Ramblings on healthcare, medical education, and life with a spinal cord injury
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So…. It’s not HO. Really. And a general status update.

After being put back on Etidronate for suspected rebound HO, and subsequently discovering my leg was actually engorged with blood, I remained on the meds just in case the recent swelling in my right leg was due to a combination of factors.  One of those factors could still have been HO.  Earlier this week, though, an x-ray was taken to see how the right hip is doing.  And much to my satisfaction, there is no calcification.  No bone forming where it shouldn’t.

I remain on Etidronate for now, although I’m hoping this means that once I’m off it that I will remain HO free.  The swelling in the leg continues to slowly diminish, and the right leg is looking almost like a normal leg.  Almost.  My sensation remains somewhat diminished, although that also is better than it was before.

I haven’t written much about muscle strength in a while.  I’ve been pushing hard, really focusing on trying to rebuild my core strength – lower back, obliques, laterals and abs.  When I first got here, they were non-existent; if I could even manage to balance while sitting up on the mat, you could have pushed me over with a feather.  Gradually, I became able to sit up, but with incredibly poor posture.  My back was rounded and what I was really doing was centering my body weight in such a way that I was balanced.

My therapists began working on trying to get me to sit up straighter – tightening my lower back and my scapulae, such that I would actually be sitting up straight.  With their assistance, I could just barely manage to do so.  Without it, no matter how hard I tried, my body would fall back into the hunched over position.  It’s funny, this didn’t discourage me one bit.  All it did was make me want to try even harder.  And harder.  And again.

We’ve been working on this for weeks, if not months, and only recently have I begun to be able to sit up straight on the mat without assistance for more than one or two seconds.  Every time I’m on the mat, whether in long-sit (legs straight in front of me) or at the edge, I try to sit up as straight as possible.  I was showing a few of the therapists the progress I’d made the other day, and one of them decided to challenge me by asking if I knew why it was.  After quickly responding that it was because I was able to contract my lower back more than I could before, he smiled and said that it’s surprising how many different reasons people sometimes have for that type of event.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I may be able to straighten my body sitting upright more than I could before; but I’m still somewhat easy to push over if I’m not expecting it.  I’m proud to say it takes more than a feather these days, but it doesn’t take a professional weightlifter, either.

I will be leaving the hospital soon and continuing with out-patient rehab.  In addition to rehab, I will be developing a daily exercise plan with my therapists so that I can continue to push myself daily.

Recently, I have become filled with nothing but hope and optimism.  I can’t explain exactly where this has come from, but I just feel as though a lot of positive things will happen over the next year.  And as much as I hate to postpone my medical school matriculation by another year, I have no doubt that it is the right decision.  This is going to be an incredible year.

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