Monday, January 11, 2010

Roll2Walk: Day One

Twelve hours ago (9:30am) my mom and I left for Austin from our suburban home in Mansfield, TX. Why? Some of you may know why, others may be not. So I'm going to quickly explain.

On a cold night on Dec. 18, 2009 in NOLA, my friends threw me a benefit concert to raise money for me to go to Roll 2 Walk, a boot camp of sorts for those with spinal cord injury, I'll explain a little more later. Friends from LSU, high school, elementary school and people I didn't even know showed up to the event to listen to four great bands - The Rooks, Rabbit, The Craft Brothers, and Smiley with a Knife - drink copious amounts of beer and other alternative beverages, eat, and bid on items for silent auction so that I could go to this program. The goal was $2,000 we ended up raising (including online donations) $3,470!! That's a staggering number that still hasn't fully set in to me. I'm completely humbled and feel somewhat undeserving of this kind of generosity and I will never be able to thank everyone who donated and showed up enough that night.

So that brings me to today. I started my first week of Roll 2 Walk. Officially it's a trial week just to give me an idea of what is to come if I continue with the program. Did I say "if?"I meant when I come back. I spent three hours working on my posture, getting muscles to talk to my brain and vice versus again, and really concentrating on my core muscle to help my balance. It was tough as hell but I kind of enjoyed it. Does that make me insane, um, yeah.

First thing I did today was meet the trainers Chad and Greg, they then picked me up and put me on the floor and had me do some simple assessment exercises. Simple my butt! One was rolling, another was getting on all fours, then from there onto my knees. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm a quadriplegic? I did it, but obviously not by myself. after that they picked me up and put me onto the table where they did a combination of range of motion and muscle stimulation. This is the part of the program that focuses on reconnecting the brain to the muscles and get them firing on their own again. While Greg extended and flexed my leg he wanted me to "do" the movement with him. When he was working on my right leg, bringing my knee to my chest, he asked, "are you doing that?" I said I was trying to and he told me that I have hip flexors. They're the muscles around the pelvic/hip area that bring you knees to your chest when your laying on your back or walking up stairs. He started putting pressure on the bottom of my foot to aggravate my sciatic nerve to get that pathway to my brain and do what it's supposed to.

After the table the guys moved onto a leg press and had me do some leg presses which I think I may have been doing myself with a little bit of help and some balancing and posture exercises that focused on my core muscles. While I was doing this I was sweating like a pig. I couldn't tell if it was the exercise or if it was Autonomic Dysreflexia (it's a pain reflex but not like an able-bodied persons, it's more like a warning sign that sometimes includes a excruciating headache and profuse sweating). The core muscle exercise were not easy and are probably the reason why my shoulders and neck hurt right now. With that in mind I going to quickly finish up...

After all of that I did some more core exercises like sit-ups and oblique exercises and kneeling exercises. I got super dizzy and nauseous doing that, I was VERY close to passing out. Imagine quickly losing your hearing and not being able to hear yourself at the same time... not fun.
After my little close to passing out scare I did some standing without a standing frame. Now that was freaky. By that point I was starving, tired and getting more tired with every second, felt disgusting because of all the sweating, and my shoulder was cramping. I mean I was pooped! I'm still pooped and I still have to get into bed in a little bit.

Tomorrow will be almost the same but harder, as if today wasn't hard enough. Before I left today Chad mentioned how we'll be doing "The Wall" with a menacing smile. I ain't skerd, though. Nothing can compare to the abuse I got about being a Saints fan. They'll see who gets the last laugh when the Saints beat the Cowgirls in the NFC Championship game (if the Girls make it past Minnesota) :)

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