Diary 2/25/19

Today is the day that my PT and OT sessions got really interesting. In both of them, I was assigned sets of exercises to do on my own time. This is challenging and I look forward to accomplishing the tasks. I have never been a repetition oriented exerciser. I usually find it a bit boring and a little mind-numbing. I do not, as people often do, choose to watch TV at the same time I am exercising. If I bring my full attention to anything I undertake, I find it more fulfilling. Pleasure for me is focusing on each action, and then I am less prone to wondering at count ten, what the lunch menu will be. But counting how many lifts you are doing can also mark your usual fade out time and give you the structure to do just One more. OK. Two more. Yay! Three more than yesterday! There are times when only dynamic, linear repetition can bring you strength and build endurance; or, recreate functional, efficient mobility as I did the first time around when I was a baby and toddler.

Right now, I am engrossed to see how much any given movement engages with new information everywhere else in the long neglected muscles of my body. Neglect was born from having a failing neurology to get information to them (efferent connections) and to the pathways returning (afferent) feedback to the brain. My muscular control has slowly faded into the background altogether. Most of my muscle groups haven’t automatically worked on their own since my early days of MS, some forty years ago. I could still command them by thinking of them in my mind for maybe half that time. And then the commands stopped being issued because I got fewer and fewer responses. The phone kept ringing but no body was picking up.

The thrill of feeling how hard my core muscles work to lift a 2 pound weight across my chest and back to the side was a headline above the fold. I know how atrophied my back and leg muscles have become. It is likely that my left side may always be weaker than my right because of past MS lesions. But it was wonderful to feel that the pulling sensation while working my arms wasn’t restricted only to my arms and shoulders. My whole body was working hard. When you lift a limb out and away to the right side, your left side automatically works to stabilize you so you stay upright in gravity. This is basic kinesiology 101. I am learning it not from a textbook, but from within my own body.

My butt and lumbar muscles were exhausted long before my weighty butterfly arm stopped flapping. As they should be. That they work at all, to know that they are very much still tied into the whole of me, makes me teary. Though Matt and I were joking around, he knows how much it means, and with a smile, predicts I will be very sore tomorrow. Cracking through my cement bound shoulder pain is not as much fun, but healthy soreness from correctly directed exertion is an article I am happy to write. Each count of a rep brings me closer to my goals of reconnecting nerves to muscles.

Matt also took me back to my room- and I walked all the way there and back with my rollater, maybe one hundred and fifty feet, each way, with my left heel striking the ground with each step. I wasn’t using my arms to hold me up. I wasn’t dragging myself along. I was standing up straight. He said that on Wednesday we will shift into part B of my rehab, which is to help me get out of skilled nursing and back into my room. He will make sure I can take a shower, open and close my closets and drawers, and reach things around my kitchenette safely. He will see how well my beautiful reading chairs will work for me in terms of sitting and rising and if my bed is at the appropriate height. In short, he will make sure my sunshine room is properly equipped for this next phase of spreading my wings. I will keep you posted in the next edition of Rep Woman, hot off the press. If I am not too sore to type.

10 thoughts on “Headlines: Woman Counts Butterfly Reps

  1. God bless you, Judi. If anyone can do this with such consciousness, it is you! I’m learning a lot about your previous predicament. Reminds me of the commitment and devotion stroke patients have to make to recover physical abilities that many of us take for granted. And here I am complaining to myself about the pain in a sore ligament in my foot after walking around yesterday! What I love also in your blog entry today is the care Matt is taking to ensure you can return to your private nest. Keep counting those repetitions and typing notes to us.

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  2. I wrote a long comment with your last post, but WordPress has not been kind to me! Judi, you are a power, and a light. The JudiB Light and Power Company. There ya go! I am so excited for you that you are getting to know those parts of your body that had chosen to hide themselves. May the Force be with you:) Love, Annie

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