Posts Tagged ‘ Physical therapy ’


“I have had a better hold on my symptoms for the last several months,” says the silver lining proudly. And for that I am proud, and I am grateful. Things started getting rougher right around Christmas, culminating in a full week of the kind of daily pseudo-exacerbations that really make one tickle the chin about needing the prefix “pseudo.”

air-stone-2The end of last week began seeing the escalation from moderate dizziness/clumsiness to the kind of fishtank-aerator-inside-the-body level of disability that brought me more than once to tears. Yesterday was less severe a day, so it gives me hope for today being a better grasp at baseline.

Monday I fell out of the chair at my PT’s office. Went to sit, ass off-center just enough to pivot the seat with my body towards the ground. My arms are still luckily quick to respond, and kept me from eating the trash can. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or glad that there was a witness.

Despite the best efforts of Urogynecology, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, Myrbetriq, and even (physician-recommended) Dr. McGillicutty’s Wand for Female Hysterics, I am still sleeping poorly. My bladder wakes me up 3-6 times a night now — an improvement over 12+ times each night, but doesn’t address a now infamous inability to go back to sleep after stumbling across the hall. No matter how tired I am or how many bubbles are rocketing through my extremities.

But today is better than yesterday, and I netted 6 hours of sleep (in various lengths of time) last night. Despite a bad week, I worked with clients and even picked up a new one. I am trying to move away from carbs to vegetables again (it was cold and festive for a while, damnit). Tonight’s dinner was created with less difficulty, but all the love: broccoli soup from scratch for optimal cruciferous goodness.

That is why the house smells like farts. The soup. Really.




Sweet Lord, it’s Been a Minute

I suppose it’s a time-honored tradition — 12360130_10153881975963028_4719306674604972142_nfeeling like you’ve gotten a lot accomplished, then sitting down and realizing the messes around you still exist. There are gifts to wrap in a messy room where the tree’s not yet up. The dog suddenly has to go out. Then the cat wants in. It’s time to switch the laundry, too — but an hour in the kitchen doing dishes and making tonight’s dinner invariably leaves me weepingly dizzy. I would be proud that the chicken soup for tonight couldn’t be more lovingly home made, but instead I look around from a wobbling visual field at everything left yet to do. This happens every morning… I’m recognizing as a pattern that my late mornings and early afternoons are currently kept as the property of Desperation.

I also know this pattern can change any time without notice, or that “spells” might last longer, or occur at other times TBD.

But let’s not focus on the maudlin after so much time apart.


Reading my 2 haiku at the premiere

I’m designing a great many book covers and picking up volunteer work where it appears (follow me on Twitter!). I’ve been writing hundreds of haiku, and had two published for Poetry on the Comet — a project headed by the city’s Poet Laureate to place poetry on city buses. It’s exciting to be writing poetry again; now I just need to pick up a pencil and make myself start drawing (not only do you lose it if you don’t use it, but I stopped doing a lot of things I loved and at which I seemed good when I lost the ability and admit to now being fearful of trying. God it feels good to say that out loud though.)

12196103_10153148064583038_400264783271040078_nI’m not only still walking without a cane, something amazing and unexpected happened! Walking had become a great deal easier, but only at a a slow-moderate pace. Notching up to a jog was the hard limit my legs would not seem to move past (so to speak). My feet would fail to understand the concept of lifting, then returning to the ground in the same direction once speed and accuracy came into play. A couple of weeks ago we were again walking the boardwalk at the Congaree National Park; my walking speed had increased, so I gave jogging another try. The jogging turned to running and I kept going until breathlessness got the better of me (about 1/8m because I am only so fit). But holy Jeepers — I don’t remember running since I was young enough not to be obese yet. So congratulations to me on this, but I know I need to keep doing it now that I know I can.

The bladder? Still a thing. Did you know that Urogynecology is an existing specialty? Did you know that when they’ve reached a crossroads in treatment, they can refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist? Because 3j5z6that also exists. Though on medication for the frequency, I’ve still clocked 49 bathroom breaks on a 48-hour period; the physical therapist has gotten me from 25 to 15 breaks in a day. The power of Zen is strong with me — even moreso because I’m getting a bit more sleep than I have in years. I have had dreams again! Only two or three, but it’s enough to let me know that REM sleep isn’t a totally absent part of my night anymore.

And now that sitting and facing the same direction for an undetermined amount of time has let ebb the worst of the dizziness and motor skill loss, it’s time to fold the newly clean laundry. Then I’ll put it away and sit again, then I will get up and take out the trash and sit, then I’ll get up and do something else which will be unfailingly punctuated by more sitting and not turning my head.

I can run. I can dream. I got this.

