They call it ?Physical? Therapy?…

Well.
*That* was certainly… interesting.

I accepted referral to a Physical Therapy place today. (Last week actually, but today was my first appointment.)
After filling out the standard paperwork detailing my past history, current health issues, and that wonderfully… odd… picture where you fill in your “pain” with little X’s.

After drawing large and small X’s for a while, for some reason I was *sorely* tempted to draw on a chest design and a cape for some reason… Me and my odd sense of humor.

After only a few minutes with some *very* understanding ladies doing the obligatory paperwork, I was ushered into a back office where my blood pressure and such was taken. Then I waited a bit listening to k-pop music (Don’t Judge Me!!) on my MP3 player, and doing an attention-diversion/pain reduction mental exercise I have developed distract myself from the pain and burn through the long minutes while waiting for whatever doctor I am there to see to get around to seeing me and/or reads my chart before knocking on the door…

It works like this: Using the thumb and fingers of one hand, I do “counts” touching my thumb to each finger in as fast and as random an order as I can… My forefinger is 1, and my pinky is 4. My thumb acts as the counter.. A standard ‘starter’ pattern, just to get ‘warmed up’, is 1,3,2,4. I do this a dozen or so times, increasing the speed each time until it is almost automatic..
Then I begin to switch it up..
1,4,2,3,… (X4)
1,2,4,3.…(X3)
1,4,3,2,….(X2)
Then back to the beginning for half a dozen ‘rounds’…

More difficult than one might think..
And moderately effective in helping to ‘shunt’ the pain..
Most days, anyhow…
It is a similar technique to that used in Lamaze childbirth breathing exercises.

As I was doing this, plugged solidly in to my weirdly eclectic music, a middle-aged gent knocked once, walked in the door..
and stood watching me for a few seconds..

I pulled my earbuds and started to explain, when he held up his hand and told me it wasn’t needed.

He introduced himself, and we discussed the last 12 years, what brought my condition(s) on, what I did to alleviate them, what made them worse,and where I was at. He allowed me to rant for a short bit on the crazy back-door war the DEA is waging that dropped a bomb into my family’s lives. How, since we couldn’t find the source of the pain, the only thing we could do is try and mask it, now made impossible by the removal of the only things able to do so: high dose, long-lasting narcotics.

When done asking intelligent questions and then actually taking the time to *listen* to the answers, he sat back in his chair for a minute blinking silently, mulling things over…

I could tell he wasn’t sure *what* to do with me…

What the heck could my doctor expect him to do with someone so obviously on the edge of suicide from the humanly Unendurable levels of pain so devastatingly high that merely being conscious was now a source of agony?
Someone in a situation *so* bad, *so* currently hopeless, counselors and psychologists *never* received training for it…

Most of his “normal” stuff just wasn’t doable or even applicable. He and they so feared my high blood pressure (170 over 124 today) and my high heart rate (124 resting), that even asking me to stand was risky. I explained that I thought I had found some way to actually begin medicating those issues, but that wasn’t the only problem.

What was he, and the small, caring group he worked with/for supposed to do with patient they couldn’t even *touch*?

He explained his situation (and mine) pretty well; Physical Therapy is, for the most part, about motion. Getting people moving again somehow. Helping people retrain their bodies to move properly after some injury or habit either caused or was resulted from an injury.

Most of their patients were in mild to “moderate” pain..
Not to denigrate or downplay *ANYone* else’s pain. Truly.
Compared to most people they saw, My pain was off the scale. *Far* off it. Not even on the same sheet, off it.

They dealt mainly with torn muscle, deep muscle-bone pain, and increasing the mobility of already *somewhat* mobile people…

My idea of mobility for the past 3 months has been to walk 10 steps. Maybe. To sit or lay down. Maybe. Falling down in places like the shower *not* because I “lost my balance”, but because the shattering waves of pain merely cut my leg or legs out from under me.

