Monthly Archives: July 2011

Handicapped Parking Permit Expires

Went to the Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona game at FedEx Field last night. Jodi, Olivia, Scot and I and 81,803 of our friends. It was a “friendly” with a couple yellow cards thrown in for good measure.

Not all the starters, especially for Barcelona. No Messi. No Chicarito. No Pique (sp?). Rooney played, but only the first half and he was mostly just hanging out waiting for the team to send him a ball.

We used my handicapped parking pass. Expires today. I don’t object. I am sub-par. Still no running. There will be no hurrying to the car post game to avoid the mass exodus. Impossible by my former standards.

But when we’re injured, decline with age, or just are ‘dis-abled by weight gain’ …and are unable to do what we used to do…when does our parking pass expire? When do we arrive at our new normal? And who decides whether that’s handicapped?

Is it…Relative to others? to my former self? Just need an assist because of my condition? By this standard, obese people would be (should be?) in all the handicapped spots.

Geez – we’re a nation handicapped by our own distraction and temptation and indiscretion – to consume and settle. To take what we can when we can because we ‘deserve it’ and then suffer consequences we feel we don’t deserve.

So, today is my last day of being “legally handicapped.” I don’t feel so. Agility ladder has me feeling like I could run, just a little bit. (small steps) Still, I am in PT. Should they discharge me? “Not until I am pain free and functional,” Mery says. I guess my functional goals are different from the regular joe. Running and plyometrics. Basic range of motion and strength, matching right and left, will not do it.

I wonder how many 50 year old women DO the agility ladder?


Waiting Room Advising

I’m spending a bit of time in the orthopedist’s waiting room these days. Perhaps, actually, more in the PT waiting room – but that only comes in little blips. The orthopedist isn’t quite as good at keeping the waiting time down.

That aside, waiting rooms are funny. Really, people in waiting rooms are funny. Some are engrossed in their smart phones. Some have a book. A few chat quietly with a companion. But the funniest ones are the ones there by themselves who have brought no other distraction. I guess I would fall into that category. Oh, I have my kindle but I leave it in my bag. I have more fun watching and listening to the singles in the waiting room.  They are all experts on their own condition.

Mery, “my” physical therapist happens to come through. She is dropping off some business cards to Dr. Miyamoto. A woman (call her woman A) recognizes her and starts haranguing her about her symptoms. Mery listens, wishes the woman a good appointment and assures her she’ll see her soon. Never one to miss a beat she asks if “she gets to see me” today, too. (Nope. Dr. today, PT tomorrow.)

Things settle back and the woman next to woman A, we’ll call her woman B, says to her, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.” She proceeds, then to diagnose and recommend a doctor and treatment for woman A. This is fascinating to me. Complete with inaccuracies, mispronunciations and a plethora of completely unfounded conclusions, Woman B has managed to project her ailments on Woman A and, in the name of “helping her out” may have introduced a whole lot of new complications.

I say nothing. What can I say, really? It’s just amazing to me how we become such expert medical personnel and presume that when there is some similarity in situations that “You just must have such and such. You should really see Dr. So and So. He knows all about that.”

True. Medicine is an art and not a science. But thank goodness the ones who practice the art have a whole lot of science behind them AND put due diligence into determining the details. Diagnosis without this is pure projection.

I wonder how much we do this on a regular basis. I wonder how many people are eavesdropping on my conversations and shaking their heads.

I See You but I Can’t Feel You

The oddest thing now about my recovery is the “motor sensation” or lack thereof. I rest my heels on top of the 65mm exercise ball and push up into a bridge. I see my heels pressing, but I only feel the strength of the hamstring contraction in my right leg. I know the left leg is contracting too and doing so equally to keep me in balance. But I can’t feel it.

You don’t think of “feeling” a muscle, but the proprioception we get, the feedback about how strongly it is contracted, how much pull it is placing on the nearby joint, how its pull blends with other muscles being recruited is all information our cerebellum uses to determine how much activation is necessary. This is a continuous loop that coordinates our body’s movement, its force application, its bearing the load, its gracefulness.

Oh, and along the way it lets the cerebrum know what its doing. That part seems to be missing at present. I tell it what to do and, in a semi-uncoordinated and slow to get to it teenager sort of way, it does just enough. If it’s too much it screams. But as long as its happy, it does it without bothering to share what its doing. Humble and shy. Understandable after all it’s been through.

Just getting the job done.

I will need that kinesthesis, though, to be smooth again. To “chunk” those movement patterns so I don’t have to think them all the way through. Pretty sure that’s coming. Eventually. Guess that’s why they call it functional training.

So, Are You All Better?

So, are you all better?

That’s the question people keep asking me. They wouldn’t ask if they thought I would say no. But, no. Not nearly.

I have started to get a bit of my coordination back. I can balance on the BOSU ball. March on top. Step over and back. “Not too high,” Mery calls when I add a hop on the top.

I am better, but not back. The strength is (for an average person, says Mery) 80%. For you, maybe 65%. She means as I am working toward being back to work. Jumping and hopping and twisting and turning and…playing.

It is tough to gauge because my “good side” is debilitated, too. By not being active for so long. So comparisons are a little misleading. I haven’t asked my body to lift things reach for things. The everyday activities have so declined and along with them, my whole body.

I went to the gym for the first time, Monday of this week. Yes, I tried the leg extension. 30lb. Struggled to complete 2 sets. Friday, I struggled to complete the 2nd set and then realized that the “extra” plate was on. Not 30 but 35lb. And this is my observation: My strength is coming back…on its own.

Course then there is the upper body row. I crunched through one set, then went to reduce the weight to do the second set. There WAS NO lower weight. Ugh!