Wednesday, April 25, 2007
About half way through the week I realized I wasn't getting anything done at home. Luckily my roommate Jamie took care of my laundry. I went in a little late on Saturday so that I could take the time to get my bills and other correspondence organized, unfortunately there was no time to actually do anything with them. Of course, as a result I stayed at work until 9:30pm.
With Sunday being my only personal day of the week the plan was to go to breakfast with the family, then church, grocery shopping, and then finishing the bills and other correspondence. However, on Saturday morning my cell phone took a dive into the toilet. (The toilet was clean but, after drying it off, I sanitized it with an alcohol swab anyway.) It worked for half the day on Saturday and then crapped out. (excuse the pun) This added a new errand to Sunday and, if you know Verizon, there was no way to tell how long it would take. Something had to give!
Jamie stepped up yet again, as he had with the laundry, and volunteered to take care of my grocery shopping on Monday. (Before I go any further I should mention that Sunday was an all walking day for me, and I was wearing pants, which meant that to the general public I was just a guy with crutches who obviously had issues sitting down and standing up.) While on my way to Verizon I decided to stop for a haircut. When I pulled up I could tell that there was only one customer in the store, so I figured this would be a quick trim. Of course, while I was getting out of the car three other people pulled up and went in before I could even make it to the curb. Luckily I didn't have to wait long and about 20 minutes later was on my way to Verizon.
There's a store next to Verizon where I used to get my cologne. Since I haven't had any cologne for about a year (don't ask why, I'm really not sure myself) I decided to stop in and pick up some cologne. After that side trip I walked back out the car and dropped off my new "smell good stuff" and walked down to the end of the strip mall to go into Verizon. I didn't realize how busy it would be and was quickly regretting leaving my wheelchair in the car when one of the employees noticed me and brought a chair out from the back. After about an hour I was finally finished with the Verizon ordeal and one of their sales people walked with me back to the car to carry the box for my new phone and open the door for me. As I was stepping off the curb (something I had done about four times already that day) I commented to the sales person that it would take a moment for my hydraulic knee to bend.
As I was making that comment, and getting into the position where my right foot is suspended above the ground below the curb, my left knee, which normally bends slowly during that maneuver, collapsed. Down I went onto the concrete side walk. It obviously scared the sales person and the other people around me. I wasn't scared, just disappointed. It had been several weeks since the last time I truly fell and I've never fallen while stepping off a curb.
I wasn't injured, not even a scrape. Yeah, I fell backward onto concrete but, I've learned how to fall. I guess that Karate training from so many years ago is finally coming in handy. I'm still using those skills to defend myself, just not in the way I thought I would when I learned it.
This week has continued to be hectic with long hours at work. I've also been trying to prepare for a trip that Mom, Dad, Sarah, Madeline, and I are taking this weekend. Tomorrow I'll be leaving work early for two reasons: first to make certain I'm on time for my Pilates class, and second to ensure I get enough rest before going to the airport early Friday morning to fly to Amarillo Texas for my Cousin's wedding. Yes, next weeks blog will be about the first flying experience since the accident!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
On Monday I started working full time again. I stopped by the burn unit Monday evening to visit the nurses that watched over me in the nights. It was a wonderful feeling to sit with them, fully clothed, and independent. I had been wanting to visit them for a long time but I waited until I could drive there on my own and walk from the parking garage to the burn unit. I had to rest once, and take a second break to correct the alignment (for lack of a better word) on my legs, before making it all the way into the unit. Unfortunately that delayed my visit, and I was already later than I had planned because I had been held up at work (time, not theft). Due to those two delays I missed a couple of the nurses who are now working the day shift so, eventually, I will need to try again.
In an attempt to truly get back to full time (50 hours/wk) I've been staying later each day this week than I had in past weeks. Today marked the first time that I've worked three days in a row and, I've gotta say, I'm tired. This week is an important week so I'm actually going to go in on Saturday as well. We'll see how I feel at the end of the week.
