James’ News & Progress – 8 May 2009

After the normal Saturday morning physiotherapy session it was off to Collaroy to see my charismatic osteopath, Jeff, for an intense hour focused on manipulating the higher vertebrae and left shoulder. Given he is located around the corner from one of my favourite golf courses at Long Reef, I rolled round to investigate whether it would be possible for me to drive my power chair around the course with some of the boys at a later date. The pro loved the idea so we will hopefully be arranging an outing for Peter and the boys in coming months. As its on the coast, I also took the opportunity to go off road and maneuver down to the beach to check the surf off Long Reef headland. It was such a treat to be so close to the sand and surf again however a sudden change in the weather saw me back in the shelter of the Long Reef pro shop, awaiting a much needed cab to whisk me away for my late afternoon tea and cake with Grandma Cle. One power nap later, which is becoming a regular weekend indulgence, I was back on the road wheeling myself down to the Woolwich Pier, a local watering hole (or pub to the non-Australians) to catch up with friends over dinner.

On Sunday it was time to head home to sneak a peak at the demolition job that Dad and my brother, Martin, had initiated, taking out the back veranda and rearranging much of my bedroom in preparation for modifications that will allow me to return home. On a personal front, it was quite a tough day as the reality of my injury and the impact it is having on my immediate family literally hit home.

In the gym this week, following on from transfer practice from the wheelchair onto a plinth (an adjustable physiotherapy bed without pillows) and with the hope of eventually mastering transfers from the wheelchair into bed, the next logical skill to develop is what to most is a very basic action – moving from sitting position to lying down. The extension of this is mastering the ancient art of rolling around in bed, enthusiastically demonstrated by Holly, my new physiotherapist. I will obviously be encouraging my girlfriend, Sarah, to assist with this specific form of therapy in the future.

Electrical stimulation was also introduced this week to promote extension through both my wrists and fingers (which has been challenging to date). This effectively involves investigative electric shocks at various points of the forearm and lower wrist until the best result is reached. As you can imagine, this is an excruciating process, especially when ones pain threshold is as low as mine.

At the end of the week, a phone call was politely made to Mum, requesting my favourite doona (or duvet for my British friends) be brought into Moorong as the autumnal weather turns wintery and the first signs of frost on the grass begin to appear in the morning. As you would expect, Peter the Puffin is really in his element, smiling as he watches his southern counterparts, the cockatoos, shivering in the trees outside the window.

Ciao for now.