My main objective in life at the present moment is to get as strong as possible. All of my efforts and all of my dedication is directed towards the goal of whole body strengthening which in the long run will lead to furthering my independence. As of right now however, my goals of strength training have actually diminished my independence.
Right alongside my workouts my main method of strengthening is using my manual chair as much as possible. I would say that I’ve been using my manual chair about 75% of the time compared to the power chair. Nothing I do on a daily basis is easy while in the manual chair. What were once simple tasks in a power chair, such as reading a book or using my computer, have become difficult and tiring. No longer can I lean on my elbows while using the mouse and no longer can I tilt back in a reclined position while reading a book. Instead I must maintain my balance, pinching my shoulder blades back, bracing with one arm while extending with the other. My life has become a constant workout only resting when I give in to the relaxation of my La-Z-Boy power chair and to sleep.
My newfound dedication to the manual chair has not brought what I’ve previously saw as frustration but has brought a sort of motivation. It has given me a mindset to follow in which I constantly have a goal I am reaching towards and can always apply this goal in every aspect of my life. Unlike the majority of my time spent as a spinal cord injury I have not been distracted by what my life should be like. I should be in school, I should be out with friends, I should be living on my own, I should have a girlfriend. None of what I should be doing matters to me. I am dedicated to a cause and it brings me peace of mind to reach for it.
My strength training also consists of going to a sports oriented rehab facility twice a week where I work with my therapist Angie and her colleagues. It is working out very well for the time being as the trainers I’m working with have fully adopted the methods of intensive recovery training and have shown a great deal of enthusiasm as well. We of course do not have all the equipment that project walk and others have, but I’m still getting some great workouts in and can already feel the strength gains especially in my back and shoulders.
The time spent here in Charlotte since getting back from California has been a good period for me. It has been a time of gathering my strength and finding a state of equilibrium. I am almost confident in saying that I have my urinary infections under control which was one of my main objectives while being back at home. I would also like to get to the point where I can use my manual chair for the majority of the time and not feel like I got hit by a truck the next day. Not too long ago, if I were to be in my manual chair for the whole day, the following morning I would literally feel sick from exhaustion. This was due mostly to a weak immune system and overall low energy levels. Recently however, these attacks of exhaustion have not existed and my energy levels actually seem to be on the rise.
Even though these positives have occurred recently, it is my feeling that this gathering of strength is only to prepare me for my next adventure. My intensive workouts have been good but I know that a center focused on spinal cord recovery will be much more optimal for achieving my goals. My thinking at the moment is to of course continue what I’m doing, gather my strength, increase my health and energy and then at some point head off to Atlanta to participate in beyond therapy and then off to Austin to participate in the program I discovered down there. But for now, I’m focused on Charlotte.
So my dad can gather his energy as well my new hired nursing aid is starting tomorrow. I’m not extremely excited about it, but I’m just reminding myself that it is only temporary and I’m sure that many positives will be taken from it.