Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I can hear clearly now ...

My hearing aid is fixed.
Two weeks ago, I had to leave my right hearing aid behind with the audiologist for repair.
In the interim, I've been wearing my old hearing aid (from the days when I wore a device only in my right ear).  It's been less than pleasant, but it was better than nothing.
Yesterday, I finally got the repaired unit back.  And what a difference.
Obviously, the damned thing had been operating poorly for some time before I gave up in frustration and insisted that something be investigated.
Turns out it was broken, but good.  The speaker had somehow been dislodged; there was a crack in the casing; and the outer facing had to be replaced.  Essentially, they had to rebuild it.
The repair cost me $299.00 -- an expense that is not covered by my insurance because I'm still within the five-year limit of the plan.  But it had to be done so I had to spring for it!
I remember just prior to getting this pair of hearing aids back in September of 2008 (when I was wearing only one hearing aid), the device broke in June of that year.  I had to pay $250.00 then to have it fixed, knowing full well that when my hearing was tested in September, I would probably be going to binaural aids.  I was right.  But at least the repair left me with a "back up" hearing aid that I was able to use when this one broke (luckily it was the right ear and not the left!).
The audiologist was showing me what she was doing as she programmed my hearing aid for me.  The graph plotted my hearing as it was without a hearing aid, and how I would hear with the hearing aid.  It was interesting to finally understand what the graph meant.  The line of what I could hear normally (without the hearing aid) was plotted out entirely outside the range of the normal speech range.  As she put it, "Without your hearing aid, you don't hear anything with your right ear."
Tell me something I don't know!  I sleep on my left side, and once my left ear is buried in the pillow, the world is all quiet for me.  I hear nothing because only my right ear is exposed to sound, none of which can get through to me.
I don't hear John talking to me.
I don't hear the dog barking.
I don't hear the telephone ring.
I don't hear thunderstorms, regardless to how violent they might be.
I didn't hear the commotion outside the night the bear visited.
Here's a copy of my hearing test results:
The shaded portion at the top reflects "normal hearing range" -- that's the range in which someone without a hearing impairment would test.  The "x" is the left ear; the "o" the right.  You can see that both my ears tested below normal hearing.   You can also see that clarity of speech is significantly diminished, especially in my right ear.  She explained that some sounds cannot be deciphered, regardless to how loud they are projected for me.  Hence, I often have to ask people to repeat themselves, even when wearing my hearing aids -- I simply cannot process what I'm hearing.
I have mild to medium-severe sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. (Sensorineural hearing loss results from missing or damaged sensory cells (hair cells) in the cochlea and is usually permanent. Also known as “nerve deafness”, sensorineural hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe or profound.)
My right ear has medium to severe mixed hearing loss.  (A mixed hearing loss is a combination of  sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It results from problems in both the inner and outer or middle ear.  Any problem in the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from being conducted properly is known as a conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing losses are usually mild or moderate in degree.  In some cases, a conductive hearing loss can be temporary.)
Throw in tinnitus in both ears (mine is a constant hissing sound that drives me nuts); the right ear is worse than the left. (Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears: ringing; buzzing; roaring; clicking; whistling; hissing.  The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.) 
But for now, my right hearing aid is fixed and I can hear clearly again.
At least, I can hear as clearly as my hearing can be corrected.
If life gets too noisy for me, I simply remove my "ears" and the world becomes fairly quiet!

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm up to TEN minutes!

