02 December 2014

Halloween, Thanksgiving and SCI Recovery :: Bruce Snyder's Status

(I wrote this post in early December, but I forgot to post it, so here it is!)

Halloween and Thanksgiving are standard American holidays and they are definitely a good way to mark the progress of my recovery. They seemed to so far away for so long and yet they flew right by this year.

When you have kids, Halloween is a pretty fun time for them. From picking out pumpkins, to carving jack-o-lanterns, to jumping into big piles of leaves, to various Halloween parties leading up to the evening of trick-or-treating. When my girls were younger, they would get so excited for Halloween. They loved picking pumpkins right out of a pumpkin patch and couldn't wait to carve them. We would get out Halloween decorations for the house and carve our pumpkins together. They would really get into it with elaborate designs that they would trace on the pumpkins and require some time investment to carve whereas I would always carve simple, silly faces on my pumpkin that took no time at all to complete, but would make everyone laugh. Well this was the first year where my kids were not into Halloween very much.

This year I was on my own to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. Janene was away on a business trip and both my girls were with their friends elsewhere in town. Although I've been mostly walking with the crutches at this point, any time I need to carry something I still need to sit down in the wheelchair to do so. It was too difficult for me to hold the door open to greet the trick-or-treaters while holding the big bowl of candy, so I sat in my wheelchair. It was still fun though because I was down low enough to see all the kids at their eye level and they instinctively helped to hold the door open as I put candy in their bags. Many of the kids know me from coaching soccer, volunteering at the elementary school, etc., so they talked to me about how my recovery is progressing. It was nice to see them all.

Janene's folks came into town for several days to celebrate Thanksgiving and it was nice to have some family around for a while. They participated in our Thanksgiving traditions of fixing a big meal, going to see a movie and playing games afterwards. We also took the girls to see The Nutcracker ballet in Denver (as we have done for many years now) and afterwards we had dinner at a wonderful sushi restaurant. They also helped us put up Xmas holiday decorations around the house including all the outdoor lights. Janene and I have always done this with the girls but there's no way that I can climb a ladder and be on the roof in my current state so Janene's dad helped with that part.

I continue with my recovery from the spinal cord injury. I continue to walk on a treadmill just about every day during the week because we have a couple in the fitness room I'm building at my work office. I've worked up to about 40 minute sessions walking at about 2.5 miles per hour. Although this is not much by normal standards, it is really helping my body to recover quite a lot.

I also I got a stationary bike recently so that I can ride it on a regular basis. It is already help to rebuild the muscles in my hips and butt. I'd love to just put one of my bikes on my trainer an spin like I used to do, but there's no way that I can sit on a regular road bike seat at this point. The stationary bike has a wider more padded seat that allows me to ride for about 20 minutes at a time with a small amount of tension. Although it's a very different ride, it still feels good to be pedaling again.

I continue with physical therapy appointments in Boulder twice a week. These sessions are important because my physical therapist shows me many exercises to do and is continually checking my progress, but most of the recovery is my responsibility. I have to keep doing the work every day and stay motivated to beat the muscle atrophy that has transformed my body so much. Because I have been through muscle atrophy almost 30 years ago when I had one of my knees reconstructed, I know what the hard work is all about. I also know that physical therapy is what can save you from a major injury. And so, I fight on.