Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Colorado PT 2013: Part 2 Thank God for Hockey!!

Thank God for hockey! Hockey gave me something to look forward to a few times a week and it completely got my mind off of all the medical stuff for a few hours. The hockey playoff season started right before my mom and I started the drive to Colorado in May, and ended June 24th; the day before my birthday. While in Colorado, my mom ordered Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza and had it shipped to us. During the playoffs, we would bake one of the pizzas and root on our Chicago Blackhawks. Anyone that knows me knows I love hockey and I love the Chicago Blackhawks. At physical therapy it didn't take them long to discover this about me. Before leaving for Colorado I painted a Blackhawk on a tank-top so I could wear it to pt proudly. This year was the most fun I have ever had watching the playoffs. There was healthy, friendly banter amongst myself and some of the other therapists which made the atmosphere at therapy fun. Early on I learned my one physical therapist is a Boston Bruins fan. Because of this, I had my fingers crossed the Bruins and the Blackhawks would face each other in the finals. Fortunately both teams made it to the finals. Let the friendly trash-talk begin! It was so much fun. On June 24th the Blackhawks beat the Bruins and took home the Stanley Cup. When I walked to therapy the next day, I walked in with my #10 Patrick Sharp jersey on and had my therapist take a picture with me. It would have been SO hard walking into therapy if the Bruins won the cup. I can only imagine all the crap I would have heard :)

As therapy continued over the course of the next few weeks, we incorporated exercises that concentrated on trying to retrain my shoulder blades to move in the proper direction. They are difficult because I can't feel my shoulder blades moving where they are supposed to. It was/is very aggravating at times because I mentally understand exactly what my therapists are asking me to do with my shoulder blades but I can't physically execute it. It is also aggravating because what I have to do to help my shoulder blades does not feel well in the back of my left shoulder joint. It's back to that saying, "Stuck between a rock and a hard place". When I arrived to pt in May the back of my left shoulder was giving me trouble but as the weeks have gone by the posterior instability has become more apparent. As long as I keep my left arm relatively close to my body there isn't an issue but as soon as I move away from my body things start to shift.

Short little clip showing left posterior instability

Even though pt had its serious moments, the funny moments far outweighed them. It was good to see the CO therapists I worked with all had a sense of humor like my IL therapist. If I have to go to pt anyways, it may as well be fun. In the past I've been to therapists who make zero conversation and it's strictly "Go do 10 of this exercise and then go do 15 of that exercise." Those types of therapists make the appointments seem forever. Having humor is a good distraction tool while you're doing the exercises; especially when they hurt.

Top 10 fun moments in pt:
1.) Being taught how to say certain words with a Boston accent
2.) Getting one of my therapists on my side to root for the Chicago Blackhawks
3.) Having my Bruins fan therapist take a picture with me in my Blackhawks jersey on my birthday
4.) Laying on my stomach and having my therapist take a picture of my shoulder blades with an "easy button" on my back. Another words, if you have complicated shoulder blades just get yourself an easy button.
5.) There is one exercise where I am on my hands and knees. I have each hand on a towel and I have to slide each arm forward one at a time. We were joking around how I could clean the table doing this exercise. My therapist went to the back and had one of the aids grab some Windex Antibacterial spray. While my therapist was taking a video of me doing the exercise, he had the aid spray some Windex on the table in front of my hands and I cleaned the table while doing the exercise.
6.) Having my therapist wear his "Watch out for the crunchies" t-shirt during my pt session and taking my picture with him.
7.) There is another exercise where I am on my hands and knees. My therapist taps my sides trying to throw me off-balance and I have to hold myself up. It is now referred to as "Cow Tipping"
8.) Being asked by one of my therapists where I am from. I said, Illinois. She then asked if I have always lived there. I replied, yes. She then said, "Really? I thought you were from somewhere south because I hear a southern accent when you talk." I laughed and then explained from all the years of traveling back and forth to Kentucky I picked up the accent.
9.) As little motion that I have when I am standing, it is the exact opposite when I am bending over. My arms go to shoulder level when I am bent over. So, we came up with the idea that I should set my house up like in Mission Impossible so I could hang from the ceiling and cook dinner and be able to do more activities. You have to admit, it would be amazing if I were actually able to make this happen.
10.) Getting to know the therapists who have been working so hard trying to help me.

Me with my Bruins fan physical therapist

 Me with the therapist who started to root for the Blackhawks for me; such a smart guy :)

Me with my only female therapist I worked with; she gave me a break from the boys :)

On the last day of pt my therapists said the next time they see
me they want me to be able to get my arms up high enough to
give them "bunny ears". I told them we can do that now as long
as they squat down in front of me.
Even though I didn't make huge gains in my motion at physical therapy I don't regret spending the time I did there for an instant. There were a lot of discoveries that were made with my shoulders which gave us a starting point. This is huge; everyone has to start somewhere. My strength has increased even though I still have a long ways to go. I am more aware of my posture and making sure my shoulders are in the correct position before I move. I am able to do some of my exercises on my own without manual assistance. Some people may feel really mad/aggravated towards their therapists because they just put all this time and effort into working on improving their motion and didn't gain as much as they had hoped. I am not mad/aggravated at any one of them in the least. They have all put so much time and effort into my care and I realize I am a very complicated case. There is a major difference between being mad/aggravated at those trying to help you and being mad/aggravated at the situation. I am mad/aggravated at my situation.

 It doesn't look like much but my external rotation on my
right shoulder (left side of pic) did increase.

Ohhh flexion you are a whole different issue. We are still working on that. 

Abduction increased on my right shoulder (left side of pic) and
has decreased on my left shoulder (right side of pic). So we
are still working on this.
I have to break this post into a Colorado PT 2013: Part 3. Our time in Colorado was coming to an end. Before I could leave, I had an evaluation appointment with Dr. M. At this appointment, the evil beast that lives in my shoulder raised its ugly head to show my doctor. Thank God... 

1 comment:

  1. I liked that so much. I am glad you had a good team of PTs to work with. I continue to believe the PTs and brace teams are the biggest helpers we have had so far in this journey and it makes such a HUGE difference to find the right people. And the note about posture and getting the shoulders in the right position first is pretty huge. I am glad to see that.