Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Real Shower

Yesterday I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Reichman's office. I saw a nurse practitioner in his office that gave me the usually run down. He told me I had better not fall anymore and that I got lucky that it wasn't any worse. He also told me that I can take my shell off to shower now. I wear it into the shower, sit down on the shower bench, and then I can take it off and set it outside the shower. I put it back on again before I get out. Today marks six weeks since the accident and it is the first time I have been able to was my own torso in the shower like a normal person does.

You would think that the experience would have been wonderful. I admit that it was good news and good progress, but it wasn't as wonderful as I had hoped. My abs and back muscles have pretty much disappeared over the last six weeks. When I took my shell off I sunk like a pile of Jell-O pudding. About 2 minutes into the shower, my back, particularly near the incision, was so sore I couldn't wait to rinse off and get out. I was begging Wendy to help me hurry and get my shell back on. Hopefully it will improve with time and having those few minutes shell free will help my muscles come back a little.

I must have looked pretty comical in the shower because the doctor made a big point of telling me not to move in ways that my shell wouldn't allow. I didn't lean against the back rest because I was trying to keep my back straight. I moved about a centimeter per hour to reach over and turn on the water. I tried not to twist when getting the shampoo. I knew I was being a little over cautious but I was actually a little scared without my shell on and I was afraid to move wrong.

P.S. My knee and ankle are fine so I am guessing there was no permanent damage. I do have a kind of saggy spot right above me knee cap that I don't remember before. Maybe it is some swelling. Or, maybe it is just the skin hanging loose because there is no muscle inside, who knows?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gravity Hurts

In therapy today we decided it was time to see how far I could walk on my own power. Ronda gave me a cane to use to see if it was helpful but I ended up just carrying it because it didn't do much for me. I walked 400 feet without a stop. After a rest I went up and down a flight of stairs twice. I was heading back to a training table for a break and I was about 10 feet away when my legs gave out. It happened really fast. One minute I was walking along just fine and the next I was on my hands and knees. My knees hit pretty hard. I looked over at Shane who had been doing an eval with another patient at the time and said, "I guess I found my limit." He replied, "I think your limit was a few feet ago." I told everybody not to worry, it only hurt one of my knees since I couldn't feel the other one anyway.

My knee and ankle on my right leg were pretty sore the rest of the day. I've had a hard time straightening my knee and putting weight on it. I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Fyans, one of the rehab doctors. He checked my knee and ankle and said it didn't look like I did anything permanent.

P.S. The cushion never turned up. Someone else found it and decided they liked it I guess. I got another loaner from Rehab and I will be ordering my own soon. Whoever found it, I hope they like it and I hope they needed it more than I did!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The WalMart Kart

Before I tell about the WalMart Kart (which is what I have decided to name it) I should mention that those nifty green swim trunks I am wearing in the swimming picture are a gift Wendy gave me just before we got married. I commissioned them that night in the sense that since we got married - almost five years now - I have not been skinny enough to fit into them -- until now.

So, we've all seen the fun little electric carts at WalMart (and other similar stores) that you can ride around in while you do your shopping. And whether you can admit it or not, we've all wanted to ride them. For many of us, public humiliation is the only thing preventing us from riding it on every shopping trip. Honestly, it's like a free go-cart ride.

Well, my chance came this weekend and I couldn't resist. Wendy and I went on a date on Saturday and after a nice dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen (which I highly recommend) she mentioned that she really needed to go to WalMart. I know how difficult it is to shop with the girls and so I wanted to let her go but I really didn't want to sit in the car and I didn't think I could do that much walking. We only had the walker with us so the wheel chair wasn't an option. Then Wendy reminded me of the carts.

Was I embarrassed? Of course. But no more so than I would have been shuffling around on my walker with my superman shell on. And I had a blast. In fact, I think I will take up shopping until my legs are able to participate in a more masculine sport ;). For the curious reader I should mention that the top speed on those things is about 2 miles per decade. I had to keep a perfect line down the aisle to keep up with Wendy's aimless shopping meander. On the plus side, those things have a killer turn radius. I have never seen donuts like that!