Yes I am.  Ten minutes a day on the stationary bicycle and no ill effects.
I'm on my way now!
I must admit, though, I didn't do the bike or any of my exercises yesterday.
We went for a drive to Merrickville on Saturday, just to poke around and pretend that we were tourists.  It was a pleasant outing, and a nice diversion for both of us.  I drove there; we walked for about an hour then stopped to have dinner at an outdoor spot.  Then I drove back.  It was such a delight to discover that I could endure such an outing and not be in dire pain for having done so.  Although I didn't sleep well that night.
The price I paid for having gone on that outing was I woke up Sunday morning feeling like those damned Mack trucks had visited during the night.  So I had planned to veg for the day.
But I had some unfinished business to take care of vis-a-vis a genealogy puzzle that had cropped up a couple of weeks ago and I decided to address it and get that off my worry wheel.  In doing so, I kind of got side-tracked into trying to trace a 3rd great granduncle who had been transported to Australia back in 1843 for stealing  seven tame pigeons.
Can you believe it?  Sent to Australia for seven years for such a minor infraction!  Different times.
Anyway, I knew that he had been married before he was transported and that his wife had subsequently remarried (twice).  And I knew that he had died in Australia in 1898 (I have his death certificate).  But it was great fun locating the Criminal Registers of Australia and finding a detailed physical description of the man.  The file also referenced the fact that he had a wife named Sarah, one brother named John (my direct ancestor), and three sisters -- Jane, Elizabeth and Hannah.  It's always nice to find information that verifies the details in my file.
What I was really looking for though, was evidence of other Cherryholme progeny in Australia. The 1954 Electoral List contains the name Thomas Cherryholme, plumber.  His name continues to appear through to the 1980 Electoral List.  (There is also a couple, Frank and Iris, whose names appear on the Electoral Lists from 1958 through 1980.  But I have correspondence on file from Iris -- they had emigrated to Australia in 1954.  Frank had eventually returned to England and died there.  Iris remained in Australia.)
If there was a Thomas in 1954, and my 3rd great granduncle (also named Thomas) had died in 1898, obviously there must have been (and could still be) other persons of that surname running around the countryside.   There must have been births, marriages and deaths of these people.  But I can't find any reference to the name in Australia, other than the said criminal register and Electoral Lists. 
A new genealogical challenge for me to pursue!
Suffice to say, I got lost in the search and before I knew it, it was time for the ball game, and then it was supper time.
So I never did get in those exercises or the bike. But I've done both today and will continue to do so on a daily basis.
The most interesting phenomenon of all though is -- my SI joint is not hurting any more.  Maybe, just maybe, it's actually fixed!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nineteen months later

You will recall that my sanctuary was completed in November of 2010.
Here it is, May of 2012 -- a mere 19 months later -- and finally, the shelving that I requested be put in at the pantry alcove has been built and installed.
Not bad, eh?
This little nook was totally wasted space and I envisioned having shelves to hold our collection of cook books.
It's taken a while, but now I have them.
And I must say, I love them.
It looks like they've always been there!
Ssssshhhhhh, I won't tell if you don't.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eight minutes ...

I'm up to eight minutes on the stationary bicycle now.
I almost exceeded that time, simply because I forgot to watch the timer.  I'm quite sure I could easily do fifteen minutes but my physiotherapist has warned me not to overdo it too quickly.
We know what happens to me if I don't heed her sage advice.  So I will be a good girl and do as I'm told.  I mean, really, why use her services if I'm just going to ignore what she tells me?  She hasn't steered me wrong yet.
At this time last year ago, I was only doing eight minutes a day on the stationary bicycle.
By June 12th, I was up to fifteen minutes a day.
On August 12th, I went to 20 minutes a day.
By August 27th, I was biking for 30 minutes a day.
On October 31st, I upped it to 45 minutes a day.
And on November 17th, I started doing 60 minutes a day.
I was still doing that 60 minutes every day up to and including the morning of 29 January, 2012.  (My surgery was the morning of 30 January 2012.)
That biking schedule was maintained while I had agonizing pain in my left hip.  But the fact that I did the biking helped me tremendously through rehabilitation following the surgery.
I no longer have the pain that I had last year.
Seems to me I should be able to build up to 60 minutes a day much faster this time.  As long as my right hip allows it.
It's important to me to get back to the biking because I want to build up those muscles again.  I want to be ready when it's time to go through the surgery for my right hip.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Definitely Better

My physiotherapist is very pleased with the improvement in my SI joint.
How does she know it has improved?
She has to press a lot harder before I jump in pain!  That's her indicator.
Previously, she only barely pressed and I couldn't bare it.
Now, she really has to put pressure to find the sore spots.
We are so making progress.
She was delighted to learn that the treatment with the TENs machine on the acupuncture needles was so successful last week.  We did the same thing yesterday.  She said she would probably do one more next week and that would be all I would need.  Then we'll be back to the "same old" treatments.  But she was really pleased to hear how beneficial it was for me.  She'll now be more comfortable in offering it to more patients.  (I guess I'm her guinea pig!)
I'm allowed to increase my time on the stationary bicycle by three-minute intervals, but not too quickly.  Perhaps every five days or so.  "There's no rush," she says.  "You have lots of time."
So she thinks!  I've been off the bike for almost four months now -- I'm anxious to get back to it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

OK, it isn't broken

It would seem that my foot is not broken, although it is badly bruised, and obviously sprained.
Staying off it over the weekend (well, as much as I could), really paid dividends.  I iced it three times a day and kept it elevated.
Each morning, I could see the improvement.
Today, I'm almost walking like a normal person again.  So it obviously is not broken because that simply wouldn't be possible if it were.
I'm going into the big city today for my physiotherapy session, which my body really needs, although I've been coping quite well this past week.
It seems that the weekly physio and massage treatments, combined with the daily exercises, are truly working well for me.
I'm up to five minutes on the stationary bicycle and I really do think I could tolerate longer but I don't want to overdo it and have a setback.  I'll discuss that with my physiotherapist today and seek her advice on how to proceed.
Bottom line is, once again, I'm on the road to improvement.  And that, as they say, is a good thing!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oh dear, what next?

