Showing posts from February, 2006

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Finding Balance I am trying to participate more in Robb's therapy sessions. I am learning how to help him with his leg-stretching exercises, and hope to be able to assist in other aspects of the therapy. Of course, once he comes home, I'll be the full time Occupational Therapist. Occupational Therapy always seems oddly named, to me. It isn't about vocational training, but rather teaching a patient how to re-enter their daily life, and be as independent as possible. Yesterday, I attended Robb's final Physical Therapy session of the day, where he worked on stretching, walking with a cane, and also worked on balance. Since Robb still has no sensation on the front half of the bottoms of his feet, he needs to do a lot of work on keeping his balance when he transfers weight from the his heels to the front of his feet. The therapist set Robb up inside the parallel bars (for stability) and had him stand on a variety of squishy objects so that he could practice shifting h

Changes in the Schedule

One of Robb's primary therapists had a family emergency this weekend, and was not at work on Monday. This delays our Home Evaluation Visit, which may delay his release date. We're sort of "on hold" about this, for the moment. Robb may be released on Friday, or possibly the following Tuesday. Until they do the home visit, and see the arrangement of our apartment, the therapists cannot say that he is safe to go home.

Where's the Kitty?

The word has gotten around the Accupuncture staff, and now when they come to work on Robb, they ask after Linguine. This makes me think that they have forgiven her for lunging onto the bed while Robb was doing his best impersonation of a pincushion.

Code D

Yesterday, there was a Safety Drill at California Pacific Medical Center. I'm not sure if I heard Robb correctly (because this is just too weird), but it seems that, as part of the drill, someone was roaming the halls of CPMC with a plastic gun, while the staff practiced dealing with this situation. Since Robb is not easily moved, he was assigned a police officer and a nurse to guard him in his room. And, yes, the "D" in Code D stands for DANGER.

Are We There, Yet?

Right after the accident, Robb seemed to be hitting milestones in his recovery every single day. I think that this initial sprinting has slowed down, and he is moving along at more of a long-distance pace. Instead of seeing improvements in his condition every single day, he sees notable change about every fourth day, now. We have a long, long road ahead of us. The plan is still for Robb to come home on Thursday. I have to confirm all of this, but I understand that we will be having a home walk-through with his therapy team to make certain that there are no major hazards to Robb's safety, and to advise me on changes we can make. Also, this week will be a day where I spend twenty-four hours at the hospital. Robb and I will make an attempt at doing everything ourselves, with the hospital staff observing, and making suggestions. This will help get us ready for the daunting task of Taking Care of Ourselves. Robb is taking less pain medication these days. He seems to need less, an

Around Town

On Friday, Robb went on another outing. This time, he and his room mate, their occupational therapist, their physical therapist, and their recreational therapist all bundled off to the Arboretum at Golden Gate Park. Robb estimates that he walked between a quarter and a half a mile with his walker. He also got to disrupt traffic. He was crossing the street, and watching the "countdown" sign on the crosswalk. He got as far as the median strip, and the light turned against him. A motorcycle cop who had been waiting at the light stopped traffic motioned Robb to keep crossing. He and Robb chatted the whole time that Robb was crossing, and Robb got across the street just as the light was changing again. All the cars had to wait through another cycle to go through their light. Robb had his usual series of therapies and extras. Since Robb has so little sensation on the bottoms of his feet, the accupuncturists were able to put needles into a very powerful spot that they are u

Thank you, everyone!!!

Robb has been wanting to thank everyone who sent kind wishes, but between his four sessions of therapy a day, doctors' visits, accupuncture, massage, animal assisted thherapy, guided imagery (yup, we're in California) and his heavy napping schedule, there's not much time to sit up and write "thank you" notes. So, for now, we would like to thank all the people who sent cards. We know that we're going to leave some people out, and having read as many fairy tales as I have, I know that is Serious Bad Luck. Anyway... Thank You! To Our Families Our Friends Abby, Tim and Satchel Amy Annalisa and Gary Antje Becca Dave, Jenny and Cole David Don Ellen Erica Gina, Robert and Liam Greg and Nicole Gabby James and Trena Janessa Julia Karen Racanelli Karla, David and Owen Kate Kelly Kelley, Christopher, and Suzanne Kerri Kimi Kris Lanette and Greg Les and Annie Maggie Megan Michael Rebecca Rick and Flora Sue Ryan and Amanda Sara Sheila and Neal Stan Susi Tom and Joannne Ter

Who Reads this Blog?

