El Toro rehab log.....March 2014

  • Every day is the first day of the rest of my rehab.....today is no different.
    How healthy and fit I was a little over two years ago is not relevant. I spent my time either on my bike... or boat....or travelling the world...and a little bit looking after my business. I was coaching my son's cricket team and played action cricket once a week. Sounds kinda perfect? Thats because it was.
    All bygones......
    I will be 47 soon and nowadays pretty much spend all my time doing rehab. At home for the last year. House looks like a bloody gym! Rehab machines and weights everywhere......if you walked in you would think I must be a fitness freak.....but I can barely spend more than 5 or 6 hours a day out of bed....and not all at once. Ranging from 30 minutes to 90 minutes at a push. Typing this on an Ipad above my bed.....as I have done for the last year. Have set up a workstation a month ago and can manage about 30 minutes in front of the PC every day. Already on chair number 4! Keeper....this one!
    Only trips outside the house is going to the physio twice a week. Had to get a car with a lift type access seat because I could not get in a normal car at all. Better now.....drive there myself.....progress!
    I have been inspired by the training logs on this forum so I decided to start one myself.....only mine will be dire reading compared to others but still a great way to keep track of progress. Which is very difficult because progress is so slow that I sometimes have to think hard whether I am making any.....but I am.
    I have more or less given up on the three or six month outlooks the physios are trying to sell me.....now, the only measure for me is whether I am getting stronger.....at whatever rate keeps me happy.
    Happy also being a relative term after the crushing depression for the first year......still have some dark days but again......better nowadays.
    Too tired now so will start logging later.

  • Good Luck mate!!
    Depression is a nasty nasty disease and I'm lucky to have only had to help people with it rather than saffuer with it myself.
    Wicked that you can express it. Thoughts are with you!
    Good Luck again,

  • Looking forward to reading your progress. You have a more serious goal than my vanity thread!

  • Hell mate.....
    Well done on sharing your log with us and we will all being looking forward to hearing of your progression as time goes by.
    Never give up!

  • Welcome aboard, this is a great spot for advice and encouragement. Enjoy!

  • Will be a great outlet for your training and general musings on life etc. Keen to hear how your rehab and training progresses! good stuff mate

  • Thanks for the encouragement guys.....more on the depression later.....
    Some stats and a bit of reflection for starters.....
    173 cm tall....or short? Suffered from a heavy dose of scrumhalf syndrome all my life.....probably explains a lot of some of my posts....some might say? Not to mention when you mix it with serious medication!
    Used to have a healthy weight of between 80 and 85 kg for most of my adult life....never been or felt overweight. Weight has gone down to 65 kg at one stage after accident......combination of fat and muscle loss. Settled now on about 75 kg for last few months. Happy with that....really focussed on eating healthy. Had very unhealthy eating habits when I was healthy(??!) Lots of Coke and Red Bull....sweets....cakes....all the bad stuff. Was probably heading for a liver, kidney or stomach train smash at some stage without knowing it.
    Never really liked to do fitness exercises to stay fit.....never spent hours in a gym. Fitness meant being able to walk all day....which I did often.....fit enough to do a full track day on the track bike or riding the dualie in the bush for a couple of days. Used an orbital trainer about three times a week for about 25-30 minutes while watching the news and the action cricket kept me sharp enough once a week. Did a number of stretches every day to maintain flexibility....and that was it.
    That was then......
    Settling into some form of positive rehab routine was incredibly hard and based on nothing other than trial and error by the physios. The challenge is how to 'listen to your body' when your body and mind is layered with pain killers including Lyrica, tramadol and panadol. Took me four months just to learn how to get myself on the reformer rehab machine....not to use it...just to get on the damn thing!! Then you start using it but because of the pain killers you have no warning signs of going too hard so you practice by numbers. Two or so weeks later you realise something is wrong when you figure you are getting weaker instead of stronger......and you have to back right off again. Trial and error....week in....week out. Until you find some pattern of progress.
    Then pacing different type of exercises......and figuring out priorities.....
    No good spending all your energy on trying to get your core going with mini crunches or straight leg raises when you can hardly walk......
    One day I will write a book on what NOT to do.....daunting choices with physios giving you lists and lists of exercises you are supposed to do and it takes you down instead of making you stronger....