I am, as some would say, my own worst enemy.
Yesterday, the hummingbird feeders needed to be refilled.  So I set about to do that.
One of the feeders hangs out the kitchen window.  Requires climbing onto the kitchen counter to reach out the window to get the feeder.
I got the footstool, climbed up, got the feeder down.  Stepped down off the counter.  Cleaned the feeder, refilled it, and climbed back up on the counter to replace the feeder on its hook.
I've done this manoeuvre at least a gazillion times! 
As I went to step down off the counter, (I was stepping backwards with my left leg, which is the way I always do it), somehow, I missed the stool.
My foot caught the edge of the stool, causing it to tip and me to tumble.  Badly.
My left knee scraped on the counter as I went down.  Hard.
My left foot went one way.
My left knee went another way.
I yelled.
John came running up in a panic.  (Ever since my surgery, he has been very vigilant about trying to avoid my  falling.)
I was flat out on the floor, in agony, screaming expletives of frustration.
My main concern, of course, was my hip.
I pulled myself up to a sitting position and propped myself against the kitchen drawers.
Dizziness overwhelmed me.  I remained propped up like that for several minutes as I cursed about the entire episode, waiting for the room to stop spinning.
I knew right away that my hip was OK.  But I also knew that my foot was NOT OK.
When I was finally able to get myself up off the floor, it was evident I couldn't put full pressure on my foot.  I hobbled to the sofa and cursed some more.  (Yes folks, cursing does help!)
I spent the afternoon icing my foot and wondering if I should go to the ER to have it checked.  I truly didn't know what to make of the injury.  I could flex my foot, but only barely without severe pain.  But I could not move my big toe.  At one point, I managed to flex it forward and caused excruciating pain to cut through me.
Because I was able to put some pressure on my foot, I knew that it likely wasn't broken.  But I wasn't so sure about my big toe.
After dinner, we went to the ER to have it assessed.  (For some reason, the first question from the intake nurse was, "Do you feel safe in your home?"  I'm still trying to figure out the reason for that particular question.  My answer, of course, was, "Yes, usually.  Except when I do silly things like this.")
The doctor guessed that there might be a hairline fracture to the big toe, possibly to the two toes next to it.  But the x-ray department doesn't operate on weekends.  Plus, they don't do anything for broken toes anyway.  I should spend the weekend resting and icing it.
She gave me a requisition to have an x-ray done on Tuesday if I still can't "launch" from my big toe by then.  While they don't do anything for it, we need to know if it is in fact broken.  But, she warned me that the x-ray department will be very busy on Tuesday, with everyone who comes into ER over the weekend waiting to have x-rays done.  So she advised that if I'm even 50% better by then, I should not bother with the x-ray.  Fractures don't heal that fast.
So, here I am, facing the long weekend again immobilized.
Icing my foot.
Taking pain meds.
It seems I am forever destined to have my bottom on the damned sofa!
But, you see, my hummingbirds HAVE to be fed!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tremendous progress

Have I mentioned that I love my physiotherapist?
Well, I do.  She is absolutely amazing.
I've only had two sessions with her, and my SI joint issue is all but solved.
The problem is not completely gone yet, but it is well and above better than it was two weeks ago.
The soldier exercise has made a tremendous difference to my daily well-being.
The biggest benefit, though, has come from the acupuncture sessions -- something that the hip rehab physiotherapist had suggested might do the best good.  She was right of course.
At this week's session, instead of giving me ultrasound, my physiotherapist suggested hooking up the TENs machine to the acupuncture needles at the SI points.  I'm always ready to try new therapies that she suggests because thus far, she's never steered me wrong.
She was right again.  Driving is usually when the joint flares up the most.  But after that treatment, I drove home in total and complete comfort!
And I slept through the night for the first time in a long time.
This morning, it was 7:20am before I got up for the day -- record late for me.  John was beginning to wonder if I was alive!  It's kind of nice to finally be able to sleep something akin to a normal schedule.
Don't get me wrong.
I still have to do my part to keep myself healthy.
Each morning, I start my day with my exercise regime, doing all of my required stretches before I even have breakfast.  It makes a huge difference to my comfort level for the rest of the day.
Of course, I also have my weekly massage therapy sessions.  That's today -- I loooooove Thursdays!
And I'm allowed to start on the stationary bicycle again -- three minutes tops.  One can't rush these things.  I'll be able to increase the time gradually if I don't have a flare-up.
Yesterday, I did the three minutes with ease.  No ill effects thus far.
I will again do three minutes today and see what happens.
All in all, it looks like I've finally turned the corner on my hip replacement recovery and maybe, just maybe, I'm turning into a "normal" person.
It's only been, like --- eleven years!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Silver lining