From the vantage point of his hospital room, Robb has been wondering who is reading this blog. I can't answer that question. (Heck, I'm curious, too!) I've made it easier to add comments to the blog. So, perhaps people could drop a quick note, and let us know that you're out there.

How are We?

Robb had his first "community outing" yesterday. He and his occupational therapist took a cab to the Rainbow Co-op , and went grocery shopping. Robb had to figure how to negotiate getting in and out of a car, and how to shop using a walker. We continue to have glorious weather in San Francisco, so this was a great trip for Robb. I think he has been feeling a bit cooped up. I have a cold. I'm not really surprised. Warning! Personal Information Alert! Robb's ninety-year-old urologist almost brought him to tears (in a good way) when he told Robb how proud he was of all his progress, and then told Robb that he would be okay and that he loved him. If you have a burning need to know about the particulars of the progress, you can always call me. I'm sure I have nothing I would like to do more than discuss Robb's urology situation. Suffice it to say that Robb is operating independently, once again.

The Plan for Robb

Robb's medical team had their weekly assessment meeting ("rounds") and the current plan is to send him home on March Second. I'm not sure if I should be shouting " Yippee!!!!! " or " Yiiiiiiiiiikes!!!!! " Robb is being sent home, because of his amazing progress, not because our insurance is running out. No worries on that front! The plan will be for me to spend twenty four hours at California Pacific Medical Center, so they can watch me and Robb, and see how independently he and I can manage his care. In addition to this, the therapists, Robb and I will visit our apartment, and do a walk-through to come up with suggestions and strategies about moving around at home. Robb will have therapists coming to the house, to continue his recovery. He will also need to continue to work on his own and get lots of rest. When Robb comes home from CPMC, I'll take time off from work to care for him. Thankfully, Berkeley Rep has been amazingly understandi


I, somehow, was not aware until a few days ago, that Robb does not have sensation on the backs of his legs. I think that the initial examinations focused on the fronts of his legs and feet, possibly because the medical staff didn't want to move him around very much. Robb is regaining sensation in his feet, and top of his butt, however, the sensation on the back of the legs is slower to return.

Moving Right Along...

I feel that I should clarify my use of the verb "to walk" as applied to Robb. Robb is hardly striding down the hallways of California Pacific Medical Center, but he's also not exactly shuffling along like a ninety year old man, either. "Mosey" might be appropriate, but that implies a certain ease that Robb's walking does not have, yet. Walking is, at this moment, an intense mental and physical endeavor. But he's doing it. More and more, every day. Robb walks laps in the therapy gym. Most recently, he walked 350 feet using the walker, and then walked up and down a flight of stairs using a cane. He is also starting to re-explore the world outside of CPMC. Walking on sidewalks, up and down ramps and curbs, and crossing streets are among the activities that he and his therapists have been working on. It is great to be outside, negotiating new terrains. In addition to the physical and occupational therapy, Robb gets massages (which at this point are mos

What is Better

I think I should list the things that have improved in Robb's condition. In no particular order. Robb can press down with his feet. Robb can feel the heels and sides of the bottom of his feet, and is regaining sensation in his toes. He says he cried while putting on his socks today, because he could feel his toes. Robb can wiggle his toes. Robb is regaining sensation in his pelvic area. Robb can get out of bed, and into a wheelchair without assistance. Robb stood at the sink, and washed up today. (He called this a "Normal Daily Activity as Personal Triumph.") Prior to today, he was washing up using the wheelchair. Robb no longer finds sitting up in the brace completely exhausting. Nor, is lying on his back in the brace agonizing. However, neither of these activities can be done for extended periods of time. Robb can climb up and down stairs placing his feet on alternating treads. He can do this using a banister, or a cane. Robb can walk with a walker, and is beginning to


