Monday, December 20, 2010

New Video!

Oh, I'm real proud of this stuff! Let's see if I remember how to post them...

 That's a LOT harder than it looks! And then I did the same the other direction. This was the second time that I've done this particular exercise without assistance. The first time, my pectorals and whatever is the name of  where the pectorals attached to the arm hurt for three or four days.

 This exercise isn't so bad. Well, depending on the angle. This one is all arms and shoulders. There's another exercise that looks very similar, except that it's all abdominal muscles. Again, not terribly difficult:

Oh yeah, all the videos in this post were taken December 17, 2010. Just so that you can compare them with earlier videos.

Now, here's the real fun one. This is the one that tells me that the work I've been doing for the last 16 months is paying off...

The Gym is proving to be a Real Good experience. I'm still not expecting to be able to walk, but I think that, in a year or two, a manual wheelchair might actually be feasible.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Surgery, Part Two

 OK, I got the stitches off! And I've got a handful of pictures to show how not pretty it is.

What the pictures are showing is, basically, the stitches out and, I guess, something like a butterfly bandage over the wounds.

Then, I have a couple of small metal splints, one on the base of the thumb where the thumb meets the  palm of the hand, and the other on my index finger. These are held on by medical clingwrap.
Here's a bit of a better view.

What they did with the index finger... In nonmedical terms, my index finger had stiffened up, and wouldn't  bend. Somehow, they were able to cut the finger open, and play with the bones and loosen them back up.

There were some good parts about the stiff finger, like being able to poke things, but there was enough bad things that getting it loosened up would give me more mobility.

 Here is a better view of the two splints.

I'm supposed to, three or four times a day, unwrap the splints and move my finger and thumb around. Physical therapy, basically.

Oh! In this picture you can kind of see, on my wrist, where they took some skin for a graft. It's a bit more obvious on the next picture. And yeah, it's gonna be a little difficult to wear my wrist brace for at least a couple more weeks.
I think one of the good things about all of this is that I can't really feel any of it. They still gave me some pretty dandy pain pills, though. Well, they gave them to me when I woke up from surgery, but that's close enough.

The next time I see the surgeon is a month. The little butterfly bandage things are supposed to just gradually fall off. The splints, though, I supposed to keep on until the next time I see the doctor.

They also said nothing about physical activity, so I've kept going to SCI-FIT. The trainers have had no problems lifting me in and out of the chair and torture devices; they have just kept away from the hand. I am in hopes that I'll be able to start using the hand at the gym in a couple of weeks, after the butterflies have fallen off.

I'll take pictures then, too. I was going to take pictures after they cut off the cast, before they actually took the stitches out, but I forgot the camera at home...

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Hospitals are wonderful things. Hospital staff are wonderful people.

Thursday was such a wonderful day.

Thursday I had my left hand operated on. That part wasn't so bad. I was unconscious.

But getting there at 6:45 in the morning? Am I a morning person? Especially since this means getting up an hour beforehand. Really, am I a morning person?

And they don't even let you have anything to drink after midnight!

So, there I am at 6:45 in the morning, checking into the waiting room. That takes less than five minutes. Then, I wait.

Until 9:15. That's when they let me into pre-op, to get on the gurney, and get changed. About 25 minutes of 10 I see the first of four, I think, doctors. The anesthesia was injected into my IV line about five minutes past 10, and I'm out.

The next I know, it's 20 minutes past one and someone is yelling my name. Well, not actually yelling, but you know what I mean.


And I was back home at 4 PM, with my hand wrapped up twice the size and get a really sore throat. I hate it when they stick tubes down my throat.

It's now two days later. My throat doesn't hurt anymore. My hand, though, has some twinges. Not too bad, just enough to tell me that something happened.

Oh yeah. I love the wound care instructions: "cover the hand and bandages before taking a bath or shower." That's it. Cover the hand. I called to make certain that was all; it was. I'm supposed to be getting the stitches out on the 24th. I'm glad I have a poor sense of smell, because I think my hand is going to stink by then...

I'll try to post pictures on the 24th. Of course, you see how on top of things I've been so far...

