June 2009

Put me in a room with 5000 different pieces of exercise equipment and then enjoy the show. (Ok, it would just be irritating to some people to witness, but I assure you my public fitness center naívete is genuine. Note this as yet another contradiction in my character, considering my fondness of athletics.)

I feel so old. It’s very much like this: “In my day, we were lucky to get a turn on a 5 station weight machine in the balcony of the school gym.”

I did get a great work-out today, and I think I will even get a hang of the different machines, but in the meantime:

I will likely face the wrong way on a seat again. And I’ve decided that’s O-kaaay.

I always pack the sunscreen and repeatedly encourage its use. I’m the only one to use it consistently, and the only one that gets tanned instead of burned.

We will camp within walking distance of a “superstore,” yet both my mother AND my sister have been very concerned all week that I not forget my hat. Of course, this preoccupation with being sure to take something I take everywhere anyhow will mean I will forget something even more important (and not available in the Northwoods).

I should be more careful, I know–they monitor my blog and are still in a position to dump me and leave me in the lake.

“Alright, who’s packing heat?”

A lot of people don’t get them.  And I’m okay with that for the most part.  For those of you comprehending the simultaneous possession of opposite various qualities in thoughts, experiences, and expressions:  I salute you!

order of events

grocery shopping; picked up delicacy for impending camping trip (for nostalgia’s sake)  Note: this was in addition to essentials for s’mores.

brought in mail


read spiffy, stylish, snazzy, spectacular S newsletter rather than setting it aside “for later”

group mentioned, although without acronym

and I think this was on Jeopardy! last week, too… and none of the contestants answered correctly–but I did

Bringing out the tapes during short trips in the planetary body.

Solid workout at PT today. Ended my session on the treadmill. I think this was my first time on one. I was thinking of the music video with the choreographed ‘millers (was that OK Go or a band named something like that?)
Other exercises took me back to doing the bear/crab walk on all fours in elementary school gym. I used to get up from the floor by sticking my behind in the air and walking my hands and arms until I could raise my upper body. It was amazingly effective! At an in-patient therapy session, just before I was released, I figured I’d never do that again. Now it seems within reasonable reach. Just like that (snap!)

I probably wouldn’t have tried this for months. Now, I know some safe exercises to build more starting now. I think I had been using the same exercises, since 1996, to regain balance, walking, and strength. I’d notice functional improvements, but this time around, I am more aware of individual and groups of muscles that are getting to be part of the action. What really rocks is tapping into the mind-set I had in my days of youth sports. That’s the intangible on top of the primary benefits.

My socially awkward moment of the day came when I took my trash out. The dumpster rests on a platform that is a standard curb height. I used to just use the dumpster as a balance reference, but when I went out with just my cane, it was not pretty trying to lift the dumpster lid ~and~ throwing in my small bag. So I took my walker the last time and it was much safer (and I don’t know if I looked smooth doing it, but I felt like I did). Sooo, I actually looked forward to using my walker this time (it’s great stability for a single step with no railing AND fits perfectly on the lip of the platform). As I stepped down to cross the parking lot, a new neighbor from an adjacent building was exiting her car, 20 feet from the dumpster. She ended up lifting the lid for me. It was quite kind of her. In the moment, though, it surprised me. I am improving in strength and doing more generally, but before going out, I had consciously gone through my action sequence (like a seasoned athlete), which is how I knew to take the walker. It’s funny, but I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get to play the game I had just prepared for (insert any of numerous sports analogies here)–and I said something to the effect of the walker enabling my independence, and then caught myself and said a sincere thank you instead of rambling when I wasn’t sure whether she had said anything else. The dumpster lid is unwieldy, afterall… and now that I think of it, she very well could have saved me from a fall. I’m not afraid of falling, but I’m well aware of the disastrous immediate and delayed consequences on us folks with neurodegenerative disorders.

This kind of stuff isn’t really new. I’m just writing more to be writing. And if you have Big Brain Academy Wii Degree, and want to compete/assist me with my cognitive rehab, then drop me a comment or email. If you made iþ this far, I figure you are so inclined.

Don’t ask me where the song came from. I’m cleaning, and should have tunes on, but I don’t. I guess it’s good at this point in my recovery to allow my brain to wander musically. (I think I would have done much better in the hospital if I had had music… And not been bombarded with the flickering of TVs… but hey, here I am now, and the third time is where I’ve used my lessons from the last two surgeries–once my mind was allowed to come back around.)

I winnowed down my socks. I still have two pairs of patterned long socks that weathered the way through my mom’s and my teenage years. They don’t make them like that anymore! (I am selective when I wear them now because they are getting thin…)

I usually wear things beyond a condition anyone would want them, but I’m donating a thousand new/almost new hospital footie slippers to charitable orgs–and I still have a hundred for gifts and personal use. It’s unfortunate I’m not craftier with sequins.

I’m not sure if that’s actually a word. A film with aspects and balance that resonated quite strongly with me (along with the city locations it features):
August Rush.

Do you have any recs? I’m especially lacking in comedies that are quirky, but no need to set limits.


First time rising unassisted from a low (standard height) household toilet seat since February. I’ve had higher seat extensions and railings since mid-May and am pleased with this development because it’s indicative of more general improvements–AND because I didn’t try to rush it.

First time ever using one of those electric scooters at a store. And rock–it served doubly: first allowing conservation of energy so I had it for the toilet acrobatics (and to clean up after ANOTHER JUNE BIRTHDAY meal and cake), and secondly as a test drive before my real driving assessment in early July. I’m simply happy to be alive, of course. Being able to drive is a great bonus–especially considering my locale, age, and status. The scooter is nifty. My reluctance to use many things (including accessible parking spots and doors in the past) stems from knowing “use it or lose it” rings true to some extent, as well as continually rediscovering shifting boundaries and limits.

I love how the processes feed into and out of one another!

I had surgical follow-up MRI and visit with my NS in Indy last Mon., as well as eye work-up with my neuro-opthalmologist (and several delightful residents, interns, etc).

Largest brainstem tumor stable (news to us all!) and Dr. Witt very happy with my condition post-op this last meningioma removal. Great to see function and strength markedly improved–and especially cognitive and language areas coming back. The lesion was very large, extending on both sides of internal ABI components, and evidenced by the length of the incision. My optic nerve tumor is partially hidden on scans by other things in my head, so we are going mainly by symptoms to assess the status of that. I am to watch for changes in my peripheral vision, especially. Back in a year.

Eyes are generally good. My left one has dry spots, so I’ll stay confidently vigilant on using drops. (I did ask about the larger containers of drops and the gels with the “disappearing preservative.” Confirmed again: it’s the build up over time of the preservatives, as well as increased risk of infection that makes the individual vials I’ve been using since the mid-90s the wisest choice for addressing the more mechanical root (incomplete and irregular lid closure)–AKA warped windshield wiper effect–of my chronic dry eye.) Dr. Yee reiterated that we can’t see tumor to assess because of ABI, but my peripheral vision is great (I aced a new vision field test–and boy has that technology come a long way since the 80s when they were mapped by hand). He also put in drops to confirm that the lower vision score in left eye was from the dry spots and not related to my cataracts. Back in 6 .mos.

Developments left and right–literally and figuratively. I need to turn in for the night, but I wanted to share the general upward trend!

Laughter is still the main key.