Today Robb had an abreviated schedule of therapy, which is probably a good, since he broke his own record for number of visitors. I came in late, and missed many of you. Sorry! Today he was visited by: His parents. His mom went to Mass at St. Mary's prior to visiting. Paul, who brought kumquats and dates. Amanda and Ryan, who may have gotten a bit lost on the way out of the building, but got to see Robb walking with the walker. Dominique, who brought beautiful oranges. Kara, who brought vegetarian Thai dinner. Thank you, everyone! Your visits are such a delight! In an attempt to pretend that I have something like a normal life, I spent a few hours at the Pacific Orchid Expo. This really brightened my spirits. Apparently, nothing cheers me up like crazy exotic looking blooms. And speaking of which, everyone on staff comments on the beauty of the plants in Robb's room. Thank you! (This is a goofy picture of the two of us at the 2003 Pacific Orchid Expo.)


I slept late for the first time since the accident. I spoke with Robb's sisters and Peter, did household tasks, and ran errands. Robb's parents were tourists today, but got caught in cold rain. Robb had a busy day with his therapists. Robb had a great time with his physical therapist, Susan. She is so tuned into her work, that she walks through life, looking for challenges. She and Robb worked on walking on ramps without using the walker. She found a part of the building that had a ramp with wall-railings, but also had the challenge of interruptions in the railings. Robb stumbled a bit, but he says that this is a good thing. Every sign of weakness helps the physical therapists to figure out his strengths, as well as what he needs to work on. In occupational therapy, Robb worked on simple tasks, like folding sheets. He stood for quite a while, and noticed -- oddly -- that his left leg (the "healthier" leg) was the one that was getting weak and shaky. Later, in


This was a day of many doctors' visits. Without straying into the realm of "too much information," let us say that there are parts of Robb that are on the mend, beyond his feet and legs. Robb worked with Joy, on physical therapy. They worked on walking, walking up and down stairs and balance. Robb did occupational therapy with Charlotte. Occupational therapy has a very misleading name, and really deals with figuring out how to use Robb's current abilities to negotiate day-to-day life. They worked in the kitchen on reaching and problem-solving. Robb, being Robb, didn't solve the problems (how to get the knives in the box that was out of his reach) the way Charlotte expected. But she thought his methods for using the "grabber" and physics were really ingenious. Robb's parents spent time with Robb, and told us about their exporations in San Francisco. Wil and Rich stopped by. Robb and I stayed up way too late, talking.

Keeping it all in Perspective

Robb has a new room mate at California Pacific Medical Center. Wyatt has moved to an assisted living facility, until he is ready to move home. We wish him all the best! Robb's new room mate, Kelly, is recovering from a surgery on a large cyst that affected his spinal chord in his neck. He has limited sensation in his hands and one leg. Kelly seems to be in great spirits. His ex-wife is due to visit, with their son. Kelly is running a betting pool with his friends, to see how long it takes her to ask him for money for their son's braces. Betting is hovering around fifty seven seconds. Robb has expressed a concern that I'm exaggerating some of his improvements. He want to to clarify that he cannot, yet, see through lead with his xray vision. Sorry about this confusion!


Robb told me today that he wasn't going to let a day go by without reaching some kind of new landmark. Some of these milestones may not be anything particularly grand. Some may be as humble as the pebble in the road at the ten mile point. But we're going to count them, and value them. Today, Robb was working on walking, when he realized that he could feel the bones in the front of his right foot for the first time. He says he still can't feel his flesh, but he's feeling the pressure of his own weight on his feet. Robb continues to work on the part of walking that involves the transfer of balance from the heel to the toe of the foot. He also sat on a couch for the first time since the accident. This is the first time he's sat somewhere other than the bed or a wheelchair. For Robb, this was a delightfully normal activity. Robb continued to work on walking up and down stairs. He went outside during two of his therapy sessions. He also worked on daily skills wh