Friday, April 23, 2010


(Edit: this is being posted Thursday, May 13 at approximately 1 o'clock in the morning. The only reason that I can think of for this post to have an April date is because that's when I started it.

So, back to the story at hand!)

My mother has been after me for eight or nine months to get pictures of my home. I've stalled quite a bit, because I wanted to have a surprise for my Life Day party, near the end of April.

It's now May, my party was very nice, so here are some pictures.

What I'm going to do is show how the landscape looked when I bought the place, and follow that with how it looks now.

We'll start with the front yard.
They took out the bushes near the windows, and a couple of other bushes. The walkway from the driveway to the front door was barely 3 feet wide, and it had a sharp 90° turn. The bushes themselves crowded into the walkway... All in all, a tight squeeze for my chair.

The new configuration has a 4 foot wide walkway that is more fluid, more flowing, with curves instead of sharp angles. I also had the idea to put a border of river rock on both sides. It looks good now, and I have a feeling that in a couple of years, when everything grows in and fills in more, it's going to look fantastic.

What can I say? A dead patch of grass (well, it hadn't been watered in quite a while), more shrubs around the edges. And a 2 inch height difference between the cement and the grass.

This is looking better! You can't really see it in this picture, but the ramp that you see attaches to a deck in front of two sliding glass doors. The grass is green, some shrubs have been disappeared, and the grass and the cement are at the same level.

Shrubbery! Which didn't look good. Most of the shrub disappeared, and some hummingbird and butterfly flowers appeared. Actually, the flowering plants got planted all around the border to the grass.

You can kind of see the deck in this picture. And the ramp. I'm planning on having the white pergola (that's the overhead shade type thing) replaced with natural redwood.

Now, this! This is my joy. This is what it looked like, originally. A big empty space, covered by wood chips. Ever tried rolling through wood chips with a wheelchair? Not really something you want to try. The wall that you see there? Nothing to stop the sunlight from beating down on it in the summer. This was all kind of... What does Ron Popeil say? "Set it and forget it!"

Like I said, this is my joy. A nice wide cement pathway with a curved flow to it. A pergola, that I tried giving a little bit of an Asian feel to, along with the bench. A kimchi pot or two for ornamentation. In a couple of years, grapes.
And yes, in the background is a waterfall.

It's very peaceful back here. I've managed to fall asleep back here a couple of times already, and I'm looking forward to doing that again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

But, it's not broken! (Part 2)

I had someone ask about the x-rays. I guess it's difficult to figure out what the hand actually looks like by just looking at the bones. So, here is a couple covered by skin.

The first picture shows how far the bone juts out into the palm of the hand.

The second two pictures are compatible to the two x-rays that I posted. You can see how the joint of the thumb kind of just sticks straight out, and is kind of useless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

But it's not broken!

Hands aren't supposed to look like this, are they?

I'm thinking of surgery for it; it would be more functional.

If I had thought about it at the time, 2006, I could've had it done when I had the tip of the thumb removed.

Pretty, isn't it?

Hrm. Maybe I should try finding one of my neck. That one I DID break...

Friday, March 12, 2010

October's video, revised

I should have waited a day, and posted this one.

The first half is, again, gait training in October. The second half is on a "Hip-Glute" machine, first in October, and the second last week. The recognizable difference is the different amount of weight.

I'm using my abdominal muscles (apparently I still have them), my lower back, my glutes, and a couple others. The weight on the machine sets a load that, when I'm pulling my legs up, assists me, and when I'm pulling the legs down, resists me.

This picture, also from last week, shows me trying to punch Jerry. He actually told me to, so no comments about beating up the help. The exercise was actually "alternating punches." Jerry was helping to keep me balanced.

Trust me, for someone who has been as sedentary as I have been, this is nowhere as easy as it sounds.

Today he stood behind me, while I punched at something that acts a little like a heavy bag. No pictures from today, though.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

October's Video

Another movie! This is another one from October, although I just got it. The first part, about a minute long, is gait training, like the last video. The last part is what I'm really proud of.

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