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November 29 through January 15, 2012


Paul Hudgik · January 15 at 12:35 pm

Afternoon ALL!

I'm trying to catch up on things. I would like to thank everyone that sent cards, kind words, prayers and gifts to David and family down in Atlanta this Christmas.

The first gift David opened on Christmas morning was from our friends at Granite Gorge. He could tell the gift was from them because we put a Granite Gorge Micro Bus sticker on the package.

With the help of his sister and his teeth he ripped open the present. WOW! was he suprised. Inside was a Granite Gorge Terrain Park jersey with his Name on it. It also looks like the family will be skiing at GG for the season.


Dave misses you guys and can't wait to get back to the mountain to see all of you.

I hear that there is skiing from top to bottom. Yup, I can hear the snow fans going from my house.

Time to go. Have to get my skis sharpened. I look forward to seeing everyone up at Granite Gorge!

Everyone, Thank you,

Dave's Dad ~~ Paul

Barbara Hudgik · January 11 at 2:03 pm

We went to Best Buy last night on an outing and, right now, I think Dave's being convinced to go on tonight's trip to a bookstore! His friend, Christian, is the only one signed up and he wants some company!

Paul Hudgik · January 7 at 8:10 pm

Greetings from David's Dad! I haven't had a lot of time to post things on Face book lately. Spent a lot of time out getting chores done today. When I got back this evening there was a message on my answering machine. The answering machine is a little worn out so it was hard to hear but .... I think the person that left the message said, "This is Cher from Massachusetts" WOW Cher calling me. I didn't know she was living in Massachusetts. She said she was coming up to visit me tomorrow around 11:30. She had heard about The "DH Club Sandwich" at Elm City Bagels and wanted go there and have lunch with me. WOW, I have always wanted to meet Cher. It's a Great sandwich. Why wouldn't she want to try it. I should be there for lunch A round 12:30. I hope Cher likes it. When you see us there say hello. Here are a couple of other people enjoying the "DH".

Kristen Hudgik · January 4 at 2:05 pm

Thank you to everyone who shopped at my Etsy store for the holidays. We raised more than $350 just in December. Glass sales will continue to benefit David's fund. http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoCatsAndADog

Jason Hudgik · January 3 at 10:17 am

Just got a text from Kim Stack this morning (her and her family own Elm City Bagels in Keene) and she wanted me to let everyone know that they just deposited $65.42 into David's account today over at Connecticut River Bank! Woohoo!:-) Thanks Kim for the update. If you haven't already, you ALL should go try the DH Club over at Elm City Bagels! It's absolutely delicious and Dave created it himself!:-) Thanks for all the support everyone! And a special thanks to Kim and her crew over at Elm City Bagels!

Barbara Hudgik · January 2 at 8:29 pm

Here's what a typical weekday is like for Dave: Somewhere between 6:30 and 7 wake up and spend then next couple of hours with stretching, showering, dressing and breakfasting - not necessarily in that order! On the schedule for tomorrow, (Tuesday), is: 9 - 10, stretching with mom; 10 - 11, occupational therapy (usually upper body work); 11 - 12 e-stim (electrical stimulation) with mom - yes, I get to apply electric currents to him! 12 - 1, lunch; 1 - 2, Fitness IV Mat Class with Kelly (don't know what this is, it will be his first time); 2 - 3, recreational therapy; 3 - 4, physical therapy and we will finish with some reiki at the apartment at 4:15. This week Dave also has the Lokomat on M, W, Th and Fri, aquatic therapy in the pool on Wed., FES bike for 2 hours on Thurs and this week's Fun Friday activity will take place in the auditorium where they will watch a movie while doing a therapy activity - Dave's will be FES bike.

Paul Hudgik · December 31 at 12:43 pm

Good morning all. I have been down in Atlanta visiting with David and family for the past week. This past Monday I got to see David get on the Lokomat for the first time. A Lokomat is a Robotic device costing $250,000 that helps to lift the person using it and move their legs to help them reconnect their legs to their brains. It aslo helps to work out their legs. David was told that it sometimes takes 2 or 3 attempts over the course of 2 or 3 days to be able to stand up and use the device for about 10 minutes. David got it on the first attempt and went for 20 minutes. Two days later he went for 30 minutes. David has been able to support 60% of his body weigth with the help of the Lokomat. I was very impressed with David and the Lokomat! WOW!

Barbara Hudgik · December 30 at 1:20 pm

Hey, for those of you who are familiar with the Cape Cod collegiate baseball teams, there's a young man here named Jonathon who played with the Cotuit team a couple of summers ago. He acquired his SPI at C5, which was shattered, and C6, while playing baseball this past March. He and another player were running after a fly ball and they collided. I think Jonathon's head hit the other guy's hip. He is from this area and has been coming to Shepherd since he got hurt. His mom was inspired to create an exercise to help strengthen his core muscles which are very difficult ones to get back. She went to Toys R Us to find something like a mini soccer ball which she would place behind his back while he was sitting in his chair, then he and his mom would hit a beach ball back and forth.