Today was a good day, for a lot of reasons. Robb started walking stairs in his physical therapy. They started him on a stair unit that had four-inch risers, and then moved him up to six-inch risers. Robb says that the taller risers were easier, because they were more like normal stairs (and also because there were fewer of them to climb.) Right now, he is stepping with one foot, and then placing the other foot on the same step as the first. The next stage will be to use on foot per step. Robb needs to be very careful of his foot placement when he walks. His right foot does not have the strength and sensation of his left. He needs to kick his right foot out slightly, to avoid placing his right foot with his ankle turned inward. The ankle braces help with this, and I'm going to have to buy him some new more rigid shoes. Another first for me. I've never bought shoes for anyone, and certainly not someone who wasn't around to try the shoes on! Robb also worked on the s

Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day, I packed a picnic, got Linguine's nails cut, and gave her a bath, and we went to see Robb. Robb's parents had spent most of the day with him, and Paul (in SF) also stopped by. I also tried to catch up on other Life Issues, but that's not nearly as charming as a Kitty Visit. Our friends sent an huge number of Valentine's cards, which was so very sweet. Linguine is the perfect Hospital Cat. She settled down on the bed, and cuddled for the whole visit. The accident was two weeks ago, and one week ago, Robb was transferred to the California Pacific Medical Center's rehabilitation facility. Today was the first day that Robb noticed that his medications were completely covering his pain. He takes some long-acting pain killers and muscle relaxants, but did not ask for any of his "as needed" medications for the breakthrough (or acute/intense) pain. or Robb had the staples removed from his back. He said that it hurt that having your


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 Y

The Weekend at CPMC

On Saturday morning, Robb was about to begin another session of walking with his physical therapist. The therapist was looking around for someone to help Robb get out of the wheelchair, when this three foot tall balloon sculpture of the Road Runner bounced into the room, followed by our pal Paul. Apparently, Paul was conscripted into helping Robb with his walking. Because of the way the schedule has worked out, I have actually not seen Robb walking, except in my happiest dreams. In between physical therapy and occupational therapy, Brian stopped by for a well-timed visit. Robb also experienced "Animal Assisted Therapy" with a very happy, very lazy pooch. We are told that Linguine has been approved to visit Robb. I think I'll bring her on on Valentine's Day. The cards keep arriving! We are delighted by the creativity of our friends. Who wouldn't be charmed by this pleased-looking kangaroo? Saturday was a glorious day, and everyone in the world seems to have d

Robb needs a shampoo

Imagine not being able to take a shower for two weeks. Sure, we've been doing sponge baths, but it just isn't the same thing. Robb will get the staples removed from his incision on Valentine's Day. And then, he'll be able to take a shower for the first time. Because he still has "movement restrictions" to protect his spine, we're not clear on if he'll shower on a gurney, or in the brace. I forget to say thank you... I write this blog when I get home from the hospital. I'm tired, and more often than not, the cats have been so lonely that they're crawling all over me (which is very distracting). I tend to forget to mention things. Sorry. So, in no particular order: Thanks to Martha and Neil for the glow in the dark watch. Robb can't see the clock in his room at night, and actually has a night time schedule to keep. If he doesn't change position every two hours, he risks getting pressure blisters (bed sores). Also, if he rings for


Three days after arriving at CPMC, and ten days after the accident, Robb walked for the first time! He got a pair of fuzzy orthopedic boots (that look like what might happen if Jean-Paul Gauthier designed Uggs) which allow him to walk without damaging his feet, and today during physical therapy, Robb walked while holding onto the parallel bars. I am beside myself with joy. Robb's family finally got to see him at CPMC. He had a very busy day at therapy, so we came late in the afternoon. I showed them around Berkeley Rep, we drove up Skyline Drive, and we had a lovely Thai lunch. Thank you to Andrew, who picked them up at the airport last night. Thank you Madelyn and Mimosa and Christopher and everyone else who got them settled into their housing. Thank you to everyone at University of California, Berkeley for all the wonderful treats and diversions. Thanks to Gina and Robert for the awesome care package. Thanks to a certain beacon of light, who has been with us throughout eve

the blog gets a night off

Today, I gave myself a "day off," which means that I slept until 8:30, and ran errands all morning. I didn't arrive at the hospital until 3:30. Robb had a busy day, but I left my notebook in his room, and am too tired to try to re-create my notes. So I will just talk about visits. 1. Robb's parents and brother arrive tonight. 2. It seems as if Linguine will be allowed to visit. 3. Ashley stopped by during lunch. (She had a meeting in San Francisco.) 4. Christine and Leslie came by after dinner, and brought a pie.

