Thursday, June 01, 2006

Where things stand

I fear that I've been posting an awful lot about socializing and not much about Robb's physical condition.

I suspect that we've finished the "honeymoon period" of Robb's recovery from his spinal cord injury, and that we're now in the "long haul." The first part of a recovery like this happens as the spinal cord's swelling reduces, and then there is a much more drawn-out recovery of the nerves themselves.

This recovery of the nerves takes place, we are told, at at rate of one millimeter a day, or an inch a month. Considering the distance between the middle of Robb's back (the site of the injury) and the ends of his toes (which he still can't feel), there's a long way to go.

While Robb isn't recovering very swiftly, he is learning how to work with what he's got. And there are small improvements. His balance seems much better. When we had the in-house therapists, Robb could only stand in one place for about thirty seconds without starting to fall over. Now he can stand for several minutes.

So, here's how things stand...

Robb still cannot feel the bottoms of his feet, or the backs of his legs or his pelvic region. The strength in his feet is very poor. But he is able to walk, by using the other muscles of his legs. He lifts his feet off the floor, rather than pushing off with his feet, if that makes any sense.

Robb still has very low energy. He is pushing himself very hard, and gets really exhausted. He also just doesn't have a lot of mental energy, which means that he isn't busily writing plays or teaching himself to knit during his time at home.

He still can't really bend over or crouch. Robb's mom sent us a book about pharmaceutical drugs and it turns out that one of the side effects of one of the medications he is on is -- get this -- clumsiness. So, he's dropping all sorts of things on the floor, much to the delight of the cats. Yesterday it was a piece of cheese in a ziplock bag. Linguine was ready to tear into the bag if Robb left the room, so Robb slid the cheese along the floor until he was in a room with one of his "reachers." (When Robb told me this story last night, he neglected to mention that the cheese was in a bag, and I was entertaining all sorts of horrible visions of dragging cheese across the floor with a walking stick.)

Robb is spending more and more time out of his brace. He is now getting up and showering without it. Imagine showering inside a suit of plastic armor, and you'll understand how wonderful of an improvement this is!

We have an appointment with Robb's neurosurgeon tomorrow, so there will probably be more to report at that time.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid no one understands how long the road to recovery is until they find themselves on that journey.
Rob's doing so well and has come so far. Time has a way of passing so fast which is good in these situations. He should be so proud of himself as he reaches each and every goal. It's not easy but it'll be the test of everything he's about.

From one survivor to another, keep up the good work!

Take care, Kathie

Anonymous said...

Now is a good time for Robb to catch up on all the movies he's never gotten to see. I highly recommend a series of the Simpsons, or South Park as they are silly enough to make anyone laugh, and laughter is good for the muscles, the heart and the sense of humor.

I also appreciate watching South Park as it is completely degenerate, and is tuned into what my mindset is like anyway.

- Catch you later- Annalisa and Gary

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