Today Dave had the second round of botox injections. This time the area near his shoulder blade didn't need too much but the area of the chest that's next to the shoulder and armpit was very tight so he got more botox there this time.

Barbara Hudgik · December 29 at 10:39 am

More big news...we've been extended to Jan. 27th, too!

Barbara Hudgik · December 29 at 10:29 am

Back from my holiday break, finally! As you can see in the above video (click here for video), David continues to work hard. This was his first time in the lokomat and yesterday he worked in it again and then went to the pool. Paul joined him in the water, too. The heater hadn't been working so the water wasn't its usual 93 degrees, more like 86, which is pretty chilly for people with spinal cord injuries! Dave did manage to stay in for the whole session though. It was a true 9-to-5 day for him.

Barbara Hudgik · December 25 at 9:43 pm

It was a very merry Christmas and to all a good night!

Barbara Hudgik · December 23 at 4:45 pm

Ahh, Friday and Christmas Eve eve.  Dave is the last of the original crew still here - Jay left yesterday and Tyler today.  Ben and Jimmy will be back after the holiday break.  Dave will be using the loco-mat next week as a special treat.  It's like an exo-skeleton that you stand upright in and it makes you walk on a treadmill!  While Dave was on the tilt-table this afternoon, I went to the fourth floor to see Jeannie and Scott.  Jeannie is doing much better and was in the gym playing a video game with three others and Scott is also much better and back in his room!

Barbara Hudgik · December 21 at 11:06 am

Yesterday was one of those 'if-it-could-go-wrong-it-did' days! Despite the kinks, Dave did make a lovely flower arrangement involving a bamboo plant and a plastic frog in Recreational Therapy. We both visited Scott who is still in the ICU, waiting for his blood pressure to cooperate and Jeannie, who is out of ICU. She also was having low blood pressure issues but hers has resolved. Em, Dave and I received the gift of a lovely dinner from Scott and his wife, Sandy! She always eats at a Cracker Barrel on her way to Shepherd, so Scott said we could pick out whatever we wanted and she would order it and bring it to us! The staff at Cracker Barrel know her well and wondered why she was ordering three take-out meals. She told them about us and the manager gave her a discount and lots of extra biscuits! It was all delicious and a very welcome treat - thank you, Scott and Sandy.

Barbara Hudgik · December 19 at 1:15 pm

Dave's at the movies this afternoon and Emily and Brittany took the bus to the aquarium. Like the airport, it is supposed to be the largest in the country and right next door is The World of Coke since Coca-Cola is headquartered in Atlanta. It's a beautiful day so they all should be having a good time. I'm going to find a post office and then take a walk!

Barbara Hudgik · December 18 at 5:29 pm

We did our first ride on the Marta bus yesterday afternoon and went to the Lenox Square Mall. Not the smartest time to go to a mall since it was the last weekend before Christmas! The five mile ride took about 35 minutes and the sidewalk where we got off was kind of chopped up so we had to be in the road, briefly. Needless to say, the amount of cars at the mall was insane. There were policemen directing traffic at the intersection to the mall and right in front of the mall. We made it in, dove into Macy's, decided to head back since it was after 4:30 already and we weren't sure where to catch the bus. People who were trying to get anywhere in cars were having a very tough time of it and some of them were getting rather beligerent with the officers who were directing traffic. Yikes! We made it out, found the stop and got home just before six. We did find out that it's really easy to ride the bus with a wheelchair and,if we can do it on a day like yesterday, we can do it anytime.

Today, Dave was up bright and early for some reason and in his chair by 7:30. I hope he can repeat this on Tuesday since we have an 8am appointment. He spent some time on the computer while I went to the store and then this afternoon we went to the church service again. Afterwards, we went to visit our friend Scott and found out that he's in the ICU. Since his surgery this past week he's had trouble with low blood pressure but he is getting better and enjoyed our visit. We also wanted to stop in and see Jeannie and found out that she is in the ICU as well. She's been having a hard time dealing with her situation and who can blame her? She sounded depressed and didn't want to visit but she did thank us for coming.

Dave, Emily and Brittany are out and about but should be coming back pretty soon.

Oh, and thanks to all who have sent cards and Christmas gifts. They look so pretty under our little, fiber optic tree.