  • Are you able to tell us what the accident was? I don't expect you to but I'm interested in what caused you to go through all this.
    Enjoying your honesty, El Toro. Just completely wishing success on you with this.

  • Are you able to tell us what the accident was? I don't expect you to but I'm interested in what caused you to go through all this.
    Enjoying your honesty, El Toro. Just completely wishing success on you with this.

    There is a mountain of pending insurance claims and counter-claims ahead which I know is going to become very messy so I have to really count my words....will PM you with a tad more info.
    Reality is that I dont have the energy for any of it....I just want to focus on getting better. Had a visit recently from one of the lawyers and it really messed me up.....

  • Wow hope it works out for the best mate!

  • Ok enough looking back.....
    Typical current daily rehab and.....mmmmmm.....life....when not going to physio:
    Get up at about 8am
    10 x 5 sec standing quad sets to get legs going
    breakfast - fruit plus three eggs
    Sit in lift-recliner eating breakfast
    Theracane getting my glutes going
    Walk around in the house a bit... On my feet for about two sessions of 10 to 15 mins
    9 am back in bed
    Roll quads and hamstrings with The Stick ( what a tool!! )
    20 leg slides
    15 times 3 sec mini front and side crunches
    10 am out of bed
    Try and sit 30 mins in front of PC....success depends on pain levels
    Walk around in the house for 15 odd minutes...
    11 am rest for an hour
    12 am get up and put my shoes on by myself!!! Only been able to do this for about six weeks and it still takes about 5 minutes to do. Not a pretty picture but I manage by sitting down on the lift chair and bending forward. Awesome to be able to touch my feet!
    Then go for a walk outside for about 15 minutes....try and walk on the grass nowadays for a bit to get some feedback for uneven surfaces. Stop every 5 odd minutes to stretch a bit and bend and touch my knees. Huge progress just to be able to do that lately.
    Twice a week walk the 8 mini steps inside the house when I get back....cant use main stairs...have to use lift.Main stairs looks like a mountain in front of me...no idea when I will be able to walk them.
    Do a few arm and upper body exercises with dumbbells. Up to a whopping 6 kgs now!!! Started with 2 kgs so.....
    All standing up....bicep curls, overheads and some BBBT's thanks to PKB!! Thanks Bro!
    Sit on recliner until about 1 pm....sometimes 1:30 Theracane!
    Back in bed until about 2:30 pm or 3pm
    I always try to be out of bed when my son comes home from school.....chat to him a bit and then for the big one!!! Two or three times a week that is....either the reformer or simply some sit -to -stands from a normal seat height. 40 reps with two full springs on the reformer or 8 sit to stands. Again...very happy that I can do this nowadays. Only managed the first normal sit -to -stand in January . Got so excited about it that I tried it every day and stuffed my quads and glutes properly again! Had to back off for two weeks and then started again...this time giving enough time to recover in between...trial and error!
    Back in bed around 4 or 4:30...foam rolling legs and glutes. Bought a rumble roller as well so starting to use it every second day on calves and abductors.
    Also do a few push-ups or 15 second planks every other day around this time...all in bed. Havent been on the floor in 18 months plus?? Cant imagine how to get up from the floor...another goal for this year! And that fuckin staircase!
    Shower at about 5:30 pm and then dinner with the family...again in the recliner chair until about 6:30. Havent sat in a normal chair at a table for also about 18 months as well....there's another goal....right there!
    Last stint out of bed for the day roughly from 8 until 9 pm....tv, recliner, walking in the house....
    Sleeping tablets make me doze off around 10. Never sleep through but probably get around 6-7 hours of proper sleep every night. Much better than when I had total insomnia for a couple of months in hospital and fell asleep for maybe two hours every second night....did'nt think it was possible...but it is.
    Pain medication now is a bit less than half of what is was a year ago but still high range....two 100mg SR Tramadols and 3 to 4 Panadol Osteos a day...so ' listening to my body ' is still a challenge and I get it wrong very often.
    Upside of this routine?....I have enough time to watch every rugby match and bike race on my Ipad!!! Yippeeeeee!

