Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm bringing driving back: Cancer/back surgery rehab drives forward with return of licence

I got my driver's licence back. I'm almost an adult.
There's a certain lack of maturity thing that seems to be holding me back from full-fledged grown-up status, but we'll have to see.
As for driving, once you have a certain number of surgeries you apparently have to inform the Motor Vehicle Branch that your physical condition has changed and they put a hold on your licence until you take a road test.
I'm not sure what the minimum number of surgeries. I had eight, to combat a collapsed t-2 vertebrae and three infections brought on by a Solitary Plasmacytoma tumour and its treatment.
Much to my chagrin, I failed my first road test try, leading to me taking lessons with Young Driver's.
I'm not young. And, if you saw me on that first road test, you would maintain that I wasn't a driver, so that was OK.
After five sessions, featuring plenty of messy parallel parking, I had my road test on Wednesday. I got this nice young woman as the tester. As we pulled out of the parking stall, I showed off my one-handed steering technique, which brought nice young woman to say, "You went to Young Driver's...they did teach you to steer with two hands, right?"
Yep. Good start.
We ended up spending 45 minutes on the road, and probably 90 per cent of it in school zones. Nice young woman cited me for two infractions -- a missed shoulder check and failing to slow to 30 kilometres in a school zone quickly enough.  We didn't even try the parallel parking.
Young Driver's Guy told me that most tests he sees these days have 30-40 infractions.
Yes, I'm bragging. Or squealing on nice young woman. I'm not quite sure.
Either way, I feel like I've got a little bit more of my life back. It's hard to have to rely on others to get around.
Now, if someone could just fix this immaturity thing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gigantic return: Latest step in rehab includes return to covering WHL games at Coliseum

Back to work, back to work, back to work.
Tonight, I make my return to "real sports reporting," covering the Vancouver Giants' season opener against the Victoria Royals at the Pacific Coliseum. (Note my cool view above. Also note my mediocre photography skills. Barely passed Photo 101 during my Kwantlen College journalism days.)
I'm a little nervous. I haven't done an actually hockey game on deadline since early last season. I did do some of the Mann Cup lacrosse games recently, so I'm not exactly going in completely cold here.
What? Let the actual facts get in the way of a story? Why would I start now?
To recap, I'm nearly over my nasty chest cold. I saw our rock star GP, Dr. Jennifer Rogerson, today and she admitted to me that she thought at one point I had pneumonia. She went as far as having me do a chest x-ray.
Yeah. Not fun. Whatever. After cancer and eight back surgeries, I should be able to turn down anything with a lot of vowels that's difficult to spell. (Yes, I had to look up pneumonia.) And, besides, Crush the Pneumonia with Humour doesn't sing.
Still, my mobility is improving. I'm largely off the Walks (my walker) and I'm even avoiding Evander (my cane) for large chunks of time, especially around the house. I did about eight blocks "free style" with Carol-Ann last Sunday and then another three or four with Paula Peres, our rock star at home physio, on Tuesday. (Paula's pleased with my progress, considering how bad the chest cold has hit me.)
I do my driving test on Wednesday. I'm feeling more and more confident every time I go out.
And Carol-Ann's brother, Chuck, has moved in with his wife Lauren and their 20-month-old Samantha. We've moved downstairs -- in part because I like the TV and Carol-Ann was worried about Sam going up and down the stairs. They've found an apartment down the street and will be moving there end of the month. (Earlier on I had it as Carol-Ann's brother Paul. I get them confused. Sorry.)
Lots going on. Always.
I'll feel a lot better once I get my license back. That will give me back my freedom and keep me from begging, borrowing and stealing off Carol-Ann and my pool co-hort Susie Culp and others for rides.
And it will let me do more "real sports reporting."