A Stated Goal

Up to this point, Robb and I have been very careful not to look too far into the future. We understand how slowly spinal injuries heal, and are willing to embrace and be thankful for every tiny improvement, without becoming greedy for more. Robb and I live in an apartment that we just love. It is large and sunny, was built in the 1920's, and looks like a fake Tudor castle. Unfortunately, we live up several flights of stairs. I have been mentally preparing to be told that while Robb was in the rehabilitation clinic, I would have to pack up all our stuff, find a new apartment, and move everything. Today was a day for Robb to meet with all the doctors and specialists, and have them start formulating a plan for his care. One of the doctors asked a long series of questions about our living situation and then stated that Robb would just have to be ready to walk up those stairs when he left rehab. For whatever reason, I haven't cried since the accident, but every time I think of

More Reasons to be Thankful

As I was driving to the hospital today, I was thinking about all the small and large joys in life. In my case, I was thinking about the pleasure of driving over the San francisco Bay with the windows down and the wind in my hair. (As an East Coast Girl, I can't get used to the idea of lovely February weather.) I was thinking about the beauty of this part of the country. I was thinking about human generosity and kindness. Which is a good way to lead into the latest list of Thank Yous. Thank you Martha, Neil, Lindsay, Barbara and Arnold for the fun package. Thank you Paul (in SF) for the lovely tulips. Thanks to everyone at the University of California's Department of Theatre and Dance for the huge bag of goodies, and the dvds. Thanks to the wonderful Berkeley Rep Costume Shop for offering to make Robb some hip drawstring pants, so he won't have to look like he's wearing his jammies all the time.

What works

It seems I need to clarify the current status of what's working and not working with Robb's legs. At this moment, Robb has no sensation on the bottom of his feet, or in the three smallest toes on either foot. He has spotty sensation in his legs, but has full mobility. Or, I should say that he has as much mobility as any man who just broke his back and then went through major back surgery could have. He has to move very, very carefully to avoid causing terribly painful muscle spasms in his back. Robb cannot sit up on his own right now, but when he works with his physical therapists, they get him into his brace, and gets him sitting up. For some reason, I have never been around to witness this. After the fall, Robb was not able to move his toes at all, or do the "pressing down on the gas" gesture with his feet. Slowly -- very slowly -- Robb is getting regaining the ability to do both of these. Since Robb cannot sense his feet on the floor, it is not safe for him to

Oh well, it seemed to good to be true...

As much as I wanted to believe that they were, Workman's Comp will not be re-imbursing me for any of my travel expenses. Although all this commuting is an unexpected expense, it certainly beats paying for Robb's healthcare out of pocket.

Are we obsessed with Food?

I don't know.... Would you all prefer to read about something else? This was part of last night's dinner. There was also soup, and fresh fruit. Comfort food. (And the Swiss Chard was possibly the best we had ever had.) No more plastic forks and spoons going in the landfill! And this is just weird. The text on the milk carton says "Cross out the things Sally shouldn't use to dry her hands with." Sally doesn't even seem to have hands in this drawing.

Public Transportation

CPMC is right on the N - Judah line of the MUNI. For those taking BART from the East Bay, you can transfer at Embarcadero. I'll get the bus line information soon.

Moving Day!

Today, we said goodbye to Highland Hospital in Oakland, and Robb was transferred to the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). Highland was great, but this place is like a Spine Spa. We love it. Robb rode in an ambulance to CPMC. I had an option of riding with him, but wasn't sure how I would have gotten back to my car at the end of the day. Despite getting shunted onto the wrong off-ramp, I found the drive to the hospital very simple. Robb and his drivers had a bit more of an adventure, as they had somehow been given the address of the wrong "campus" of CPMC. They got as far as wheeling Robb into the third floor of another branch of this hospital, on Buchanan and Sacramento. Whoops! But there was no harm done. I was pretty confused when I arrived at CPMC before the ambulance. Continuity of Care One of the things we had to deal with at Highland Hospital was not working with the same staff for more than a day or two. I don't know if I could count how many d

Keeping things in order...

