Tag Archives: being aware of physical problems

Driving: Take Two

Yesterday started out like any other typical “It is an important day today!” —

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Let’s just throw out the fact that it was a Monday.

Yep, the day in which I was to complete part two of my driving evaluation tests could not have started out with any better of the typical important day fashion: sleeping past my alarm and Mom waking me up fifteen minutes before we had to leave. Her ever-calm assurance in these situations met my panic mode as I stumbled out of bed and started going through my morning list of important things I had to do (let alone getting somewhat presentable for the day): feed Muffy, take medicines, etc. “And I need coffee.” Mom said she would make sure Muffy is fed and start some coffee.

Only a few minutes past when we had to leave–with fresh coffee and an apple for breakfast–I get in the car and feel like I can finally catch my breath and looked forward to getting the test over and done! It amazes me that something like this can consume your mind. I do not have a problem with my driving–and yet when doctors first ordered the evaluation back in August, all of a sudden the restriction caused me to doubt my driving–so much that I was having dreams of being in accidents. After the first evaluation September 19th (even though I passed), I still had restrictions until I took this second part. I was able to practice in empty parking lots, which boosted confidence, but it is not a main road.

Feeling confident, I sign in and a few minutes later head out the door with the PT to the Student Driver car. I have only driven one of these official cars once for Driver’s Ed class…that was ten years ago. My instructor (who was also my history/government teacher) must have trusted his students as for our actual driving license test, we could choose between the Student Driver car or one that we had that we were more comfortable driving. I chose the latter of the two options…nothing compares to our family’s 1987 Honda Accord. It is like an heirloom. It witnessed at least thirteen years of high school drama from the parking lot between me and my sisters. Pretty classy!

Anyway, I would have felt more comfortable in my own car (logically), but since it was not a possibility in this situation, I tried my best to adjust to the Student Driver car even though there were many things very different from my car. I found my biggest frustrations being their steering wheel having these huge box-like attachments right above the “9” and “3” area..which is usually where I place my hands. (Note that this test was caused by the concern of my hand function in the first place, so the scenario didn’t suit well.) I also had a problem with the side view mirrors not having the small blind-view mirrors. (Those have saved me from numerous episodes of changing lane woes and proved so when I was doing some reverse exercises with cones in the parking lot.)

We finally get to driving around in a very pretty residential area–being fully determined not to mess with my chances of the evaluation, I kept my focus. Once we determined that the motion for “keep going straight” involved two hands (better clarification), I meandered, slowly, through the neighborhood. When we finished and headed back, the PT asked me how I felt about the driving and I told her my honest opinion (seeing no problems). Never assume a professional PT sees your driving the same way. As we met to discuss the results with my Mom, the PT explains her two things that she sees as a concern (which I do not see in context of the driving experience how they fit in properly to what I thought was the main concern : the grip and strength of my hands!) As soon as I figure out that I still do not have the official okay to drive and that I must return one more time, I bluntly express my point of view in one short sentence. I set up my next drive for the 21st and cry in the elevator–expressing my frustrations to my Mom. There are some things I just do not understand and what they want to see in these evaluations from me is what I do not understand.

There was good in the morning though…I can drive normally in my car as long as one of my parents is with me. Talk about feeling like being back in high school, but I am very thankful for this outcome (even if it is still an inconvenience to our schedules.) By driving  the roads, I can now get back to feeling like a normal driver and hope I spend less time dreaming doubts and trusting that God can use this time to help me gain more confidence as yesterday was my first time “on the road” since August.

But yesterday I also felt my conscience tug at my heart over my attitude at the PT right before we left. I did not mean to bluntly express my opinion, but it came out. And I feel bad for it; I hope I did not ruin her day. I am sure it was just as awkward and maybe frustrating for her to navigate a deaf person around a neighborhood and through cones in a parking lot. In my childish actions in response to the PT’s professional opinion, I see how wrong I was and asked God to forgive me.  Taking my driving evaluation as a lesson: These are events that I  cannot go back and change, but instead, learn from it and set out focusing on doing better next time.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~Ephesians 4:29

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A Day Like Today

Today ended up being my last session of Physical Therapy. I was not anticipating this at all since I was scheduled two more sessions next week. I feel as if I “graduated,” and now I get to go forth and onward in life taking the new stretches and exercises I learned and hope to maintain what I have started to build in terms of healthier muscles. I think my eight sessions of PT also caused me to be more aware of the little daily tasks in life that I have come to see cause neck pain or bad posture.

