Tag Archives: muscle strengthening

Living in a Fast Paced World

At Tuesday’s doctor appointments, we discussed transferring me to a neuro rehab clinic for my Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. This is still in the future plans, but because I currently have a driving restriction until I take a driver’s mobility test (based off the way I am currently walking, just to ensure safety on my reaction times)–it could be up to three weeks until I get the test completed even though I am on the current waiting list. Because of this, I am not able to get myself over to the rehab facilities and since I have already started with Home Health, the plan for now is to let them finish their sessions and then I go on from that point. I have been pleased with my PT sessions so far.

My first session of PT was last week and I start OT next week, which I am anticipating, because today in getting ready my hands lost grip of my makeup bag–momentary sadness to shatter a perfectly good bronzer. Anyway, while last week’s PT session was mostly talk and the “see where you’re at” balance, strength and mobility tests, this week was a full 45 minute workout. I have had PT twice already: one after my first blood clot to strengthen my left leg and the second session this past Spring to strengthen my neck and upper back muscles.

I have never experienced a singe PT session that would literally leave me so exhausted that I had to take a nap in the afternoon. To demonstrate how weak my muscles are–picture me on my knees, lifting the exercise ball over my head (repeat 4 times). By the last, my arms were beat. We also did a lot of balance exercises where I lift one knee while on the other and then rolling the exercise ball back and forth while maintaining balance. To the average person, these may seem so easy, but to a person such as myself, it was difficult. To be honest, today I felt like a toddler…learning to balance and lift things, freely falling over and struggling to get up. But the strength and retraining my mind to use the muscles does not happen over night..it is baby steps. 🙂

Of course, I overdid myself this morning after my session. I went downstairs and painted a canvas that will be on display next week at a pizza parlor in Yellow Springs. (more to come on that!) I finished but had some extra paint and don’t like to waste it, so I set out to finish a small abstract one as well. No joke, the last few seconds of “finishing touches” on the painting and the table topples over!! Thankfully, the painting was not ruined, but for the cleanup process, I was back on my knees like my PT session and struggling to get everything picked up without making a bigger mess. By the end of my painting session, I looked like a painting. 😉

I had been to Michaels a few weeks ago to pick up paints and a pack of 8×10 canvases. At the check out isle there were some extra-large reusable bags and on an impulse decision, I bought one in order to carry my paintings around when they go on display in Beans-n-Cream or anywhere else. Artistically decorated, the front says the classic line, “Stop and smell the roses.” I thought of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Growing up, Ferdinand was different. While his peers were shaping up to be the best for bull fighting, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. Only when he sits on a bee does anyone take notice of him. At the bull arena, he is adorned with roses…everyone expects him to put in a good show, and he just wants to smell the flowers. 🙂

Too often I try to rush forward in my physical body, even though it is no longer capable of the word “hurry.” I forget to stop, breath in, smell the roses (sweetness of God’s mercy and grace) and realize that I don’t have to feel pressure to keep up with the fast paced world. God can use me just as I am…like a child.

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Jars of Clay. “Like a Child.” Self-titled debut album. 1995.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings

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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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies