Recovery Weeks #Eight, Nine, Ten & Eleven: May 22 - June 19, 2013

“O snail
Climb Mount Fugi
But slowly, slowly!” - Kobayashi Issa (Japanese poet known for his haiku and journals)

I’m back and slightly embarrassed about being a month late with my post!  Lots of things going on around here during the last month.  I was able to do more and more each day, but it seems to take twice as long as it should to do each activity.  Doing more activity results in more soreness and more ice.  My current exercises, in addition to the triceps and biceps curls, are flexing and extending my wrist with a 3 lb. weight.  I also do an exercise where I hold the weight palm down with arm out to the side, bend elbow and bring wrist to shoulder and then return to starting position.  I also do three exercises with a regular claw hammer - pronate and supinate (palm  up, palm down) with holding the hammer in a regular grip.  The third exercise is holding the hammer, elbow in, then pointing the head of the hammer down towards the floor.  3 sets of 15 repetitions each.  The farther away your hand is from the head, the heavier it seems.  I have a piece of blue resistance foam that I squeeze between index finger and thumb and also squeeze the whole piece into my palm and hold.  Still doing the tendon glide exercises, sideways finger dancing, hand flat on the table and picking one finger up at a time, little balls, little dowel.  The temptation is to get busy doing other things and forget about therapy.  DUH.... this is where discipline is key.  My surgeon told me that rehab is tedious and boring, and I absolutely agree.  At least it’s not ridiculously painful anymore!  My focus as a long-time weight lifter was always about more weight and pushing to the absolute limit.  This is a much different type of endurance-building kind of strengthening.  I wish there was a shortcut, but alas, there is not.  Persistance is the key.

I’m able to play some slow pieces without much finger movement on my flute.  I officially gave up on the vertical headjoint.  It was so nice to have this since it allowed me to get back to the flute two weeks earlier than I would have if I had to start back with regular flute.  10 minutes is my limit, so I don’t really get to “practice” much.  It’s playing straight through and then the timer goes off.  Again, thankful for my trusty iPhone with its timer.

Typing is better, although I recognized one aspect of of an adaptive hand use pattern.  Instead of moving my finger from F to G, I was moving my whole hand.  Hah... retraining myself to use my first finger, instead of letting middle finger and the rest of my hand help out.  I’m able to hold the hair dryer in my left hand and dry the girls’ hair with the brush in the other hand.  I can peel and chop vegetables and fruit, even sweet potatoes.  I can use the carrot peeler and the can opener!  Still difficult to wash frying pans unless they’re small enough to fit flat on the bottom of the sink.  I actually picked up my keys from a table in Dunkin’ Donuts without thinking about it!

I’ve noticed a holding pattern on my entire left side which is no longer necessary.  It’s the protective holding of an injured wing, even after the wing is healed.  I’m aware of this, but not necessarily sure how to get rid of it.  My strengthening is now geared toward the whole arm and whole hand.  I continue to think about various muscles that attach to my arm structure, trying to figure out how to get them to just calm down.  This is similiar to having to desensitize my incision site with friction massage and other unpleasantness.  Happy to report that the scar adhesion is much improved.

My husband went to California for a week, my first time as solo parent since my surgery.  It was eventually fine but there was a huge amount of stress due to family health issues, allergies and just plain exhaustion.  But I made it through.  However, my icing and exercises didn’t happen, but there was just no choice.  So, there was a bit of a set back there.

June 5, 2013 - OT #9  Everything is progressing nicely.  All the hand strength measurements continue to go up.  She said that there’s nothing much they can do for me.  I have the exercises and have to do the work.  I don’t have to go back until July 10th!

I’m looking forward to attending the Andover Educators conference at Iowa State.  It will be so nice to see friends that I only see every two years at these conferences.  I have a fair amount of work to do as one of the organizers, so it’s sure to be exhausting.  But, it’s worth it since I learn so much and get to spend time with great people.  That’s what it’s all about, just like the Hokey-Pokey.

Key thing I learned during this stage of my journey:

1) This is boring, dull, tedious, monotonous and absolutely necessary.  Just need to shut up and “git ‘er done,” to quote Larry the Cable Guy.  Some days are better than others, but the sun always comes up the next morning.



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