Wednesday is a drag. Each and every week the same thing appears on the calendar on Wednesday. Never fails unless I cancel that smudge on the calendar and draw a big “X” through it. What has destroyed my Wednesdays? Two words—physical therapy.
Physical therapy is part healing, but it can be painful. For example, last Wednesday I came away in pain and arrived home to pack my leg and ankle in ice. On Thursday, the pain had mellowed but soreness crept in overnight and made it difficult to walk. The goal of all we’re doing to this right leg and ankle is to help me walk more normally again. By the time I rid myself of the pain and soreness, guess what it’s time for again?
As a little girl, I loved the color blue. Perhaps that was because my red-headed mother loved it too. Today it’s no longer a favorite of mine.
As I awoke this morning, I had the sensation that blue had seeped in overnight. I laid in bed ignoring the time. Getting out of bed wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do. It felt as if a heavy weight had been placed on my shoulders overnight.
Despite my best efforts, some days during this recovery are downers. A few posts earlier I wrote on the topic of patience. In the last paragraph, I boldly stated how I wanted to handle my attitude going forward.
Physical therapy isn’t always a popular topic, especially for those undergoing it. Why did I choose this as a post topic? Because these days, physical therapy is always on my mind. Once a week appointments with my therapist, and a daily exercise regimen between weekly appointments.
I’ve been blessed following this latest surgery to be treated by two of the best therapists I’ve yet to meet. David, my therapist in the rehab center, was one of the most compassionate of my caregivers. And he was a hard worker but always conscious of his patient’s physical well being.
My outpatient therapist, Amy, is equally compassionate and explains everything in lay terms so her patients understand her expectations and helps them set their own expectations. Additionally, Amy has a great sense of humor and makes you comfortable during each session.
The point I’m attempting here is that even though it’s called physical therapy, a lot more goes into its eventual success. Compassion, language, patient comfort and care all go into the perfect recipe for physical therapy.
It takes a unique individual to possess all the qualities above. And if that is the case, you are likely to have greater success and actually look forward to appointments.
I love to walk outdoors, and a daily walk is one of my goals in recovery. Part of my daily physical therapy assignment is a 30-minute walk using a walker. Today my therapist added six minutes per day twice daily walking with a cane. Not to mention all the other exercises she has me doing. None of this happens outdoors. Yet.
Some days I’ve hosted pity parties for myself. Exercising can be tough during recovery. Working to restore strength, nerve communication, and flexibility to a limb isn’t easy. It gets old day in and day out. And then I feel sorry for myself.
Today I had a wakeup call while at the clinic. My therapist and I were walking a circuit around the perimeter of the equipment area. We came upon a man, in his early 40s, working hard to walk. To walk, he was using robotic prosthetics to move his legs. It was unclear whether a stroke or an accident the many visible physical deficits.
My emotions ran from sympathy and sorrow for him. Yet, his determination inspired me to work harder. I felt gratitude for the fact that at least I can work both legs on my own despite the weakness in one. Maybe those pity parties are a thing of the past.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~~ Desmond Tutu
Hope is a rather small word. Only four letters and one syllable. Yet people have survived unimaginable accidents, imprisonments, and illnesses. When asked how they held on, most answered continuous hope. That symbolizes a good deal of power in a four-letter word, only one syllable.
How is it such a small word can do so much?
From a base of hope, we see courage, confidence, and happiness arise. These qualities become a coping strategy at a time of difficulty or grief or illness. I’ve had many surgeries over the years, several on my spine. But I had never felt as confused and disheartened as I did right after my surgery this past March. Entering the hospital, I hoped for relief from constant pain.
Since my last posts (here and here), approximately nine weeks have passed. Recovery began the instant the surgeon saw fit to call it complete. Yet, minor complications and some unknowns created a recovery more difficult than expected.
Despite the complications and unknowns, my hope is a reality. The constant pain I suffered since January 24, 2016, until March 6, 2019, is gone!
During these nine weeks, hope has been my mainstay. Of course, there are days when I am discouraged. Or there is a minor setback. But when hope kicks in other feelings surface. The courage to push on through those exercises even though it hurts comes to the fore. The confidence to overcome this stumbling block arises. And a sense of happiness envelops all I must do.
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. 1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG (emphasis mine)