Recovery Road

I checked out of Sunrise on February 18th, I was headed home to continue my recovery. The best part about checking out was I was able to attend my little sister Erin’s birthday dinner with the family. Dinner that evening was almost too overwhelming. The noise, lights, commotion, and crowded restaurant made it difficult to enjoy the evening but I was excited to be with my family. That next day I was determined to begin my rehabilitation. First, I needed to check into a rehab center.  I chose Dynamic Sport and Spine, which was recommended by friend Allison. My parents drove me to rehab and watched as I was harnessed to the ceiling while learning how to walk again. Throughout the 8 weeks spent at Dynamic the therapists assisted me with multiple walking exercises, some resistance exercises and facial nerve stimulation to help the feeling return in my face. After every session I would notice improvement. The first week at home I was always sure to keep a wall close by as I shuffled around the house. Nothing came easy; from taking a shower to cooking food but I had to do it on my own as I was trying to become independent again. By the second week of rehab I had switched from my walker to a cane. I was feeling confident and asked my roommate to give me a ride to the gym.  Moving around the gym was difficult due to all the distractions. Such as;the loud noise, lots of moving equipment, and people. Everything just felt as if it was in my way. I made my way to the seated elliptical to concentrate on leg and arm coordination because I could sit as I worked out. I spent an hour each day on the same machine increasing the resistance each time. By now I was still not driving due to the motion sickness, vertigo and dizziness. I was becoming more stable and independent. Knowing my parents had a Panama Canal cruise coming up I told them that I was confident with the help of my sister and Justin, I'd be okay on my own. It was difficult to see them go as much as I appreciated their help, I needed to do it all on my own. After my parents left I spent a few more weeks at rehab and a lot of time at the gym. By March progress was slowing down, I was noticing changes weekly instead of daily. This was frustrating because I wanted it now! Progress had been for weeks moving right along and now all of the sudden it was slowing down. The fact that I was still progressing kept me going each day. I was still determined to continue my rehab. I’ll never forget the night Justin and his girlfriend, Mia, invited me to go see a movie. Arriving to the theater and finding a seat wasn't an issue it was trying to exit a dark crowded theater. After sitting for 90 minutes I believe my left side went to sleep and as I tried to exit the theater I had to hold onto Justin for balance and stability. It was extremely difficult and exhausting. When I left USC after surgery, my left eye wasn't making tears, closing nor blinking. Gianotta instructed me to use artificial tears to prevent dry eye. A few weeks after surgery I noticed myself putting in eye drops about every 5 minutes. I was becoming very irritated. Towards the end of March I started to develop some pain in my left eye and I was instructed by my surgeon to see an eye doctor. I made an appointment the first part of April to see Dr. Perozek here in Las Vegas. I went to see Perozek and he had determined that I had developed microscopic cornea abrasions. Perozek instructed me to start applying an ointment to help lubricate and protect the eye. He also suggested a Gold Weight. A Gold Weight works as an assist after surgically implanted into the eyelid that helps keep the eyelid closed at night, which after reading about I kindly declined. I met with Gianotta for a follow up in June and he told me to avoid the Gold Weight and educated me on the Palpebral Eyelid Spring. The eyelid spring is also surgically implanted into the eyelid and assists the eyelid opening and closing. I've been researching the pros and cons of this spring and have been holding off in hopes that it will start working on its own soon. Good news - I have been able to strain and completely shut the eyelid. Bad news - It isn't blinking or making tears, I still apply ointment all day long and sleep with an eye patch on. I have a follow up with Gianotta mid-September for another progress report. I plan to discuss the eye progress a little more in depth.