For example, I don’t wear much make-up; but after starting PT, I noticed that bending over the counter to apply my eye liner, shadow, and mascara caused pain to appear in my neck from the position of bending in and straining forward to be close to the mirror. I ventured to Target one afternoon and found myself a nice square mirror with a handle on the top and brought it home. I already have an over-the-door hook for my bathrobe, so I moved my robe to a different hook and placed my mirror over the door instead. Brilliant. Best five dollars spent in the month of March! One side note though, the hook is not that low, so when I apply my eye make-up…my nose is what I first see in the mirror. Good thing it is not any higher or I would need a stepping stool!

Since this morning brought unexpected good news, I–in excitement–decided to celebrate in the best way possible. I grabbed Taco Bell for lunch then headed to Wal Mart to buy an exercise mat so my twice-a-day PT routines can be more enjoyable rather than just the hard floor. I wish I had a mat down the other morning as I took a “trust fall” to the ground.

“Trust fall.” I am sure you have heard of the term. It was the part of church camp obstacle courses I did not like. It was not in part of trusting the person behind me…it was trusting myself just to fly backwards. I just never could with grace or ease until Tuesday morning as I tripped over my own feet and pajama bottoms as I got out of bed. It sent me flying backwards, trust fall fashion, until my head snapped off the ground and I just lay flat. Not the best way to start your day, but all I suffered was a minor headache during the day.

Until yesterday. I woke up thinking to myself, “I have the worst swollen glands!” It took a few morning hours at the coffee shop to realize that it was not swollen glands. My entire bottom neck by my collar-bone just throbbed; I finally figured that it was major whiplash from my fall–it is more like a pulled muscle. I was fine during the day for the most part; but towards the early afternoon and evening, the bad posture and sticking out my neck due to the throbbing front portion of my neck caused the intense pain to start in the back of my neck. Of course, I could have done a bit more relaxing during the day, but I had this drive to organize my file box. After a few loads of paper trash, three times emptying my shredder and frequent “lay down on the bed to give my neck some relief” times–my file box had a complete make-over. It felt grand.

I got in bed for the night and placed my heating pack on my neck. I started to think of what to say to my PTA about my Tuesday’s fall; I already had to tell her two weeks ago about another fall I took on the wood floor in the hallway–note to self: Mel wears shoes in the house at all times…not sock feet!! Or just now, I go in my room and miss the light switch, take a step forward in the dark and fall into my closet–note to self: Mel leaves a small lamp on in her room once it gets dark outside. PT has trained my mind to become more aware of these problems; it is just that I do not think of these problems or solutions until they occur. 😉

Anyway, it did not take me long to fall asleep last night and before you know it, I was up an hour before my alarm was set to go off. I decided to use the extra time to read. I love morning readings. My mind seems so open, though my left eye would not stop twitching today. I am currently reading David Crowder’s book, Praise Habits: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi. This morning I was reading his chapter on Psalm 8, in which he rewrites the Psalm in his own words in form of worship. This paragraph seemed to gratify my thoughts:

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,

your handmade sky-jewelry,

Moon and stars mounted in their settings.

Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,

Why do you bother with us?

Why take a second look our way?*

I fell asleep last night after a day of what I consider macroscopic pain! I woke up this morning with only the usual morning stiffness that went away after I started moving around and getting breakfast. Yesterday I did not do any of my PT exercises or stretches; today I did them all (minus a few neck routines.) I went all day with no pain like yesterday.

I feel microscopic; I examine my thoughts and stand in wonder (awe) that God would heal this pain so quickly–that today was not a day of pain, but of celebration and fellowship. It leaves me singing as the Psalmist, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (8:1)

*Crowder, David. Praise Habits: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. Pg. 49.

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