Monday, September 12, 2011

I love the nightlife: Latest step in cancer/back surgery rehab includes covering lacrosse games

The Extreme Steve Makeover: Home Edition hit another milestone over the past few days, as I've returned to covering live events for The Province newspaper. Tonight will be my third straight evening at the Mann Cup, the Canadian Senior A box lacrosse championship series between the Ontario powerhouse Brampton Excelsiors and the host Langley Thunder.
I think I've written OK. My stories have been far from stunning, but they've made sense in my mind and I've hit deadline. My mobility at the games, though, hasn't been where I wanted. I've been a little wonky. (This word brought to you by former Vancouver Giants trainer Cory Cameron. Wonky was my all purpose injury word. Cory wondered if I thought it was a technical term. It drove him crazy.)
Carol-Ann has a different take. I finished writing the first games at 10 p.m. each night. As Carol-Ann says, it wasn't that long ago that 10 p.m. was three hours into my sleep for the night. As well, I'm still dealing with this lung infection thing. I'm still downing antibiotics twice a day.
I did nap most of today. But I need to listen to my body. Both Carol-Ann and Paula Peres, our at-home physio, say that I need to listen to my body.
I skipped my Paula session last Thursday. She was pleased with that. I see her again tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how much I have in my tank after three straight nights of lacrosse.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cough, cough, cough: Chest infection puts physio and work on backburner

Not happy.
I've picked up some sort of chest infection, which has been cutting into my rehab and kiboshed my first live coverage of an event, the opening game of the Mann Cup Senior A lacrosse championship tonight between the Langley Thunder and Brampton Excelsiors.
There's something honourable and noble about lacrosse, the way they play that hard for pride. Something old school. I was geeked up.
At least I'll get to watch it over the Internet.
It could be worse. Everytime I cough it sounds like I'm going to erupt out my insides, and it caused our GP, Dr. Jennifer Rogerson, enough concern that she sent me for a chest x-ray today. It came back normal, whatever that means.
I was nieve. I thought after everything we've been through the past eight or nine months, we got a pass for the next while on the simple, everyday things. At least I hoped for that.
So much for that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A little R from R: physio prescribes rest from rehab, saying body needs break in this bid to rally from cancer/back surgeries

I feel almost athletic.
My physiotherapist, Paula Peres, says that the various aches and pains I've been feeling the past few days are my body yelling at me, saying that it needs a couple of days off. To that end, we did next to nothing in our regular Thursday session yesterday and I've tried to take it easy today. I did go to the pool this morning with my wife-appointed security guard and driver, Susie Culp, but I tried use it more as stretch-it-out session than anything else. And, up until this, I've been playing MLB11 on the PS3 today. (Cancer has done wonders for my video game skills, let me tell you.)
I can't lie it. I like the idea that she's telling me to dial it down. I'm like a catcher who doesn't play a day game after a night game. I'm like an outfielder who gets some time off before the playoffs. I'm like James Paxton, the Ladner left-hander and Seattle Mariners prospect who got shut down by the team ( due to innings pitched limits. Who cares if it's the day after I did a big feature on him? (

OK, I care. That sucked. That story got play across the country.
But no matter.
It's proof that I'm doing more and more. Paula and I walked to Moody Park last Tuesday free style (read: without help from the walker or Evander, my trusty cane) and toured around for a good 45 minutes, going up and down hills and across various terrains. I was free styling longer overall at slopitch a week ago Tuesday, when the Headliners captured their fifth VMRESSS title in eight years with a victory over the the Master Batter and Scorebook Throwers -- (for those who understand...Yes, I wrote that) -- but I was doing a lot more standing than walking. This thing on Tuesday was solid walking.
I had my first driving lesson Wednesday, and my teacher, Ricky Bobby, said immediately afterwards that he thought I could pass my test right now. For those devoted to CTTWH (Snarla, that's you), you'll recall I failed my driver's test at G.F. Strong, leading to these lessons.
I told R.B. (not his real name, in case you were wondering) that I felt much better after one session with him but still wanted at least two or three more jaunts with him riding shotgun before we started DRIVING FOR REAL. (Insert Da Da Da music here). He agreed that I was probably overly nervous at the test. That, and not overly intelligent, considering that I tried to do the test without practising after six months in a hospital bed.
Wednesday night, I took in the Vancouver Giants' intrasquad scrimmage, and stood for much of my time there.
That's a lot more going on than my body is used to. By Thursday morning, my hips and knees were aching and my shoulders and neck were sore. (That comes from the fact that shoulder checking is a skill that you generally use while driving a car only, although it does come in handy when you're in the kitchen with my Carol-Ann...more on that another time.) And I even took two fast-acting Hydro pain killers Wednesday night.
I like the fact that Paula trusts me enough that when I said on Thursday, "I'm sorry...I don't know how much I have to give for our session today) she opts to shut it down and take it easy. That's a good compliment to our working rapport.
Things are only going to get more complicated, since I'm covering the Mann Cup lacrosse finals starting next Wednesday in Langley.