June 5, 2009

What wound did ever heal but by degrees

As William Shakespeare wrote: "How poor are they who have not patience. What wound did ever heal but by degrees." Other than watching my roses hatch very slowly, not much is going on here.

I wasn’t going to dwell on my recovery from shoulder surgery anymore, but it seems to be the my only focus right now. Today was my second physical therapy session. The first time I went, I met Rick my physical therapist and Ashley the receptionist who just moved to Denver two weeks ago.

Rick is a decent 35-ish freckly guy, pleasant but pretty much business-like with a steady hand and good at explaining how to do my exercises. I spent about 10 minutes painfully raising my arm up and down in a pulley with my other arm while he went off to print out some more exercises for me. He asked me what my goals were, which are to be outta here by July 3 to drive back down to Baja. Ashley and her husband moved here just out of college from Washington State. Because we have been having so much rain lately, such unusually cloudy and drizzly days, so unlike Colorado weather this early in the year, I had to explain to her that it was all very weird and she shouldn’t base her impression of Denver on the last two week’s weather. Its true to say these people are the dominant influence on my life at the moment.

Rick give me a bunch of exercises that I can do at home without needing someone like Esperando around to lift my arm up for me. By the time I left my head was swimming and I hoped I could remember how to do everything right. I went home and had two days to practice everything on my own. Mostly I have to do five different exercises twice a day 20 times each and hold each position for the count of 10. That may sound pretty simple but when one arm is busy doing exercises, it only leaves one hand free for counting to 20 in five finger increments, while verbally counting to 10 to hold the position. It was a whole new challenge; maybe I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet after all.

Today I went light doing the morning set of exercises figuring I would get new ones added today and practice at physical therapy. Instead I got a back and shoulder massage. It started out swell, all those sore muscles in my back got rubbed tenderly, but after the nice part Rick started poking everything that was stiff and stretching it out until I said ouch, then he would hold it there and push a little more after a few seconds. In a way even though it was painful it was good knowing my muscles were starting being pushed to go back to where they need to go. It is so discouraging to see what tiny steps I have taken so far and sort of staggering to think how far I have to go yet.

While Rick was torturing me I asked him if he liked BBQ, that if he did he should check out The Ribhouse at Prospect. Well yes Rick said, he was from Texas so every time he went back home the first thing he did was go out for BBQ. Rick told me my muscles were really tight because they were still trying to protect my shoulder from movement. Then he spun a little Texas philosophy on me. He said these muscles are like a bunch of big brothers protecting a little brother in a bar, everyone starts fighting and getting out of control and really they aren’t helping the situation because they don’t know what they are doing just striking out at everything, just like my muscles don’t know what they are doing to still try to protect my shoulder from moving. As a concept it really stuck in my mind—but there is so little else to occupy my mind right now. After about 40 minutes of getting poked, stretched, prodded and twisted, Rick brought in an icepack and iced my shoulder for the next 15 minutes so by the time I left I was freezing as well as sore. But the really worst (and best) part of the physical therapy is the fact that I have to drive by Sonic Drive-In on my way home and console myself with a chile cheeseburger every time. So much for the weight I lost in my first two weeks recovering from surgery! I’m already full of hot air, I’ve got to be vigilant that I don’t start to balloon.

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