Tag Archives: therapy

Updates!

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Updates!

Alright, time for some updates ^^

Went back to my sports medicine doctor and back to PT this week. My physical therapist gave me a few more exercises to add into my routine (which, this time, I will make routine), specifically to work on stretching my psoas. My iliopsoas on my left side were super, super tight and tender. He tried to do some releases on them, and it was horrible. About the worst pain I’ve been through in sports med or PT so far (well, maybe tied with the trochanter/hip pain…), and now I have bruises and terrible tenderness, even a few days later. But hopefully the new exercises will help some.

I got to talk with my sports med doctor about my x-ray results. She said she’s not really that concerned about the degeneration of the symphysis pubis, since I’m not experiencing pain symptoms with that. But it is arthritis, and probably caused by the abnormal pelvic mechanics I’ve had for, well, my whole life, I guess. I’m just not sure what the implications of it are since I already have degeneration so young. But, I guess we’ll see.

With the hips, she basically told me what I’ve already figured out from research. Retroversion is where the acetabulum is rotated back, so the femur sits and moves in the socket abnormally. It also puts me at much higher risk for impingement and wearing down of the labrum. She doesn’t know how far back it’s rotated, nor how bad it really is, but both she and my physical therapist recommended me seeing a hip specialist. So I have an appointment with a really good one near home, but I can’t get in until September. Boo. But he’s a great doctor, and my symptoms aren’t terrible, so that’s not too bad. And, if something changes and they do get bad before then, I have the name and number of another doctor who I could probably get in to see much earlier. So I have a lot of options.

Basically, what I’ve been told will happen when I see this doctor, is that I might have to get 3D CT scans (which look freaking awesome) so that he can get the most accurate picture of what’s going on inside my hips. Then I have a few options, probably. Injections, which I already know make me flare up worse for a while and then don’t do terribly much, or an arthroscopic surgery to see what’s going on and what can be done.

I really don’t like the idea of surgery, but if helps or can fix something, that would be great. I suppose it would be better to do something now, when I’m younger and heal better, than to wait until I’m older and something more serious happens. I’ll have the time before I start grad school, but I don’t know if I would be able to fit both hips in in that time. I don’t know, we’ll just have to see what the hip specialist says in September.

Other news: I’m totally done with my roommates. I moved all of my stuff into my room (which was literally everything in the apartment), and the younger roommate is paying for the couch, as well as for some other stuff her cat destroyed during her time there. I took the electric bill out of my name, forcing them to pick it up and pay for it all themselves. I’m just glad that this roommate nightmare is over. Here’s to hoping that I’m done with roommates forever (minus possibly my BFF for grad school) XP

I also took my bookmaking class last week. Holy crap. My new favorite thing. I got all of my tools (bone folders, awls, micro spatula, waxed linen, knives!) and awesome paper and binder’s board and such, and am now making my own books! Currently working on a bound book of all of the cards that I got from my high school graduation! And I’ve been making really tiny books to put musings and such in, as well as mini books for fortune cookie fortunes! :’D I’m thinking about opening an Etsy shop or something — I’d love to start selling them and doing custom books, but I just don’t even know where to start! No matter what, though, I love making them, and will keep it up!

Losing yourself

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So I volunteer with a program that goes to nursing homes and does art therapy sessions with elders with dementia. Yesterday night was our big, end-of-the-year art show. As a student leader, I do no have a partner that I meet with every week. Rather, I help lead and facilitate the weekly sessions. Because of this, and the fact that I’ve only been involved for a year, I haven’t known any of the elders over a very long period of time. I seriously love each and every one of them, but I haven’t been around long enough to see the changes that the disease has been forcing on them.

Last night I was helping direct pairs of students and elders, and helping people get in and out of the elevators and find their partners. My nursing home was one of the very last to arrive, and they had to make two trips in the bus to get everyone there. In the second bus, there was a woman who I didn’t have on my list. One of the women from the nursing home told me that her name was Jean, and that she’s been active in the program in previous years, but has gone downhill recently and had to stop coming. Because she wasn’t a regular, she didn’t have a partner. She was the last to come up the elevator to the show, so I offered to sit with her and take her around to see the art.

