I know you all were probably on the edge of your seat waiting to see how week two of NRN went, WELL…………….
It started off a little rocky because of the long Labor Day weekend on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday went great and well Friday lets just say I ended the week with a bang!
On Friday, I rolled to Shepherd as I had done for the past 2 weeks. Just as I arrived I got a return call from a medical bill collector on a bill I was trying to get straightened out. I guess all the going back and forth with no resolved only resulted in increasing my blood pressure. Literally, when they checked my BP it was on the high end but still safe to hit the treadmill. My face was even splotchy but I really didn’t feel too bad so I voted to proceed because I came to work and had no plans to layout unless I had to, well I wish I had! Two runs in on the treadmill they stopped because they noticed that my right ankle and leg were swollen. They decided to call it quits and pulled me down. After examining it they feared a blood clot which is common for my injury. I was instructed to go to the ER and get the leg scanned for clots and do an ankle X-ray just in case. My PT walked me over to help me get checked in for my 7 hour say at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital ER. THE OUTCOME WAS A BADLY BROKEN RIGHT ANKLE AND AN EVEN WORSE BROKEN HEART/SPIRIT. THIS WAS THE END OF THE NRN FOR ME.
Sitting in radiology and that guy saying, “yep it’s broken”, almost instantly brought me to tears. The only thing that delayed the breakdown was my mind going into denial mode. I asked him if he was serious and he was like “you think I’m joking, look” as he pointed out the breaks. I was totally devastated, I had to roll outside to collect myself and call Yasmine. Honestly, this moment was right up there with hearing my nurse tell my parents I would never walk again when I first got injured.
Some of you are probably thinking like ok you have a broken ankle, yeah that sucks but is that really that big of a deal? Lets rewind, ever since my accident on 8/1/11 my wife has been researching my injury and the therapies for it. She found out about the NRN and its promising results early on, so I’ve been trying to get into the program since the end of my first Day Program ending December 2nd 2011! I had tried out 3 times so it felt like a dream when I finally got in. As naive as it may seem we thought this was going to be my big shot at some real improvement. My wife and I imagined me getting some walking function, strength for my manual chair, transfers and even enough change to drop my nurse. So yeah this ankle break was a hope and dream smasher for us. If you are keeping tally, I broke my neck, had syrinx (only 4% of people with a spinal cord injury get one) and I broke my ankle during NRN (the first at Shepherd), all these events take a toll on a person.
This whole incident served as a wake up call for us. It made us realize that we have to except things for what and how they are RIGHT now. We have to face the fact that I’m in a power chair, electric chair as I like to call it, I need a hoyer lift and that I will have to deal with them and all the limitations that go with them. Furthermore, I will need nursing care indefinitely and that we’ll be running out of funds for it soon. My life, my condition is what it is and we have to live with it. It’s just hard to stomach. The hard work, the prayers, hopes for the future, etc. can’t change any of in right now so we have to make the best of things. Now don’t get me wrong myself or my family are not giving up. We still believe that I will continue to improve and eventually I will walk but its just not going to happen today or tomorrow. Now we alter the plan to focus more on enjoying life than on rehab.
In the spirit if living life we have enrolled both boys in pre-k and they started this week. We have decided to trade/sale my wife’s car so we can get an accessible van that is safer and more comfortable than the clunker we bought when we thought my situation was temporary. My wife is doing her final interview for grad school next month and I’m getting back into the voc rehab program. With all of this I’ll still do as much rehab as can but I’m going to keep the focus on enjoying life.