  • Some great tips I will come back to in future.....
    Cultivating health during crises.

  • Home alone for the next three weeks ....wife and son in SA for a welcome break for them. Also forces me to see if I can cope on my own. Just took a drive to Woolies for some fruit and other goodies for the first time on my own! Stoked! Would have made for a very funny youtube vid.......I planned the trip with military precision. Tied the keys with an elastic to my wrist cause I know I cant pick it up if I drop it. Timed my walk in the shop and what I could carry beautifully.
    Will do this every second day to gain confidence. Right leg and glute all wobbly from getting in and out of the car twice.....but not too bad! Worth the trip.

  • Well done. That is a huge achievement!

  • Just got some new toys courtesy of ebay........dangerous to be armed with a credit card if you are on strong medication!!!
    An 8kg and 12kg kettlebell ( ball?) as well as a proper set of dumbbells that can go up to 15 kg each.
    The plan is to simply carry the kettleball in one hand a few times a day around the kitchen island.....apparently activates and gets your glute medius and minimus going.....which I can do with.
    The dumbbells look mean so I feel stronger just looking at them already.
    If I havent posted in the next three days I have probably passed out on the floor so watch this space........

  • Just got some new toys courtesy of ebay........dangerous to be armed with a credit card if you are on strong medication!!!
    An 8kg and 12kg kettlebell ( ball?) as well as a proper set of dumbbells that can go up to 15 kg each.
    The plan is to simply carry the kettleball in one hand a few times a day around the kitchen island.....apparently activates and gets your glute medius and minimus going.....which I can do with.
    The dumbbells look mean so I feel stronger just looking at them already.
    If I havent posted in the next three days I have probably passed out on the floor so watch this space........

    New toys are always fun 🙂 And Kettlebells are a great piece of equipment, you can do plenty with those as you scale up your exercise regime (see DK's thread for ideas for later on)

  • yep KBs are awesome and really versatile too. You could be doing mini-farmers carries with the DBs too - that's great for grip strength and traps/upper back. Good way to increase weight if you are doing body-weight squats as well.

  • That went OK.....best part was getting rid of the old DB's that looked like teletubby dog biscuits....all colours of the rainbow.
    Started really slowwwwwly just walking around with the 8kg kb and then some BC's with the dumbbels at 8 kg each and 10 BBBt at 8kg.
    Core definitely coming on.....from where it was .
    Also rolled my quads today first time with the rumble roller......great feeling....melted like butter!

  • So do you take a few days now to assess how your body reacted to the new exercises, and what the painkillers are masking?

  • What a great bit of advice Kirwan.

  • So do you take a few days now to assess how your body reacted to the new exercises, and what the painkillers are masking?
    Have to........only the kettlebell carry is new so will have to build that up very slowly. The DB exercises is just progression from what I did every other day anyway with the old 6kg db's so happy with that. I am supposed to do everything standing up so that all the forces go through my core and legs .....which is what I am doing but I am thinking about getting an arm-rack?? so I can progress faster with my arms and shoulders which could handle much heavier weights....I think. Starting to wonder about pull-ups as well.....but not today.......
    Been on the same level of medication now for about two months so time again to try and scale it down....have seen before that I cant do that while increasing the exercises so the balancing act continues. Soooo......will try the kb every second day for the next two weeks with other existing routine......and then drop some painkillers a notch if all is well. Theres the plan for the next month!!
    In the meantime I am spending a little bit more time out of bed every day so that is also great progression.