We just, once again, didn’t have the *tools* that would allow us to explore any real type of “standard” therapy. We lacked Narcotics. For pain control. Something to buy us a window in which to both move and improve my overall muscle tone. Something to combat the slow wasting away of muscles that refused to move in the presence of such blinding agony.
Go figure, huh?

Then he did something that surprised me…
Not an easy task in the health care field, I’ve found….

He sat back, closed his eyes, and put his hands together in his lap for a bit.
And thought…

After a full minute or so, he opened them, adjusted his glasses, and said we were going to go “outside the box” …
Go at the problem in reverse…
We would start at the *very* core, ignore(for the moment) what was *broken* inside me and discover what was *not*, and work out from there.

We would concentrate not on what was *diseased* but what was healthy… However small or insignificant I might think it might be…

He raised a table to kitchen counter height and had me stand next to him while he explained my new “homework”…

My job was to practice “feeling” my lower extremities through the pain. Because the pain is like a bright burning ball of liquid metal in my side/back, everything below it is “masked” to a greater or lesser extent.

So my job was to stand with my feet slightly apart, and begin to shift my weight side to side. Find my *center* of balance.
Start *very* small….
Look for and detect that center point.
(*Not* where I ‘now’ held myself, where my balance point ‘should’ be.)

That’s it…

While doing that, I was to concentrate on “feeling” the edges of my neuropathy. What *wasn’t* on fire? What *didn’t* hurt?
I was to find and define the ‘edges’ where “Healthy” met “Hell”.

Once I have Worked on that a bit, and not necessarily in the same session (or even day), I was to do the previous things, and work on recovering my ‘normal’ posture..
Not this hunched over, curled in around the ball of pain, crippled form I find myself now in, but that vaguely remembered stance I once held without thought…
Find it while I keep shifting my weight and more precisely defining the edges…

Then I am to start shifting my weight forward and backward on my feet and legs as well. Work on “balance”..
Not holding all of my weight on the back of my right leg, As I find myself doing now, but trying (as much as I can) to put it on *both* legs. Both feet.
Make *both* legs do their *jobs*.
Even if all I could do was sway just a little bit while doing so.

That’s it.
Mostly *mental* stuff.
Hence the title…
But *movement* oriented as well.

Something to work on and think of….

So, now when my wife, Shawna, sees me standing with my hands on the back of my chair or at a counter or something, looking vapidly off into space, I can tell her, “I am exercising, Thankyouverymuch!”, instead of looking like the distracted idiot I too often become under the onslaught of the pain.
(It is *too* the pain, Sweetheart!)

Instead of battling *Against* the *pain*, using it to limit *itself*.
Sort of a form of mental Aikido.
Use the *terrible* strength and intensity of a thing to first define and then bring that thing under submission.

Something like that anyway…..

Heck, It might even buy us another hour, or day, or two…

Another short window for……
For the DEA to lighten up a bit on pain doctors, the medicines they use, and the patients they treat.
For there to be a “Breakthrough” in my case…
For our own private little “Miracle”…

And that’s all we can ask for at this point, I guess…
At least it is all we are going to get…

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~ by daveprime on October 22, 2012.

5 Responses to “They call it ?Physical? Therapy?…”

  1. I think this guy might be on to something, and now I’m even more bummed that he’s not going to be there for very long. Maybe he’ll give you more exercises to use after he goes. If they help, hooray!!!!

  2. Brilliant idea! Dammit, if I was a bit closer, I’d offer to teach you a bit of tai chi! 🙂

    • Could we *start* with the swords, please?! O.O *Evil Grin*

      • Only if you really feel up to leaping about and standing on one leg…which by the sounds of things may be a little beyond you at the moment. 😉
        Start off with the regular form, and then the weapons will be a breeze!

  3. Woah this weblog is magnificent i love studying your articles. You realize, lots of people are searching round for this information, you could help them greatly.

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