I was now in physical rehab at Loma Linda. I had a private room and everything I could ever want to enjoy that I could not actually enjoy... I think at first I did not realize just how bad it was, I was not thinking about how long I may be there, how difficult my recovery would be, or how much I actually had to recover. I was a bit distracted by the fact that I could not really move and I was in horrible pain. They did some MRI's to see what was going on, my brain, neck, and upper spine. The disease had moved to my spinal cord which was why it was hitting me so hard. It had also gone crazy in my brain, I mean, check out the before and after pictures, you don't need any kind of education to know that something was not right there...
They started me off slow, I don't remember with what exactly, but I know I rested for a few days and then started my rehabilitation program with various occupational therapists (OT's), physical therapists (PT's), and speech therapists. Everyday a group of doctors (or students) following a neurologist walked in and checked me out, poked at me, lifted limbs, etc. It was a teaching hospital so I had to get used to all the students using me to learn. Eventually it was second nature; they walked in, I showed them my heel to shin, tested my clonus and spasticity. “Can you feel this? How about this? Sharp or dull?”, the basic routine. After they left I would see one of my therapist for about an hour or so, then they would leave, I would have about an hour brake, then another one would come in and we would resume basic stretching or practice putting on my socks or brushing my teeth.
(Bottom) After - February 2012
At first we did everything in bed, all my stretching, learning how to get dressed, etc. All from my bed. That was pretty hard believe it or not... Trying to put on a T-shirt? I remember it being so difficult and ting my shoes? I could not do that, they had to do it for me... I did a lot of work with the “thera-bands” and “thera-putty” which was like silly putty for exercising your fine motor skills and building strength in your hands. I hated that stuff but I wanted my hands back pretty bad so I did my best to master all that I could, no half-assing here... All the bands and putties were color coded, certain colors offered more or less resistance than others, yellow was the easiest and I remember when I could barely stretch it out with my arms. It's so thin that now I can snap that band with a couple of fingers, that's how weak I was at the time!
They eventually got me into their gym where they had lots of rehabilitation equipment, bikes, stairs, parallel bars, benches, walkers, hand therapy tools, vision tools, small weights, bands, balance tools, etc. Everything. They had everything. At the time they had to wheel me around to and from the gym (in the wheelchair) because I did not even have the strength to push myself around... Again, I felt like a vegetable, especially when being wheeled around, it was like I was a salad on a serving tray being rushed to a hungry customer in some hotel, I had no control over my direction, I just sat and watched the walls rush past me.