Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another one of THOSE days…

I would say that 95% of the time, I’m happy, go-lucky, accepting and determined about my situation. Today was one of the 5% of days where everything is frustrating and overwhelming. I know I’m usually happy and smiling and it’s pure and true. I am truly accepting of what God has chosen for me as my path, but it’s hard.

He gave me my cross. Most days, He helps me and it's not so bad. Other times, like today, it’s extremely heavy.

But I find solace in the love and support from everyone. Here’s some insight into some of the frustrations that went into my head today.

When I woke up this morning, I had a weird feeling. It was almost like this whole ordeal was a dream. I woke up half expecting to roll out of bed and wake up from this dream. Everything was so normal. I woke up in my messy room, in my own bed. But then I tried to move, and nothing... Sometimes this experience is just so surreal.

-My parents, Ivette and I checked out Project Walk in San Diego on Monday. This is supposedly a very innovative program that tries different techniques to help people regain function and walk. I am a little skeptical because of the aggressive therapy. My physical therapists in Colorado always told me to be weary of joint integrity. Also, seeing some of the people “walk” per se was odd as it seemed that they walked on spasms rather than being able to walk normally. There are still a lot of questions in my mind, but overall I was impressed by the program and attitude of everyone there. However, it is really expensive ($100 per hour) and is not covered by insurance. I may try it, but will probably try rehab at UCLA first. I became frustrated yesterday thinking that I even have to go through something like this and dedicate so much time and money for something that was so easy. Now I have to maybe drive 2 hours each way and spend hundreds of dollars for months to try to get better.

-It’s been impossible getting an appointment at UCLA for neurology and rehab. I have been calling UCLA every day since I got back from rehab trying to get an appointment. They finally gave me an appointment yesterday for July 17. It’s really frustrating because I want to move forward and keep up with everything that I did at Craig, but because of the red tape, I have been unable to see the doctor to set up my outpatient rehab schedule.

-I have had some improvements as listed on my last blog and want to capitalize on these. I am now thirsting for outpatient rehab, but it’s been impossible with UCLA. I love that Ivette helps me with my exercises that we learned at Craig, but I’m interested in being formally evaluated to see how much I have actually improved. I hope my improvements aren’t for naught.

-It’s frustrating that I have to allocate so much money to all of the treatments, supplies, etc. Before, I had to worry about all of my normal expenses and payments, but now I have to factor in so many medical necessities. Also, I have had some acupuncture/reflexology and loved it and felt great after it. However, I have to monitor how often I do it because it’s $90 per session. If money were no issue, I would probably do it every day, but unfortunately it is. I am extremely lucky because my parents have made many sacrifices and have helped out with many of the expenses, but I know they have their own expenses to cover. It’s frustrating that we even have to incur these expenses that we never had to before.

-It’s been impossible playing the insurance ballet. I have tried and tried with the suppliers and insurance to get some rehab equipment approved that is sometimes approved. I want a standing frame and FES bike. The standing frame allows me to stand while providing support and is useful for increasing circulation and bone density and the FES bike electrically stimulates my muscles to build muscle mass and keep my joints moving. I used these a lot in Colorado, but haven’t used them since, and it’s frustrating because I really want to because I know they are good for me, but it’s been impossible trying to get these or use these, especially since UCLA has been so unresponsive.

Long Beach Condo and Life Changes
I stayed in my condo in Long Beach last night. It was so tiring and exhausting getting up the stairs into the unit and then going up another flight to get to my room. It truly would be impossible to live there with all of the work that I would need to put in on a daily basis. When I was brushing my teeth in my bathroom, I got really frustrated because I couldn’t do such simple things. I remember where I could just jump in the shower real quick and get ready. I couldn’t even take a shower there because we didn’t have the supplies and it would have been difficult to get into the shower. Also in the bathroom, I couldn’t reach a lot of things I needed. And I can’t really gargle anymore because it’s really difficult for me to do the motion of putting my hands together and bringing them to my mouth without losing my balance. I have to take one hand and take sips of water to gargle or wash my face. It was sad because when I was upstairs, I was stuck and couldn’t even really navigate my room because of the setup of the furniture. I couldn’t really go down the stairs safely alone, so I was stuck in my little space. It’s frustrating being so reliant on other people right now. I know other people have their things to do. I used to be so independent. Now I need someone to get me a tissue if I can’t reach it even. I can’t wait until I get my car modified so that I will be even more independent again and not have to be such a burden on everyone.

