Working on squats.
Working on squats.
A bit of panic struck this evening at the pharmacy when we couldn’t get Nick’s pain medicine without giving them $600. Of course, we didn’t pay $600 for the prescription; we ended up leaving without it. We are severely frustrated because Nick FINALLY has his pain under control with the use of these new meds, but they’re making it extremely difficult to get our hands on them. Just because there was an epidemic of junkies who would smash them up to snort them, doesn’t mean they’re not legitimately effective for people like Nick who are not abusing them but who need something powerful. We haven’t quite figured out what we’re going to do about this situation, especially since he runs out tomorrow. The added blow, is this is the third pharmacy we’ve dealt with in 8 months. These are the non-fun moments of our lives (like everything else is exceptionally fun, right?)
We also discovered that Nick now has osteoporosis in his hips. It’s hard to believe a once fit, active and healthy dude in his early 30’s could get osteoporosis. But after some research, it seems possible due to Nick’s immobilization and limited weight bearing on his legs. What a bummer. We found out only because Project Walk required a bone density exam prior to admission. During orientation, they asked if Nick would be interested in participating in an in-house trial to track the correlation of bone density and exercise. This would require testing his density regularly. This sounds like a great idea. He’s already started on calcium and vitamin D supplements, plus he’s walking more, so maybe his bones will begin improving naturally. That’s what we’re hoping for anyway.
Nick’s therapy at Project Walk was incredible today. He did a lot of mat work, crawling and core stabilization. He did squats, real sit-ups, and even practiced standing with his hand crutches. We are STILL thoroughly impressed by Project Walk and by Nick’s specialist Bree. We couldn’t be happier there.
“Uncle” Nick, and the cutest little boy on the face of this planet, Tiernan!
There has been a new exciting development in Nicks world that I should have mentioned already. As I’ve said before, Nick is partially paralyzed from the waist down, mainly on the back of his body. His glutes, hamstrings, outer thighs, and “girdle” area are all affected. In those areas, he’s had no muscle function and very diminished sensation. Of course, if this wasn’t the case, I’m sure he would have been running a half marathon by now. Well, on the first day at Project Walk, during the testing, we realized that the function of his butt muscles is starting to return. He can flex his butt cheeks a little bit now. This is a huge improvement from just a few weeks ago when the gluteal muscles wouldn’t fire at all. After 8 months, some of it is returning. What a blessing. We hope all the muscles begin to wake up. Standing and walking unassisted will be extremely difficult if he doesn’t regain function and strength in these muscles. Imagine having no butt muscles. You’d fall over and be severely limited in your daily life. We are just so thrilled to see this improvement. It’s HUGE!
I love it when Nick is up to going out without me. It’s so freeing and liberating. This afternoon, after an ass kicking time at the gym, he visited with some friends at Skydive Elsinore. He saw a lot of friends for the first time since his accident, and got to catch up with so many cool peeps. And he loves to watch people skydive, so it was a double bonus.
After only two sessions at Project Walk, I’m already noticing a difference in myself. I’m deeply inspired. Yesterday there were so many girls there. Many were my age, working their butts off! Some had upper body limitations, and all had lower body limitations. A few were re-learning how to walk with their paralysis, and many were doing mat work to simply allow their body the range of motion outside of their chair.
Project Walk is like any other gym, but specifically tailored to the needs of people with spinal cord injuries. These people are here to work! I’ve been going to the gym for many years and have never found much motivation from the other fit women working out around me. But there’s something about seeing these beautiful women with life altering injuries, pushing through their pain to work out at their gym. It inspires the hell out of me.
These brave women are paying the same amount of money for a single two-hour private training session at Project Walk as I pay for six months of dues at my gym. No insurance covers this specialized training, and there are no price breaks. But it’s worth it, especially for people who cannot physically utilize a typical gym. When I think about the dedication these ladies have, and the obstacles they are overcoming, I am deeply moved to better my own life.
How dare I take my own body and mobility for granted! How pathetic it is to make excuses for neglecting my fitness because I’ve “had a rough year.” What a shame it is that I haven’t been taking the utmost pride in my body and my life while I still have both. Why not fight to keep what I have, instead of letting it slowly slip away? I am the most out of shape I have been in several years, and it makes me so angry that I’ve allowed this to happen. If these incredible girls can get to the gym, despite the extreme costs for their specialized training, and despite their disabilities, obstacles and pain, then I sure can too! I have NO excuses anymore NOT to be healthy and fit. Thank you strong ladies of Project Walk for motivating me to push myself harder physically, and “use it before I lose it.”
Here’s the quickie break down of Nicks low key birthday.
IHOP for veggie omelets and stuffed french toast.
Second therapy session at Project Walk. (His butt is going to be sore tomorrow!)
Romantic dinner and people watching at Stone Brewery in Escondido.
In bed by 8:30pm.
Went out to breakfast this morning for his birthday. Here we are, waiting for a table, sitting side by side on a cushion… because there was no wheelchair to get in our way. He WALKED inside! Getting up and down the curb was tricky, but what he lacked in grace, he made up for with style!
I was quite nervous inside the restaurant with the possibility of Nick getting bumped or knocked over. At this point, it wouldn’t take much, so we were extra cautious and alert. It felt good seeing him walk in public. It was a different social experience than him being in a chair. Because he was noticeably struggling to walk, many more people were openly compassionate toward him. They held doors, they purposefully stepped aside to let him by, they said “God bless you,” they nodded with encouragement and spoke to us with empathy. It’s happened before, sure, but Nick was working HARD just to get in and out of the restaurant. His sheer presence this morning commanded respect! I was so proud!