Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Saturday, January 21, 2012


For 6 weeks I've had movement restrictions, put in place by my spinal surgeon. I'm not allowed to bend, twist, lift over 10 lbs, not allowed in the pool until my incisions heal completely, and not allowed to drive.

Attention Peter: 
Do not BEND FORWARD (over 90 degrees)
Do not TWIST
Do not LIFT over 10 lbs
Sincerely, The Precaution Police
(This was put on the back of my wheelchair by my therapists in 2010 after spine surgery.)

The first three I've had in place before so there was no surprises there; the restriction that really got under my skin was not being able to drive. It's not like I had no transportation at all: my mother begrudgingly chauffeured me around Elizabeth City and my friends took pity and picked me up. What I miss is the freedom to come and go as I please. This is all going to change on Tuesday, when all my restrictions are lifted!

I'm not going to go completely nuts, though there are some more complicated maneuvers I wanted to try. I've already tried jumping on a trampoline and working on a balance board. The trampoline was fun but harder than it looked. The balance board was a familiar activity, though this time my therapist combined it with an inflated disk underneath. This changed the balance, reminding me of before the accident. I was a strong skier and a passable snowboarder, and this particular exercise reminded me of what it was like to keep my balance on my snowboard.

Shredding the powder, back in the day

This gave my therapist the idea to try me on the skateboard they had in the gym. It went pretty well, considering I was a terrible skater before the accident (the gimp leg not helping matters at all). It was fun in a way that I haven't enjoyed in a long time. Who knows, you may see me skating down the street one of these days, with a cane strapped to my back for emergencies.

I'll settle for being as off-balance as I used to be.

I'm definitely getting stronger, though I still have a long way to go. The one thing that is guaranteed to improve my mood is I will soon be allowed back in the water, a turtle's natural habitat. The incisions from my surgery were extremely slow in healing, but they are finally healed enough to allow me to get back in teh pool. No matter what how sluggish I may be on land, I rule the waves!

I'm not quite counting the minutes until I can bend, twist, lift, drive, and swim but I'm really close. Three more days, three more days, three more days...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rain, rain, go away...

I used to really like winter. I was a skier, got excited by the thought of snow slopes, snowball fights, and the like. Now it just brings back bad memories. I did this last winter too. Last January there was snow on the ground and I glowered at the clouds obscuring the skyline. I sulked around the house, remembering being stuck in a nursing home for a month. No snow on the ground this January but the clouds look exactly the same.

Almost a week after the car accident I re-broke my right arm in an ill-directed roll in physical therapy. It was decided that I needed to stay in a nursing home for a month, so as not injure myself again. Though I was not looking forward to going to a nursing home, it was better than staying at Kernan Hospital (there website makes it look so positive but it most certainly is NOT), a dismal and depressing place. So I was transferred, getting the hell out of dodge, to a nursing home with rehab services.

If anyone remembers the winter of early 2010, Baltimore was hit with two massive snow storm, 20-30'' of snow apiece. For two weeks straight it almost impossible for anyone to get in or out. My own brother, who flew out to visit with me for a week, only managed to see me one day of his stay. I had been given a journal which I wrote into furiously with any idea that came across my mind; I had TV (5 channels), facebook, and email. Other than that, I spent my time starring at my leg, willing for my toes to move again (which they refused to do for almost a month); that or starring out the wind at the gray skies and the snow drifts.

Eventually I got my toes to move, my ankle to twitch, and the muscle in my thigh to twitch. I know the ending to the story, so I know that sunshine, sping, summer, walking, and great triumphs are just around the corner. I know that this story has a happy ending at the end of it (happy-ish anyway) and I know that come February I would go to Kennedy Krieger and my life would turn around. I would meet great friends, I would take on the turtle as my mascot, and I would walk again. But until I get there, all I'll do is look and glower at the clouds.

Stupid rainclouds...