It’s frustrating that I am forced to move into an accessible apartment and rent out the condo and pay double in the process. I am FORCED to move because of this. I am leaving my sister and my neighbors who became good friends. I can’t live there. It’s sad. And when I do move, my place will be completely accessible, but other places aren’t. My friend Brian said that I would be living next to his sister, another one of my friends. It doesn’t matter because she lives on the second floor and there is no elevator. I can’t go over to her place to hang out. Well, I could, but it would be such a big chore to overcome the stairs. I can do ANYTHING that I did before. It’s just that some things take more time and energy. The same thing happened in Texas. Ivette’s friend just bought a new condo, but it was also on the second floor. We were invited to check it out, but Ivette went alone because I didn’t feel like scaling all of the stairs.

Yesterday I sneezed and it didn’t hurt. When I first had the injury, it would kill to sneeze, cough or laugh. It would hurt so much since that area of my stomach didn’t work. But now it feels almost normal.

Return to Work
I would be open to returning to work. Physically, I feel relatively ok. However, sometimes, I easily fatigue. I’m just nervous about my rehab schedule and my work schedule and if doing everything would be exhausting. Even when I left rehab, I thought to myself I would be able to return relatively quickly. But life is just coming at me 100mph right now and there is just so much to figure out. Physically I may be ok and confident, but psychologically, I still need a little time to organize my life and learn to live in a chair for now. It’s especially frustrating that I have not been able to start with my outpatient rehab because I have no idea what that schedule is like and how I would balance that with work. I have talked to some co-workers and they are very anxious for my return and I am too, but I need to make sure that I am 100% ready to return when I do. However, with the aforementioned expenses, I may be forced to return to work sooner than I’m ready.

As written in my other post, the Santo Niño said that I would “walk better” in a week (yesterday, Monday). Monday came and went with no noticeable differences. I was pretty excited about the premonition but am left only still hopeful and waiting. I am patient, but it’s very trying. And right now, I’m lost on my recovery. I don’t know what to do. Some people say that my recovery will take up to 2 years, if ever, and others say that I need to aggressive therapy for a while. So do I continue my life like normal and return to work, etc. or do I go to therapy full time and put life on hold and focus completely on my injury? The psychologist at Craig said that I need to find a balance with therapy and life. It’s tough right now, especially just after the injury, to know where that balance is.

Oh yeah…happy 3-month injury anniversary. 3 months ago today I walked last…


At June 13, 2007 at 11:48 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

i'm with you, bro.. let me know what i can do

At June 14, 2007 at 7:32 AM , Anonymous oamin said...

keep up the faith buddy and keep trying.. you are in my prayers..

At June 14, 2007 at 11:46 AM , Blogger grace said...

What's super impressive is that you're wise enough to realize that these days of frustrations are out there, and that they, too, will pass. Most people, when faced with extremely difficult circumstances, resort to that "Why me?!" sentiment and feel very victimized. What is amazing about you is that you're so forward-thinking and proactive, so quite the opposite.

Damn insurance! I really hope you get your requested equipment soon.

At June 14, 2007 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Pablo said...

Don't ask why but I visited your bolg today. Wanted to know about your progress.
Keep up Joe. You will make it. We all in TIRONI keep you in our prayers and wishes


At June 24, 2007 at 10:26 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

keep going brother...

At June 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM , Blogger Nicole said...

hang in there joe, and keep on writing! It's some of the best therapy out there ((I would know)) - you're in my prayers always!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home