Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Field Report: And So It Goes . . .

When last we left our intrepid heroine, she had just been fat-shamed at an MRI test . . . Oh, wait.  No, we last left her at the beginning of PT, with a diagnosis of tendinitis of the rotator cuff with a degree of frozen shoulder.

I've been in PT for four weeks now.  It's really the No-Fun Plan.  I'm happy to share that I have regained a great deal of mobility in a variety of directions.  All directions, in fact, except for the one I really need.  I have made no measurable progress in being able to twist my arm to reach behind my back.  So - you're probably thinking to yourself, what do you need to do that for anyway?  Let me enlighten you - feel free to play along and demonstrate to yourself  ;-)

  • If you are a woman and you wear a bra, how do you hook and unhook it?  You twist your arm(s) and reach behind and up.
  • How do you pull your pants up?  You reach down with your arms slightly in front of you and pull them up.  And then you slide your arms around to the side to adjust the waistband, and then you twist your arm to reach behind to adjust the waistband there.
  • How do you tuck in a shirt or blouse?  Not that I do this often, but you twist your arm and reach behind you.
  • How do you take a t-shirt off?  You reach up to the neck and pull it off over your head, usually twisting your arm toward the back in some fashion.
  • How do you put a coat or a sweater on?  You pick up one arm - generally with your elbow moving slightly behind you and you twist your arm to reach in to the sleeve while simultaneously reaching behind with the other arm to get into the other sleeve.  
Alrighty then . . .

I suppose the good news is that I'm forcing my brain to forge some new pathways learning how to get my clothes off and on in ways that don't hurt.  I pretty much always hooked my bra in front and then slid it around to the back to get it on, but I always just reached back with my right hand at the end of the day and unhooked it to take it off.  Now I'm sliding it back around to the front.  I don't know why this particular one irritates me so much, but it seems very difficult to do  :-D  On the pants, I'm reaching way across my back with my left hand to make sure things get pulled up correctly.  Not tucking anything at the moment.  I have a whole new way of getting tops and sports bras off and on, which involves pulling my left arm out of its sleeve and then getting them off any way I can while not bending my right arm in any way.  And now I keep my right arm straight to get my coat on, which makes for some very funny motions as I attempt to then get my left arm in the other sleeve and the coat actually on my body.

I find the fact that I have made NO measurable progress in this area to be very disheartening.  People keep telling me to look on the bright side - and I would really just like to slap them.  I absolutely am positive, and happy that I've regained so much mobility, but, clearly, they are not having any difficulties getting their clothing on and off every day, and they must be getting a great night's sleep every night.  I'm lucky to get 5 or 6 hours before awaking from the pain, and then I toss and turn the rest of the night, never able to find a comfortable position for my shoulder that will allow me to drift back off to sleep for another 2 or 3 hours.

The physical therapist is now making noises about "a shoulder specialist" and/or a "shot," and I'm waiting on a call back from my doctor to discuss next steps.  I did have a massage yesterday, and it definitely made a difference in my ability to sleep without as much pain last night.  Still - my sleep is consistently disrupted by the shoulder, and not enough sleep makes everything worse.  Even my tried and true guided imagery didn't work to help me back to sleep.  I found it very interesting that I could physically tell the difference as she worked on me last night - while the left side of my body seemed pretty normal, the muscles on the entire right side of my body were so tight that it felt like they were made of stone,

Blarg  :-P   So it goes . . .

I have an update on the asthma front, as well.  Obviously my thought that my new asthma med might have been causing my shoulder/arm pain didn't pan out.  I went back to the asthma doc this morning and my spirometry results were not nearly as good as they were on the Arnuity Ellipta (AE).  I, myself, had felt that Flovent wasn't working well for me for some time, which is why we went to the AE in the first place.  So, since it didn't affect my shoulder one way or the other, tonight I stop the Flovent and return to the AE.  I'm looking forward to even better breathing again in relatively short order.  Of course, the trade-off for me in this is reduced vocal control.  Thankfully choir is pretty much over for the summer already.  I just won't sing for the next few weeks.

In additional good news of the day, my blood pressure seems to have finally normalized again after last summer's spike when my asthma was uncontrolled.  It was 108/74 this morning at the asthma doc's office.  This is encouraging!!  Yay Me!!

The size of my ass, however, is not encouraging . . . apparently I am not able to multi-task here.  All my energy at the moment is focused on not hurting, and I guess that's really all I can do for now, so I'm working hard not to beat myself up about being less than successful in shrinking the size of my ass.

That's the news from The Third Coast today  :-)

In other news - many thanks for the good wishes for my cousin.  She had surgery on Tuesday afternoon and is now the new owner of a stainless steel plate and six screws that are holding the broken pieces of her leg bone in place while her body knits itself back together.  She's pretty much immobilized, and I'm going over as often as I can to visit and distract her, even if it's just a short visit.  I have a fun plan for us for Saturday afternoon which doesn't involve her having to move around at all.  I'll share it with you this weekend  :-)

Hoping it warms back up again soon - I had to pull out my winter coat again.  Here's a happy summer song from back in the way back . . .  :-)


Teresa Burdette said...

I take my bra straps down off my shoulders and twist the clasp around in front of me to unhook.

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that you are making progress with your shoulder, but having to deal with pain is difficult. Many people don't understand what it's like to have severe, constant pain and how it can disrupt your life. It is hard to distract yourself from the pain. And sleep is so important. Having to deal with these things on a daily basis and how you deal with it shows your true character. You are made of strong stuff, Annie, and I am impressed. You have retained your sense of humor which helps so much. Attitude is everything. I pray for better days ahead of you. Hope that your cousin heals quickly. She is lucky to have you as a friend and a relative!

Janice H.

Michelle said...

Having to modify my dressing and undressing motions made me feel incredibly old and decrepit; I get it. But you reminded me; I found a massage therapist who did WONDERS in helping me advance my mobility (on top of using PT). If you can afford to, keep up the MT!