  • Good work, chipping away at a plan takes patience but all the small improvements will add up before you know it.

  • First full week home alone went better than expected. Just adding the basic household chores to my routine got me out of bed for longer... I never thought I would be happy to 'master' a bit of cooking, dishwashing, vacuuming and taking out the rubbish!!!! Unreal how my self-confidence has slipped to the point where I now consider putting out the dustbin for collection as an achievement!!! All progress.
    Used the car twice during the week.....both physio trips only so havent expanded the use to the shops as I hoped. And also with one of my friends tagging along.....they were really pissed off that I took the car on my own last Sunday........but gonna do it again tomorrow.
    Further bit of progress is being able to now do two sessions of about 25-30 minutes in the office chair per day........getting used to this chair and well, eventually I have to move on from the recliner/ lift chair for good....within next couple of months I hope.Thought I would burn the thing when that day comes but probably just need to pass it on to somebody else that needs it. That plus all the other walkers and stand-up aids that I dont need anymore.
    Happy with the week's progress....no big setback anywhere.

  • Frustrated...Not sure if I made any progress this week. My perception of progress is influenced greatly by pain levels and well.....it was'nt a great week in that regard. Probably tried to sit for too long a few times? Could also just be the slightly colder weather? Not exactly sure...
    Still managed to do everything in my routine but it just seemed more difficult than the previous week.....except getting in and out of the car.....getting used to that so it seems easier.....but yes.....I am a bit confused. It happens.
    Target for the next week is to try and take the car for a short trip every day....On top of the usual routine. Been wondering what will happen if a cop pulls me over and asks me to stand on one leg...or walk on the white line......might get interesting! I feel completely in control of the car so thats not a problem but I am not sure if a cop will be convinced. Lets hope I dont find out! Happy days...

  • I wonder if your sort of recovery is like weight loss, an expectation if linear improvement but in reality a trend of improvement with lots of small setbacks?Don't be too tough on yourself, you actually mentioned a pretty positive development with your ability to use the car. Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

  • I wonder if your sort of recovery is like weight loss, an expectation if linear improvement but in reality a trend of improvement with lots of small setbacks?Don't be too tough on yourself, you actually mentioned a pretty positive development with your ability to use the car. Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

    Yeah thats exactly right....the physio keeps on reminding me of the same thing. Not to expect linear improvement. I've had a good couple of weeks with linear improvement leading up to last week so I think last week was just a dip in the trend. No big deal. Patience!
    Apart from logging my progress here I have also started today to write down any positives on a big black board in my kitchen where I can see it all the time.....part of what the pain management dudes tell you to do.....celebrate progress!! So the first inscription reads....I can drive!!

  • May 2014......Driving the car now every day. Still only once a day and max one stop getting in and out but......every day. Thats good progress. Also walking the mini steps in the house every day about four times. Settled into a new routine now that my wife is back.....helping with dishes and other chores every day as part of the rehab exercises....oh yes.....and I now put my shoes on and tie my own laces twice a day. Sitting down...but thats OK.....its also getting easier. I remember how upset I was a year ago in hospital when one of the doctors told me I would be lucky if I could bend down and tie my shoelaces in a year.......in hindsight I should have thanked him for being honest!
    Still on the same medication........have to try and cut the Tramadol in half during the next week or two......

  • I missed this thread till now. Sorry!
    Really hope you take it slowly and patiently, maintaining steady incremental improvements, being patient and keeping your chin up. It's good to read your thread and the hard work you are putting in to recover your normal health. Set yourself little goals to achieve as part of the general rehab, and ignore the set backs as temporary blips.
    Remember it doesn't matter if it takes another two years to get back most of your full mobility, and then keep building your strength for another 10 years. I myself know two men here in their late 70s who do regular exercise at good levels (1 runs an hour every dawn, another does 7 sets of 30 bench press every day (55kg). You'll be in great shape at 55-60 and can look back on this event as a chance to bounce back stronger. Good luck!

