First Week

I honestly have to say that my first week here in Carlsbad, California hasn’t quite been what I expected it to be.  For one thing, the weather has been much more fall like then I thought it would be.  The sunshine is warm and wonderful but there’s always a very cool breeze blowing.  It also seems that each time we come out here, we bring the clouds with us.  It has been cloudy all weekend and apparently this is very abnormal weather.

Besides the whole weather thing, I’ve been struggling this past week to feel in place with my new surroundings.  I think the last time I came in July, it felt much more like a vacation so that I was able to let loose and have a good time.  This trip however, feels slightly more permanent and I don’t feel I am quite letting go.  I’m not really sure what I’m holding onto but for some reason I’m holding back.  My sense of confidence and adventure has eluded me and has been replaced with apprehension.

I’m finding that people here are not as openly friendly as I’m used to.  Most of the time when you walk by some one in the street they will avoid eye contact, almost trying to pretend you are not there.  It has made me somewhat uncomfortable, feeling as if I’m the weird guy trying to make eye contact and smile at people.  I’m not sure what the deal is with people avoiding friendly gestures of recognition but it turns out that most people are very nice once you get them to talk to you.  It just takes a much more aggressive approach to start conversation.  I’m not saying everyone is like that out here, but it is an observation I’ve had.

My week of exercise at Project Walk was great.  It’s amazing how much further past my breaking point the trainers are able to push me.  I seriously think I’m completely dead after 20 repetitions and then through some magical powers they push me to do 100 more, and that is no exaggeration.  I think it’s part of their technique, to actually push someone so far past the point of fatigue and physical exhaustion that other muscles are forced to come alive.  It’s always during those final few reps, when I think I’m about to die, that I feel paralyzed muscle groups quiver with life.

The total gym workouts which I described in my last entry have been interesting.  It seems when my body has a lot of tone at the time the total gym exercises go much better but if my muscles are more flaccid than I’m not able to do as much.  When I say tone, I’m describing an energy throughout my body which keeps my muscles somewhat tight.  This tightness causes spasms, or uncontrolled movement, to fire up very easily.  The spasms can be completely out of my control at times but part of what Project Walk does is take these “uncontrollable” spasms and try to get the client to gain back control to make the movement functional.

While I’m on the total gym, it is true that the tone is helping, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that when I tell my legs to push they push and when I tell them not to push they don’t.  At times on Thursday I was even able to bend my knees slightly and stop, go further down and then push myself back up.  I was consciously making the muscles fire and relax.  Yesterday was a different story.  I had already worked my legs for an hour and then got on the total gym.  I didn’t have much tone and was not able to get nearly the push I had previously.  It’s frustrating that I can’t have the same effects without tone but regardless I will work the muscles with and without tone and hopefully one day I will not need tone for strong movement.  I believe I can venture to say at the moment that the movement I have with tone is much more controlled then it used to be.

Friday night I noticed another sign of improvement.  While sitting on the edge of my bed, I found that I was actually able to use my lower back muscles to reduce the curvature in my spine and sit up straighter.  There was obvious movement happening as my back straightened out without the help of my shoulders or arms.  Good stuff.

I believe today may have been a turning point when it comes to feeling more in sync with my new situation.  In general I feel much more relaxed today and less apprehensive.  I need to remember that this is an adventure to search for new discoveries.  I’m on a path which will have many doors to choose from and I should be excited at the possibilities each door contains.  Apprehension and self-consciousness should be taken note of and thrown away.

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4 Responses to First Week

  1. praveen says:

    Most people have been taught ever since they were little kids to be careful of "strangers". So even if you were not in your wheel chair, and you gave someone a cheery smile, they would turn their face away from you. It is a combination of their past "training/conditioning" and their own self image. Do not feel that this is a situation specific to you or your condition.

  2. Lessie says:

    "I need to remember that this is an adventure to search for new discoveries.  I\’m on a path which will have many doors to choose from and I should be excited at the possibilities each door contains."
    Fabulous! What an awesome adventure! Can\’t wait to read your successive chapters!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I\’m just a regular reader of your site and on the Colin cheerleading team.  Best of luck at PW – it looks like amazing things are in store for you! You can also check out another Project Walker at

  4. Michelle says:

    Your progress sounds wonderful.  Not just your physical progress, but also your spiritual progress.  I am amazed and inspired at your ability to rise to the challenges with which you\’re faced.  I\’m looking forward to reading more.  Thanks so much for sharing.

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