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Showing posts from July, 2006

six months since the accident

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Remember the plum that Robb picked on one of his therapy walks? Well, the universe wanted to show that it was not without a sense of humor, and marked the occasion of the six-month anniversary of Robb's accident by dropping the tree this plum came from on one our neighbor's cars. We'll write a more serious entry, but at the moment, I'm rushing out the door, late for dinner with Robb and his parents.

a frivolous and fun day with family

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After a failed attempt at visiting Preservation Park , Robb and I took his parents to the Oakland Rose Garden . He caught up with his family, while I wandered around and poked my camera into the private parts of roses, and checked up on a couple of my letterboxes . The morning had been overcast, but the sun was gloriously bright while we were in the garden. On the way out, I noticed the hummingbirds dive-bombing this fellow. He very obligingly swooped down in an attempt to catch a squirrel, and alighted quite close to us. I'm not sure who was more surprised about this encounter, the Cooper's Hawk , or the humans. There are more serious things that I could be discussing on the blog today, but I really would rather write about a lovely day with family.
Robb's parents arrived safe and sound. They are staying in an apartment on the Oakland Waterfront, near Jack London Square. We all had a lovely dinner, and Robb will be spending the day with them tomorrow. I've been very busy with work, and when I get home I've been too tired or lazy to write much on the blog.

Best Wishes to a Happy Couple!

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Robb and I would like to congratulate Erica and Chris* on their engagement. We have admired your relationship for a very long time, and wish you every happiness together. I don't seem to have any good photos of the two of you, so I'll share a few silly images of Erica, and one really, really silly photo from the same evening of me and Susan. (Never make the bride-to-be lose her dignity, that's my motto!) Should I marry Chris? Yesssssssssss!!!!!! What will the girls be doing at the bachelorette party? *That's knitica and fireball to the online letterboxing community

Long Walks on the Beach

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After an afternoon spent throwing away some of the random junk that has piled up in our garage, and a lovely lunch, Robb suggested that we drive to Alameda and take a walk on the beach. The pelicans were flying. Kids were frolicking. I gawked at the wildflowers. And, as is so often the case in California, I had no idea what I was looking at. Robb didn't walk for a particularly long distance, but he managed to walk on the beach without his ankle braces, and also collected sand in his sandals. It was a lovely way to end a day.

Dreaming of Cycling

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Ever since I read about it in Gourmet Magazine (or possibly Fine Dining -- this was a number of years ago), I have wanted to participate in RAGBRAI . RAGBRAI is a week-long bicycle rally through the small towns of Iowa that has the reputation of being a pie-eating, beer-drinking, rolling party. "Wow!" I thought, this sounds like the event for me and Robb! Sign us up." As this event completely conflicted with my long-term summmer job at the Glimmerglass Opera, RAGBRAI became a sort of running joke with me and Robb and my Iowa-raised Glimmerglass boss, Ellen. If work was too miserable, I could fantasize about eating pie alongside of the road on a scorching hot day in rural Iowa. When I decided, for a variety of reasons, not to return for my ninth year of running the paint shop for the Glimmerglass Opera, Robb tried to cheer me up by reminding me that we would finally be able to ride RAGBRAI. Flash Forward to Spring, 2006. Robb is in the hospital at California

Visits

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When Robb's parents last visited us in February, Robb was just able to sit in his wheelchair for short periods of time. He was doing physical therapy but the rest of his day was spent in his hospital bed. We think that they will be very pleased with all of his progress when they come to see us next week. And of course, we will be very happy to see them! If things work out well, our dear friend Gina will be visiting this month as well. Up until now, we haven't encouraged our friends to visit and stay with us. But we've known Gina so long and have been missing her so much lately that this visit will be a delight.

The Title of This Entry

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J ust as I never realized "paraplegia" can be partial and temporary, so I never realized people can need to use a wheelchair only part of the time. Yesterday I had a fitting where they took measurements for a customized manually operated folding wheelchair. There were so many options to choose from and so many considerations to take into account: portability, length of time spent in the chair, terrain it will be used on, etc. I think I'll be happy with it once it's built and delivered. I'll continue to work on my walking, of course, but having the ability to keep up with all you speedy walkers and go farther than a thousand feet without a rest break sounds good to me. M y day was going to be dominated by a doctor's appointment today but they called last night to cancel. The office person said the doctor had to be in surgery this morning. Considering how long it's taking them to reschedule, I'm starting to think maybe he's the one having