Barbara Hudgik · December 15 at 11:27 am

Great time at airport yesterday. It started off with a bang, because as we were driving on the highway and by all the enormous airport parking lots, we were all startled by a roaring sound - we all thought something was going wrong with the bus but it was a jet coming in for a landing extremely close to the ground and right over us! The hardest part of the whole process for us was getting his two packs off the wheelchair so they could get scanned. We really held things up and it took two different people wrestling with the straps for about 10 minutes before they finally came off! We got to board a 737 with the help of "Tiny" who is 6'7". He and another person lifted Dave out of his chair and into the transport wheelchair which is narrow enough to fit the aisle of the plane and then they place him in his seat. We were also served water and airplane snacks: the usual cookies emblazoned with "Delta", peanuts and pretzels. Dave loved being on the plane and can't wait to really fly, although his back was not very happy after just 20 minutes in the seat. He also enjoyed riding on the train to get across the airport. We were told that this airport is the largest one in the world and it's a mile across. The trains move really fast, the doors shut really fast and they don't automatically open back up if you're not quite in! If you're in a wheelchair you need to be very aggressive in getting right up to the doors and getting right in because most people will just cut you off!

Barbara Hudgik · December 13 at 7:49 pm

A very good day! Dave had his first dip in the pool this afternoon and loved it. It will be on his schedule again next week. Tomorrow we go to the airport in Atlanta to see just what it will be like to navigate air travel with a wheelchair. Delta Airlines in Atlanta has THE training program for the entire country for airline employees to learn how to help all sorts of people with accessibility and air travel. We will walk through the entire process and board a Delta plane.Barbara Hudgik · December 13 at 5:52 am

Barbara Hudgik · December 13 at 5:52 am

We finally got to the church service that they have in the 7th floor auditorium every Sunday at 1:30pm. There were about 15 - 20 people in the ever-changing congregation. We sat next to Jeannie whom we had met through Scott. She's another person who's had an unbelievable difficult time of it. She was a pedestrian who was hit by a car that was going 45 mph. Her head actually went through the windshield and then she was thrown off the hood when the driver hit the brakes and she bounce and rolled down the road! Amazingly, she didn't have a scratch on her face but did have many broken bones besides her broken neck. This happened a year ago in October. She ended up in a nursing home where they didn't turn her so she had terrible bedsores. She was finally able to get into Shepherd so she is only just now starting to do rehab.

Yesterday, I was shown how to set up the e-stim on Dave's arms and we'll go over it again today. David also spent nearly two hours on the FES bike in his 'old' gym on the 4th floor. All the guys were there - Ben, Cole, Dave and Jay.

Barbara Hudgik · December 9 at 7:48 pm

Dave is zonked out - had to wake him up to get him into bed! I'm not surprised he's so tired since he woke up at 6, left the apartment by 9 and didn't get back til 5:30. The holiday party was very nice. It was for everyone in the day program and was held in the auditorium on the 7th floor. There was a Christmas tree on the stage where everyone put their Secret Santa presents and there were probably 16 large, round tables all with holiday centerpieces. A few different companies provided all the food, which was excellent. We had roast turkey, honey ham, stuffing, mac and cheese, roast veggies, spinach and strawberry salad, rolls, fresh fruit and a sumptuous dessert table! After lunch we did the presents and David got an adorable sock monkey that plays Jingle Bells when the hand is pressed. The party was followed by an hour of physical therapy and after that he ended up using the FES bike from 3:30 to 4:40 along with Ben. Dave did almost 10 miles. On our way back to the apartment, Ben's mom noticed that Jay's family were checking out an accessible van so we went over and took a look, too. It was a 1999 Ford with 35,000 miles and the asking price was $23,000. The roof was raised and the floor dropped so I could stand up in it. They need a lot of height because Jay is 6'4". It looked good but when they used the lift to get Jay out they had a little problem. He made it to the ground but the side of the lift wouldn't fold down so he was stuck there for a while. They finally got it unstuck which was good because it was kind of cold outside!

Barbara Hudgik · December 7 at 2:43 pm

Another non-stop day for Dave that involved several different pieces of equipment: two separate devices to work his right arm - one of which involved a computer fishing game, time on the tilt-table and an hour on the FES bike. This evening we'll have a 6pm visit with his nurse at our apartment to see how everything is going.

Barbara Hudgik · December 5 at 3:37 pm

Dave and I had to eat lunch in the gym today while we waited for Dr. Lin to do the botox injection. While we were there, a woman came over to us and said that she had been reading the journal entries on Dave's Caringbridge site. Her name is Penny and she is here to help take care of her brother, Scott. He 's a different Scott from the one I mentioned in my previous entry. He's 56 and he also has a SCI. He's on the 5th floor, but they saw Dave's pictures on his door when we were still on the 4th floor. The skiing pictures reminded them of their nephew who snowboards. Anyway, she found out Dave's name and looked him up on Caringbridge and has been following his progress. She and her brother say the entries make them feel more hopeful about his recovery. We'll have to make a visit up to meet Scott.

