Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Hopeless to Hopeful - I Hope

So, it's about time I check in with a Sweetie story, isn't it. Blah, blah, blah, Amy. Blah, blah, blah, me. A Sweetie story would be a nice switch, wouldn't you say?

Yah. It would.

Alas, not today. Maybe next time.

Until then... speaking of blah.... I'm feeling rather blah these days. Very much at a standstill. Pretty much done with trying, to no avail.


Tired of checking in with my cannot-communicate-effectively physiatrist. Sick of giving him a large copay every month or so, for what? To tell him how things are going with my physical therapy? I can talk to my physical therapist about that! No need to involve him.

He did suggest, a couple months ago, that I try a cortisone shot in my hip to see if that would ease some of my pain. Just one hip though, to see how it goes. It seemed to go great! Seemed to help a lot. Awesome! So much so that, at my next appointment with him, he did a cortisone shot on my other hip. And.... No. Not good. Not good at all. Worse! Much worse. Really bad.

(I also went for a full body massage the afternoon I got that second shot, and I told him I was doing this. He didn't say a word - no warning at all that this may not be a good idea. So I had no idea. Was it the massage that made it worse? Did I just react differently to the shot in the other hip? Who knows. After a week 1/2 or so, it was all back to fine. Well, my normal pain, anyway. I think. Some days are still pretty bad, actually. Yay for consistency - not!)

So, now I... I just don't know if I see the point in going back to him. He can, and probably will continue to tell me all sorts of crazy weird options I have to get rid of the pain (something about frying the nerves??? Killing the nerves - non-surgically - so that they don't feel anything anymore??? No thanks.) But I don't want to do crazy weird. I don't want to do heavy narcotic drugs. If those are my only options, well... I guess I turn to acceptance, then, and move on. At least I had the MRI and have found out that it's arthritis and bursitis causing me grief and nothing else any worse than that, which is a relief. He even told me, right off the bat, that nothing is going to relieve my pain completely and/or permanently. I pretty much just have to suck it up and adapt.

Why keep going back?

And then there's PT, which I've been doing since - what? - March? It's... going. Eh. It's not that I feel I've hit a plateau. It's that I feel I'm the exact same as I was at the beginning! Save for those few weeks when the first cortisone shot helped me to feel better, I don't feel that the PT has done a gosh darn thing.

This whole time I've been doing aqua therapy. Which means I'm in the pool and my therapist is out, instructing me from the side. She's not in there with me, making sure I'm doing the exercises exactly as she wants me to do them. So I feel like, A) I'm either not doing the exercises right, and therefore am not progressing as I should, or, B) I am doing the exercises correctly, but they're just not the right exercises for me and aren't doing anything for my pain.

I feel like, because my body - namely, my legs and feet - work differently than the average, able-bodied person's, I can't physically do what she wants me to do. Or, okay, I can at least attempt to do the exercises as instructed and, okay, maybe, possibly this is all helping to build up new muscles for me. But, at the end of the day, I still have the same body mechanics I've always had, the same abilities and disabilities I've lived with my whole life, and so will walk out of the sessions and into my life going back to the same ways I've always used to get myself around as I need to do. I've adapted this walking style to suit me best/keep me doing what I need to do the only way I know how. 45 minutes of exercising twice a week is not going to change the grand scheme of how I get around. It's just not.

And so... I feel like I just want to be done with all of this too. Or at least, you know, maybe move out of the pool. Switch to doing exercises right with her, so she can coach me much more accurately. Tell me what I can do on land anywhere so that I can do exercises not only with her, but on my own as well. Have her position my body as she needs me to be in order to be correct. Do something new.

She also asks me all the time where my average pain level is at. I hate that question! I hate that "rate it from 0 - 10 with 0 being absolutely no pain and 10 being the worst pain you can possibly imagine" scale. From the get-go, I always put my pain at least at a 5, figuring why would anyone even ever seek out relief from pain if it wasn't at least at a 5? And so, if in my head my lowest tolerable pain is a 5, but I'm experiencing worse than tolerable pain, then I must at least be at a 7, right? And on my worst days ever? Well! That's an 8+ right there - easy!

But... A) there is a fair amount of time when my pain is really very low, if not completely not there. My worst pain basically comes when I change position - from sitting to standing, most often. So I have the bad pain, but after walking it off for 15 seconds or so, I'm more or less good. Or at least at the very low pain end of the range. And B) turns out I've been waaaayyy off with where to place my pain using this 0 - 10 system. Now, at least, instead of my therapist asking me for a number, she and I will work it through with some discussion (Does the pain make you cry? No. Is the pain just annoying, or does it make you really want to stop doing whatever's causing the pain? Makes me want to stop) and she'll tell me what number I'd be on the chart (some recent bad pain I had she rated at a 3 or 4 - which she thought was rather considerable pain. A 3 or 4 to me has always seemed a rather low number. Live and learn!)


Another day. PT day. I haven't wanted to go. I haven't felt like it's been doing any good. I've felt like, maybe, even, it's been hurting me more!

I didn't want to go.

But then I thought, if I don't go, what would I be doing instead? Nothing. Nothing towards helping my body, that is. And that's definitely no good.

Then I talked with Hubby. "You should go. You need to go."
     - "But..."
     - "You need to go."
     - "But..."
     - "Go."

I went. I talked. I literally hung around in the pool. No exercising today, just letting my body benefit from the weightlessness of the water.

As Hubby had reminded me, my therapist really does understand my pains better than I can verbally express them. She understands the mechanics of my body and why I hurt in the ways that I do. And she also sees, with me, that the pool is just not working. Maybe it was that second cortisone shot that spun me around and screwed everything up. Maybe not. But I'm just not progressing. I'm, in fact, worse. She heard me and understands.

No more pool.

Next time we meet we'll be on land. And in the meantime, thanks to my "hanging out" and just talking to her today, she now knows how I've been sitting at work and at home, and wants me to STOP DOING THAT! I need better seating both places.

If I can work on just that, by the time we meet again in 2 weeks, I may have some progress to report. Simple changes, big results.

Let's hope.

I will not give up. I will keep at it. Because, as I said, if I don't go to PT, what will I do? At least with the PT I'm trying to get better, even if it takes a long time. Even if it seems like it will never come. I'm trying. Without the PT, there's no chance for changes.

Now the physiatrist? Hmmmm.... I'm still not sure about him. Worth it to go back, or not?

I don't know.

But, for now, I'll do what I can. I'll keep trying. I'll keep the faith that, someday, I'll see some progress.

Keep on keepin' on.

1 comment:

Karin Henn said...

That sounds miserable... Except the parts that sounded good. Like alternative seating. I have a co-worker who has severe pain and they hooked her up with a workstation that she can use either standing or sitting. It's made a huge difference.