I'm heading into the big city again today.
Overnighting at my little chickadee's place so I'll be in the city for a 9:00am medical appointment tomorrow morning.
Every cloud has a silver lining and I'd say this particular medical appointment brought a huge silver lining with it.
My little chickadee gets a drive home from work with her Mom.
I get to hang out with my striking young man for dinner while his Mom donates blood (we'll go some place cool, to be sure).
Tomorrow morning, my striking young man and I will do our breakfast routine before he goes to school.
Then I'll head off to have my hearing tested.  I'm sure we'll find there's been no change and whatever was going on with my hearing aid two weeks ago will remain a mystery.
I should finish there at around 10:00am and I'll have to hang around in the city until my 1:00pm physio appointment.
In between, I'll visit my boys at the computer shop for a while and then I'll have lunch with my favourite sister-in-law.  I don't get to see her nearly often enough so that will definitely be a bonus.
And while I'm away from home for about 24 hours, John will get more varathaning done so that the shelving can be built for our cookbooks.  It's only been a project two years in the making!
Silver lining all around, I'd say.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

To all mothers everywhere, have a wonderful day.
To my little chickadee, thank you for making every day mother's day.
To my striking young man, you make being a grandmother so very rewarding.

Love you both up to the sky and back again.

And to my extended family, all of whom enrich the day that much more, thank you for making "stepmother" a pleasantly easy role to fill.

Love to all of you on Mother's Day and every day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring has sprung ...

The grass is riz.
Are you wondering where them birdies is?
Well, wonder no more.
Cuz they are in our backyard.
At least a gazillion of them.
The rose-breasted grosbeaks have been here for a while now. They are the noisiest damned things you ever heard. But gosh they're beautiful birds. 
On Wednesday, our first hummingbird arrived -- easily a week early.
He zoomed in looking for food -- zeroed in right to the spot where there would normally be a feeder.
I spotted him through the window while I was watching television.  You never saw anyone jump up so fast to get bird nectar ready!
The bird flitted to each of the three locations where we normally have a feeder for these little wonders.
I couldn't get those feeders filled and in situ fast enough I tell you.  By this morning, we know that at least three others have arrived.  Before too much longer, there will be many more to entertain us.
I love watching hummingbirds flit about the place.  We'll have quite a show as the first -- more aggressive bird -- protects his territory.   He darts madly from one feeder to the other fending off any other bird that tries to partake at any one of the three feeders.   I call him "greedy bugger." 
We're also inundated with goldfinches -- they love sunflower chips.  We can't keep the feeder filled fast enough for them!  What a gorgeous bird they are.  They also enjoy sunflower seeds but the chips are the real attraction for them.
That's a purple finch ignoring the two sparring goldfinches.
Our kitchen window sill sports a platform on which we supply sunflower seeds for the chickadees and the pine siskins.
The grosbeaks also visit the window sill in great numbers, and when it comes time to feed their young, that's when the real fun starts!  These guys scream from dawn to dusk.  Enough to wake the dead I tell you. Sometimes, their crying drowns out the television in the next room.
It's really something to watch the performance the young ones put on too. If they are on the ledge alone, they'll feed themselves.  But as soon as an adult bird shows up, they become incapable of feeding, and the crying starts.  (Sometimes, they're eating and crying at the same time.)
Usually, it's the male that gives in and feeds them, probably because he can't stand the racket any longer (much like the human race?).  Mom -- like Moms everywhere -- can ignore the whining.  She likely figures it's time the young started earning their own way.  Which, in this environment, isn't too difficult since we're spending a king's ransom keeping them in feed.  I once observed an adult male trying to ignore the cries of the young bird.  And the young'un actually charged at the adult, insisting that he feed him! 
We often wonder if these birds might have difficulty when it's time to leave for the south -- they'll truly need better survival skills than are required around here.  At least they'll have good fat reserves!
Our suet feeder is kept filled all year round for the three pileated woodpeckers that visit regularly.  It's a delight every time one, two or sometimes all three are there at the same time.
We're hoping that this year we'll again be treated to the display of mommy feeding her babies.  Fascinating show, that!
The suet feeder also attracts grackles (which I hate -- they remind me of Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds"), blue jays (yet another terribly noisy bird), and red winged blackbirds (another gorgeous bird):
Our resident robin has arrived too, busily building a nest over the porch.  I wonder if we'll have our crazy guy fighting with his reflection in our living room window again this year?
A couple of years ago, an oriole had come through, checking out the hummingbird feeders.  So we rushed out and bought an oriole feeder, hoping he would stay around.  We never did see him again.  But yesterday, John saw one scoping out the neighbourhood.  He saw him again this morning.  So the oriole feeder is filled and back in place.  We're really hoping he'll find it and stay with us this year.
As I said, if you're wondering where them birdies is ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh dear, I did it again!