Unfortunately, I had so much fun riding on the cart that I left my premium, air-inflated whoopee cushion on the cart. Hopefully somebody put it in the lost-and-found!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Me And My Walker

We went in this afternoon to try the Walk Aid. Unfortunately, due to how low down my injury is, the Walk Aid is not going to work. Apparently it stimulates the muscle by causing a reflex in the nervous system. In order to make the reflex work there needs to be a "nerve circuit" going from the leg up into the spinal cord and back down into the leg. That is how the electricity stimulates the entire muscle. If you just shock the muscle only the fibers next to the electrodes are stimulated. For patients with an injury higher on the spinal cord there is usually a loop that can be made, but because my injury is so low, the Walk Aid will probably not work until I can move the muscle on my own.

We also found out today that we are not going to get Medicaid to cover a wheel chair. This news was not as bad as the Walk Aid. When I am going long distances a wheel chair is still convenient to have. However, with the progress I am making it isn't looking like I will need one for much longer. In fact, Dario, my inpatient therapist, said that if I order a wheel chair I probably won't need it by the time they manufacture it. I was in the same situation when they were going to make my leg brace. We are hoping we can continue to use the demo chair for long enough that it won't be an issue.

Between ordering a wheel chair, the Walk Aid, and the KAFO (leg brace) we were going to order earlier we have tried and struck out on just about every mobility assistance device we have tried except my trusty walker. So I guess the two of us will just keep shuffling along until I can walk on my own. My therapist did mention moving to a cane sometime soon which I can buy at WalMart, so maybe that will actually work out. I am not anxious to buy things, I am just anxious to get anything that is going to help me get around easier or that will be therapeutic. When I get my cane I think I will look for a black one with flames on the bottom :).

The good news is that while Wendy was watching them shock my leg silly and laughing as my foot twitched every direction but the one they wanted it to she heard them mention that my quad isn't working either and she asked about that. I think my therapist Shane and my orthotist Russ summed up my stellar performance best when they said "Every time [Jeremy] walks he is doing a phenomenal balancing act" and "he is basically cheating gravity." To which I responded, "Yeah, and that is why gravity sometimes wins." The bad news is that they told Wendy that if she just bumped the back of my knee I would go right down. I guess I had better not say anything mean to Wendy while I am walking now that she knows where my Achiles heel is. Or I guess in my case, maybe I should say that she knows my Kryptonite.

So Much To Do, So Little Time To Do It

It has been a little while since I have written an entry for the blog, but not because nothing has happened. I have been pretty busy this week. Tuesday we went to Uncle Brad and Aunt Cathy's house for a get together. Wednesday I visited Brad to help with a web project. Both days Brad and Cathy were kind enough to let me use their pool (thanks). They have a nice stairway going into the shallow end so I was able to get in and out easily. I have never been so comfortable since the accident. The water really took the strain off my back.

Thursday I was on campus most of the day trying to get back into the school routine. I walked from my office in the Talmage building to the Wilkenson Center and back for lunch. I am not sure exactly how far it is but I had to take two breaks on the way back. It used to take me about 5 minutes to get there so that should give some indication of how far it is. It was exciting to be able to make it that far but I don't think I will be walking to lunch much in the near future.

This morning I went to therapy. I was able to push myself up at level 5 on the total gym (which is the first inclined level) using only my right leg. I haven't been able to do that before today. I only did it twice before I fatigued my leg. This afternoon I am going to get fitted for a walk aid which is an electronic device that is supposed to make my gait a little more natural and efficient. It is a band that I will wear on my calf that electrically stimulates the muscles that pull my foot up. It has sensors that make it activate each time I take a step. When I am not walking I can put it in an exercise mode that stimulates the muscle every few seconds. The hope is that it will build the muscle and help the nerves reconnect. Since ankle control on my right foot is one of the two things (my right quad being the other) that are holding up my progress right now I am pretty excited about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Bonk on the Noggin

Ayden fell off her chair trying to get down after lunch today and hit her head on the floor. She got quite a goose egg and was pretty distraught for the next hour or so. While I was trying to console her I told her that she would feel better soon if she kept the ice on. I was surprised by what she said (in part because she is three years old and in part because of what she said). She told me "I just don't know how long it is going to hurt." It reminded me of my hospital stay. At the worst times when I was nauseated and throwing up things seemed terrible. Since it seemed to come and go every few days I used to wonder how long it would take to recover. As you can see from my last post things aren't completely better. I used to lie in bed clutching my barf bucket and wonder when or if I would ever get better. For a three-year old, a first goose egg probably feels pretty similar to me breaking my back.

