Physical Therapy Journal: How goes it? It goes …

’m still going to physical therapy three times a week. I’m 8 months in and while I see improvement, I’m still no where near where I want to be.

Here is a list of things I can do.

Walk 30 minutes x 2

Be driven to the pool. (14 minutes)

Sit for 10 minutes

Go to the OB/GYN

Lay on the massage table pretty much no problem.

Can lay on my back on the floor with a mat and two towels. That has gotten better.

Pull one knee to my chest at a time

Bike for 15 minutes on level 0

Bend side to side with my fingertips touching at the side of my knee

With knees slightly bent I can bend forward and have my fingertips touch my knees. (barely) Yet, my back still doesn’t seem to curve?

*** Further note. If anyone ever needs to go to the gynecologist let me help you out with my experience. When you get on the exam table they will of course ask you to scoot down. Make sure you ask them to pull the table tray out. That would have made things so much easier for me. I had to try and scoot down and had no where to put my feet so it ended up arching my back a bit. I couldn’t seem to find the stirrups to put my feet in either. I didn’t have the abdominal muscles to hold my feet up in the air while I searched for them. If the doctor had pulled the tray out I could have scooted down much easier and then it would just have been a matter of sliding my feet outwards to find the stirrups. At that point, they could have just slid the table back in and proceeded with the exam.

On a positive note the gynecologist was very, very quick and I was only in the stirrups for maybe three minutes. When she was finished, she pulled the tray out. What took me ten minutes to figure out how to get into them, it took me ten seconds to maneuver out of them with the tray there to use as leverage. TI used the tray to scoot up in bed, then pushed off of with my feet in order to turn on my side. Once I was on my side, they pushed the tray in and I sat up sideways and then got off the table.

Thus, I’ve made some gains in the last 8 months, but it all seems too little. It’s true, all I focus on is the stuff that I can’t do, but it’s hard not too. There is so much that I want to be doing. Least of all is to be able to sit and write for longer periods, to not be in pain, and to maybe go out to dinner with some friends. How great would that all be?

I have a doctor appointment tomorrow so we will see what he says. I’ll keep you posted.

Love,

Madeline

I’m Tired

Who out there has chronic pain. I hate that I even have to say those words – chronic pain. I don’t want to be in that category. I don’t want to talk about support groups. I don’t want to talk about how my personality is changing. I don’t want to talk about the fact that I drink way more than I used to …

I’m sad. I’m sad about this whole thing. I get frustrated and a bit angry now when people say “chin up,” or “you’ll get better.”

I’m tired of trying to believe them anymore.

And yet I feel like an asshole. Because they all say I’m going to get better. But after a year? Can they blame me that I’m having  hard time believing anymore?

So if you’re out there, and you have chronic pain, maybe you can understand my fear/self-loathing/because I’m not coping — shame spiral.

Don’t worry — next post I’ll be chipper … right?

Love,

Madeline

Daily Pain Journal– Lower back pain is worse

Michelle BasicThe last time we talked I was going to be working on maybe going driving and trying to tackle the big hill.

Well, I tried driving and I tried the big hill — sadly, I was forced to do it all in the same day.

The driving though is what did me in. I tried sitting in the driver’s seat first, which went surprisingly well. Then my husband drove me down to Marina Green so that I could drive someplace where there wasn’t a lot of people around. It went well at first. I was able to sit totally forward, which is something I haven’t been able to do for a really long time. Things were going great, until a car started backing up without seeing me. I had to slam on the brakes. That is what hurt my lower back. Having to lift my leg, my body tensed and then slam my foot down on the brake was too much for my completely inflexible lower back to handle.

Later that night we went and walked down the big hill. While I was able to handle it, when we walked back I could barely move my legs. It was a weird phenomenon. I wanted to walk like a normal person, but I couldn’t. I later told my physical therapist KC about it, and she said in the PT world they call that “monster walking.”

Nice.

So that was Sunday, and today is Tuesday. It’s hard to do my normal stretches because the rubber band feeling is back. I try not to stress about it and give it a week, but it’s hard. I know there needs to be some pain to make some gains, but I feel like in this instance there was no gain — just information that I can not drive yet.

Today I will walk to PT for the first time ever. I’m nervous, considering my back still hurts, but the husbad is away and I have no other way to get there.

Hmmm. Wish me luck

This is one year out by the way from the original Emma injury and 8 months out from the nightmare injury to my lower back.

Love,

Madeline

Physical Therapy Journal — Stairs and Big Hill Ambitions

Updates.

Over the last few weeks I’ve upped my level of activity. I started doing the stairs up to my apartment. Basically I told my physical therapist that I needed her to watch me do the stairs at our appointments for a week — just to make sure that I got them done. I told her I knew it was a colossal waste of her time, considering I could just do them on my own, but that it was more of a mind thing than a physical thing. To her credit, she marched my right to the stairwell and watched me do them.

It’s been going well, so now I think I’m going to attack the big hill by my house. If I can just get past that hill, I can start walking to physical therapy on my own and my husband won’t have to drive me. That will be huge — especially since he’s a bit tired of taking me three times a week.

I also think I am going to try to start driving again. It will be painful at first, but think of the world that will open up to me! I think I will start in a parking lot first, just to see how it goes. I don’t want to be on the streets of San Francisco realizing I can’t do it and have nowhere to pull over.

Best of luck and well wishes to you all.

Love,

Madeline Fresco