This post is long overdue, I know, no excuses though. My summer workouts were great! I made some improvements, got to use new equipment/machines, and Project Walk - Austin (f.k.a Roll 2 Walk) got a new facility!
To be keep this brief I’ll just go over the highlights. First, in July, my legs were really active and responsive to the Total Gym and ANSR exercises, which got Nicole (one of the trainers) really animated.
The second highlight was getting to use PWA’s brand-new FES (functional electrical stimulation) Bike! It’s like a recumbent bike without the seat (I stay in my wheelchair while using it). Twelve gel pads, two per leg muscle group, are placed on my quads, hamstrings and glutes. They are then hooked up to the bike and sends electric pulse to those muscles which essentially help me ‘ride’ the bike. The point of the bike is for me to not rely on the e-stim (electronic stimulation) and do the work myself.
Now, I’ve used an FES Bike before but it had been a little over a year and I did okay, but this time I did phenomenally! I rode for a little over 2.25 miles and did 50 percent of the work! The next day, I nearly doubled my mileage!
Overall, I think July was my best month. August was pretty much the same but I did a couple new exercises that kicked my upper body’s butt! Also, my kneeling this summer was a lot better than previous sessions.
Anyway, that’s about it. I’m making small improvement, albeit slowly. This kind of rehab can’t be rushed, I guess.
So, I’ve got a question or two that I wanna ask but I’d rather ask with private responses as to not be too TMI for my rl followers… I know there’s at least two of you quadriplegic guys out there, but it’s been a hell of a week or two on 3 different pills and I can’t keep my shit straight from second to second, let aone sort out who I’ve followed in the last however long… could you guys drop a reply / like / acknowledge this post somehow, and I’ll hit your asks later? Don’t forget that answer privately please..
Fatherhood is QWERTY.
The typewriter was invented in the mid-19th century, but hobbled by a design flaw that caused the machine to jam when two adjacent keys were struck back-to-back. The fix was to separate commonly paired letters so that speedy typists wouldn’t trigger a lockup. T and H were strategically repositioned as were I and N, and E and R. It’s why we have the QWERTY keyboard today despite its obsolescent layout. What was once a workaround is now the preference.
I know this is a strange way to say it, but I’m a QWERTY dad.
My father broke his neck in a diving accident when I was eight years old, and from that moment on, all the hugs we could have hoped to share were lost. He couldn’t move from the shoulders down and could only feel from the chest up.
Life was a constant exercise in patience. He spent a lot of time in a hospital bed, propped up by pillows, just waiting. He was waiting to fall asleep, waiting for his nurses, waiting for pressure sores to heal. Just waiting. There wasn’t much room, but as a kid, I would climb in that narrow bed next to him, lay my head on his chest, and wait too.
I can’t imagine how badly he wanted to wrap his arms around me. I can’t imagine because every time I see my boy, it’s the first thing I want to do. But my father didn’t forfeit his affections. With all the effort he could muster, my dad would delicately brush his face against my hair, doing the work his fingers were meant to do.
I never really gave it a lot of thought until a few days ago when it occurred to me that I’ve been doing the same thing with Greyson and Charlotte. Whenever I have one of them on my lap, I’ll brush my cheek, my lips, or my chin through their hair, occasionally dropping a kiss at their forehead. It’s as close to putting them in my heart as I can manage.
I’m sure I’m not the only dad who does this. But I like the narrative. I like the idea that my father could only feel me when he touched me with his face, but now—as a father myself—all I want to do is put my face against my babies and breathe. What was once a workaround is now the preference.
How to Lose Weight - The SCI Way
I’m going to make this short and sweet –
School has been kicking my arse and I haven’t had a moment to relax since…… I was sick. Even then, I couldn’t really relax.
For two weeks, earlier this month, I was incredibly sick! It was not pretty, so I’m going to spare y’all the details. Let’s just say my digestive system was revolting against me.
So, because I was sick for two weeks, I missed a lot of school. I have never (involuntarily) missed that much time from school, except when I got hurt, but that’s a different bag of potatoes. Anyway, I’m finally caught up, for the most part. I’m afraid I’m going to fail my ensuing Media Planning exam because I wasn’t in class to get the gist of my prof’s lectures.
I was supposed to schedule workouts for October but because I got sick that was out of the question. I feel really bad because I haven’t done any of my Roll 2 Walk stuff since August, so I’m afraid that all the progress I had made is going to be all for naught. We’ll see what happens in December.
But the really good news is that after three-plus years of being a quad, I’ve lost about 30 pounds and two inches of my seated hip width, which I’m really proud of. It’s awesome but it also puts a damper on things like clothes… now that I’m skinnier my jeans, even the smaller sized jeans, don’t fit right in zipper/crotch area. It’s a serious problem because the zipper rolls up and every now and then presses or rubs against the supra-pubic catheter in my bladder. I don’t know what to do. Is there anyone (quad or para) in the Internet/blogosphere/world that has had this happen? I need a solution, ASAP. I’m not kidding when I say it kind of looks like I have a tiny penis. I don’t have those parts… fortunately. The upside to the weight loss is that I can be justified for a new power chair! No more Darth Vader chair, I’m getting a slick, stylish and smaller one that I won’t be embarrassed to be seen in. Especially since I’m going to be driving soon and I’ll be stuck with using a power chair.
If there are any quads (or even paras) out there that thinks it’s impossible to lose weight – it isn’t! You have to watch what you eat – meaning listen to your body:
- If you’re full, stop eating.
- If you’re not hungry, don’t eat.
- Eat food that’s good for you - McDonald’s or Sonic and junk food don’t count.
- Dump the soft drinks - water is your best friend even if you don’t like water (which is a crap excuse to not drink water - suck it up and drink it!)
- You also have to exercise! Even if you’re a higher level quad than I am, you need to exercise – anything that gets your heart pumping counts.
- If you’re a quad and your level is the same as mine, get your doctor or physical therapist (if you’re not doing PT - DO IT!!) to justify getting you a manual chair – it is worth every penny and your body will thank you for it in the long run!
I’m serious. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past two and a half years and it works! Now, DO IT!
“The tongue does not tire easily, and it is not usually affected by a spinal cord injury because it is directly connected to the brain through a cranial nerve. ”—No, not for what is probably the first thought popping into your head and making you smile… for use, via tongue-piercing to implant a small magnetic stud, to control one’s wheelchair. Cool science!
Artist Series: American Indian Artists
I want to do another Artist Series. This time, it’s going to be on American Indian artists. Number one on my list is Ernie Pepion. Pepion was a member of the Blackfeet tribe in Montana. He was a Vietnam veteran and unfortunately became quadriplegic after an accident in 1971. While in the hospital, he learned to paint and found a love for it. Being quadriplegic, Pepion used a motorized easel and a brace for his hand and forearm. He became well known for his paintings of American Indians and people with disabilities. He died at the age of 61 in 2005. He received the 2005 Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts.
Are you a quadriplegic woman interested in writing? Right now, TGITPW is looking for a quadriplegic woman to give advice on handling your first period as a quadriplegic. If you are comfortable with sharing said story, please send us an email or message via Tumblr! Any tips, experiences, etc. you can share will be greatly appreciated! If you know a quadriplegic woman who may be interested in writing, please forward this to her!
Thank you so much!