk after the service followed by a period of standing while waiting for the car, but it all worked out in the end. Later that day Jamie and I went to a Borders.

We couldn't find a handicapped parking space nearby so I had a fairly decent walk across wet pavement before getting into the store. Once inside I walked to the section I was looking for, picked out my book, handed it to Jamie and then went to stand in line for a cashier. After paying for the book we walked the distance back to car where I finally got to rest. That was the first shopping experience that I've had, since the accident, that was entirely wheelchair free. A good portent of things to come.

Now, I'm going to fix dinner and veg out in front of some brainless programming. This is my recommended method to prepare for tomorrow's 8:00am Pilates session.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Visiting with an old friend

My friend Jason, from Corydon, is in town for a conference. He's here visiting with me this evening so I'll do the real update tomorrow (if technology allows).

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Adventures in Pilates

You may recall, way back when I first started walking, Dr. Carbone said that I needed to have buns of steel and six pack abs. Buns of steel I've got but the abs have not followed suit. Several doctors and therapists have recommended that I take pilates. My first attempt was a beginners pilates DVD but it didn't really work.

The majority of the excercises on the DVD were from either a standing or a kneeling position. Standing won't work because I just don't have the balance to stand unassisted. Kneeling was a problem because my legs aren't even. I tended to tip over which seemed to bother the cat and dog. (They were usually in the landing zone.) So, to avoid flattening the animals I decided to go back to my old excercises. I prefer the old excercises because most of them are done laying down which allows for brief naps in between excercises.

For Christmas Mom and Dad gave Sarah and I pilates classes. Mom had found a Pilates studio near my house where one of the trainers is also a PT. Mom spoke with her and discovered that she knows Renee. Renee and Angela, the trainer, touched base and it was decided that we would start off with some private lessons and then join a mat class. Last week Sarah and I had our first lesson. Renee came along to provide Angela with some clinical info on me and make suggestions about how we could modify some excercises.

The excercises were difficult but, even after one session, I could tell I was feeling better. That may just be because the soreness over powered the normal aches and pains. I did have some issues with headaches throughout the week. Renee has diagnosed this as a pulled trapezoid and taped up my left trap. (I think she secretly enjoys the pain this will cause when I pull the tape off!)

Since the tape has been on I haven't had any headaches so, obviously, Renee's magic tape has worked again. Sarah and I had our second session of pilates today. We're continuing to adapt the excercises and figure out what works for me and what doesn't. With any luck this will help me progress with the two main challenges that Renee and I are working on.

As my core strength increases I should find it easier to balance. At therapy this past week I worked on standing without holding on to anything. I can only maintain my balance for about ten seconds at best. It takes alot of adjustments in my hips and I start to look like I'm trying to do some strange hula dance just before I lose my balance all together.

I also took several steps with only one crutch this week. Core strength is pretty important for standing and also walking. The few steps I took felt pretty out of control. Renee was holding on to a gait belt and staying pretty close. She was impressed with my walking but I don't think either of us are ready for me to try it alone.

I know it was the first time I really tried to do it and I shouldn't expect it to be perfect. I just have this problem with wanting everything to work immediately. The reality is that it took time for me to start leaving the wheelchair behind and it's going to take time for me to start leaving one of my crutches behind. It's simply another test in patience.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Technical difficulties

OK loyal viewers, Jeremy just called and said that he's having technical difficulties. He is frustrated and asked me to let you know that he will try again tomorrow. Sorry-tune in tomorrow for the next episode. Maybe he'll fill you in on adventures in Pilates-I'm still feeling it!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Goodbye to 2006

Well, after all the activity of the holidays things are starting to slow down. On New Years Eve we had a gathering at Mom and Dad's house. There were many people there from church, IPS, and other random connections. I was surprised to discover that random friends of the family had connections that we never knew about. It was kind of a lesson in six degrees of separation. That can get pretty confusing so it is not this weeks highlight. It's just an interesting observance.

After everyone headed off to their next New Years Eve stop Mom and dad took my home where my roommate and I rang in the new year with a movie and a game of cribbage. On new years day I resurrected my old tradition of sitting on the couch in my pj's watching movies. It was the start of a fairly quiet week. Yesterday was a little busy with a lunch with some good friends, dinner with the family, and then Mom, Dad, Sarah, Madeline, and I went to see Annie at Clowes Hall. While going to my seat at Clowes I had the revelation that, as long as we're on the main floor, I don't need to worry about accessible seating!

Over the last week I've been asked a couple of times if I was happy to see 2006 end. I found myself thinking about what a hard year it had been. From the beginning of my on going therapy, to the unexpected surgeries and subsequent infections, with the continued battle with the prostheses. There have been a wealth of challenges this year and many times I have wished that I wasn't going through this. But, the fact remains that I am going through it.

With every difficulty this year there has been an equal improvement. Without the surgery to remove the abnormal bone in my left leg I wouldn't have been able to walk without pain. I could have done without the infections but they certainly gave me a better appreciation of my current state of health. My ability to walk has improved considerably. 2007 will bring a new car, permanent prostheses, and increased independence. 2006 has been a difficult year but it was a good one. It brought me to this point, a point where I can look foreword with optimism.

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