  • June 2014.......Better. Small but consistent improvement. Gotta be happy with that.
    As far as exercises are concerned I have added a couple of minutes twice a week on a stationary cycle with a step through frame and slightly adapted seat. I can feel how this is freeing up my knees and hips. Manage about 4 minutes on the seat. Hope to improve by 30 seconds every time. I think carrying the kettlebell has also improved my strength a bit and I am ready to upgrade to the 12 kg. In practical terms the improvement means I now spend about 7-8 hours a day out of bed in total. More sitting, a bit more walking including a little bit of uphill and downhill.....probably only 40 m with a 4 m incline but better than nothing. Calves unbelievably stiff so working on that with the rumble roller! The improvement has also lifted my mood considerably. Starting to spend more time outside my own headspace!! Learning to guard against falling in a victim trap when the pain takes over...get the hell out of there asap!
    I have altered my diet again and I think it has helped as well. Gone full paleo/ primal but also added two veggie based green smoothies a day.....better recovery time and gut function much improved. Very happy with that. Tribest smoothie maker on Ebay......brilliant! Also bought a weighted vest.....walk around in the house with it for a few minutes a couple of times a week.....
    Medication still the same.....havent been able to drop to lower level.....
    Happy with overall progress though.....

  • OK.....managed to walk 4 full height steps today.......175 mm each......to be exact.........Hah! No hands.....no handrail.......

  • OK….it’s been a while….
    Firstly…this is the first post on this thread that I am making while sitting in front of my computer….not on the bloody Ipad above my head in the bed….
    I am much better but I will get back to that in a minute….to put it in perspective I have to reflect on the past. Exactly two years ago, Nov 2012, I thought I was dying. I was absolutely convinced that I would not see Christmas 2012…..been in and out of hospital for months, could hardly walk from my bed to the toilet, gripped in a massive self-destructive depression that made it impossible to see a future, medicated with full strength Tramadol, Endone, Celebrex, Seroquel and six Panadol Osteos thrown in on top of that for good measure……unbelievably dark days. How it got to that stage is somewhat hazy but also irrelevant right now.
    The journey from there to how I got better is documented above so I won’t repeat it but it is just important today to remind myself that two years ago I saw no future and thought I was dying.
    So where am I now? My everyday life still looks anything but normal but I have much improved functional strength. I can sit for much longer, walk a bit further….maybe 20 odd minutes, get up from a normal chair but still not if the chair is under a table…..I have to sit down first and then pull the table closer, then push the table away again first before I stand up…Makes going to a restaurant a challenge so we don’t really do that. The odd coffee shop where I can check out the tables beforehand only….
    I can get in and out of my (higher) car fairly easily so drive around a bit just about every day. Stairs still a big problem…..I manage a few every second day or so and it is getting easier but wow….it still spooks me big time and causes serious discomfort and pain afterwards in my entire lower body. And with stairs I mean walking them normally….no hands or holding on to anything….. as any normal person would. But the progress is there so just have to keep going…( edit: just saw my previous post and realised it took 4 weeks before I tried it again! )
    Probably the biggest recent improvement or progress is that I managed to dramatically cut down on the pain medication. It took six failed attempts over the last two months to finally cut the last of the Tramadol and that is gone now. Suffered crazy withdrawal symptoms but I think it will stick this time. Now only take 3 or sometimes 4 Panadol Osteos a day and nothing else. OK and one Imovane before bedtime to improve sleep quality….will have to work on that. I basically still have constant chronic pain all the time while awake but you just learn to live with it and hopefully it fades away over time as your mind adjusts to the signals….or so they say. We’ll see……..
    In the meantime I just keep exercising with the same discipline and program to improve my functional strength to ground zero……that is a mid-term goal now to be able to get up from the floor unassisted. I promised myself I will not try to get back on my motorbike before I am able to do that so it ends up being a huge motivation in itself.
    So November 2014 looks considerably better than 2012…..no fireworks yet but most telling that I am making long term plans again………..

