Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Greg is in town on business, and before he came out, Nicole and he put together a disk of images from her anatomy textbooks, to better illustrate this blog. Thanks, you two!!! This image is of "dermatomes," which are defined as "a localized area of skin that has its sensation via a single nerve from a single nerve root of the spinal cord."

Robb has limited sensation on the outer three toes of both feet, and on the bottoms of both feet. He also has limited sensation in the pelvic area, and spotty sensation on the front side of his lower legs. This chart shows how the areas affected are grouped together. See how those three outer toes are in a different group than the two inner toes?

Perhaps Nicole will be able to clarify this for me, and I will post a better explanation of this soon.

By the way, each day brings tiny but noticeable improvements in sensation and motor ability. Yippee!!! And not just in the feet and legs, but in the other areas as well. Double Yippee!!!

Here's an image of one of the lumbar vertebrae. The top of the image shows the bumpy part that you feel when you run your fingers down your back. That is the part that -- if I understand this correctly -- was fractured and slammed into Robb's spinal chord.

I'm going to ask if I can get a copy of Robb's xrays, but I suspect that this won't be possible.

So, to update Robb's activities on Monday...

Robb continues with physical (body improvement) and occupational (life adaptation) therapies. For the first time in thirteen days, Robb went outside and had the sun and wind on his face. The weather has been glorious in the Bay Area, so this was a particular treat.

We understand that Robb's team's goal for his for his first week at CPMC was to have him roll over in bed with less assistance from the staff. HAH! We showed them!

With the use of a walker, Robb walked 100 feet yesterday!!!! He said that afterwards he was as tired and sweaty as if he had just had a huge workout. We're both beside ourselves with happiness.

Other Therapies

CPMC is home to a Chinese Medicine Clinic, so Robb was visited by an accupuncture team on Monday. They spent a long time, examining him, checking his pulse at various points on his body, and looking and describing the color of his tongue. Then they carefully selected exact spots on his body and inserted needles. Apparently, this is less "ooky" than you would think. It feels like a brisk tap. They left the needles in place for about fifteen minutes, and Robb swears that he had more sensation in his feet after this treatment.

The occupational therapy team tells us that they will schedule a visit to our apartment to take measurements of pathways, and make a plan for Robb's return home. Amazing!

It turns out that I was mistaken about the use of Robb's furry boots. They are only for keeping his feet straight in bed. Robb has been walking without braces on his ankles, but with lots of guidance from his therapists.

An orthotics team is going to observe his movement and make recommendations for a brace for his right foot, which is the one that is having the most problems.

How Am I Doing?

People keep telling me, "I don't know how you're doing this." On Monday, I wasn't so sure myself. Monday was a rough day for me, until I saw Robb and all the improvements he has been making.

I'm sleeping fairly well, but I'm emotionally exhausted. I find it a difficult to speak as clearly as usual.. I'm making stupid mistakes, locking myself out of the apartment, or taking wrong turns on the freeway.

I get lonely, and I miss having Robb at home. I haven't cooked a meal for myself in two weeks. I only started making coffee three days ago.

I'm really worried about our finances. Robb and I live very frugally. Once we both go on Disability Pay, we will be making a fraction of our normal take home pay. I've temporarily stopped making payments into my retirement account, so that I can have more cash on hand. Workman's Compensation Insurance will pay for a lot of things, but there are all sorts of unexpected expenses that I'm having to deal with.

The cats are "acting out" because we haven't been home spending time with them. A few days ago, Mister Firdusi attacked Linguine and beat her mercilessly. This fight tore a path of destruction through the house, and upset everyone.

But I'm Feeling Better, Now...

Spending time with Robb really helps me.

I'll be going back to work, on a slightly truncated schedule. (I need to save my time off for when Robb comes home.)

And, I have to thank Joan and Bob, as well as Susie for their financial assistance.

1 comment:

Derek said...


Thank you for all that you are doing. I can imagine this must be a difficult time. Your strength is inspiring...even when you might be feeling a little weak. Every step Robb takes is a step he takes with you. Keep it up.



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