Quite frankly, I have been lazy this past year when it came to maintaining my body. When I read about the free trial week offer from SCI-Step, I figured it was just the kick in the butt I needed to get started again, and what did I have to lose by taking them up on the offer? Besides, my daughter and her family live in that area, so I could plan my stay at SCI-Step along with a visit with them. Only my grandsons could entice me from Florida to Ohio in the dead of winter!

It was sunny, and 80 degrees as I waited for a plane delayed in Boston due to foul weather. There were snow and ice storms from the midwest to the northeast. I was scheduled to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Cincinnati, and then on to Dayton. The delay meant that I would miss the flight to Dayton, which was fine with me. I was not looking forward to the short hop during an ice storm, and it was just as easy for my daughter to pick me up in Cincinnati as Dayton. (FYI -- Cincinnati is a very expensive airport destination. I saved more than $100 by going on to Dayton.)

My 3-year-old grandson, Dominic, met me full of smiles, holding a hand carved cane they got for me at a craft fair. "Granny! Look at the cane I gotcha! Don't you just love this cane I gotcha?" I swear he will grow up to be a physical therapist, or something of the sort. He was constantly on me to use the cane instead of my walker. "Why aren't you using the cane I gotcha, Granny?"

My daughter brought me to the condo provided by SCI-Step Sunday evening. We were impressed with the accommodations, spacious and nicely appointed. I brought a few groceries to tide me over until I could go shopping after therapy the next day. I would not have gone hungry if I had not, though. There were canned goods, breakfast cereal, and pantry basics in the cupboards. The previous tenant even left behind a nice selection of Samuel Adams beer in the fridge! That was very thoughtful of you! Thanks!

I decided against renting a car. I didn't think I would be comfortable driving a rental on unfamiliar roads in uncertain weather conditions. As it turned out, I made a wise choice. It snowed nearly every day. Michele recommended Holly, who operates a home care and driving business. The price was right, and I was picked up, dropped off, taken grocery shopping, and assisted with my equipment. I had no need for a car. I finished therapy totally pooped, with no desire to do anything, or go anywhere afterwards. I was perfectly content to relax in the condo after eating lunch, and napping.

Michele met me when I arrived Monday morning, and gave me a tour of the facility before we entered her office to discuss my goals. It was clear she had studied my application thoroughly in preparation for my visit. I held no great expectations for huge gains during my week at SCI-Step. I'm aging with SCI. I told her I want to stay as strong as I can in order to maintain independence. That was my goal for the week.

I was turned over to the ever smiling Kevin for stretching. Every session starts with stretching, and Kevin's smile made it almost enjoyable. If my grandson does grow up to be a PT, he will be smiling like Kevin all the while he is torturing his patient. I did a little walking before being turned over to Matt for more stretching and resistance exercises. Matt smiles too. But his is a wee bit on the diabolical side. You can almost see the wheels turning behind his eyes as he plots his next move. If the truth be told, Dominic is more like Matt. I can always see him plotting his next move behind his diabolical smile, too. The two of them should be outfitted with horns and tails! By the end of my first day I was told I WOULD be walking, unaided, by the end of the week. I wasn't given a choice. My goal was changed.

As the days passed I was introduced to various equipment, and therapies. I had reflexology, acupuncture, and, on Friday, I looked forward to a well earned massage. Well earned, indeed! I had to walk, with only Kevin's smile as an aide, across the room and down the hall to the massage room. It was a long, slow walk. I'm sure there was nothing pretty about my gait. I think I made a lot of noise. I grunted, let out a few yelps, and maybe cursed a bit. I grabbed Kevin's arms a few times, and rested against the hallway walls -- BUT I DID IT! I walked all the way into massage!!!

I was not the only patient who walked that week. I saw two people with far more severe injuries than mine take their first steps with walkers. It brought tears to my eyes to see them work so hard and take those first steps!

Although I worked mostly with Kevin and Matt, there were other young, dedicated, and enthusiastic professionals involved, as well. I thank you all for what we accomplished in that short week! I brought home an invigorated spirit, newly found confidence in my ability, and a determination to continue. My family is impressed, and surprised at how I now bound out of my chair to work around the kitchen with only a cane.

So I ask you, what are you waiting for? Take the good folks at SCI-Step up on the invitation for a free trial week! What have you got to lose?