Nick had another hour-plus phantom attack this morning. I am so over this ridiculous bullshit. I witnessed him wake up to the attack. He was asleep when suddenly his body began to curl up, his face started to grimace and he jolted awake in excruciating pain. It felt like someone was stabbing his foot with a knife – for over an hour!
He missed his gym training appointment. This sucks because he will be missing Tuesday as well. But at least the attack went away eventually and he was able to carry on with the day.
I wish we could find a way to flip the switch in his brain. I don’t know how, and I don’t know anyone who does. These attacks are getting more frequent. They’re unpredictable and completely debilitating. We can’t even wrap our brains around it. Why? Why is this happening? Has he not suffered enough? Let’s just keep pushing him to see how long it takes for him to break. I wish we could blame it on something, but we can’t. There is no common denominator between the handful of attacks he’s had. For now we’re at the mercy of those dead feet coming back to haunt him, almost a year later. Maybe they’re pissed about the whole amputation thing. The ghosts of Nicks feet are having separation anxiety. Imagine that!
Project Walk! Oh how I love thee!
Nick tried some new moves again today. I delight in the fact that Project Walk provides a secure environment for Nick to grow and flourish, try and fail, and push himself safely to exhaustion. Since he learned to walk holding Eric’s arm on Wednesday, today he did more of the same before taking it up a notch. The next level of independence will be to walk freely with only one crutch. So, that’s exactly what they tried. He charged a few laps with only one crutch, all the while securely fastened into the hanging harness. The concensus is that Nick is not ready for this yet. He was wobbly, losing his balance, and falling into the harness. We think it’s due to the single point of contact of the crutch to the ground. It rotates as he puts his weight on it, causing him to lose his balance. Eric mentioned that a four-point cane (like old ladies use) would likely keep Nick from rotating around the crutch.
Nick was also “practicing for landing” at therapy today. In a harness, he held onto a bar and did squat jumps in preparation to land a parachute one day. It wasn’t a completely accurate simulation of a parachute landing, but was exciting all the same. He really got into it; I could tell he was visualizing coming in for landing on the grass. The impact on his joints and spine didn’t seem to bother him at all either, which is a major bonus.
The workout was rough on him though. We got home around 3PM, and he’s been in bed ever since – only getting up for dinner and toileting. The dude is worn out. His workouts are getting harder, his muscles are waking up more, and he is still healing. At six hardcore workouts a week (1-2 hours in length), coupled with all the “everyday” energy he exerts just to survive, it’s no wonder he is knackered! His pain meds make him loopy and groggy as well, which never helps. But despite his extreme fatigue this evening, I’m proud of his determination to keep pushing forward. Proud, because I realize how easy it could be for someone to chose the alternative.
Not much can top yesterday’s news, so why even try? I think I’ve watched that video over 30 times today, and I’m still not tired of it yet. Really excited about therapy at Project Walk tomorrow. With a break through as sizable as the one he had on Wednesday, there’s no telling what will happen next.
Today we rearranged one appointment to make room for another. And after all that, the appointment got cancelled. It was not a big deal for us, but just one more less-than-smooth situation we found ourselves in. If it’s something necessary that we must deal with in our world, then there is usually some level of friction. A strange phenomenon that I’m not used to, but am coming to expect on a regular basis.
We are both worn out tonight. He was asleep the second his head touched the pillow. Preparing for tomorrow; an early morning and another intense workout with Eric.
AMAZING progress at Project Walk.
(If you’re having difficulty watching the video below, click here)
The physical progress we’ve seen with Nick over the past one month is astonishing. Yesterday was the 10 month mark since his accident, so we spent time talking about how far he’s come since the 9 month mark. Exactly one month ago Nick got his ankles adjusted and started standing without aid. That evening he was able to use his hand crutches for the first time. Over the course of the next few weeks, he became very comfortable and stable with the hand crutches. He learned to use them in public and on uneven surfaces. He walked up and down slopes and curbs and even opened and closed doors while using them. He completely abandoned the walker and rarely uses the parallel bars anymore – even though he should utilize them more often, as there are many useful exercises he could be doing on them.
But today, Nick made his biggest stride of all. After trying for a month now to rise from sitting to standing without assistance, he finally did it! He had the harness on, but the tension was slack, and he just stood on up. In fact, he stood up multiple times; they practiced it over and over again.
That’s not all. For the last month Nick repeatedly attempted to walk with only one crutch, or by only holding the rail with one hand, but was never able to take a single step. Both legs have been too weak to hold his weight long enough to allow the other foot to pass through and step down in front. Until today! Something clicked in Nick’s body today. First he took one step while holding onto Eric with one hand. Then he took three steps. Three became five, and soon he was walking back and forth across the floor while only using one hand for support. We were all completely blown away by his sudden leap of progress. He had quite a bit of weight in the one arm, but his gait was smooth and he was in control. Such a beautiful sight inspired me to jump up and down while incessently repeating “Oh My God”. My smile burst through my cheeks! In a flash I had a vivid day dream in which I was whisked away to our wedding day, set on a breathtaking private beach, free of wheelchairs and crutches. We were walking hand in hand as husband and wife.
He tried on his test sockets today. They’re clear in order to see any adjustments that are needed. This time they changed a few things. Nick also got a peek at his articulating feet. There is a button in the ankle that he will push to move his foot into a pointed-toe position, and a neoprene sleeve to keep the water out. The anticipation is killing him, especially since he has to wait another week for them to be done.
Nick and I are drained, frazzled and out of gas – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
No wait, that’s just me. Nick is fine.