Sunday, February 05, 2006


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 Alternative is Worse!

Robb has much more sensation in his body, but he is also feeling a lot of irritation. His nerve cells are over-stimulated, and are sending crazy messages around his body. So, the skin on his back is terribly sensitive, and he gets the idea that his toes are twisted when they're not. This is, apparently, normal. His body is trying to interpret a lot of information, and some the conclusions his body is reaching are a bit odd. We are told to expect this as part of the healing process.

Robb's discomfort at this stage is a very, very, very positve sign.

Happy News

After I left a number of emphatic messages with every person connected with Robb's case, I was told that our options for his next stage of treatment are actually very exciting. We are able to choose between four different rehabilitation centers that specialize in brain and spine injuries. (Robb's brain is fine.)

On Monday, my job will be to meet with the medical team and people who are guiding our case on the administrative end. We all need to be talking -- together -- about the plan for Robb. He will not be moving until he and I approve a rehabilitation center.

Our Wonderful Friends

Today our noontime visitors were Andrew, who brought spectacularly yummy vegetarian Chinese food. Madelyn, who has been working so hard for us, and has been to the hospital so many times, actually visited Robb's room for the first time. She was one of the people who sat with me for hours while Robb was in surgery. The number of visitors in Robb's room has been limited, and Madelyn often came to the hospital, relayed messages, made deliveries, but wasn't able to visit with Robb. He was so thankful to be able to see her and express his gratitude for all her generosity.

Ashley, the Queen of the Universe, came to the hospital with a home made Mediterarean Feast. She made stuffed grape leaves, felafel, a beautiful salad, sauces, and a coconut tapioca pudding with fresh strawberries.

Hospital food is not so terrible, particulaly if you don't actually have to eat it. We laugh because there is a pat of butter with every meal.


Ashley also made a huge batch of granola bar chocolate chip cookies, to thank our nursing staff.

I brought cookies to thank everyone who has been so kind. The day and night shifts of our current floor got cookies and thank you notes, as did the day and night shifts of the transitional care unit. I also gave cookies and a thank you card to the emergency room staff, and the security guards. (The guards have to put up with a lot of nonsense, and probably never get thanked. I wouldn't want to do their jobs.)

Since I'm not a super hero like Ashley, my cookies were not home made, but I did actually go to the store for the first time today. Since Tuesday, I haven't been anywhere other than the hospital and our apartment. It was good to vary the routine, even if the variation was something as mundane as a trip to Trader Joes.

By the Way...

It is usually around midnight when I finish writing these messages. And I cannot figure out how to use the spell-check on this program. So I apologize for hideous spelling errors.


Gina said...

You are nothing short of amazing in your energy, intellectual and emotional stamina, and largess of heart. . .look on all the support and gifts as a small percentage of what you two have bestowed on others over the years! It's so good to hear of the daily triumphs that Robb is making - Yea!! Go, Robb, go!!!!! Go, Robb, go!!!

ZeitgeistMama said...

mmmm.....butter pats.... hope you're having a good day of transfer - that you found a good rehab center! I know that if anyone can navigate the health care system it's going to be Lisa (a woman who PREFERS to knit on the smallest possible gague has got to be good at the details!)

and certainly Robb - you have the best attitude around - as Lisa wrote, Robb is Robb! so we feel confident you guys are seeing the humor despite the work!

go Robb go!!!


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