Friday, May 4, 2007

Some progress...

I have made some physical progress. When I first incurred the injury on March 12, based on the MRI, I was classified as a T6 level injury, meaning that I had no mobility and limited sensation from my 6th thoracic vertebrae on my spine all the way to the bottom of my spinal cord. This level was confirmed when they performed an "ASIA" (American Spinal Injury Association) test when I was admitted to Craig Hospital on March 21, which required my judgmental responses to various stimulation.

My physical therapist reperformed the test last Friday and confirmed based on the ASIA test that my level is reclassified as a T8 (lower on my spine), meaning that I have had some return in my stomach/ab region. I can definitely tell that there have been improvements as my core strength and balance has improved over the past week.

Last Friday, they also transferred me to outpatient rehab, meaning that I would no longer live at the hospital (for in-patient care; basically nursing care). Instead, they moved me to the patient/family apartments adjacent to the hospital where I am more independent in the sense that I am responsible for administering my medications and have no nursing support.

On another note, due to the strenuous therapies and weight training, I have tendinitis in my right bicep. Not too big of a deal. I just have to ice it several times a day.

My discharge date is May 11 and it looks like that is still accurate, so I should be coming back to Southern California really soon. I just got my seat cushion today, but we're still waiting for my wheelchair. I think it got stuck in the whole politics of insurance/manufacturer/distributor/etc. Hopefully it'll be here by the time I leave, otherwise, I have to crawl everywhere :( Just kidding. Hopefully it'll be here. If not, they may just give me a loaner chair for the time being.

I'm still tied up with the strenuous therapies and figuring out logistics for when I return home. I also just found out that I am eligible for animal assistance so I'm looking into a helper dog or even a helper monkey! Today I had another accupunture session (my 5th) in combination with Reiki spiritual healing.

My sister, Jen, arrived today for the weekend and one of my best friends, Jeff, arrives tomorrow. My dad and Ivette are here as well. I will include a whole entry soon detailing everyone who has visited with pictures.

Anyways, that's all for now. Hasta pronto...

Every Monday night, these gigantic Newfoundland dogs visit and slobber. They're beautiful dogs and always bring a smile to my face.

Here is a picture of my physical therapy in action with my Physical Therapist, Alissa. Here we're working on some range of motion to maintain joint integrity.

Although my feet are naturally beautiful, Ivette insisted that she give me a pedicure.

This is in the training room. I am using a machine called a "standing frame" that allows me to stand up with appropriate support. This picture was taken shortly after my dad and brother drove up from California.

Look how tall I am! It's always surprising when I get in the standing frame to realize how tall I am since I always look up to people now from the wheelchair.

This is the FES (electrical stimulation bike). I use this about 3 times per week to electrically stimulate my leg muscles.

One of the tasks of occupational therapy is to teach how to perform normal day-to-day activities. Here, I actually had to cook lunch. I didn't even do that on a normal day-to-day basis before!

Here's my brother, James, and I after a tough workout, playing one of the wheelchair games they have devised here, "Goal Ball".

Here I am when I first started pool therapy. The water is a nice and warm 96 degrees, although I can't even feel it with my legs.

Family and friends can join me in the pool (large jacuzzi) during my pool therapy. Here's Ivette and me taking a break during the tough workout. So far, my dad, sister Judy and Ivette have come in the pool with me.


At May 4, 2007 at 9:59 AM , Blogger ^_^ jesa ^_^ said...

I miss Jofus! I can't wait to see you when you get home. Take care and God bless <3

At May 4, 2007 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Anthony said...


At May 4, 2007 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

btw... your blog is filled with joe jokes... hahah miss you back here in

At May 5, 2007 at 9:32 AM , Anonymous spanish family said...

Hola joe, hemos visto tus fotos y animo, con ese trabajo que estás haciendo te recuperarás pronto.
Necesitamos que alguién nos de el e-mail de joe.
Help, we´re the Joe´s spanish family and we´re wanted his e-mail address, please I need anyone send me the Joe´s e-mail addrees.
My e-mail address is

At May 6, 2007 at 5:17 PM , Anonymous Andrew said...

Joe! I just read your blog. Glad to know that you're doing fine. haha you made some funny comments in your blog too. we're all excited to see you when you get back! take care!!

This is one of my favorite quotes:

"Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

- Andrew -


At May 7, 2007 at 3:52 AM , Blogger Brian said...

It's great to hear that you are making progress! We're praying for ya man.

At May 8, 2007 at 9:17 PM , Blogger Alin said...

Hey Joe!

That's awesome news! Keep it up!



At May 10, 2007 at 7:17 AM , Blogger Darren said...

Home soon buddy!

At May 12, 2007 at 1:14 AM , Blogger Tami said...

How lucky we are to get to spend some time to get to know you, Ivette and your Dad before you leave. Why did we wait so long?!

We never got to meet "pre-surfer myelopathy Joe," but if he's anything like the guy here at Craig, he is sensational. You all back home should see how everyone here look up to Joe ... his optimism, spirit and determination. What an inspiration. Even our 2 year old son Dominic thinks Joe is the coolest.

Joe, you are a natural leader and nothing like this weird disease will stand in your way. You & Ivette are a powerful twosome.

Have a safe trip home tomorrow and don't forget your friends back in Colorado. We will stay tuned to read about your progress.

Stay in Gratitude,
Gino, Tami and Dominic DePalma


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home