[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 44 {217.0} “Physical Therapy Restrictions, Part 27”

I had my first physical therapy session since I had my surgery and my second since my old spine doctor wrote a prescription for physical therapy. I would have gone more than that, but I was in so much pain prior to surgery that I couldn’t tolerate much more. Even now, I can’t do much, but it’s still nice to be able to go again. I’ll next go after visiting with my new spine doctor.

A good physical therapist will listen to how you’re doing and whether you’re tired.

A bad physical therapist will treat PT like a crossfit session and exhaust you. The difference may be a matter of telling them upfront what you can or can’t do, which is why I’d rather wait until after I see my new spine doctor, so we can have a list of restrictions going. The list I have is a general set of restrictions, but I might heal faster than someone else, so it’s important to make sure we adapt the PT to what I can do and how I can tolerate the exercises.

For now, I have three exercises that are mild enough for me to try.

I was exhausted when I left PT because other than walking around some grocery stores, I haven’t done much for exercise. That is one of my restrictions: I can use stairs, but not for exercise. Even though this is a fairly generic note, I forgot to bring it with me, and I forgot that even though doctors will work with physical therapists, it’s up to me to say what my doctor’s restrictions are and to honor that by not pushing myself. Another restriction is not to twist and turn for 6 weeks after surgery. It’s been over a week since my surgery now, so that’s still another 5 weeks without doing that exercise, which was what we focused on at my last appointment.

Still, it’s tiring; I had to take a nap after I got home from PT.

I imagine that as I develop my strength again, I won’t be as tired after leaving PT, but it will take time. I spoke with my long-term disability contact today and they were wondering about when I’d be returning back to work. There are two factors for this: first, what my spine doctor sees for recovery, and second, what my physical therapist sees for recovery. I want to get back to work when I’m ready. Once both the spine doctor and physical therapist approve my return to work, it will be nice, because that means that my health will be restored enough to where I can return to doing my regular exercises without feeling in pain.

Today was the first day where standing up from sitting didn’t hurt me.

As much as it’s nice to think of these micro-victories, I’m not considering them in too much detail because then I can easily be led into the trap of thinking I’m ready to return to work too early. My core muscles are still sore from surgery. I still can’t go a day without taking any painkillers, so I still have a long road to recovery. So although I’d like to celebrate the no-pain-when-standing victory, I don’t want to revel in it too much, because that could lead to me thinking I’m further along than I am.

I was exhausted after doing foot marches and other basic exercises, after all.

I can do them now to help keep the circulation to my feet in good shape. I had to wear my compression socks last night because my feet had swollen too much. I think the problem is that my wound didn’t have a place to pool its drainage, since I was sleeping on my stomach, so it pooled in my legs. My compression socks put pressure against my feet and legs overnight, which did help them appear less swollen in the morning. I can do those and the pelvic tilts that they’ve recommended while sitting in my writing chair here. The sitting pelvic tilts should help improve my posture and help me stand even easier, since the main problem I was having was finding my tailbone was hurting, and now, the drainage from my wound makes me feel worried about moving too much in case the drainage leaks out from the paper towels I have set up between my wound bandages and my clothes.

On that note, I’ve only had minor drainage onto my shirts and underwear.

Other than my pillows on one of my first few nights back home, and nothing has seeped through enough to stain any clothes, so I’m happy about that. It’s still more precarious than I would like. I’d rather have a large bandage there to dab up any wound drainage and let me live my life, but I have to be patient with my body as it heals at its pace. I guess that’s been the theme for all of us with 2020: We made our plans in earnest for what we wanted to accomplish this year, then with COVID, and all the other terrible events of the year, we’ve had to learn to adapt and thrive. It’s difficult, and it’d be nicer if we didn’t have to deal with it, like me with this spine injury and the damage it’s done to my life, but the most I can do now is be patient with it as it recovers.

That doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to it healing over.

The scar should look cool, and I was told, too, that it’s important to massage the scar tissue so it doesn’t heal wrong. If it doesn’t get the sort of massages to spread out more evenly, then it could pull on my muscles too much, and cause issues. I guess if there’s not one thing to worry about, there’s another, but that’s the same for life. It’s overwhelming dealing with everything simultaneously in life.

That’s why it’s important to keep a singular focus: healing.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 217.0
Last week’s weight: 211.0
Weight Difference: Six pounds up because the willpower to keep a good weight is difficult when dealing with new and significant pain. At least before, I was losing weight because it was the same predictable pain every day. I’m not yet acclimatized to this past almost two months of tailbone pain versus my months and months of spine pain.
Difference between writing and editing for publication: I haven’t been back to physical therapy and I don’t think I’ll want to go back to this physical therapist or their office. I’ll be seeing a physiatrist or sports medicine doctor in about three weeks. If they recommend physical therapy, I’ll go to a different location.
Inspirations: I’ve been to 27 physical therapy sessions this year, first for the headaches I was having, and I kept the numbers going since I was still using the same Tripping On template.
Related: Past weekly column entries.  Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Pictures: Template
Written On: 2020 September 09 [8pm to 8:25pm]
Last Edited: 2020 September 09 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.