Friday, September 16, 2011

SCI-FIT!

Jason went for his evaluation and first workout at SCI-FIT today (for those who are interested, check out their website to see what they’re all about: http://www.sci-fit.org/).  It went really well.  It’s so wonderful to be at a place that’s all about optimism and results.  Their motto is “no limitations, just possibilities.”  That’s a far cry from what you encounter in traditional rehab and PT places (Not to knock the folks at those places, as they have been tremendously helpful over the last 9 weeks).  We spent about 30 minutes talking with the founder and the head trainer.  The founder has a really inspirational story:  he was injured while on vacation in Hawaii about 6 years ago.  His neck was broken at the C6 level and he was told that he’d never walk again.  After moving to Southern California to take part in an intensive exercise therapy program, he regained a lot of sensory and motor control.  Due to his successes, he decided to open a similar facility in Northern California, complete with staffing it with some of the leading therapists in the field.  When we met him today, he was walking.  Amazing.

After the initial meet and greet, Jason was put to work.  They stretched out his legs, encouraging him to try to communicate with his legs and lower extremities. Then, with the use of a harness, he was put on the treadmill where they walked his legs.  The goal with this is that, through LOTS of repetition, you can re-route the nerves in the legs and make them function again.  Then he did “sit and stands” where he pulled himself to a standing position from a chair (video at the bottom!).  I got side-tracked at this point to talk to the founder’s wife, so I didn’t see the entirety of the session, but Jason said he also did sit ups, some work on one of the weight machines, and a few other activities.  He’s VERY sore already :)  Our goal is that he’ll go to SCI-FIT twice a week, for 2 hours each time, plus, if time permits, some time on the FES bike (this piece of equipment is supposed to be SUPER effective and helpful).  Once he starts back to work, we’ll have to be creative with our scheduling, but I’m sure we’ll be able to make it work.

The folks at SCI-FIT were amazed that Jason was only 2 months out from his injury.  Annabelle, one of the founders, remarked that he didn’t look like someone who spent such a long period in the hospital (I told her this was because we didn’t let him eat the hospital food!).  She also thought he was a lot lower injury than he was due to his great balance, muscle tone, and general abilities.  I know he’s doing great, but it’s always good to hear the same thing from the “pros.”

In other news, the spasms seem to be a bit more under control of late.  He hasn’t been kicking out at random things (like me) for a while, for which I am eternally grateful :)  Not sure what he’s doing differently that has led to this, but we’ll take it.  

I realized, after making the last post, that I forgot to include an update about what sensation Jason has at this point.  So, here goes:  he has totally normal sensation (and motor function) to the nipple line.  He has spotty sensation from nipple to belly button.  He has motor control to about the mid-abdomen, though maybe more is coming back?  He can feel when his legs swell, as well as when he’s been sitting in one spot for too long.  He’s beginning to feel some other things here and there, but nothing to report officially just yet.  We’ll let you know when we’re more sure of the developments.

For those who are interested in learning a bit more about spinal cord injuries, check out the Christopher Reeve Foundation (christopherreeve.org). It's one of the best SCI foundations out there and is leading the way in spinal cord research. Even if Jason doesn't naturally regain use of his legs, we're confident that science will provide a cure in the very near future, thanks to the great work of the folks associated with this (and other) foundations.

We hope you are all planning on a wonderful weekend. We're planning on visiting the farmer's market and I am going to clean out our storage room (again...it's amazing how fast it got crowded with stuff post-accident)!

Love you all,

Ashley

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