James’ News & Progress – 8 August 2009

As is the tradition in the Gribble Family, Saturday morning starts with a visit over to Grandma Cle’s house for a bun and some tea to catch up on the results of the weekly bridge match. Given the frequency of these visits has reduced over the last nine months or so, it was a rare treat to be able to jump into my power wheelchair and scoot up the road.

An email during the week from an old school friend meant that I spent Saturday afternoon with a trip down memory lane watching Sydney University play rugby on No. 1 oval. As it was almost a decade since I had been back, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with some old faces and seeing Sydney Uni. thrash their old foes Randwick. In the evening four of my more surly mates attempted, for the first time, to lift me in my power chair up over 4-5 reasonably large steps and into one of their houses for a much needed steak and a few beers.

With the start of the working week approaching and now that I am settling into a new exercise routine, it was time to sit down and map out a number of short and medium term goals, which will become focal points throughout therapy. As I am a quadriplegic, the constant debate of whether to focus on upper or lower limbs was again raised. For instance, I have heard in extreme cases of people learning to walk again and being able to stand at the bar but not hold a beer properly. Hence the debate is a poignant one.

In addition, the time allocated to work and rest in my case is complicated somewhat by the fact that the feeling below my chest is very minimal. Therefore, I struggle to know when my legs are fatigued or even over stretched. Just one of the many challenges I guess. What I do know is that as the body continues to repair itself, my program needs to be adapted accordingly. In summary, my regime fluctuates on a daily basis from strengthening my hands with plasticine and trying to pick up marbles to standing in my standing frame (to promote bone density and relearn balance) and spending time on my walking frame. Plenty to work on!

I cannot finish this week without sending a big thank you to all the friends out there who are constantly overwhelming me with their fundraising activities as well as the continuous stream of supporting emails and anecdotal life experiences. It all does wonders to keep my head in the right place and stay positive.

Good luck until next week.