When it comes down to it I suppose we are all a little afraid of the unknown. This experience has been somewhat of a walk through the unknown for me. As long as we feel like we are in control of our lives it is easy to be happy. But we get squeemish when things are beyond our control. I guess that is what faith is all about: pushing forward and doing the best we can while we trust that things will work out. We just have to be patient during the tough times while we wait for the better times to come our way, even if it seems like they may never come.

Sorry for the soap-boxing...

Dinner with Ralph

Last Night we went to Grandma Wilson's house and had a dinner party with a lot of my family that is in town for Aunt Marilyn's Funeral. I had fun showing off my walking and stair climbing skills and visiting with everybody. We had Mexican food for dinner which is a personal favorite of mine but I ate way too much. After dinner I started feeling sick and had to go lay down. I ended the night throwing up. That is the first time I have thrown up since I have been home from the hospital. The good news is that I am feeling better now. The bad news is that I didn't get to eat much of my homemade ice cream. I hope you are still saving it for me Grandma! I am coming to get it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Big Fat Gimpy Weekend

For those of you that check the blog several times a day (mom) I apologize for not having written anything over the weekend. The good news is that I am still alive to write an entry this morning. It has been a busy weekend.

Friday evening we went to the Durrans's house for dinner. Saturday we were in Salt Lake all day for my Aunt Marilyn's funeral. Hearing about all the pain she went through during her life, and the amazing attitude she had through it all, was good motivation for me. In some ways I felt like my aching back at her funeral was my own personal tribute. We will miss her!

Sunday I made it through a full day of church and then we went back to the Durrans's for dinner in the evening. Tonight we are going to Grandma Wilson's house to have dinner with a lot of my family. It has been fun getting out and doing stuff with family but I woke up pretty exhausted this morning. I told Wendy that we need to get rid of all this family so I can get back to being lazy all day long (I was just joking...). I am just glad that I am able to get up and do everything that I have been doing. I am starting to feel somewhat human again. As I keep telling Grandpa Durrans, "I am not invalid."

I hope you all enjoyed the video of me walking. Just to provide a little more media entertainment, here is a flash from the past. Some of you may have seen this on TV, if not, here is the news story that ran after my accident. It turns out that I landed on the street where a KUTV cameraman lives. What's even more exciting is that his wife is a therapist at UVRMC. She said her husband is going to make me a DVD of the original footage that he shot. When I get it I will see if I can post any of it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

So how many words is a video worth? No matter the number, this should be one of my longest posts ever. I hope you all enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed being able to make it.

I should mention that I tired myself out enough at therapy today that when I tried to climb the stairs this evening on the way to the Durrans' house my leg gave out. I went down easy. In fact, it looked like I was intentionally kneeling down, only it wasn't intentional. I was also able to get back up and finish climbing the stairs easily. It was a reminder that in spite of all my progress and all the things I can do I am still a little weak and working on getting back to 100%.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Duh-nuh, duh-nuh, duh-nuh-nah

In case you can't tell, the title is the music that plays when Dorothy's "wicked witch" neighbor rides by on her bicycle in the Wizard of Oz. We got some pedals that sit on the floor and I used them for the first time today. It has been hard to get them away from the girls. Ayden in particular gets quite a kick out of them.

I discovered that I can stand up from the edge of my bed without using the walker. That has been difficult in the past. I already knew that once I was standing I could keep my balance without needing the walker, but standing up without using it is a different story. Once you start standing your hands leave the bed and you have to push the rest of the way up with your legs. My legs haven't been strong enough in the past to do that so it was exciting to find that they could. I discovered it by accident. I tried to throw my empty yogurt cup into the garbage and missed so I was going to stand up to see if I could bend over and get it. Without even thinking I stood up the way a normal person would, without the walker, and it worked. Once I realized what I had done I was shocked. I did get the yogurt cup by the way too.

This morning I got myself ready while Wendy went running. It was a dress rehearsal of sorts. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get ready and when I would need to wake up to make it to my 10:00 class when school starts in two weeks. I was ready by about 9:45 but I didn't wake up until 8:00 so I think I should be in good shape.

Since I can keep my balance and climb stairs I decided it was time to climb onto the scale. I weighed in at a hefty 214 this morning, with my shell on. That means I am probably around 210 as the blue jay stands. Although it embarrasses me to say it, when I started dieting way back when I weighed in at just over 260 so I have lost around 45-50 pounds. The hospital has certainly accelerated my diet plan. My appetite has come back strong in the last week or so but I seem to be maintaining still. I guess something good has come out of all of this!