Yesterday, I had a long, demanding day in the city.
It was my normally-scheduled day for physio so I was going into the city in any event.
When my former boss man contacted me to say that he would be in town, it was a no-brainer that we should do lunch.
But over the week-end, it became apparent that one of my hearing aids was not working.
Since I was going into the city, I would stop in at my audiologist and have the device checked.
Into the city we went yesterday, leaving home at 10:00am.
We arrived at the audiologist's office at 10:45am and she was expecting me (I had called the day before).  She cleaned the unit and checked it out quickly, but if I could come back at the end of the day, she could check it more thoroughly (I have to be there for some of the tests).  If it had to be sent out for repair, we could make that decision then.
Off to my 11:00am physiotherapy session.  My therapist has just come off a four-day seminar of workshops and lectures discussing why acupuncture is so beneficial to fibromyalgia patients.  She said it was a fascinating series of talks.  And she was delighted to hear that the soldier exercise is working so well for me.
We had a delightful lunch with my former boss man.  Hadn't seen him since last December so it was good to catch up with him again.
Then it was back to the audiologist's office to deal with my hearing aid.  Again, she was waiting for me.  She conducted a number of tests and ascertained that it appeared to be working fine.  It just didn't produce sufficient sound for me to hear properly.
Perhaps my hearing has declined?  Both my husband and my daughter have been getting really annoyed with me lately for the frequency with which I am asking them to repeat what they say.  
My audiologist shares office space with my ENT doctor so they asked him to have a look at my ears.  My normal visit with him to have my ears "vacuumed" was scheduled for May 22nd -- perhaps that is the issue.  He agreed to see me and determined that there was very little wax build-up this time.  Certainly nothing he could see that would cause the problem.  He instructed the audiologist to re-test my hearing, just in case it has declined significantly in the past six months.  And he wants it done within the week.  We managed to find a slot for next Tuesday morning.
All this to say that we didn't get home until close to 5:30pm.
Making for much too long a day for me.  And frankly, I don't know what I could have done to change it.
I needed the physio session.
I had to take care of the hearing aid issue.
As it turns out, lunch was a bonus between appointments.
And today?
I'm toast!  Totally depleted.
So I'm having an enforced day of R&R.
My body won't let me do anything else.
* Sigh *

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The "Soldier" Exercise

I'm being asked, "What exactly is the "soldier" exercise?"
So, here goes.  It's really very simple.
Lie down flat on your back.  Point your toes toward you.  Tighten your calf muscles.  Tighten your thigh muscles.  Tighten your abdominal muscles.  Tighten your buttocks (hold that dime between the buttocks).  Hold that position for the count of five seconds, and relax.  Repeat for five cycles.
Simple, isn't it?  But I can certainly attest to its effectiveness.
It can be done while standing, but of course you would not bring your toes toward you.  All other muscles can be tightened though.
I've discovered that I can also do it while sitting, if I have enough room to extend my legs straight outward.  Otherwise, I simple tighten my thighs, abdomen and buttocks (or even just my abdomen and buttocks).  It's equally beneficial, for me, in relieving my SI joint pain.
I've been calling this exercise into play very frequently over the past week and I must say, it truly has helped me get through the days since my last physio session.
I still need to continue my acupuncture and ultrasound treatments to hopefully get rid of the problem altogether. But in the interim, the soldier exercise seems to be the cat's meow.
I'm going this morning for my weekly physio session and I plan to tell my physiotherapist just how much I love her!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I was wrong