I also worked in a therapy session with Renee before work this morning. We worked on balance, no new improvement there. Although, I should let everyone know that I've gotten to a point where I can stand pretty easily as long as I have minimal contact with a solid/stable object. We also determined that there are still more adjustments that need to be made to the legs so, next week I'll be squeezing that in before my daily drive to Greencastle. I guess I need to accept that the new "normal" for me still equates to busy.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Coming full circle
As things are becoming more "mundane" I'm actually enjoying the simple things in life that I used to take for granted. Every moment can be filled with enjoyment if we don't let time pass by unobserved. What I mean by that is stop rushing to get to the next thing. You don't have to actually go any slower, just enjoy the journey and live in the moment. This doesn't mean you can't have any goals or dreams, it just means enjoy every moment as you move towards achieving those dreams.
Yesterday I had my final follow up with Dr. Sood in the Burn Unit. He looked at my skin and said that, unless I needed him for anything in the future, he wasn't going to schedule any more appointments. He also released me to return to work full time so, as of Monday, I'll be back to the daily grind. (Ugh, what was I thinking?!)
Before coming in to meet with Dr. Sood, the Social Worker from the burn unit had called and asked if I would be willing to speak with one of their current patients. A burn victim who had one leg amputated below the knee and one above. He's actually been in the burn unit far longer than I was. So, when Dr. Sood was done with me I went in to the unit to meet with this patient.
Imagine my surprise to discover that he was in my old room! As the case manager and the social worker were helping me put on a yellow gown (those of you who visited me will remember those) it occurred to me that I had come full circle. A year and a half ago many of you had come into that very room, wearing the same yellow gowns, to cheer me up. Now I was walking into my old room to help bring some cheer and direction to another patient who was dealing with very similar injuries.
The room had not changed much, he had cards and pictures taped up on his cabinets as I had. He did tend to keep the room darker than I had but everyone has there own tastes. Everyone kept telling me how excited he was that I was coming to visit. When I walked in he looked very agitated at first. I quickly realized that, like me, he had a trach (sp?), and they hadn't attached his speaking valve. The nurse took care of that for us and we spoke for about 45 minutes. I'm not sure how much it helped him but, hopefully, he was able to see through the pain to a time when he too will walk again.
After we were finished I stood up, walked out of my old room, said goodbye to some of the nurses and then took Mom out to lunch. The rest of the day was was pretty "mundane", but I enjoyed every minute of it!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Now that the skin on my right leg has healed from the small injury caused by the old socket I'm starting to walk more often. On Sunday I decided it was time to wear them for an extended period again. When I was getting ready for church I decided to put the legs on before putting on my pants. I have a few pairs of pants that were modified with long zippers along the inseam so that I could get the legs on and off without having to take my pants off. This was important because I didn't have the balance to stand up and pull my pants up like other people. Also, I frequently had to take my legs off to make adjustments. I didn't like the idea of finding places to take my pants off just to make adjustments to my legs. So Mom and our neighbors the Cutino's came up with the idea fore the modifications.
The new sockets are considerably larger than the old sockets, and they come up higher. Also, I have to stand up to get them to lock into place. I'd had some difficulty getting them on with the pants already on so, Sunday morning, I put the pants on the legs, stood up, locked the sockets into place, and then pulled my pants up. Sunday was also the first time that I stood for every hymn. Feeling pretty confident after church, I drove to St. Vincents hospital to visit a friend who had surgery earlier in the week. All of the handicapped parking was full so, I parked in the middle of the lot with everyone else and walked into the hospital. The walk to his room was long and I did take a break in a waiting area about half way there, but it was the first time that I went someplace by myself and walked a long distance by myself.
Today I went to therapy on my own, where I continued to work on standing. (no real progress there) After therapy I drove over to the federal building to take care of some things at the Social Security Administration. I had to park a block away because they don't allow public parking, even handicapped parking, at the Federal Building. I used the wheelchair for that excursion, but then headed over to the Posthetists office for some more adjustments when I was done at the SSA.
Last week I mentioned that the new sockets pinch. Also, if I'm not careful, when I sit in a narrow chair it feels like I've been kicked between the legs. (that's only happened once, I'm careful now) So I stopped at the Prosthetist on the way to work yesterday to have some adjustments made. They shortened the left leg (yep, once again it was too tall) and made another adjustment to help with the pinching. After that I took them off to give my leg more time to toughen up. Today we figured out that the sockets are now rubbing against each other, which changes the way I walk. This time the made an adjustment to my right leg. I'll try it out for a while and, hopefully won't need to go back in. It's a lot of trial and error, which is something that I need to accept. Ultimately, with all the adjustments, we'll get to a perfect fit.