Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Busy is as it isn’t that has not forgotten out OK"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A typical day starts for me at 7:00 AM. That is when I start doing my bed exercises. These are strengthening exercises for the muscles in my legs and my arms. I still have pretty good control of the muscles in my hips and thighs; I can bring my knees together and push them out. I am a long way from being able to put any weight on them though. I need help for the exercises that require me to lift my knees or raise my feet.

Between 7:20 and seven thirty, Alex comes in after he's made his coffee, to help me with the exercises I can't do by myself. His support and his enthusiasm are invaluable. I need him to hold my ankles or lift my arms or steady my knees so I can do the exercises as completely as I can. The physical therapist as noted that my legs are showing improvement now and I have him to thank for that.

From 8 to 9, Adrienne comes in and we do my bed bath. The first thing she does is set me up on the edge of the bed. This is a tricky ballet move that we do together. My legs have to be positioned correctly before she starts to lift, half on, half off the bed. Then she puts her hands on my shoulders and I put my arms around her neck and she walks away, pulling me up.

When I am able to sit up in bed by myself, I'm going to go up to the Circle bar in uptown Oxford in and buy myself a shot of Laphroaig to celebrate. Laphroaig is a single malt scotch whisky that is bacon good.

I wash everything from the knees up, except my hair. Adrienne has to do the rest. The washing part happens pretty fast. What takes the longest is putting on these ridiculous, white, embolism hose. They are white stockings ago from my toes to my thighs. I call them my mantihose. I need to wear them during the day to help blood circulate through my legs. If I'm going to go outside I wear a pair of Crocs on my feet. I feel like a transvestite who favors sensible shoes.

From 9 to 10, I brush my teeth, shave, and eat breakfast. Usually Alex gets my bowl of cereal and banana and juice ready for me. Brushing my teeth consist of carefully unscrewing the cap from the tube of toothpaste with one hand while holding the tube flat on the edge of the sync with the other. Then I bring the toothbrush underneath the opening and push down that the knuckles of my other hand to squeeze out the toothpaste. Brushing is more about holding the toothbrush in place and maneuvering my head around it to get it done properly. Lately I've had to use both hands to hold the brush in my mouth.
Eating a bowl of cereal with butterfly strong hands has its own set of challenges. Even though I have a special spoon that's easy to grasp, maneuvering each spoonful of milk, cereal and fruit from the bowl to my mouth is as difficult as a Moon landing.

After breakfast Alex takes me outside so I can have my first cigarette of the day. Even though sometimes I dropped a cigarette, I still enjoy it as it is a choice I get to make about my body. But I know, since I chose to start smoking again when I got out of the hospital, that at some Point I'm going to have to choose to quit smoking again.

Then I go in and spend a half hour to 45 minutes doing my chair at exercises. These challenging exercises are to increase my strength and dexterity. Moving my hand from my knee to my ear or crossing my arms across my chest kills me. One exercise is particularly devastating; touching the tips of my fingers with my thumb. In the last week I've noticed it is increasingly difficult to touch my Pinkie finger.

Most days I'm so tired I go back to bed for a midmorning nap. Getting from one place to another, such as from the wheelchair to the bed, is done by using a transition board. This board goes under my buttocks and by using my arms and my hips, I slide from one place to another. Another person is required to move my feet as I move my body. The two biggest obstacles I face are gravity and my own fear. It is difficult to go between two unlevel surfaces. If it's uphill I need someone to pull me along by a gait belt.

My poor proprioception makes me feel vulnerable to falling. I have very little sense of my body in space when moving. If I'm sliding down the board, and my arm gives way, I'm afraid I won't stop until I hit the floor.

I try to get out of the house as often as I can. That may include sitting in the back yard or on the front porch or in the garage, if it's raining. My street is very pleasant and it's nice to watch people go by. I also have wonderful neighbors who may visit, visit with them in their yard. Adrienne and I often go for walks in the evening, when the heat cools. Of course she does all of the pushing, and is developing some pretty impressive biceps. Maybe by next summer she will be able to win the arm wrestling trophy she has always wanted.

I get a lot of mileage out of the voice recognition software on my computer. It is pretty accurate and beats typing. Occasionally it prints out gibberish that sounds like it should mean something. I use that and Skype to make phone calls. I can just read the numbers to the computer and say "Call!" and immediately be connected with the person I want to talk to.

Step by step, I am widening my world. It is been great to go back to church and my Wednesday night Ala-non meeting. Adrienne and I also had our first "date night" last Friday, at a local pizza place. We asked the waitress to take our picture because it was our first real date since we had "met on E harmony".

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