If there are any typos or silly statements in this post it is because I didn't get to proof-read it. Wendy was too anxious to watch the Olympics!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farewell to the Ramp of Doom

In therapy today I did some gym exercises to strengthen my right leg and then did some more stairs and walked about 70 feet. It was encouraging to cover almost twice the distance, especially since I didn't fall down this time and I did the walking at the end of therapy when I was already tired. Shane, my therapist, told me that my technique on the stairs is good enough that I can safely go in and out of the house through the front door from now on. That means no more crazy rides on the steep ramp in the back. Just to explain, there isn't enough room in the patio area outside the back door for a good ramp. We put one in out of necessity but it is way too steep. I can't get up or down it by myself. When coming down, Wendy lowers me backwards and I brake the chair with my hands so that I don't come down too fast. When going up Wendy is just able to keep me from sliding back down and then I have to push with my hands to make any progress. With my superhero suit on I can't lean forward at all so I feel like I am going to tip over the whole way up. Because I feel like I am going to die every time we go up or down the ramp, I have taken to calling it the Ramp of Doom. I won't miss my trips on it in the slightest!

We played the sensitivity game again and I think there are some slight improvements in some spots. I am amazed that I can feel all the way up my thigh since for the longest time I had no sensation there. However, the front and sides of my shin and knee on the right leg still have practically no sensation. If you tap hard I can feel the vibration in the bones. If you just touch lightly on the skin I can't even tell someone is touching me. I hope I don't have any spiders on my leg when I am napping. They'll make it right onto my shorts and up into my mouth before I know it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

Today was a nice relaxing day at home. Since I wasn't exhausted from therapy I was pretty active during the day. We played what we called the sensitivity game. I closed my eyes and Wendy, Ayden, and Claire took turns touching places on my right leg and I would see if I could feel it and how well. Hopefully over time I will be able to see more and more improvement.

For dinner we went to Costco. We needed to do some shopping as well. I took the wheelchair to get around and I was able to keep up and navigate just fine without getting tired. I made it into the bathroom all by myself. When we got home I asked my neighbor, Kyle Brothersen, if he could help spot me while I went in the house through the front door. I practiced stairs in rehab yesterday so I wanted to try the house. To get in the front there are about four steps going up to the front door and then a flight of steps (about 12 or so) going down into the house. I was a little unstable on some of them but I made it up and then down.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall

Don't panic Mom, it's not as bad as it sounds...

Before justifying today's title, let me make up for lost ground. Wendy pointed out that I have not mentioned two significant items. If she wants something done right, she is learning she'll have to do it herself :).

First, many of you know that due to an exception on page 24 under the miscellaneous section of the student health program handbook, DMBA (my health insurance provider) has decided not to pay a penny of my medical expenses. As a mathematician I am pretty sure there isn't a number large enough to describe how much we owe in medical bills. However, on Saturday we got notice that our Medicaid application has been approved. We still have to pay part of the bill, but not too much. We are breathing a sigh of relief. Thanks to all you faithful tax payers!

Next, our generous neighbors have given me a recliner that has revolutionized my invalid life. It is an electric recliner that lays all the way back and also sits you all the way up into almost a standing position. It is very easy to get in and out of and is very comfortable. I have missed having a bed that can sit up or lay down so the recliner has been very nice. Thanks Todd!

Now, on to today's news. As I mentioned on Saturday's entry, I walked a few steps. Today I had therapy again and I was anxious to show off my new skills. I asked them to provide a couple of people for spotters and then positioned myself a few feet away from the practice steps. I figured I would walk my 5 feet and be done. However, the therapists were all so impressed they wanted more. So we turned around and headed out toward the hall. I made it about 35 feet to a chair and sat down. After a break they were asking for more, however this time I had only one spotter, Alan, and I was pretty tired. I made it another 5 feet and my legs gave out. Alan let me down pretty softly onto my left knee but he wasn't able to support my weight. So I found myself just outside the gym on my hands and knees trying to figure out how to stand up. It took a couple of people to get me back up, but we managed. The exciting part was walking a total of 45 feet without ANY assistance devices! It's not pretty or graceful and I move pretty slowly, but I can do it.