Falls — Noun and Verb

Issaqueena Falls

Issaqueena Falls

An uninjurious fall or two was a pittance of payment for a visit to [a small number of] the waterfalls of Oconee County. The park at Chau Ram was the first stop, but was gated until (as was posted) March 2014. Curses! The first falls to which we in earnest arrived just happened to coincide with my daily “spell.” They also happened to be the most treacherous (three words: “wet rocky precipice”) of stops my wife had lovingly researched the difficulty of. Had I not been in a state this wouldn’t have been a hard piece of nature to traverse — I grew up on a crik (“creek”), and spent a childhood learning the careful methodology of treading river river rocks.*


[insert Blair Witch Project acid trip]

The Brasstown Falls, however, were a sudden stranger — autumn leaves plastered the small canyon and flickered around me like a Blair Witch Project acid trip. Hell, even Cowboy was scared of this one, and Cat thankfully took hold of both dogs while I focused on safe navigation with cane. There was a tiny spill over some larger precipice rocks, then one more full-body sudden descent into a soft, mud-n-moss capped hillside. I engineered that one like a pro. My Physical Therapists would have been proud of the implementation of their teaching; on the trek back I kept my gaze focused on the path before me (neck/body movements exacerbate symptoms), engaged my abdominals for stability and counted each footstep as though I were in one of their obstacle courses.


spot the beaver dam

The next falls were easy-as-pie to reach, and stunning. The last ones we hit before dark actually never got found, but the walking was intense through, around, and under trees downed, tiny and low. It was an ambitious endeavor, but I felt more victorious than pained when I emerged without falling once on this trail.

I was glad for the overcast of tired rainclouds and forest canopy. Glad, too, for long stretches of time sitting in the same position while driving, for small town diners and gorgeous independent bookstores. Our dogs were thrilled with the entire day (in addition to hundreds of new odors to discover, they each got half a sausage biscuit and some boiled peanuts… it was their Daycation too).

that smile is my heart

that smile is my heart

What I come away most grateful with is knowing that, even when she gets a wild nature hair up her bum, my wife plans for the accommodations I need and keeps an eye on the terrain for me when I can’t control the movements of my own. She drew up the routes to all of these very-backwoods locations and did all of the driving… after making sure the kitchen trash was empty, my coffee pot was clean, the dogs were fed and other various preparatory tasks.

*… And also that most of the shark teeth and vertebrae excavated there came from the Oligocene epoch. The one bone fragment I treasured most I thought, as an amateur paleontologist, was perhaps an even more prizable fossil from the Plesiosauria family. Adult hindsight suggests it was a deer tooth from neighboring hunters.

The Graduate


My graduation certificate is this t-shirt… which sounds lame until I tell you that OMG I FIT PROPERLY INTO A SIZE M.

“Graduating” from Physical Therapy ultimately means they’ve done as much as they can for me, but gosh darn if using a proactive verb as a parting word doesn’t color your glasses a little rose. All sarcasm aside, I am proud. They were able to teach me some fundamental notions of carriage – because of this I am deep now in a process of retraining my body to, well, accommodate itself.

And pilates. I’m learning some pilates in conjunction with the yoga that by now has proven itself time-honored. We’ve got a Reformer set up in the studio and it’s easy to use for a few minutes daily. As exciting as it is to set forth with a new catalog of functional information, I will miss the people I met (all of whom helped me in one way or another) at PT. It was an honor to work with them, and they can only begin to assume how deeply thankful I am.

That is not me on a Reformer.

That is not me on a Reformer.

I grew up unable to identify with pictures of human bodies in anatomy books… from an early age, I was overweight and didn’t have the same diagrammed shape laid bare in their pages. Things began happening – or didn’t begin happening – in discord with time-honored texts that weighed down my backpack almost as much as did a perception of being a poor translation of their innards.

The techs and therapists at Drayer helped me come to terms with having a body that deserves care… and knowledge, now, that those textbooks weren’t necessarily wrong.

Shipment of Fall… er, Fail

images I hit my head four days ago and it still smarts. Though on my naked forehead for easy viewing, there is neither knot nor bruise to prove its happenstance.

Yesterday at PT I fell off my table and, unlike all the times I’ve almost fallen off of my PT table, was unable to catch myself. I banged myself in several spots against the wall but today sport no bruises. My knee took the impact but makes no real complaint in the aftermath.

My legs do have several new bruises, the origin of none of which I can recall. The bruises were there before I went into PT and fell off one of their perfectly nice tables, so let’s all calm down about losing one’s physical station in a public place.