Man, did I have it wrong yesterday!
Not about the effectiveness of the treatments I've been having.
But about the state of my well-being yesterday.
After posting yesterday's blog, I went about the rest of my day.
Or thought I would.
I sat down to read the morning newspaper, and before long the old niggling pain was there.
So I called into play the new "soldier" exercise.
Not good enough this time!
Got out the TENs machine.
OK, for a while.
But as the day progressed, the pain simply increased.
My energy level went downhill and I just felt miserable.
By the time John got home from his day at the gun club, I was a mess.
Profuse sweating.
Serious nausea.
What the hell was going on?
Supper was a write-off.
Early to bed for me. (OK, earlier than usual for me).
I woke at about 11:00pm and realized that I was feeling better than I had.
I woke again around the 5:00am mark and was aware that I felt much better -- like a human again.
Today, I'm taking it very easy.  And I must admit, I do feel like I need to approach the day with caution.  But there's almost no pain.  So that's good.
I honestly don't know what happened yesterday.
The only thing I can put it down to was that I had done too much the day before.
I had been taking care of things around the house (laundry -- lots of it!) which required up and down stairs.  And now that I can do stairs like a big girl, unless I'm carrying something, I don't use the stair lift.
Oooops.  Guess I'd better keep those stair climbs to a minimum until I'm stronger.
It's amazing how the body will stop you cold -- when your brain fails to remind you of your limits.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

They were right ...

My hip rehab physiotherapist.
My pain management physiotherapist.
My family doctor.
My surgeon.
They were all right.
As my muscles get stronger, my SI joint pain will decrease.
I am now able to walk up the stairs like a big girl, with little effort.
And now, I've added a new milestone:  I can walk DOWN the stairs like a big girl, albeit with great caution.
That means that my muscles are much stronger than they were even a week ago.
I'm sure it's no coincidence that as these milestones are met, the pain in my SI joint is decreasing.
It's still there, mind you.
Just not as constant.
And not as severe.
Of course, I'm doing that "soldier" exercise very frequently.
That too has obviously helped to strengthen my muscles.
But I only learned about the exercise last Tuesday.
Amazing what a difference new therapy can make.
Have I mentioned that I love my physiotherapist?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I love my physiotherapist

My pain management physiotherapist is THE BEST!
Really she is.
First, she was delighted to see me again -- this was my first visit since my hip replacement surgery.  I don't know which of us was more pleased that I was there.  Even the receptionist was glad to see me.  It's nice to know that you're liked by your health care team!
After a cursory check-over which served as a reassessment, we got down to business.
She was quite impressed with my progress at this, the three month mark since the surgery.  And she was mightily impressed with the incision too.  Said the doctor did very nice work indeed!
We discussed the problem I've been having with my SI joint.  She checked various aspects of my anatomy and ruled out other possible causes for the pain.
She gave me some exercises to do.  The exercises are specifically designed to strengthen the muscles post-operation, but one in particular (what she calls the "soldier exercise") will help with the SI joint.  She explained that often, SI joint pain is actually caused by a weakness of the muscles around the joint (although it truly feels like the pain is emanating directly from the bone!).  She said that I could call the exercise into play any time the pain started and it would help to release the joint.
After the acupuncture session, which we only altered ever so slightly, she gave me an  ultrasound treatment on the SI region.   
She opted not to tape me this week because I was seeing the surgeon the following morning.  She didn't want me to be taped up, just in case he examined me (he didn't).
I left there feeling remarkably limber.
The next morning I saw the surgeon and he declared everything to be in order.  He asked me a few questions and he answered my questions (no, my new hip is not metal on metal -- it is a titanium rod with a plastic socket).  I discussed the issue of bursitis with him and he explained that he didn't excise the bursa but he did incise through it, which should put an end to bursitis.  He agreed with my physiotherapist that once the SI joint issue is resolved, in all likelihood, so too would the bursa issue resolve itself.  Here's hoping they're right.  I'm to see him again in three months.
As the day progressed yesterday, and my SI joint got increasingly troublesome, I tested my physiotherapist's advice.
I did her "soldier" exercise.
It worked.
And it has continued working.
I can do it lying down.
Very easy solution to the pain.
It sure beats taking a painkiller (which doesn't really work anyway).
And it's strengthening my muscles at the same time!
Like I said, I love my physiotherapist!