The last time I worked with Alan was the Saturday I went home for my overnight pass and I wore myself out so much working on the walker that I threw up in a bucket from the practice kitchen. After today's experience I think Alan is afraid to work with me!

After my walking adventure I worked out on the total gym, practiced climbing stairs (which I did quite well) and then worked on fall recovery. Fall recovery was really hard, even with furniture. My legs aren't strong enough to pick me up when my knees are really bent. I think Alan could tell I was working hard because at one point he said: "Remember, the floor isn't so bad either. You can always put some pillows and blankets down there and take a break until you have enough energy or someone can help you up." I did manage to get myself back up for the record.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Three Hour Tour

The big news of the day is that I made it through all three hours of church. What's more, I didn't take my wheelchair. I decided I would just use the walker and that went well. I did bring my really nice air cushion from the wheelchair to sit on. I made sure I had plenty of painkiller on board so that my back wouldn't bother me too much and I brought extra doses with me to take when my pain killer ran out.

What I think may be even more exciting happened before church. Wendy helped me get into the shower but I was able to get myself out, brush my teeth, comb my hair, get dried off, get my shell off, get completely dressed (except shoes and socks, that is still pretty tough with my shell on) and get my shell back on. I even got my tie out of the closet and hung up my towels for good measure. It is pretty satisfying to get some measure of independence back and hopefully it will give Wendy more time to spend on herself and the girls. I always feel a little guilty that she has to spend so much time taking care of me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Walk This Way (which movie, Jenne?)

Some of you are under the impression that I have already gotten behind on the blog. I am not sure what gave you that idea. Here is Saturday's post and you can clearly see that Sunday's post is up as well (oops, I guess that gives away the fact that I am writing this on Sunday).

Ayden apparently is quite fascinated with my ability to stand up without any support because first thing this morning she asked me to do it again. As soon as I stood up she said, "Oh! Now you can walk." Well, I didn't want to disappoint my little girl so I pushed the walker out in front of me a little and took four full steps to it. They weren't pretty but I was able to keep my balance. Wendy wasn't there at the time and she thinks I am getting a little reckless but I was excited about the progress. I am hoping to get a video of my mad skills but we will have to do it sometime when people can spot me because Wendy refuses to take a video while I am walking unassisted.

My right leg is getting a lot better. The toes are moving better and I am getting some sensation back. I am also able to lock my knee a lot better which means that my quad is getting stronger.

Under New Management

Now that I am home, Wendy has decided that to earn my keep I am responsible for posting my progress on the blog. I can't guarantee that I will be as eloquent and articulate as she is, but at least you are getting the real story now.

Today I had the distinct privilege of going nowhere. I get pretty tired when I go out so I didn't mind just staying home. I did get my exercise around the house. In addition to my trips to the bathroom and the kitchen table, Wendy suggested that we eat dinner outside on the patio. The trip from my bedroom to the patio is a little ridiculous. After getting my super suit on, putting on my sandals and my ankle brace, and getting up into the walker, I walked all the way down the hall to the living room where I transferred to the wheel chair. Once in the wheel chair I wheeled outside and then had Wendy push me up the ramp of doom. After climbing the ramp it was back to the walker to cross the grass over to the patio. Then I needed a comfortable seat to eat dinner in, so I got back in the wheelchair. That seems like way too many transfers just to eat dinner on the patio, but it was nice to be outside.

My reluctant bowel came back to haunt today and Wendy got some first-hand experience with some of the less pleasant aspects of nursing. However, due to her superb care I am clean and clear again and feeling fine. I think we are both hoping that things wake up and normalize down there soon.

On a brighter note, I discovered that my right leg will now support enough of my weight for me to stand without having to hold on to anything. Now that I am wearing my shell more often I put this ability to use right away. I got up and got my own laptop off the dresser and turned on the air conditioning myself. I am getting much more independent in general, although I think it makes Wendy nervous. While she was at the store I got on to our home computer to fix some things and got back into bed before she got home (don't tell her!). I also finally managed to put on a pair of shorts by myself. I don't think Wendy minded that at all.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New & Improved Walker

Jeremy had his first out-patient physical therapy today at 9:00. Way too early to get him and the girls ready. Needless to say, we got their five minutes late and Jeremy didn't get to shower until the afternoon.

