Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rehab progress 21

Things are moving right along -- I suppose.

I feel like I am progressing too slowly.

Even though I find new capacity every day, I also find more limitations -- things I used to do so easily without even thinking.

Today we were building in the garage, trying to put up a little bit of sheet rock. I found that I could not cut the sheet rock panels very well right-handed. Well, I could not hold it left-handed very well either. There was a tough decision facing me every time I picked up the utility knife -- right or left hand? The right hand is still too weak, either to hold or to cut.

The dilemma stems from limits of either hand. The left is too clumsy, the right is too weak. They are not used to working together in such a partnership.

I ended up finding some compromise that let me work left-handed most of the time. Just work much slower.

In order to cut the pieces to the right dimensions, I had to kneel down on the floor temporarily. I was startled to find that I could not stand up -- my legs just would not lift me. I had to pause and remember the technique I already practised in several rehab sessions, then patiently and painstakingly execute the laborious manoeuvre to get up off the floor.

My right foot behaves rather arbitrarily too. Everything on the floor conspires with my foot to get wrapped up or tangled, so I trip at the least excuse.

It gets so frustrating at times, I honestly hate my stupid body. I recognize that things could be so much worse -- but everything seems to work together to teach me that they could be so much better, too.

I am improving my strength and endurance on the treadmill. Today I walked 1.2 miles in 20 minutes. I feel like I could maintain the pace for much longer. But in the gym, on the treadmill, I have handles to grab if I stumble. And I do -- a lot. I am afraid if I tried to maintain that pace on the track, I would surely fall and hurt myself. Maybe more strength is not what I need right now. I am just lacking the confidence to push any kind of limits, because I am afraid I will approach the edge of control, and hurt myself.

My ultimate objective is to pass the fire departments strenuous endurance test. It stipulates 3 miles in 45 minutes, carrying a 40-pound backpack. We generally conduct qualifying tests on the track at North Sanpete High.

I suppose with better strength and balance, I am also gradually building confidence in my abilities. I just feel like my body has let me down before -- so I feel like I need to be prepared to fail again in a big way.


Jim Cobabe said...

No problems posting a comment. I wish everything worked as well.

pgk said...



[Cries of, "More! More!"]

Love this post. This is what keeps me coming back.

BTW, love the sheet rock pic. You have a real eye for contruction-deco.

pgk said...

Looks like all went well with the comment. Thanks for fixing that so I could get a word in.

Jim Cobabe said...


Thanks for the encouraging comments. Always happy to see that someone else reads my ramblings.

Isn't it humbling to know that even the strongest can flail helplessly when his equilibrium fails? I am frustrated to an impotent rage when I can't even stand up by myself. It humbles me, too, to realize how much I depend on help from others to support me in the simplest of needs. Thanks to everyone who offers their help. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

pgk said...

"It humbles me, too, to realize how much I depend on help from others to support me in the simplest of needs. Thanks to everyone who offers their help. I am overwhelmed with gratitude."

I think I've said this elsewhere in the blogs, but after all that my household has been through over the years, I've come to believe that kindness--true kindness, not the be-sweet-to-you-so-as-to-get something-out-of-you niceness--is one of the highest forms of intelligence.

At times, someone doing something for me as simple as opening a door so that I could move through it with my handicapped kid and a new baby has seemed like a sparkle of divine goodness in the moment. But even after these years of insight, probably I am not as kind to others as I ought to be.

I don't know much about impotent rage. Thinking back, I can't remember ever feeling rage of any kind even once. Must be a guy thing. I have thought a lot about anger as a matter of course. I think anger, like fear, can be useful when it provides the burst of speed you need to get out of a bad situation. An outburst of anger can change the outcome of a situation. But if a person feels anger all the time, then that narrows his/her options. The same with fear. Long term, both undermine a person's power.

What I see when I read the post is that Jim got up off the floor! In more ways than one.

As an aside, when I was weighted down during the deepest, darkest days of our years-long emergency, I drank up others' (caffeine free) good news thirstily because it gave me hope. Not just me, but somehow it contributed to the hope bank of the entire world. I saw people pulling through and people succeeding in spite of dire circumstances and against overwhelming odds as an indication that we could finally get a break ourselves someday.

That hasn't changed much for me. I read this post as being loaded with good news, and that lifts my heart, just like good news did back in the bad old days.

Jim Cobabe said...


You see rightly that there is some positive news. I am growing stronger and getting better every day.

I honestly hope and pray that those following my slow progress don't hear too much that is discouraging.

I complain a lot -- with some justification -- but things are definitely improving. Thanks for cheering at the standing-up accomplishment. It was a private victory, of sorts, and very perceptive of you to recognize it as such.

Nothing much, to be sure, but more than I could do before.

Brian said...

hey just so you know, like i said preparing for the marines, have to run 1.5 miles in 13.5 minutes... i can't even run a mile in under 20. You can run faster than me dude. that's crazy. I ran .75 miles in about 17 minutes. Damn it. You apparently need to be training me hahaha

Limasa Family said...

I'm super impressed with you and your desire to better yourself everyday! I imagine it is a slow process, but a lot of people would not be so diligent and in the long run your diligence is what will pay off!