23 January 2009


Hey all! Today I was featured in a little article in the State Journal-Register, Illinois' main non-chitown news rag. You can find the online version here. Quite the dandy feature, and no offense to the skilled and decidedly entertaining author (should write an article about himself!), but I feel bad not clarifying the occasional ambiguity that might have you scratching your head - particularly if you're one of the few who has kept up with the blog. This also a convenient opportunity for some elaboration. Here goes:

--The car accident was in 2004, the second winter after high school graduation in spring 2003 (and yes, the secret's out, I was the valedictator).

--Ha ha, yes, I did officially name my kitty 289, but he goes by Tommy, as it's a bit more feline-recognizable. Why 289? Well, 17 is irrationally one of my favorite numbers (quite rationally, actually), and 289 is 17 squared. There you go. Nerd alert.

--One of my friends pointed out that the article's wording seems to imply that during the stem cell surgery, they accessed the stem cells in my nose by going up through my neck. eek! The surgery was basically a three-step process once I was in the operating room. First, they opened my neck to inspect and prepare the spinal cord lesion site. Then they left my neck alone and went up through my right nostril to harvest cells from deep in the nasal cavity. Finally, after preparing these cells from my nose, they went back to my neck to transplant the cells at the cleaned-up injury site.

--Just for clarification, I was in Portugal April 7-21, and the surgery took place on the 11th. I was then in Detroit from May 5 through December 18.

--I play (non-bass) guitar lap-style, using splints on both hands to push on the strings like some bizarro piano. Upon returning from Detroit, though, I put just the lowest and highest strings on my favorite bass, such that I can hold it normally and sort of play it that way, splint-free. Maybe there will be pictures sometime.

--Musicians mentioned: Les Claypool, Victor Wooten, Bootsy Collins, Buckethead (and my Bucket concert experience). Too bad you can't put hyperlinks in the newspaper! Also, be on the lookout for more music-themed posts in the near future.

Anyway, xlnt article. Thanks to the SJ-R, and to you for reading both there and here. Rock it.

21 January 2009


Twelve hours straight in the manual chair (let's call this one "manuelita") today. hrrrg.

Little else to report. Ding!

09 January 2009


Howdy folks! End "holiday" hiatus.

The biggest deal to report is that I'm back in cville for what will probably equal winter hibernation. It won't be therapy hibernation (rehabernation?), though - there are all sorts of activities/exercises we can improv here, including short and long sit, prone and supine "mat" (= bed) work, weight training with stretchy theraband resistance material, a zillion occutherapy/ADL tasks... Et cetera, et cetera.

In fact, it might be easier to look at what I can't do here, due to a lack of people or equipment. Obviously I won't be cooking with Giger; sadface, I'm one of the few who actually like that machine. No Wave either. There will be e-stim biking - until insurance shells out for a bike of my own, some awesome family friends in town offered to let me visit and use theirs. Note to insurance: this does not mean I should not get one. The only significant logistic limitation is that there are just two other people here, so exercises that require more assistance, e.g. some short sit stuff and the "bicycle" supine abdominal work, aren't going to happen. (Also, just to torment the docs, therapists, and others who so vehemently oppose that I should do any weight bearing, I'd like to point out that our friends have a standing frame as well. Mwa ha ha ha.)

Ergo, it's no internationally-reknowned SCI recovery facility here Bei Link, but there's plenty to be done.

All that said, my most important workout has been something else completely. Knowing that I'm waiting so anxiously to get my own manual chair and ditch the electrowheels, another client at the CSCIR very very VERY generously gave me a fully-customized spare chair that he had at home taking up space, serving as a coat rack. WOW. Despite that it's built for someone quite less gigantic than I, it is absolutely fantastic. Thus, my main therapeutic activity has been spending as much time as possible in this thing. I shall not dance around the fact: this is hard! Size has nothing to do with difficulty, either. I'm used to lounging around in the rolling La-Z-Boy, so spending even just an hour or two en manuel, sitting up perfectly and trying to push around my severely-sloped room with standard unmodified rims, is work work work. That's the idea, though. My back/shoulder/neck muscles scream and the pain meds flow, but each day seems to be ever-so-slightly easier. I can actually sit at my desk, rather than sideways next to it, for the first time in years. Hrrrrg!

Hmmm. Otherwise, various entertainment. Visits to family and from schoolpals; smiles. Slowly re-ripping the music collection to FLAC. "Playing" a little bass/guitar. Sleeping plenty. I dunno, my personal life is profoundly boring to most everyone.

I suppose that's all for now. Feel free to propose discussion topics and questions in the comments so I have something worthwhile to write about! Otherwise, I might just do mathematical proofs. You've been warned. Rock out.