The botox injections - 3 of them - went better than Dave and I expected, painwise. The doctor used some sort of device to measure the amount of spasm in the muscle so he could tell just where to insert the needle. The area with the most spasm would cause the device to "crackle" more. It sounded like a geiger counter. Dave had PT right afterward and he thought that he already felt looser.

Barbara Hudgik · December 5 at 11:10 am

It was a quiet weekend - just a little visiting with folks on the 4th floor. We did find out that Scott, (he's about my age and has been at Shepherd many times over the years), and his wife live next to the town of Powder Springs, which is where we may end up after day program finishes up. There is an accessible house there which we may stay in for free while Dave attends outpatient therapy. We'll see...

Barbara Hudgik · December 3 at 7:17 am

Yes - the visit to the movie set was some major fun! The ride was about a half hour so they weren't to far from here. They had taken over a Costco since the scene they were filming takes place in one. Dave said they had moved out all the regular items and put up prop items. There were also big trailers everywhere outside. He said Vince Vaughn really is huge and Ben Stiller is very small - maybe smaller than me! He was also wearing skinny jeans and Dave said his legs were really thin. They were all super nice and super funny. If you remember Ben Stiller's movie, Zoolander, you'll remember the 'modelling' face he always made. Cole said, "Hey Ben!", and made the 'face' and Ben did too. I hope someone got a picture of that! They didn't get any autographs, but pictures were taken so we should be able to get at least one at some point. photos

Barbara Hudgik · December 2 at 1:28 pm

It's Fun Friday! Today's field trip should be very special if everything works out. Tyler's dad happens to know Vince Vaughn, THE ACTOR, who is filming somewhere around here with Ben Stiller. Supposedly a visit to the set was arranged. I hadn't heard whether it was a go by the time I brought Dave down to the bus, but I hope l hope so. Otherwise, they'll be going to the movies. I believe Dave, Tyler, Cole and another young woman are going. Poor Ben just had a fourth surgery yesterday, a skin graft, to close up the spot over his spine where he had a MRSA infection, so he can't make this trip.

We did decide on a botox injection to loosen up the 'stuck' muscles. That will hopefully happen on Monday.

Barbara Hudgik · December 1 at 2:52 pm

This afternoon I was shown how to 'attach' Dave to the FES bike. You stick electrodes on his thighs and calfs (calves?) and secure his feet on the pedals, which are not like the pedals of a regular bike. They're long enough for the entire length of his sneaker to rest on them. We didn't have enough time to do the entire program which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes! This would be an excellent item to have at home but, of course, they are very pricey and not covered by insurance.

Btw, for those of you who don't know, Dave is quite a nagger! He keeps bugging his therapists to work with him more. He met another guy today who, as Dave related it, hurt his spinal cord on two different occasions and even severed his spinal column. This person can operate a manual chair now after seven years of hard work and he told Dave that he has to do more work than he's now getting in day program.

What is an EFS bike? Click here

Barbara Hudgik · November 30 at 8:48 pm

So busy! Today David got on the tilt-table for the first time. It's basically a bit bigger than a twin bed and he was strapped onto it just below the knees, at the hips and at the chest. You start out horizontal to the floor and then, just like a see-saw, it tilts so eventually you get to an 80 degree angle. This is a challenge for your blood pressure when you have a spinal cord injury. They tilt you up little by little and I'm very pleased to say that David did exceptionally well for his first time. He got to 60 degrees and they only had to go back a little bit one time to let his BP adjust.

We met his doctor today, a man who came to Shepherd when he was 19 with a spinal cord injury. He's in a manual chair himself. The big concern is that right shoulder and the extremely tight muscles. He gave us three treatment options: a botox injection which would take a few weeks or more to really take effect, trying some meds other than baclofen or do a more extensive nerve block.

Tonight, Dave watched wheelchair rugby and met one of the players afterwards. This guy injured himself exactly the same way David did - doing a double front flip on a trampoline - except he was hurt at C5 and 6!

Barbara Hudgik · November 29 at 7:00 am

Dave loves day program. We got off to an early start and made it to registration with 10 minutes to spare and ended up waiting a half hour before our group registration began. Our case manager is warm and funny and we really liked all the therapists we met with, yesterday. We discovered that Dave's blood pressure still tends to be very low in the morning which explains why he never feels that good when he gets up in his chair. We will definitely have to watch that and I purchased a BP cuff so we can check it ourselves.

The gym on the 3rd floor is where all the action is. There were lots of people with all sorts of spinal cord injuries busy working on all sorts of equipment. We saw Mr. Mayer, Jay, Cole and the woman from Australia, (must find out her name), - all people who were inpatients on the 4th floor with us. There's lots of energy and it's very lively and Dave can't wait to get to work.


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