Jeremy's new walker arrived after naps. It is so much easier for him to navigate and it has a seat so he can sit in front of the sink to brush teeth, etc. We took it with us to the park for a BBQ with his lab from school tonight. He got a lot of walking in getting from the car to the party, bathroom, and back. It worked great on the grass. He was wiped out by the time we got home, so we're hoping he sleeps well tonight.

He continues to eat better. He's struggling with constipation despite the daily stool softeners and suppositories...unbelievable what that percoset can do to you. All in all a good day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things Are Going Well

I was a little nervous about getting sleep now that Jeremy is home, but last night went really well. I only needed to help him rearrange pillows three times and he didn't cath until 6:30 a.m. Ayden decided to sleep in until 7:30 too, so that helped. The bowel and bladder programs are running smoothly. It looks like he won't have to cath much longer.

Today's goal is to have him walk 1000 ft with the walker. We measured his usual routes from the bedroom to bathroom to kitchen and back so we can keep track. It's 6:00 and he has walked about 300 ft so far. We might be a little shy of the target today, but his new walker arrives Thursday. The one he ordered has four wheels and a seat and will be easier to walk with than the current loaner.

They reduced his Percoset(pain meds) from two every four hours to only one every four hours. It's good for him to start laying off the drugs, but his body isn't too happy about it. His appetite is coming back and he isn't battling nausea anymore.

All in all, everything is going great and the girls are being pretty good.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rome is Home & We Sold the Truck

I should have said, Brian and Connie sold the truck. THANK YOU! I just have to mail the check to the leasing company tomorrow and we are truck free. Thanks to Brian and Connie we were able to sell it for just over the pay-off amount, so we didn't have to pay anything to get out of the lease agreement:)

Now for the exciting news; Jeremy came home tonight. We were planning on leaving at noon, but the orthodics company picked up his super-suit brace to make some adjustments. They trimmed off some of the sides that had been digging into his hips. He says it is way more comfortable now. In fact, he's been wearing it since we left the hospital four hours ago. He might even try sleeping in it so that he can roll on his side for pressure relief.

We convinced the doctors that he shouldn't have to take Lovenox, the anti-blood clot shots, anymore. The one-month supply was going to cost us four thousand dollars and Jeremy doesn't particulary enjoy giving himself a shot in the abdomen every morning. They said he should be fine if he is walking about 1000 ft a day. Since he has to use the walker to get in the bathroom and bedroom anyway, we think he will be active enough to not get blood clots.

The girls played with Kaylee (thanks Kyle and Karen) after we got home so that we had time to settle in and unpack. Kyle and Karen unloaded the car for us, which was no easy task. I pretty much filled up the trunk and entire back seat with stuff that had accumulated at the rehab motel. Before bedtime the girls wrestled with each other on the bed next to Jeremy, who did his best to pitch in from time to time. We are very happy to be home together again. Jeremy's first physical therapy appointment isn't until Thursday, so we will enjoy staying at home tomorrow.

Thank you for your service and prayers.
ps Mom, we picked up a month's supply of the testosterone patches today. James, his roommate, said Jeremy will probably want to watch WWWF and football all the time now:)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Trip to the Movies

I didn't go down to see Jeremy this morning because he and his roomate were heading to the movies for occupational therapy...maybe I could sign up for that too. I asked him if they got to ride in the special bus; but, alas, it was just a Ford Taurus. He said everything went well. His back was killing him by the end of the movie. It is hard for him to be sitting up so long.

For physical therapy Jeremy walked 250 ft with the walker. His therapist was surprised that he could walk with the walker at all. He should have known by the Superman sticker that Jeremy means business. They decided not to take molds of his right leg for the brace after all. They're thinking that by the time the brace is made, he might not need it anymore. It's pretty expensive so we didn't insist.

He is still eating and keeping food down, although, all he ate for lunch was popcorn at the movies. They are concerned that he has another UTI and are running tests. The most exciting news is that he is coming home tomorrow around noon! His first appointment for out-patient therapy is Thursday and we'll be ordering his wheelchair then.

ps Aunt Mare: I tried that blog address and it didn't work, could you re-send the address?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Overnighter Report

We picked up Jeremy from the hospital last night about 6:00. He was really nervous on the drive home and for the first little bit, but soon felt comfortable and glad to be home. We discovered that it is best to go backwards down the ramp after an exhilarating ride down the first time. Jeremy and I were both sweating bullets for a few minutes after that. Getting back up the ramp is quite a workout for both of us. We'll have to hire Bro. Anderson to help us in and out. I'm sure all those chin-ups will come in handy:)

The wheelchair didn't fit in the bathroom and bedroom doors, so Jeremy had to transfer to the walker to get into those rooms. I tried to stay behind him in case he tipped backwards but he did just fine. He definitely got a workout this weekend. Life for him basically consisted of doing one life task( going to the bathroom, eating, or showering, etc.) and then getting back into bed to take off his less than comfortable super suit(turtle shell) and rest. Gratefully, Uncle David was here to help with the girls on Saturday evening. I thought we would be fine on our own, but it was good to have him there for the first few hours home.

