Most recently, our neighbors can watch Paul dribble his basketball on his three mile walks up and down the adjacent boulevard thanks to his therapist’s suggestion for improving right hand coordination.
The rhythmic reverberations can be heard several blocks away but ZuZu and I don’t walk with him as it’s not a good idea since she’s a tad ball crazy.
Paul almost wrote a guest post following his three month check up last week with his surgeon. But, he didn’t, so I’m quoting the words he shared with his bicycling cohorts:
Earlier this week, I had my three month post-op appointment with my surgeon following my MTB spill at Comlara back in May. According to Dr. Stroink, all that hardware she put in my neck is mending faster than anticipated. I’m right hand dominant, and my biggest concern right now is the nerve damage to my right hand and fingers (You wouldn’t want to sit next to me during a dinner party.), and a significant loss of upper body strength. Stroink wants all the internal muscle swelling to subside before we begin the process of building up the larger muscle groups in the chest, back and arms.
Since the accident, I’ve been doing occupational therapy (focused on the fine motor skills of the right hand) three times a week. I’ve also been speed walking, usually 3 to 5 miles a day, averaging 4.15 mph. For the first two miles, I take a basketball with me and dribble – it helps with the right arm and hand. I’ve also taken up Tai Chi, as it’s the only other thing Dr. Ann would approve… until now.
Dr. Stroink has finally given permission to slowly begin jogging and biking (going to start with the Burley recumbent). Just as important, she’s ordered physical therapy so I can start building strength back in the upper body. I’ll be doing out-patient therapy four to six times a week for the foreseeable future (split between occupational therapy, physical therapy, and aqua therapy). It’s going to keep me busy, but I need to build muscle back. It’s hard to describe how weak my upper body actually is — just grabbing a gallon of milk out of the fridge requires two hands and a lot of concentration, so I’m looking forward to getting this going.
I’ve attached a few pics — one of the new neck (taken 30 days after surgery), and the other of the fancy pencil my neighbors bought me. Evidently, my penmanship isn’t what it used to be — think I’ll use that pencil at my next arbitration hearing!
I didn’t go with Paul to that latest appointment because, he can drive… so based on what he told me, had I been there…
He can ride his bike. Uh, he can’t lift it.
He can jog. Did I really commit to jog when he was released?
He will be spending more time in therapy. Does folding laundry count?
She’s uber-impressed he’s healing so well. He’s going to be in a medical journal article.
She thinks his recovery was helped by how fit he is. Again with the jogging.
She thinks he’s doing awesome. I agree.
So, yaay, things are moving forward and no… I’m not comfortable with a man with a broken neck riding his bike in the street. With cars. And no neck brace.
And yes, I started jogging (again) today. Paul started yesterday, of course. I think I can catch up though. We’re using a great little app called C25K (Couch to 5K).
Now we’ll have to pick a 5K although I do not intend to run with him unless I know I can beat him… (If you want to know why, this blog post following our first and only joint run pretty much sums it up.)
At three months post-op, Paul’s doing fantastic. Although he’s still not moving fast enough for him (no dog-walking, lawn-mowing, or wind-surfing in the foreseeable future), he’s pushing what he can do. Is that a surprise?
For instance, he’s cooking again. His mother bought him a food processor after seeing his ultra-slow and dangerous method of scoring the vegetable; then using his good hand to leverage his weak hand to make the cut; scary.
Talk about scary; he just informed me he is now-this minute taking his recumbent bike out for his first time.
The continued help, service, prayers, and good thoughts from our family, friends, and neighbors, keeps us going. Paul looks so great that it’s easy to forget he still struggles when it comes to the simplest of things, and then is so worn out he has to take naps. Lots of naps. His new therapy will begin with 1 lb weights; his therapist warned he would be extremely sore following his first session.
And for now, I must go. Mr. Bicycle is searching for his back-up helmet as he’s seriously venturing out. ZuZu and I will be trailing behind. ~ G