Jean was really struggling. She spent most of the show half asleep, and the other part of the time she seemed to be in the throes of hallucinations. She would reach out a carefully rearrange things on the table, then act like she was kitting or sewing, or picking things up off the table to set in her lap. She did not talk beyond a few incoherent mumbles and did not respond to my talking to her.

After a brief ceremony where the volunteers and elders were recognized, I took Jean around in her wheelchair to see the art, including a piece of her own. Again, no reacting and continued hallucinations. I kept talking, though, and showed her pieces some of her friends had made. As we were going around, I had a woman come up to me. She was ecstatic to see Jean, and really excited that I was helping her around. She thought I was her partner. I told her that I was actually a leader, and was just filling in. This woman started telling me about Jean. Jean before the disease took its tole.

Jean loved to tell stories. She would sit there during art sessions and talk her partner’s ear off, telling them about her day, about her past and family, about something funny another resident had done, or telling them a story that she had made up on the spot. She had a definite way with words. And her art was amazing. She was very detailed and illustrative, drawing figures rather than abstract shapes. She loved the art sessions, both for the people she got to see and the pieces that she made.

I could hardly believe it. I just couldn’t match up this description with the woman I was pushing around in her wheelchair. It was as if she was describing a completely different person. In a way, I guess she was. Alzheimer’s has taken away the person she was before, and has left this sleepy, unresponsive woman in her place. This was the first time really where the disease had been brought home to me, hearing stories about how she used to be and seeing how she is now. It made me so incredibly sad, especially when I thought of the fact that the person she was is probably almost gone for good. That woman who told stories and drew amazing pictures has disappeared forever. And that’s going to happen to all of my other amazing artists that I love, given enough time.

We finished going through the artwork and went downstairs to wait for the bus. She was still hallucinating, but seemed a bit more alert. She actually opened her eyes to look at me where I was sitting in front of her. She started to talk. I couldn’t understand almost anything she said, but I tried my hardest to respond appropriately and keep talking to her. She seemed happy to just have someone there listening and paying attention to her.

The bus finally came and I took her outside to board it. As the worker backed her until the wheelchair lift, I told her that I was really happy that she had kept me company during the evening, and looked forward to maybe seeing her at the next art session if she was feeling up to it. She looked right up at me and told me that she would like that. She then smiled, shook her head, and told me that I was a beautiful girl. I almost burst into tears right there. Here was a woman who was struggling to retain herself in the face of a devastating disease, and who was clearly losing that fight, and yet when she came back to herself for a brief time she still was incredibly kind and appreciative. Most people would have seen Jean and written her off as a vegetable, not worth their time. But with just a little attention, some kind words, and a listening ear, she returned enough to offer some kind words of her own. She just demonstrates to me that every single person is worth our time and effort, and that even the tiniest things can be regarded the greatest victories.

I was so glad I got to spend time with Jean, and I genuinely look forward to doing so in the future. Hopefully she’ll feel well enough to come to art therapy every now and then!

Ever feel like you want to cut your arms off?

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Ho. Lee. Crap. So today I decided to sand my six apple crates. I got them at an antique mall cheap, and I’m going to make this:

Coffee table! :’D

The other two crates will be used to make an end table. None of them will be permanently fastened, that way I can rearrange them if I want, as well as use them for storage and transport during moving. My crates will be stained darker, and the insides are going to be painted in greens, yellows, and turquoise. Let me tell you, I’m excited about this project. There will be a whole post about it once I finish!

But, so, the sanding. I decided to get working on them so that I can at least stain before going back to school, even if I don’t get to painting. I dragged them outside (in the 40ish degree, but sunny, weather) and got to work. It took me about two hours, but I get them done! They look great, and I decided to hold off on staining since it was getting late. I went in, sat around for a bit, ate dinner, and then realized…my arms hurt.

Holy. Crap. Do they hurt. Not, like, nomal post-exercise hurt, but like I-want-to-rip-my-arms-off-to-stop-the-agony hurt. This has only happened to me once before, my sophomore year after I had worked out on the bike. That time it was my legs, and I spent several hours in my dorm room crying (I almost never cry from pain) and alternating between laying down and limping around, unable to keep my legs still. My roommates were out studying, and I ended up calling my doctor at like one in the morning, trying to figure out what to do. This time it’s just as bad.

