On Support

September 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

After the last surgery, My left arm wasn’t working very well. I could’t hold it out straight in front of my torso. turns out that during the surgery THEY had LAID ME ON my left shoulder. Five hours in that contorted position gave me  pain that persisted and pinched a nerve as well. I wasn’t well supported. I was sent to rehab to help me work through it.

They wanted me to go to rehab. I Said “No”, “no” “no”!, to quote Amy Winehouse. I can understand her position. Going requires admitting there’s something that needs rehab. My arm did need help, and the past six weeks of rehab: PT, OT and speech have helped. PT is as most know, physical therapy. In many respects it means literally getting in shape. getting your body to do as you expect. OT is occupational therapy — not just getting back to work, but getting your socks and shoes on too. (try doing this with your left hand and you’ll see how hard it can be if your other parts aren’t cooperating, It’s getting up off the ground– such as after you’ve dropped your chocolate and gone after it. It learning strategies for making do with less coordination, strength, etc. Speech therapy is, yes, something invaluable for, say, stroke victims. That wasn’t me. I’m pleased to say have not experienced that kind of  difficulty.

Grab bars don’t help much if you don’t grab them.

Through all of this, I’ve been lucky to have few symptoms or emotional shocks, so I haven’t thought I needed much support. THis was eithe foolishness or arrogance — likely both. And I am lucky enough that my support knows more than I do. A lot more. Her name is Annie. Sometimes I think she knows more than the doctors. She was the first to tell me what kind of tumor I had. the doctors thought I had a flamingo fungus. Seriously!

But.

everybody has a big but. Each of these therapies has an assessment stage and I found some surprises there.

The Tumor Support Group. Part of my arrogance was a disdain for this group. But the benefit of this group of 25 cancer survivors (we’re survivors not victims) cam into shape focus just after a careless nurse (male) told me my cancer was not curable. THere came the shock many cancer patients feel the moment they learn of their condition. My shock was delayed due to circumstance and ignorance. But it was a big hit then and this group helped me realize that this was manageable. Iwasn’t dying tomorrow. Infact many cancer patients live for years. And not just live but survive: to thrive especially under adverse or unusual circumstances. Live big!

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