No-REM-sleep-due-to bladder is here my clumsiness scapegoat, and today is apparently Brain Zap Friday. Not getting out of bed is a fantastic vacation when the option to get out of bed stays in effect, although I suppose I could still try to look for the silver linings…


is it time for a GRATITUDE ADJUSTMENT?

(Damnit, it probably is.)

  • I am grateful for the hot-water-bottle-with-bones that’s been sleeping right beside me (even when I can’t) for the last several days.bzzle
  • I am grateful that my Physical Therapist thought to call me at home and inquire about my knee (like I need more good reason for loving PT).
  • I am grateful for my wife’s hard work – she just started a new job and still takes me to PT.
  • I am grateful for a few really delectable days of weather and walks.
  • I am grateful tenfold for the internet on these more bed-bound days.
  • I am grateful for a tidy enough house to stay (mostly) calm about housework.
  • I am grateful for dark times that make an eventual dawn break even more brilliantly.
  • I am grateful that whenever I wake up, the next episode of Breaking Bad is playing on tv.
  • I am grateful for socks!

(Annnnd hopefully I’ve just cancelled that call for a Waaahmbulance. Now I will obey my body’s will and, well, continue laying down.)

No, Not an ACTUAL Hangover.


This is my computer’s desktop background. What. Wait. Wrong upload. This is actually a “petrait” I did for someone in 2004. Weird.

I’ve had to spend most of today in bed, which could easily be enough to gripe about. Instead I choose to congratulate myself on walking better and kicking PT’s butt more than it is kicking mine. I’ve already learned substantially more than I could’ve imagined — for somebody who’s prescribed fate often dours hope entirely, physical therapy has delivered an unanticipated bounty.

Even still I’ll have to make up today’s missed appointment tomorrow. The more it helps me, the more dutiful towards it I feel. While that’s all well and good, though, today it wasn’t possible. I am more awake now than at any earlier time but remain tired enough to go right back under the covers.

I’ve stopped worrying about days like this; I know that they will pass, and worrying solves nothing. Moreover, I have begun (mad props to the wife for this) to forgive myself for days like this. Days like today interrupt every intention but like to instigate revile… at the day, at one’s body, at all the shirts that have to be turned right-side-out before being put on a hanger, at a fog of affect that skips cold beats through my memory, at spilling coffee.

The few days leading up to this one were stellar. Baseline was achieved, celebrated and is now unintentionally hungover.

I am More Grateful Than His Hairball Was Wet

cat_hairballBecause last night the cat finally did what I every night fear and wet-hairballed onto my laptop keyboard, certain important keys (I, U, P, backspace, shift) have vacated functionality. Yeah, I’ve Googled “How to [clean/dry/replace] laptop keyboard” and I’ve gotten the gist. Dismantling any parts of my laptop feels like surgery on myself (not proud/don’t you judge me), so instead I’ve got the emergency USB keyboard plugged in. My Jimmy-Dean-Sausage-Link fingers are unaccustomed to keys that call out for more dexterity.

Yesterday was one of the infamous “Nothing Happens at All” days. I wanted to, and did, wake up today feeling at least partially better [than yesterday… during which I took my temperature several times, expecting but never getting, anything but a normal return]. It seemed then, that wet hairballs would fill that lonely unsuffering space left behind by a good night’s sleep.

I do not want to ride on my whinecycle today. It is time for a GRATITUDE ADJUSTMENT!

  • I am grateful for a better night’s sleep than I expected.
  • I am grateful to have an emergency USB keyboard.
  • I am grateful that my laptop seemed to have sustained no other damage.
  • I am grateful for compressed air.
  • I am grateful for clean coffee pots.
  • I am grateful for a scheduled MRI that will check for Spinal Stenosis. I’ve had a lot of bad falls since… well, forever.
  • I am grateful for Cowboy (who is sleeping right beside me)!
  • I am grateful for fitting into my smallest size evah (seven sizes smaller than my heaviest).
  • I am grateful for the non-computer-related tasks I have even less of no reason to not get done.
  • I am grateful for the freshly-dried oregano and rosemary I received respectively from my brother/father’s gardens.
  • I am grateful for physical therapy.
  • I am grateful that I had the energy today to prep ingredients for a nice dinner, wash dishes and give the coffee pots a vinegar rinse.
  • I am grateful today that my eyes hurt less than they did yesterday.
  • Miss Molly pecks the leg of the hand that feeds her.

    Miss Molly pecks the leg of the hand that feeds her.

    We are both grateful and happy to still be getting daily visits from Miss Molly McQuackers-Mallard. Though she may have broken months [years?] ago from the shell and imprinted on our neighbor, she has still imprinted herself on our easily-adorified hearts [and on our porch, via random duckpoop blasts].