Sunday, February 03, 2008
Progress with the canes
On Friday I had my therapy session. For the most part we worked on static standing. We also went to the therapy unit kitchen and worked on reaching, cutting vegetables, and washing dishes while I was standing up. There wasn't much progress with the static standing. I can do it, but only for a brief period of time (45seconds to a minute and a half or so). The interesting thing is that as long as I can rest a few fingers on a stable object I can stay up until I get tired.
The practice in the kitchen was useful, at least to prove that I can do it. My knife skills didn't seem to be hampered too much by my lack of balance (or my lack of practice)! Reaching was fine as long as I didn't have to reach too high. If there's something on a top shelf it's gotta be at the front or else I'll never find it. Same issue with things on the bottom shelf. By the time I was done washing the dishes I needed a shower due to how much I was sweating!
In regards to normal activity, I'm using the canes more and more in the community. The only time I switch to the crutches is when I'm dealing with longer distances or dangerous obstacles like ice and snow. One of the drawbacks to the canes is that I still can't move as fast with them, although I am starting to move better with them. Another big drawback is that the longer I walk with the canes the more my hands hurt. My balance is getting better and I'm putting more weight on my legs, but the pressure on my hands still gets to me. I do wear special gloves that have padding to protect my palms but the pressure gets through those after a few minutes. Of course, the biggest drawback continues to be the stability of the canes but there is improvement here as well.
Before I close, I want to share one recent experience with you. I was at a gas station, in a fairly safe area, late at night (around 1am). I was using my canes and, while standing by the car as it filled with gas, looked up and saw a fairly average looking guy walking towards me. He was kinda scruffy looking, was wearing a dirty denim jacket, and a baseball cap. As he approached I was between the car and the gas pump. I took a quick look at the area and realized that nobody else was around. As he walked between my car and the pump, effectively blocking the drivers side door, I tried to get a read from his face. His expression was blank. I have to tell you that at this point I was scared.
As a black belt in martial arts, even without the use of my legs, I knew that I at least had a weapon in my canes (which are really heavy). However, I was still really scared. He stopped infront of the door and extended his hand, introduced himself as a nurse who has worked with some unilateral (one limb) amputees. He wanted to tell me how amazed he was to see me walking on two prostheses. I can't describe the feeling of relief that went through me as I shook his hand. We talked for about ten minutes while I explained my views on being an amputee and he continued to tell me what an inspiration I am. As I drove home I thought about the experience, pleased to know that I had made a positive impact on another stranger, but also realizing that I can't put myself in that kind of situation again.
Hopefully I'll be able to write again soon. As always things are pretty crazy, but I now have several things that I want to share with everyone. For now, I'll just say this, if you didn't watch it, THE GIANTS BEAT THE PATRIOTS!
I quess you don't mind competition since you have posted this update during the Super Bowl and closed it after it was over. I noticed it about 11:00 last night but did not have time to respond.
I presume you are satisfied with the outcome of the Super Bowl. In addition to sharing the Super-Bowl-quarterbacking-brothers with the Giants, you/we have another "connection" to the Giants. Their motivational hero is Lt. Col Greg Gadson. He was invited by a former teammate to speak to the Giants last fall after their 0-2 start before their Sept 23 game vs the Redskins. The rest is history. He is now "one of the team" and was honored, along with his family, as their guests at yesterday's game.
Just as you are our family (and beyond) motivational hero, you and Gadson have more in common. A year ago he was ready to deploy to Iraq. Since then he has lost his legs,is learning to use prosthetic legs at Walter Reed, and is mentoring others in therapy.
Greg Gadson graduated from high school in Chesapeake, Virginia (our conjoined sister-city)and was awarded a game ball during the Redskin game by Plaxico Burress, who graduated from high school here in Virginia Beach.
Glad to hear that things are improving for your family. We were however a bit disturbed to hear about your late-night episode. Is it safe to assume you have learned from that experience?
Hope you find the "connections" interesting, cousin. Harry
Glad to hear things are moving along for you.
Your an inspiration to all of us Jeremy. God was watching out for you at the gas station, you have met another angel along the way in your journey.
I'm curious about the "more interesting things you have to tell us" and more real interested in hearing more about the lectures you have been doing, if any.
I'm glad you have this blog as I get to at least let you know I'm thinking about you even if I don't call you.
Love to my angel,
Please be safe!!
From this day forward you need to act like a woman. Don't pump gas at night, watch your suroundngs when you park, don't go to the ATM at night, basically take precautions about your safety. You can do it, it just takes a bit of effort sometimes.
Thanks for stopping by. Someday I'll have to tell you my secret connection to one of the Giants' coaches.
YAY GIANTS!!! I was actually in NY at that time but apparently where I was staying there aren't many football fans. It was pretty quiet and, unfortunately, I was w my mom and she was def not going to go look for action w me so I missed all the celebration. Oh well. I'm still really happy they won!
And yes, for Pete's sake, stay away from gas stations at 1 in the morning no matter what neighborhood you're in!