People who know me well know that I'm not the world's most passionate house keeper. I'm not a horrible slob, but I prefer to organize rather than clean. And when things get hectic at work, the housework suffers. So, this week, I did something I have never done before. I hired a cleaning service. The house was in need of a good clean up before the accident, and as you can imagine, I really haven't had the time or desire to mop my floors. And while the three cats are a comfort to me when I am at home, they work very hard in my absence, shedding and tracking dirt around on the floors. I needed help. Unfortunately, this help arrived at 7am, while I was still asleep. I don't know who was more startled, me or them. They apologized and told me that they would be back later in the day. (This cleaning service does Berkeley Rep's artist housing once the apartments are vacated. I don't think they are used to finding anyone at home.) I came home today feeling a

How to Get to California Pacific Medical Center

Davies Campus Castro at Duboce Streets San Francisco, CA 94114 Here are the directions from the East Bay: Westbound Hwy 80 (from Oakland) # Take Hwy 80 over the Bay Bridge # Take the Ninth Street/Civic Center exit, staying in center exit lane (puts you on Harrison St.) # Travel 1 block on Harrison and turn right onto 9th Street. On 9th, get into the left hand lanes labeled “Hayes Street” # 9th Street will veer left into Hayes St. as you cross Market Street # Follow Hayes St. for approximately 1.5 miles # Left on Scott St. # Medical Center entrance is at the end of Scott St. Robb is on the third floor of the South Building.

Movin' On Up!

It was a day of meetings and phone calls and more meetings and more phone calls. And visits to possible rehabilitation facilities. As a girl who has only ever owned used cars, I feel like I'm suddenly shopping for the space shuttle. Thankfully, my Workman's Comp case worker has offered a lot of guidance, including a list of questions to ask when touring an accute rehab facility. (When I'm not bone-tired, I may discuss some of the thinking behind these questions.) After much thought, Robb and I decided to go with the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. They have a treatment facility that specializes in brain and spine injuries (Robb's brain is fine), so that every person working in the facility is a spinal specialist. At the moment, there are only sixteen other patients, and they will never accept more than twenty eight. So, Robb will get very personal care. There is a huge physical therapy "gym" on site, with loads of equipment, and ev


I think I need to clarify the extent of the injury to Robb's spine. At the time that I started this blog, I may not have been entirely clear about this myself. Robb fractured his L1 vertebra, which is in the small of his back. The bone smashed into the spinal collumn, but do not sever, or even cut his spinal chord. I guess "blunt trauma" would describe what happened. Robb's spine got beat up pretty badly, and now it has to heal. Our physical therapist Deborah explained to us that different parts of the body grow -- and heal -- at vastly different rates. Your hair or nails, for example, grow quite quickly. But, then, they have very simple jobs to do for our bodies. Nerve cells grow much more slowly, because they are so very complex. And the spine grows -- and heals -- even more slowly. It is going to be a long healing process. We must all learn to have a lot of patience, and to see every tiny improvement as a gift and a blessing. Healing is Painful, but the A

Family Visit Update

The plan is now to have Robb's parents and brother Paul come visit on Thursday. They will stay in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's actor housing, which is shown in this picture. I cannot thank everyone at Berkeley Rep enough for all of the support they have shown us. You all are wonderful!!!

A Knight in Shining Armor

This a Robb's custom-fitted brace. Until he is stronger, this will be his "external spine." It will offer support when he is sitting or standing. He was measured for this on Wednesday, and it was delivered on Thursday morning. It is made of heat-moulded plastic, and fits perfectly. It has tiny holes in it, so his skin can breathe. This photo shows the front side. The black part holds the brace in place, so that it doesn't ride up. Right now, he wears it during some of his physical therapy sessions.


