Nick shaved his head and got rid of the rats nest on his chin. Oh Happy Day!
Lots of intense work at Project Walk today. His high knees were super high!
He did crouching side steps too.
Nick came with me to the 1st Annual Fraser-Showalter family reunion. I feel so blessed to be accompanied in life by such a wonderful man.
After such an awful day yesterday, I was surprised at how awesome he did today. He sat up for a long time, and trucked it around the party with only one hiking pole. He managed to stay upright and social for several hours before finally taking a nap. He fell asleep under a pool table during the showing of old family home videos from when my Dad was a baby. 75 year old footage! I didn’t know they had cameras back then.
The reason everyone is wearing red is because each branch of the family was assigned a different color to wear. My Dad’s branch (he’s on Nick’s left) was red, if you hadn’t noticed. His sister Pat’s branch was blue, and his brother Hollis’ branch was green. I really enjoyed being able to identify everyone based on the color they were wearing, especially because it’s been years since I’ve seen a lot of these family members, if ever at all. I thought it odd to be “meeting people” at my family reunion, but I think a lot of families are like that. Everyone’s got at least one cousin they don’t know. Right? Some of us just have more than others.
Nick’s as much a part of my family as I am, and everybody treats him as such. I’m very grateful to have that love and acceptance of my partner. But honestly, who doesn’t like Nick?
Nerve pain is a serious problem for people with spinal cord damage. Phantom pain is a serious problem for amputees. Nick’s got both.
Today is day 4 of a super gnarly phantom sensation onslaught. Constant, day and night, no letting up, his left foot has been giving him intense and often unbearable sensations of pins and needles. Constant. But this evening he had about an hour without them, for the first time in four days, so we are just hoping this is a move in the right direction. Finally.
It’s odd, most people with spinal cord injuries experience a lot of pain. This is the exact opposite of what most people would think. No feeling, no pain, right? Wrong! It’s a really fucked up situation because I think most people feel like they could deal with the aftermath of their injury so much better if they weren’t in so much pain all the time. I know that’s how Nick and several of his friends feel.
And I know most amputees get that way without receiving a nerve block 24 hours before losing their limb(s). Nick and I didn’t learn about that option that has been proven to prevent phantom pain until months later. How awesome is that? All this pointless suffering caused by the feet he no longer has could have been prevented!
Pain. That’s the life of an injured man, I guess. But it still fucking sucks.
I love seeing Nick drenched with sweat after a killer workout at Project Walk. This was their final exercise of the two hour session. Eric tried everything to get Nick’s obliques, and finally found something that worked.
Eric held down Nick legs, and leading with a weighted arm Nick pulled his upper body to the opposite knee. The crunch was small because his lower back doesn’t bend very well, but they finally achieved the resistance. Nick’s going to be sore tomorrow buddy.
It’s remarkable how certain stories catch our eye and we instantly develop an emotional attachment. The other day Nick’s Mom shared a link on her Facebook page titled A Love Story in 22 Pictures that touched mine and Nick’s life very deeply.
The link tells the story of Taylor Morris, a soldier severely injured overseas just 5 months ago, and his girlfriends undying support. To say the very least: we can relate.
That evening Nick spent a few hours reading through Taylor and Danielle’s story. They share the kind of love that Nick and I do, and when I look at their pictures I can see the familiar pain in their eyes that is impossible to hide, even with the most sincere feelings of gratitude and love.
Long after I fell asleep Nick was still reading. He sent Taylor an email, feeling compelled to reach out and let them know they’re not alone, how inspirational they are, and that he’s here to “relate” with if Taylor wants.
This simple gesture of kindness is not new to us. We were contacted by thousands of people after Nick’s accident. Many, many friends from our past came forward to offer support, and just as many strangers outstretched their compassion as well. We got so many emails and blog messages that I just couldn’t keep up. There were so many unanswered emails, I just couldn’t seem to keep everything in order.
Two days after sending that email to Taylor, Nick got a personal reply back from Danielle thanking him for his support. Wow. Their story went viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom sent emails, and Danielle took her precious time to write Nick back. I’m floored. I know they have a friend weeding through emails, so only some get through to Taylor and Danielle, but still, I know she has a lot on her plate, and I’m really impressed that she took the time to connect.
Today marks 16 months since Nick’s accident and life is getting a lot easier. I wouldn’t want to go back in time to the 5 months mark where Taylor and Danielle are. No way. But what I do wish, is that I could push rewind and make a bigger priority of responding to and thanking our supporters who sent emails, cards, and donations.
I know I’ve said Thank You a hundred different ways on my blog, but that just can’t quite compare to the feeling of a heart felt, personal thank you like the one Nick received from them. Thank you friends, because without you, we wouldn’t have made it… and I hope you all know that. We love you!
Before hitting Submit on this blog post, I stumbled across this awesome story of Taylor’s homecoming as told by his best friend (make sure you have tissues handy). I’m just flooded with emotion right now. Their story is so beautiful.
I think this was Bri’s idea, although it screams of Fener’s ferocity. The chair is around 25 pounds. It’s not terribly heavy, but it’s cumbersome. The balance required for Nick to pull this off is impressive to me.