  • How's the rehab going mate?

  • Good call JK. Hope things have continued to improve ETS!

  • Wow! How is that for timing?........You guys just beat me to it!  Tomorrow is exactly three years since my accident so was about to update this on the day................short answer?..........Much better thank you but still a long way to go! 
    Detail update soon................

  • OK….so a bit over three years since the date of accident......
    I had to think hard about this but probably the most significant progress of late is that I don’t plan and calculate every day down to the last half-hour as early on in my rehab. I have built up enough stamina now to more or less carry on every day until I run out of steam…..that mostly means I get through to about lunchtime when I take a break for about an hour and a half and then manage to again push through to about 5 or 6 pm. Still all light duty pen-pushing mostly but at least I am out of bed which is a relief and huge progress.
    Very difficult to peg exactly but I would guess that my physical strength is about 60-70 percent of full recovery. In real world terms it means getting on with an adjusted life…..sitting, walking, standing and even climbing a few stairs when necessary….. I still use the lift in the house to move between floors though.
    I still do a routine of stretches and exercises every day with two more intense strength sessions weekly. I use the pilates reformer for that because it combines very accurate increase in flexibility and load adjustments……I am now on three full strength springs with much deeper movement than before. Worth reminding myself that I started on ONE, QUARTER spring!  And I still see a physio every second week….ends up more brainstorming than anything else but it offers a good benchmark for improvement.... Battling to get normal agility and movement back like before the accident….. I am still locked in a guarded pattern, over-thinking certain movements instead of just doing them. Picking something up from the floor, getting in and out of a car ( still!), standing up from a chair, climbing stairs off course and so on. So your brain needs to learn to trust your body again…..physio gave me some co-ordination exercises they use for stroke patients to try and help with this…..frustrating. 
    Mentally doing fine with (almost) no anger left about the turn of events……..shit happens….deal with it.
    The three year time- frame also represents the limitation date for any possible legal claim following the accident……I pulled the plug on the proceedings in January after it became clear that it will lock me in a mental regress for as long as it will continue……..and it became very clear that it would have continued forever with multiple parties including two insurance companies involved. Every meeting I had with the lawyers took me back to the worst of times and no amount of money is worth that….……so…..…. case closed.

    On a larger scale I have a few decisions to make…….mainly…….what to do with the rest of my life?  I more or less retired seven years ago from any formal work. I then started to do all the things I ever wanted to do as described in the OP……..in reality it became boring as hell after a while and I had some new prospects lined up before the accident. Time now to again pursue those opportunities and get busy………..can’t just watch sport on telly forever??? :idiot2:

  • Sounds like you are making some really good progress mate. Keep it up!
    Re the 3yr thing, are you able to share with us what happened now? Btw totally understand if you prefer not to of course

  • Pretty impressed by how you dealing with all of this, and that's pretty significant progress you talk about above. Getting on with new opportunities sounds like a great idea too, best of luck with that.

  • Happied and saddened (but more happied) in reading that.
    Gutted about compo but tremdously stoked with how you have dealt with it.
    I'm glad you're on the improve, mate!

  • Mate, I've only just stumbled on this thread and I have to say I find it inspiring and if you ever need a mental uplift or are feeling that your progress is not as you would wish, may I suggest you re-read the whole thread? It charts some pretty damned impressive progress and demonstrates a high degree of mental fortitude.
    Hats off!

  • The beauty of keeping track of it all, the good and the ugly! You've made some hard decisions but you are focusing on positive opportunities which is awesome. Keep up the good work and keep us posted mate!

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