Thursday, April 29, 2010

What fresh and hell is this?

Wednesday, April 28

Today is my third day of therapy and my arms (and my legs and my butt) are tired. Last night was the first night I slept without a sleeping pill since I went to University Hospital on April 12.

So I am very tired. I’m also excited about the new things I’ve done. Yesterday, with the help of a machine, I was able to stand up. Not only did I stand up but I also did some exercises while standing. And this morning, I took an honest to God shower in a shower chair as part of my occupational therapy. It took me nearly 2 ½ hours to shower, get dressed, and do the rest of my morning routine. It very challenging, especially getting dressed in my chair.

I find it very hard to balance in a chair. Leaning too far frightens me. I also discovered that I don’t trust my arm strength any longer. This means that if I start to fall I might not be able to stop myself.

But I really loved taking a shower this morning. Brushing my teeth and shaving in the bathroom produced a feeling of euphoria in me. There’s a big difference in the way my face appears in the mirror when I’m sitting up and when in bed. My face is leaner, not so chubby like when I’m on my back.

In yesterday’s occupational therapy I lifted weights and threw a ball. These tasks were to increase my arm strength. And they quickly wore me out.

It is frustrating because there’s so little that I can do myself. In my heart I still feel like I should be able to walk or put my socks on. What I really want to do most is stand up and pull my pants and underwear up around my hips where they belong. I would also like to sleep on my side, touch my toes, throw something, use a toilet or sit down some where and not have to worry about how I am going to get back up.

All that stuff is beyond my reach. Doing things like adjusting my clothes or even getting dressed is difficult in bed where I’m flat on my back. Add the element of gravity by sitting me in a chair and they are almost impossible.

My greatest nemesis appears to be the bedside commode. I will not be walking when I leave the Drake Center. That means our house is going to require some modifications to make the house wheelchair accessible. Then we have to answer the question of how I’m going to clean myself and use the toilet from my wheelchair. One of the goals in front of me is to learn how to transfer from a wheelchair to a shower chair or a commode. Then I’m going to have to be able to pull my pants down. This will involve leaning. Leaning requires strength to support myself with my arms and that scares me.

In the Today’s Reminder from today’s Courage to Change, the author points out that fear is often a signal that there something we need to learn. All of this fear that I’ve been feeling today is because I have so much to learn.

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