Up on time this morning which was good, I was looking forward to a shower this morning as a nice way to start what I would make in to a very, very busy day. I did the morning routine which was only an hour and a half today and after making the bed and squaring my bed space away, I got some breakfast and had a chat with Gordon, one of the older Gentlemen from our ward. We chatted about different things until we had both finished our breakfasts, I gave the dishes a wash and then headed off to practice some wheelchair skills. Outside of the OT department there is a slope, at the bottom of the slope you come to a corridor where we turn left , this takes you to the Physio department and the hydro pool amongst other places and this was the slope that I was going to practice on to get from the top to the bottom on the back wheels. I spent around three quarters of an hour doing this before it was time for me to go to physio for my weights session. No surprise as to who would be the motivator for today then, that’s right it was “Heir Kirsty who was sitting patiently, waiting to hand us our exercise sheets. The exercise sheets are written when you have your weights assessment, it tells you the exercise you must do with the weight you must use to do it and the number of repetitions and sets. It was a really good group of us there for our weights session today, it was the youngsters from my wheelchair intermediate group; Ryan, Izzy, Kirsty and her Boyfriend Ben as well as Paul who is an older gent from my ward. Ryan was a bit of a wind up merchant if I am honest, he would call Kirsty over and try to get her to up the weights that Paul and I were lifting as well as telling her about the number we had done and grossly understating the amount, it was a really good laugh to be honest. Izzy had been in already for an hour as she had circuits, she chosen to do weights as she forgot that she had a weights session straight after, I did feel sorry for her, but she still cracked on so fair play to her.
I started my weights session and worked really hard at it ensuring that I carried the exercise out slowly so as to make it a worthwhile exercise. My arms were already on fire from the things I have been doing all week and then because I had just spent the best part of an hour going up and down the slope practicing the back wheel balancing. This just told me that I was working them and that they would be stronger for it, I did have to really push myself to get the exercises done though I will admit, but complete them I did. I spoke to Kirsty about a couple of exercise weight changes which we wrote on to the sheet for next time and then she showed me how to use a few bits of equipment, while doing this she wrote down the weights, reps and sets for the piece of equipment on my exercise sheet. After an hour of us doing our exercises it was time to end and head up to lunch. The food here is ok, I’m not going to tell you it is great but it is far better than some places I have eaten at. The portion control means that there is not really enough to fill you but by the same token it helps keep you from eating way too much and not burning it all off with the rehab exercises. With my meal finished, I went and made myself a cup of tea and headed back to the slope to continue practicing. I had a goal, to achieve the roll down, and that was exactly what I intended to do.
The break from trying to do this obviously did me good as it was only a short time later that I achieved it after having a bit of advice from Josh who is another patient here. It is only eight weeks since he arrived and he is doing so much, this in itself is testament to how good the programme is here. While on the slope, a young lady began speaking to me who clearly knew me and so the process of going through my amazing memory began, where did I recognise her from? We spoke about how I was getting on and what I had been up to, all the time I was running through where I had met her and then I twigged. It was at Tedworth House at the shooting stand, she was here getting ready for the shooting classification day on Sunday. We spoke for around twenty minutes, having introduced me to the two guys with her who by the sounds of it are also coaches or in the shooting team, and then it was time for me to head off to my physiotherapy session. I rolled in to the physio department and Jo told me to transfer on to the plinth while she moved a second plinth for me to transfer on to a different height. It was at this time that I knew I was going to struggle as I had been pushing myself so hard, constantly practicing and had not given my arms time to recover. I was not going to waste the lesson though so it was just a case of digging deep and cracking on the best I could. I tried a lift from my plinth to the second and it was so difficult. I did the checklist and pushed my shoulders down with everything I had but it was not enough, and then the spasms started in my leg, tightened my stomach, then my chest and then it was too much and I had to lay back on my elbows and breathe deeply and slowly to help them to pass, all the time trying to lean forward to break the spasm. A fact for you, I would be crap at childbirth! I continued to try to transfer but it was not going well. Jo asked if I wanted to stop but how would it be if I was tired and I needed to transfer when I get home or generally out and about. No, I had to keep going even just for a couple of goes.
