If you’re not interested to know about mine and Nicks love life, then don’t read this post.
If you’re my Dad, don’t read this post!
Okay, I’ve warned you.
So Nick and I have essentially lost our sex life. It’s gone. A spinal cord injury will do that to ya. He has no physical feelings of the sexual nature what so ever. And it’s something we’ve pretty much been ignoring. Since we’ve been home for the past seven months, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve attempted to “fool around.” And with each endeavor, it’s always the same outcome: submitting to the current fact that the spinal cord injury has robbed him of this basic human function. But today was a little different. Last week we talked to his doctor and got a few pill samples. You know, the stuff Bob Dole makes commercials about? I wish with all my might that I could say it worked, but it didn’t.
But here’s how we turned today’s experience into a win for us… We had fun. Now, I won’t go into any details, but I will say that we just enjoyed each others company, without the usual disappointments or bad feelings. We hope his functioning will return, but we’re starting to find more acceptance in what “is” for right now. I’m not saying we’re giving up hope. In fact, we haven’t even scratched the surface of possible solutions to this problem. We’re just getting started to explore the possibilities. I love him no matter what. This is the saddest part about Nicks injuries, but I refuse to sing a sad song about it because at least I still have him by my side. And even though we are currently limited in the bedroom, our relationship and bond is stronger than ever. Now THAT is a successful love life, if you ask me.
At Project Walk, Nick got a killer workout with Bri. She had him rolling back and forth on his back, and then coming up to standing, using his momentum. It hurt his tailbone, but was incredibly useful for strengthening his balance. He was also walking sideways and backward with the hand crutches, while attached to the walking harness. His legs are getting so much more muscular now because he’s doing weighted exercises at every visit. After only a few short weeks, he’s really kicking ass.
Nick missed his gym training this morning. He slept poorly and felt bad. What a bummer. The day got better though after I fed him some caffeine. Since the dude never drinks coffee, a Starbucks treat really perked him right up. We continued on to have a quiet yet productive day together. I was grateful for some time to be at home without people here. Life’s been quite hectic for us lately.
While enjoying our yummy coffee drinks, we spent a lot of time talking about the shape of our lives to come. What do we want to create? What are our goals? Well, we didn’t really decide on anything. I realize that we’re both entirely too wrapped up in the moment to begin thinking big picture yet. Too much is riding on his recovery. EVERYTHING is riding on his recovery. I do have some pretty awesome ideas though, it’s just too soon to even entertain them.
Today was my first day going to work again. It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t actually get to jump because it was too windy and rainy, but I was there all day. I’m still sorting my feelings about it, so I’ll wait to elaborate. It was an emotional experience for me though. I did not like kissing Nick good bye this morning and leaving him to himself. But even though I didn’t like it, he did great. He had a very productive morning until it was time to leave for Project Walk with his friend Bandito. At this point, even though Nick can drive, he still needs to be driven to therapy. More than an hour in each direction, with a two hour work out in between, is just too much for him. Maybe one day soon, but not now.
Today Bri put a table in front of him and a table behind him, had him stand between them and toss a ball back and forth. He said he could do about six tosses before losing his balance. And he explained that it was every ounce of strength and strain within him to hold his body up. I’m so bummed that I missed it. When he got home tonight, he was in a great mood. He felt good and said he had a great day.
He’s said a few times lately that “he wouldn’t do it again.” Meaning that if he had to re-do this nine month experience (or something similar) that he just wouldn’t do it. I’m not sure how I feel about that statement, but I can at least pull one positive thing from it. When he has said it, he says it in a way that alludes to the experience being over. Like he’s past the experience. And I think he feels that way a little bit. Even though he’s not completely rehabilitated, and has a long way to go, he’s past the hard part. He says the first 6 months were absolute hell, and that it’s been getting better ever since. I can sense it in him too. He is making huge strides daily. He’s incredible to me. Now, if I could just get him to trim that damn beard.
Days like today make my heart smile. Nick really shined today as an independent person. He went to the gym on his own and got a killer work out. He says Jamon shows him no mercy, and he loves it! I even heard him tell a friend, “working out is fun.” I’m very grateful that he’s enjoying it, because he has no other choice if he wants to get his life back.
After his workout he went to Lowe’s to get a part to repair his hand controls. Then he went to Target to get a few items. He got a body pillow to help him sleep better. (From the sound of it, it’s working well!) He painted a picture of himself wheeling around Target with this huge pillow across his lap, with several other items tucked between his legs. I wish I could’ve seen it. He also stopped and pumped his own gas. I know it seems like he does this all day, everyday, but he was actually putting it in the car this time.
As if that wasn’t enough, he came home and showered on his own! He has needed my help to shower this whole time. But today I couldn’t be here, so I laid out his towels and clean clothes in advance, and he did the rest. What an amazing feeling for him to be experiencing some of the most basic tasks in life, independently. We take for granted our ability to just quickly hop in the shower and then move on with our day. A shower for him is a long process. And now to do it successfully on his own is a huge step forward! Again, I am so extremely proud! How could I not be? He’s amazing.
Nick is in the harness practicing with the hand crutches. Taking away the fear and risk of falling means he can push himself harder to use the proper muscles. Looking good!
Thanks for the awesome photo Pat Newman! Nick was out at the DZ yesterday showing off his new moves.
Nick finally found a new hobby, that has nothing to do with rehabilitation, and nothing to do with any previous hobbies he’s had. And I’m thrilled! I’ve been encouraging him to find something fun to do for a while now. So last week he bought a remote control off-road truck. It flips and rolls and jumps, and makes Nick so incredibly happy. He says when he’s driving it, he doesn’t even notice his pain. The only down side is that it takes two people to operate it, so he can’t just go outside and mob it around on his own. He needs a second person to put it back on its wheels when it flips over. Other than that, it’s bad ass! He raced it around our property this morning before we left for Project Walk.
Nick had his best therapy session ever today! He walked A LOT! Bri put him in the hanging harness, and he walked with his hand crutches. The harness allowed him to experiment with using his arms less, without the fear of falling. He was using his hips more to follow through with each step. But the best part about today was the shift in pain. He said something “clicked” with his body. His mid back wasn’t doing all the work to hold him up. He was having a difficult time explaining it, but basically he walked lap after lap without needing to sit down. And afterward, his middle back wasn’t burning like it usually does. Some other part of his body is kicking in and deciding to contribute to this walking thing. Finally!
And what Friday evening would be complete without a 4 hour trip to the emergency vet clinic? MIA dog was really sick when we got home from Project Walk. Normally I would have waited a few hours and monitored her myself. But tonight was different. She looked half way gone. I only had to imagine the possible consequences of waiting too long to treat her. Nick was worried too, so we agreed that getting immediate treatment would be the best thing for her. We’re still not sure what happened, but she’s feeling significantly better. Not quite 100% though. They ruled out several very serious issues and let me bring her home.
Nick and MIA are currently cuddled up in a warm blanket, having a snoring contest.