Jeremy ate well and never threw up. He also said he slept well...I'm not sure how he could call last night sleeping well, though. Between repositioning the pillows every two hours, one potty break, and one dose of pain killer, I'm not sure when he slept. It must be pretty bad at the hospital. We started getting him ready for church at 8:00 this morning and even though church doesn't start until 11:00, we were still 15 minutes late. I'm sure as he gets more sleep and once his super suit is re-fitted he won't have to take as many breaks in between tasks. He managed to stay through part of Sunday School. He said he could have stayed through all of church if he had taken a pain-killer right before. On the drive home he said that all-around he felt better than he ever has since the accident.

ps (for Sara:) He has normal feeling in the left leg. Sensation in his right leg is coming back but it isn't as advanced as the left.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home, hopefully:)

Ayden was feeling better this morning so David watched the girls while I went to the hospital. Jeremy is still eating, not enjoying it, but at least eating and keeping it down. He's lost at least 20 lbs. since the accident. The blood test results showed he is running extremely low on testosterone, which could be affecting his appetite. They are giving him a testosterone patch until it normalizes. He was walking on the parallel bars with out any aid except his right leg brace. This afternoon he was supposed to practice using a walker since his wheelchair won't fit through the bathroom door. We're hoping he can park the wheelchair outside the bathroom and then use the walker to make it to the toilet and shower.

He is supposed to be coming home tonight for dinner. I'm picking him up around 5:00

This paragraph is for Sara:) We were planning on filling in details about the surgery after the blog entry on the accident...but it hasn't happened yet. Jeremy shattered his L1 vertabra. He didn't sever the spinal cord but it was crushed and embedded with bone fragments. The general surgeons permanently removed the two lowest ribs to enable the neurosurgeon access to the injury. The neurosurgeon said because the cord wasn't severed, he expected Jeremy to walk. As for how well he walks and how well his bladder/bowels work, it is a matter of time. The swelling is supposed to go down 4-6 weeks from the surgery. Let me know if you have any other questions because I'm sure I left things out. ps Congrats on the wedding! Sorry we had to miss it!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Two Many Sickies

Ayden came down with strep last night. I got her some antibiotics this morning and am staying with the girls for the day. I think I'm having withdrawals. I haven't had hospital food for over 24 hours. With David and Bro. Mecham's help we managed to get a ramp up on the back steps. We just used a piece of ramp from Todd Corbett's ramp that Jeremy helped take down a few months ago:) Thanks Todd, David, and Anthon! Bro. Mecham also installed a grip bar in the bathroom. Jeremy's shower chair should be arriving this afternoon, and then we will be ready for his grand arrival on Saturday evening, as long as the wheelchair fits through the bathroom door of course.

Jeremy told me that the orthodics rep. came again this morning to observe his "walking" so that they can fit him for a brace on his right leg. He came yesterday but Jeremy was too weak to get out of bed. We were amazed because he, the orthodics guy, walked in the room with only a cane. Then he proceeded to tell us that the only muscles he can control below his waist are his quads; no glutes, hams, or calves, etc. He wears braces on his lower legs and just with his quads he can walk and stand. They will come back on Monday to make molds of Jeremy's right leg with which they can make him a custom brace. This afternoon someone is supposed to bring Jeremy a new demo wheelchair and take his measurements to order his own.

As for his nausea, Jeremy has been feeling better today. He ate some breakfast and lunch and made it to his therapy in the morning and afternoon. He still has some bowel challenges(not sure what else to call them:) that are making him pretty uncomfortable but things are improving. He is still planning on coming home for an overnighter tomorrow as long as Claire and I don't get strep before then. Ayden isn't supposed to be contagious tomorrow, but I'm a little nervous about Jeremy being exposed to all the germs here.