I tried a few more and then Jo gave me two blue `hop ups` for want of a better term. I have them at home and they essentially give you a four or five inches of extra height for you to lift with. I had to do ten minutes of lifting, holding and slowly lowering and then I would be going in to the standing frame for the remainder of the session. I lifted myself in to the standing frame but had to get one of the other physio’s in the department to just put the strap across my butt so that I could stand. I had asked for their help rather than Jo’s as she was just getting Josh sorted at the car, no point in waiting when there were others who could take the two minutes to strap me in and leave Jo to assist Josh for a bit. At the end of the session, I leant forward and undid the strap holding me in. Gordon, the gent from our ward then parked alongside to let me know if I was ok as I slowly lowered back in to my chair. I did not see the point in bothering a physio to do this but had no problem in calling them should I have needed assistance. A little after three o’clock I left the physio department and headed over to the sports centre for wheelchair basketball.
Although it is a relatively short distance to the centre, my arms were on fire. They really did feel so weak and had limited strength. So much so that it had actually been hard work getting to the centre, but this was more exercise which would be getting the heart rate up and hopefully shed a pound or two. Georgie came over and asked about transferring in to the sports chair. This was not going to happen as long as I had a hole in my ass, I had such little strength now in my arms that even pushing myself around would be a painful and slow experience. I made it clear though that I wanted to do this, that I did not want to waste the time I had here by sitting out of stuff and so I was allowed to play. I was not the only one in a normal chair, there was a tremendous turn out of players and so it was made clear that care had to be taken not to hit the standard chairs as we would fall out, not to lean back too far in the normal chairs when throwing or catching or we would fall out and also, as it would be harder to pick the ball up in a standard chair, if the standard chairs touched the ball then it would be awarded to the user of that chair. It was harder work than in the sports chairs obviously, and felt weird as you were higher up but never the less it was a really good game with lots of laughs. At four o’clock we changed tempo and had the badminton stuff out. We played three per side which made it a bit easier with less frantic movements to be able to hit the shuttle cock, on our side we had Paul, Ian and myself and we were against Josh, Izzy’s Dad and Izzy. We got some quite good rallies going and we still had to move about, changing positions on the court and so guarding a different area from the attacks from the other team. I had to duck out for ten minutes as my eyes could not process the information fast enough. The net was the first thing that was causing me a problem, I kept focussing on it and not the activities beyond. Next was the shuttle cock’s turn. When it went high I was on it, but as it dropped I would lose it and end up wildly swinging despite the shuttle cock already being on the floor. After ten minutes it was better, not perfect but better, good enough for me to play again however poorly it may have been. We left the centre at a little after five o’clock, I was suitably knackered and it did take me a while to get back over to the spinal ward ready to go and collect my food for tea.
I had visitors tonight. Georgie and Craig, (my Wife’s Cousin and her other half), they came over to pay a visit which was nice. Generally they come down to us in Somerset so it was quite nice to see them and catch up with how things are going, especially with their baby boy. Georgie and baby have stayed at our place a couple of times and although baby was not with them on the visit tonight as they did not know the rules for children other than my own, it was nice to hear how he is getting on. They stayed for a good couple of hours chatting and finding out how I was getting on and if being here had lived up to my vision of how it would be. They left at a little after ten o’clock to head home after dropping me a present of some energy drink which I think I am going to need to pour in to my eyes before I leave here the way I am going, (obviously don’t do it, it is just a silly little thing I say. OK? Good, I’m glad we got that sorted.) some biscuits and a pack of chewy sweets which was a lovely thing to do. I left Georgie and Craig at the doors to the foyer and headed back to my bed space where I have been sitting writing this entry and thinking about how things are going. Do I feel as if I have tried hard enough so far? Yes. Am I accomplishing the things that I had hoped to get help with? So far Yes, not all but I still have two and a half weeks until I leave. Is this living up to my vision, my idea’s, my hopes? Oh hell Yes. You will notice that I did not ask if it is living up to my expectations, the reason for this is because I do not expect anything. I expected help before in my last spinal unit and look where that got me, a head full of disappointment, No, I don’t expect anything from this spinal centre. I just hoped that I would be taught the things I needed to know and things that I would like to know. I think that ten days in to the four weeks I have been allocated here by my Consultant I can safely say that it is everything I had hoped and imagined….and then some!