I realized, though, that this is the first time that I’ve done any sort of strenuous exercise since my doctor cut my Lyrica back. I’m already seeing the impossible dilemma — memory or pain? Do I decrease my meds and get my memory back, but have increased pain levels, or to I go back up and have more memory problems, but less pain? Or do I try a different medication entirely?  This is what I was afraid of what she first reduced it, and now I’m seeing my fears come to life.

An extremely hot bath didn’t do anything for the pain, really (although it was nice — especially once I realized that if I just put my Nook in a bag, I could still read in the tub, even with my arms pretty much submerged. Score!), and I know I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight with it like this. I’m strongly considering taking some Lortab that my sister got from when she had tonsillitis (which, okay, can we talk about this for a minute? I’m in pain pretty much 24/7, and I get almost unbearable flare-ups, and I can’t get anything stronger than ibuprofen, and she has a bit of tonsillitis, goes to the ER, and they give her narcotics. Wut.). I did that once before, after a pelvic floor PT session when all of my muscles were spasming and I could barely move. It sure zaps the pain, but it makes me feel a bit loopy, and then ill a few hours later. But even that seems like a good trade-off right now. Ugh.

Oh, and quick update on my sports medicine/PT visit. Went today for PT. It was kind of odd. He did some stuff with me, had me do a few things to assess range of motion, and then gave me some exercises and was like “Make another appointment if you think you’ll need it!” What? I mean, I guess I’ve never had limb-related physical therapy before, but aren’t you supposed to meet more than…once? I’m going to do all the exercises, but I’m not sure how much good they’ll do, especially when I’m not getting at least some feedback about if I’m doing them right, etc. I guess we’ll see, though.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to get this pain under control so that I can get to sleep tonight!

PT again (yay :| )

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Well, I went to my sports medicine appointment today. The verdict: more physical therapy. Not sure how I’m going to swing it this time — last time I had appointments on Fridays, so I was able to come back home (a two hour drive) without missing any class. This time, however, it’ll probably be twice a week. That’ll be interesting to figure out…

My doctor found that I have snapping hip syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome (also called Runner’s Knee, which I find funny since I avoid running at pretty much all costs). So basically that means that the tendons/ligaments of my hip are snapping over the femoral head of my hip, making the snapping sound and feeling. With the knee, there’s probably inflammation behind the patella, causing pain and popping. So I get to go to PT and work on strengthening my leg muscles and core. It’ll be nice to get my hips under control and stop feeling like a little old lady whenever I have to walk an sort of a distance, but getting this all scheduled without missing an absurd amount of class is going to be difficult.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The appointment highlighted again, though, the problems with my right hip. When I was having my pelvic floor physical therapy, that side was really sore and spasmy. And now it’s like that again. The doctor had me lay on my left side as she pressed around the joint. It hurt like CRAP — really sharp and piercing. Normally I can take most pain and be able to hold still and get through it. Not this time. I was actually flinching away. And she kept pressing. Now, I know she needs to check around to see what’s sore, but that was ridiculous. It hurt so bad. I would probably put it around a 7 or an 8 — really high for me for something like that. Now, hours later, I’m still all sore. Pondering a hot bath later (which we just got a new water heater, so it will be a hot bath!)

Also super tired today. Last night was a bit long, as my cat (who has digestive issues and is on special food) was throwing up after being shut it in the room with all of the other cats’ food while the water heater was being delivered and installed. Of course, he stuffed himself. So then he was getting sick, which wasn’t too bad until he started vomiting blood. We ended up at an animal emergency 24-hour care clinic to get it checked out. It turns out it was probably just a blood vessel burst in his stomach from the force of the vomiting, and nothing serious. And once he was there, he was much more perky and apparently being a lovable ham with all of the vet techs. So he got some nausea meds and we were able to go home. But at this point it was already two in the morning. And I can’t sleep unless I read a bit, so I probably didn’t get to sleep until three or so. And then my cat was up at seven because he wanted food/out of my room. So I was up every hour or two taking care of him and such.

My handome guy :D

My handome guy :’D

I ended up not getting up until almost noon, and then I had to get ready for my appointment. Came back from that, ate a bit of a late lunch, and promptly passed out on the couch for two hours. That was kind of nice, but we’ll see how that impacts tonight’s attempts to sleep. Also super sore from all of this.

Not a horrible day, all in all. We’ll try to get these hips under control and go from there. Hopefully I’ll be walking a bit better soon!