This morning, I spent my time calling every person involved in the process of transferring Robb to a rehabilitation facility. This is proving to be a bit of a challenge. The hospital plans to tranfer Robb on Monday, but we have not been able to pick a rehab facility. And because this is the weekend, none of the people who are involved in this process are in their offices. There certainly will be a lot of voicemail messages from me for people to listen to, first thing Monday morning! I'm determined that Robb will be placed in the best facility possible. Treatment Robb saw members of his surgical team throughout the day. Although we understood that Highland Hospital only offered physical therapy Monday through Friday, Robb had another session with the wonderful therapist, Deborah. This woman is a ray of sunshine in our day. Robb is already seeing small but notable improvements in sensation and mobility. It seems to me that now that Robb is in a less critical condition, he is b

How to contact Lisa

I am not allowed to use the mobile phone in the hospital. So, please try to call Robb's room (7404). Of course, he may not be able to answer the phone if I am not in the room. If you would rather not leave a message on this site, you can email me. lazar (dot) bauer (at) earthlink (dot) net

New Room Number

Robb is in room 7404. Since he has a room mate, there is less room for visitors. But people are still welcome to stop by. It will just be a little more cozy. Sock it to me! Another item Robb could use is non-slip socks. I think a low-rise version would be best, right now.

Visiting Family!

Robb's sister Barbara and his brother Paul are going to visit next weekend. We're so happy about this. I hope this offers some peace of mind to everyone in the Bauer Family. We love you all very, very much.

A Busy Friday

Today was an eventful day. The big news is that Robb was well enough to move out of the Transitional Care Unit into a regular hospital room. More on that later... We saw our surgeons three times. Robb is no longer on an IV. He is still getting muscle relaxants and pain killers, and it is so nice to be free of the tubes. The nursing staff continues to be nothing short of wonderful. They are so professional and caring, and are really nice people. The nurses in the TCU are responsible for just three patients, and work twelve hour shifts, so we see a lot of them. Robb had his second session of physical therapy. He wore his brace, and with the therapist's assistance, actually got out of bed and into a chair, where he worked with the therapist, and also gave himself a proper shave. (I'm a lousy barber.) We also saw several of our social workers, and I did my first visit to a potential Rehabilitation Facility. I'm hoping the go see more facilities this weekend, because we

Friday Morning Update

Robb saw one of the members of his neurosurgery staff this morning, who was very pleased -- and pleasantly surprised -- with Robb's progress. Robb has more sensation and strength. He feels that the time spent with the physical therapist gave him a lot more confidence. Last night, Robb was able to roll himself over in the bed during the night. Moving position is important, and it is great that he's beginning to be able to do this for himself. Robb is getting vegetarian meals, although not always on the first try. He's allowed to eat food from outside, which is wonderful. Again, thanks to our caring groups of friends who have been bringing food and cheer to the hospital.


People have been asking about what and where to mail things. Right now, Robb is not sitting up much, so he isn't reading, but I'm sure he will soon have lots of reading time on his hands. It sounds stupid, but he is going to need close-fitting cotton tshirts to wear under the brace. I'm not good -- yet -- at buying clothes for Robb, but perhaps someone else can help out. Robb is 5'10" and weighs 165. If you would like to send a card, that would be great. Our home address is Robb Bauer 590 Merritt Avenue #24 Oakland CA 94610 If you are considering sending anything larger than an envelope, send it to me at work Lisa Lazar Berkeley Repertory Theatre 2025 Addison Street Berkeley CA 94704 Knowing that we have friends near and far who are thinking of us has been a real encouragement. Lisa

Start the Story from the Beginnning

On Tuesday, Robb was working at the University of California's Department of Theater and Dance. He was working as a carpenter, and was taking down some lights in the trap room under the stage. He and another worker were on ladders, the light started to get away from them, and Robb realized that if he didn't do something, the light was going to bash the other worker in the head. Unfortunately, that "something" pulled the ladder off balance, and Robb fell from near the top of a twelve foot ladder, and landed on his back on a concrete floor. He was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital, the main trauma hospital in the East Bay. I was called by his supervisor and was able to stay with Robb in the emergency room, until he had surgery. Robb's neurosurgeon was Dr. Castro-Maury. Prior to surgery (and prior to my arrival), Robb had a ct scan, and Dr. Castro-Maury walked me through the scans. (I must say that these are amazing! Being able to visualize the human bo