Recently a friend sent me a message one morning and I since my response took a few hours he replied back, “How many hours can you play XBOX?,” sort of implying I have a lot of free time. First off, let me clear the record by saying that I have always been a PlayStation guy. Second, I can say I do stay pretty busy. This razzing gave me the idea to maybe share a little bit about my typical weekday schedule here in Atlanta:
6:45 AM: Wake Up/Eat/Shower and Dress-I was never a big breakfast eater but since I am trying to repair my body I usually do eat some cereal, an orange or apple and consume 35 g of protein between a protein bar and drinking a Boost.
9-11 AM: Therapy at Shepherd with staff-Activities like the Lokomat, crawling, spin bike and other stuff to work my core and move to try and further activate my legs.
12PM: Lunch- usually I just eat at Shepherd. The food is just okay but they do have a great salad bar.
1-4 PM: Pool workout by myself-I was never a big water person but I have grown to enjoy the water since it is the only time I am not in a bed, wheelchair or some other piece of equipment. I usually spend the first few minutes just floating and decompressing. I spend the final 90 minutes in the corner of the deep end where I follow a routine of ad & abducting my legs, trying to pull my knee to chest and other various leg movements. Like I have said before the buoyancy really helps me move them a good bit. I usually wear a great and only $9.95 waterproof watch I got at Walmart to help me thru my routine.
5-6:30 PM: Floor Exercises-I usually sit on a Bosu ball on the floor, use a medicine ball, weighted bar, and resistance bands to do a lot of core work.
6:30- 8PM: Stim Calves or Tibs/Dinner- I alternate which muscle I stim for 90 minutes a day. I can pretty much do anything while I stim, from making and eating dinner to just watching TV. I try to focus on pushing my foot down or up depending on what muscle I am stimming.
7-9:30PM- Stand in Standing Frame- While I stand I have electric stim on my gluts and quadriceps and try to engage them as much as possible as I stand.
*The stim I refer to above and have in other posts is Electrical Muscular Stimulation. It is a device that generates electrical impulses to elicit muscle contractions through electrodes placed on the skin. This device can build up and strengthen muscles in your body and for people with paralysis the hope is that strengthening the muscle will also help strengthen the signals sent from the brain to control the muscle. I have been using this type of device religiously for over a year and a half but unfortunately the type of injury I have requires a more intense stim not yet approved by the FDA for use in the US. The stim I have been using is only limiting the muscle atrophy that I have gone thru as a result of the injury. To have a better chance of strengthening the muscle signals I need a stronger impulse like the one in the European Stim I have been working really hard to bring to the United States.*
This is pretty much what I do everyday of the week, minus the pool on Monday since the water is cold. On the weekends I do sleep a tad later but still do my floor exercises and increase the time I use the standing frame. Other then maybe going to a friend's or my cousin's to watch football on the weekend and church on Sunday at Passion City, this is what I have been doing since I moved to Atlanta.
October also marks a fairly significant month for me and not just because I turn yet another year old. After my accident, my family and I agreed to devote the majority of the first two years to rehab. October 29th marked the two-year point since I have been out of complete or partial bedrest from the long hospital stay and secondary issues at home. I also now have to factor in the unexpected five to six months my leg fracture cost, but soon it may be time for some change.
Quietly, I have been looking into the possibility of either getting back to work or getting some training or schooling that would help put me in a better position when that time comes. There are a few opportunities that may drastically change my days in the coming weeks. I am still working on the Shepherd doctors to help me finalize getting that European stim unit I mentioned above. I have been assured that it should happen but it is taking a lot longer then I would like and I admit it is VERY frustrating since it could possibly be the best tool I have used since the accident.
So, between the possible opportunities and getting the stim unit, my schedule may change dramatically to be much busier. My devotion to get better physically will not really change, but I will be trying to use my time more efficiently and mixing it up with things that may help me other aspects of life, especially on a long term basis.
There you have it--a day in the life!