An Oaklandish Weekend

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Robb and I both agree that we are very lucky to be living in Oakland. Sure the cost of real estate is astronomical, but overall the Bay Area is a very easy place for us get around in. If we were still living in Maryland, I can't imagine what Robb's half-inch-thick plastic armor would be like in the summer humidity. Or what walking with an unsteady gait, and poor balance would be like on Connecticut's icy sidewalks. All things considered, we're in a good place. So, what do we do on our weekends? On Saturday, we bottled the beer that Robb brewed a while back. And we took another walk at the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park , and did a little letterboxing . Robb has been pushing himself to walk and exercise as much as possible, which is admirable and also really exhausting for him. After our walk in the park, he came home and collapsed on the couch. When he gets really tired, the quality of his walking really deteriorates, and he shuffles along, hardly bending or l

Feeling a Little Behind...

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This may seem like a tiny landmark, but I'm totally thrilled by this. (I should also note that Robb is nonplussed by my excitement on this topic.) Since Robb has been stable enough to shower, he has been showering using a chair. Because of Robb's poor balance, a standing shower is just too dangerous. On Thursday morning, he came out of the shower and told me that for the first time ever, he had been able to feel how cold and wet the chair's seat was when he sat down on it. Yippee Hurray!!!!! Robb has regained some more sensation in his butt!!!!! Go ahead...Leave a heart-warming supportive comment...We double-dog-dare you!

You Take the Hy-road...

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Part of my normal routine these days is riding the bus to physical therapy twice a week. The freedom to do this was a big deal when I first started in May but now it's becoming old hat even though it has its challenges. The one thing about it I'm only now getting used to is paying the disabled persons' fare. To do this you technically have to carry some kind of proof of registration. Well, I guess anybody who takes as long as I do to board a bus is walking proof of disability because no bus driver ever asked to see proof. No driver, that is, until yesterday. I was getting on a bus to ride one stop to a transfer point when a driver asked to see my registration before he would give me a transfer slip. I had to take a seat to look through my bag but I had little hope of finding it since I never needed it and had lost track of it long ago. Soon the point was moot because we were already at my stop. What else could I do? I got off the bus having paid one full far

Great Expectations

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I realized just now that I’m at something like a tipping point in my thinking about my abilities. I think I made a fairly easy transition in dealing with my new limitations. I woke up in the hospital, recognized what I had to work with, and accepted it. As I learned about what I could and couldn’t do, my expectations we very low at first. The danger I’ve discovered lately is incorporating those limitations into my identity. It can be tempting to get comfortable with the speed at which I’m walking, for instance. This is part of what the therapists call plateau-ing. Up until recently I’ve felt like my progress has leveled off. Maybe, though, I just stopped pushing. Most people going through their daily lives don’t suddenly say to themselves, “Gee, I wonder if I can do a handstand today.” Or “ I haven’t tried in a while but maybe today’s the day I can dance en pointe.” Lately though, I’ve found it necessary to question my limits constantly. Can I bend over and pick up a sock

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

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I have never been very good at driving backwards, but I fear that I've gotten worse. Last night, as I was trying to negotiate a particularly tricky (for me) parking job, I was bemoaning my new talent for running into large stationary objects. And what do I do? I inadvertently slapped Robb upside the head while parallel parking. Robb and Kara found this terribly amusing. I really wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry. And as if That Wasn't Enough.... Among the strawberries I bought this weekend was a special one. Robb took the kitty whiskers that I collect from the carpet and am incapable of throwing away, and made this little cat head puppet. And then he chased the cats (in paralyzed slow-motion) around the apartment, holding a strawberry in one hand and a camera in the other. Since he did this without the use of a cane, I'll stretch the definition and call this Physical Therapy. He has been doing other, more productive things with his days, but I'll leav

Art and Leisure

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Due to the tightness of the schedule at work, I painted the floor of one of Berkeley Repertory Theatre's two spaces on Saturday morning. And after that, I scrubbed the paint off myself and Robb and I went out to the Richmond Art Center to attend James' opening . On Sunday, we decided to track down a new letterbox at Jack London Square in Oakland. It seemed that everyone in Oakland who uses a cane or a walker or a wheelchair was there with us. There are a lot of large tile murals in the Bay Area, but I was particularly delighted with the tiles at Jack London Square. Some messages seemed directed at our situation. Some were more general. Some displayed that wonderfully cryptic quality of great kid art... A few were memorial plaques. Many of the tiles had images of animals. We stopped in at California Canoe and Kayak , to ask about the possibility of getting a private instructor to work with Robb. We're not certain that Robb will be able to k