Monday, September 29, 2008

Rehab progress 12

Chainsaws save me a lot of work. I could never get the work done without the proper tools.

This morning I started the Husqvarna chainsaw and sawed up a half trailer full of timber for firewood. It gives a lot of satisfaction to know that we have enough wood to keep us warm through the winter.

Things did not go so well at the rehab center this morning. I tried to do the full workout, but had to quit because I got dizzy.

Physical work is the road to recovery. The physical therapist, Ben, told me today that people take months to recover. I have been hoping to get better more rapidly, but I guess it is not going to happen. I thought, this condition came upon me so suddenly. One morning I just woke up this way. Maybe I can recover just as abruptly. Well, it seems it will not happen that way.

Apparently it is common for people to regain some function after a year or more. I am considering a long vacation in the mean time, because I certainly do not want to be stuck this way for that long.

Why not a faster recovery? I do not know. I am trying my utmost. I work hard at exercise, but it seems like gains are very slow in coming.

I asked Ben about the problem I have had with losing bowel control. He said it is probably a result of poor muscle strength, and persisting through the physical therapy will help that. At least he knows that it worries me. He was understanding of my concerns, and asserted his continued support. Nice to have people who are supportive and strong, when I am so dependant. Thanks, Ben. Much appreciated.


mlu said...

When I was recovering from my bout with paralysis (not in many ways similar to your condition), after I got out of the hospital I got a job sawing in the woods. But when I picked up the chainsaw, I couldn't pull the rope hard enough to start the saw.

I could lift the saw and drop it while holding the machine and get it to start.

The work was key to my rehabilitation, though my own body's resilience was also on my side.

I could put my shoes on but lifting my arm above my head was impossible, so I couldn't comb my hair.

Jim Cobabe said...

I can relate to the problem with starting up power saws. Sometimes I work so hard starting up my saw, by time it is running I am too tired out to use it.

I have tried and tried pull-starting the way I did it before, but have discovered that the only way I can deliver sufficient force to get the saw started is to put it on the ground, with my right foot anchoring through the handle. Then I can pull the starter rope with my left hand, which still has some strength. I can start my husky using this method, but nothing else works. A lot of persistence--tinkering with choke and throttle and such--gets me started up, eventually.

If a friend is handy nearby, I have found it is a lot easier to ask them to start a chainsaw for me -- especially if it is still cold. Hot saws start much easier.

Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...


This post makes it sound like you are right on pace. Youngshin and I have (of course) spoken about you extensively with me relating concerns that you have and the progress you are making. She is not discouraged or anything by your progress. In fact, she says it often takes people a year or more to fully recover, depending on how hard they work and how healthy they were to begin with. It sounds to me like you are doing all you can. The problem is not your effort - it's your nerves. People's nervous systems are not designed to experience this kind of trauma and do not react well nor recover quickly. That's why all our important nerves are encased in bone - for protection. Not much help when you are attacked from inside, but there it is.

We could have used you down here the past couple of weeks. I have never seen so many trees pushed over or snapped like twigs. It reminds me of the avalanche aftermaths I have seen in the mountains, except that it is much more random. Because the winds shifted at some point of the night, turning from the east to the west after the eye went over us, the trees were pushed down in all different and random directions. Some of the most beautiful, mighty oaks were just pushed right over, while trees right next to them were just fine. I saw a pine tree with about a 4' diameter and about 50 or 60' high pushed over on a ward member's garage. No real damage to the garage, just leaned over on it. Once again I am struck by the beauty and power of nature and how futile we are in our efforts to understand or ameliorate the effects...

Keep working. Don't give up. We are praying for you!


Jim Cobabe said...


Thanks for your encouraging note. I would feel like I was letting other people down if I did any less. I am still trying -- it just seems so thankless and arduous. But I recognize that even discouraging jobs have to get done.

I would really like to get involved in hurricane relief and restoration efforts, but I am afraid I would just be more trouble than help right now. I was kinda hoping for some opportunity to work in the Katrina relief work last year, but we found work in Utah instead. Maybe next time. There's always another hurricane, I suppose.

BTW, my son Thomas has been in contact of late, and he expressed interest in starting work on an engineering program. I thought you might send him some advice. It would be much appreciate, I am sure.

Stay well. You are ever in our daily prayer.