Physiotherapy & CP update 30/10/2017

I’ll admit that I’d totally forgotten my consultant said she was going to refer me back to my usual physio department so they to give me a refresher course on all of the stretches I’m supposed to be doing.

We’d arranged it a while back when my pelvis pain was really bad. I’d been seen by a different department in the meantime (that my GP had referred me to) so I’d kind of assumed that would be that. I didn’t think they’d allow me to have this second lot of appointments once I mentioned this, so I was really grateful when they said I still still go in.

I was even happier when I found out that my new physio is also the same lady who gives me acupuncture. My previous physio retired earlier this year and I was a bit nervous about seeing somebody new when the previous lady knew me and my regular problems so well.

thankfully, my acupuncturist does too, so, even though she’s never actually given me physio I feel like we could hit the ground running.

It didn’t take her long to work out that my pelvis isn’t very well- aligned at the moment (one side is lower than the other) ,, and she told me that we were going to have to work on making the muscles around it stronger before we could work on the alignment issue.

One thing that I really liked what that she taught me the names of exercises I’ve been doing for years but never knew the names of. Well, it’s more likely that I’ve forgotten them, but I’m still pleased she took them time to tell me again.

It was one of those appointments where I came out feeling more sore than when I went into it, but I often find that these ones make me feel much better much faster.

I’m feeling really positive that we’ll do a lot of good work in these sessions.

I’m looking forward to my next appointment now.


Things I would tell my younger self

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the advice that I would give my younger self if I could. By this I mean me about ten years ago at the age of 13. I’ve put in a lot of hard work in lots of different ways and I’ve achieved so many things since then. I surprise myself (in a good way) on a pretty regular basis. There are so many things the me of today would like to tell the me of the past. I thought I’d post some of them here:

1.       Always do your physio even though you don’t want to

I am the first to hold my hand in the air and admit that I did not do as much physio as I could, or should have done in the past, despite my parents and the physios always telling me how important it was and encouraging me as much as possible. The fact that I didn’t work hard enough was no one’s fault but my own. I wish I could tell myself not to have that attitude towards physio.

2.       You’ll start to enjoy physio, you know. Yes, really.

Thankfully, I did hit a turning point with this one after I had my surgery at sixteen. I found that I liked pushing myself to try and be able to do more and more and watching myself get better at all of the different exercises I was given. Also, I knew that I wanted to be back on my feet as soon as possible. I started working much, much harder at my physio.  I still enjoy watching myself improve, especially at the exercises I find really hard at first. I will admit though that I could still do more now too.

3.       Your hard work will pay off

I wish that I could go back and tell my younger self just how far my hard work has got me these days. Of course, I haven’t done this alone. I’ve had lots of support from lots of people along the way for which I’m grateful .I personally feel that I can do so much more now than I could back then. I don’t think 13-year-old Nic would believe me if I told her just how far we’ve all come together. Let’s hope it continues for a long time yet because I still feel like I can achieve even more as long as I keep trying. And, as long as I still feel that way, I know I will keep trying.

4.       It’s okay to feel proud of yourself

Often, when I achieved something, I would always try and brush it off and act like it was no big deal rather than letting myself accept that I’d done well. These days, I do allow myself to feel proud of things I achieve and use that as motivation to keep pushing forward.

5.       Everyone needs help sometimes

Because I think I needed to remind myself of that a whole lot more. This brings me on to…

6.       No one can do everything

Maybe this is actually the same point as the one above, but I think that I probably needed to phrase it both ways to myself.

7.       I know you don’t believe me now, but one day, you’ll see

Preparing for winter

This year, I plan on starting to prepare for winter early. No, I don’t mean that I’m going to pretend that I’m a squirrel and bury lots of acorns and nuts in the garden; nor I am going to be like a bird and fly south for the season (although, I won’t lie, a holiday would be great right now). Ah, a girl can dream…

No, what I mean is that I’m going to try and get into some habits now that I’m hoping will stop the cold weather from having such a big impact on me this time around. I’m not a professional doctor or physiotherapist, nor do I pretend to be, so I’m not sure if making an extra effort this my physiotherapy now will make me less achy in the winter, but I figure it’s something that I should probably start doing anyway, because as I’ve said time and time again, I know I don’t do as much as I should.

The end of last year things seemed a lot worse than normal because it was far more bitter than I remember it being for a long time. When I get cold, my legs get tight and my muscles ache more than usual. I tend to spend a lot of winter using my wheelchair rather than my walking frame because it’s more comfortable that way. Plus, if we have snow, there’s just no way that the tiny front wheels on Martha will cut through it all, and I don’t want to risk slipping on any ice either. This just means trying to do as much more physio as I can at home to make up for the shortfall in exercise.

At the beginning of this year, things started bothering me enough for me to give my physiotherapist a call and make a set of appointments. I had around six spread out of the course of the next few months and she finally discharged me again a couple of weeks ago. More on that later.

So, it’s only September but there’s already a chill creeping into the air, and I’ve noticed that my legs and hips are already starting to show their dislike for it, especially first thing in the morning and the last thing at night as I’m trying to drift off to sleep. I’ve decided that if I start working hard now and paying more attention to my stretches sooner rather than later, I’ll, (hopefully), have got into the habit by the time the worst of the cold hits so having to work harder might not seem like such a chore.

Although I need the help of another person to do some of the bigger ones, there are lots of little things that I can do for myself that I’m hoping will help, like spending more time lying on my stomach for half an hour while I watch TV or read a book get a good stretch out, and it feels like my wheat bags barely have time to go cold before I’m reheating them again (I’m sat with one under my knees as I type). This is to help keep me warm as much as it is to sooth my muscles. Oh, and I’m going to have to remember to keep on to top my physio too. I’m pretty sure that will do me some good, no matter what time of year it is.

I am aware that wheatbags might not be suitable for everyone to use, or help everyone. I’m not a medical professional so I can’t offer advice on when a person might like to use one or when it might not be suitable for them. This is a reflection on how they help me personally only.

Feel free to help keep me on the straight and narrow by leaving me note in the comments section, or on Facebook and Twitter, from time to time.

The Surgery Diaries: Physio time

While I was in the hospital, the physiotherapists would come round at least twice a day to help me with my exercises and give me some new ones to do every now and then. As I’ve said before, I pretty much hated physio up until this point, but then everything changed.

If anything, I looked forward to them appearing at my bedside. It gave me something to do and someone new to talk to. It helped to break up the long days sitting in bed. I won’t lie. At first I was shocked by how hard I found it. Suddenly things that I’d been able to do just a matter of days ago seemed really, really hard. I remember one of the things that I had to do was slide each leg out to the side. Before the operation I’d been able to do around 10-15 of these before getting really tired. In hospital, I was struggling to get my count up to five.  Instead of letting this get me down, I used this as a challenge to try and make myself go one better every time I tried. I didn’t always manage it, but the times that I did it made a massive difference to my self-esteem and helped me feel like I was doing something productive from my bed.

My family were a huge help during all of this. Without them, I don’t think I would have done it as often as I did, or pushed myself as hard. Mum was allowed to stay with me at the hospital so we’d try and do a set every hour or so. Dad would do them too sometimes, but often he’d be there, crossword puzzle in hand, shouting out the clues to distract me from the discomfort, or motivating me to finish them faster so I could concentrate more. I wasn’t very good at crosswords then, I’m still not now if I’m honest, but my Dad is a whizz at them, even the cryptic ones.

Mum even said that when the time came for me to try walking again, she’d dangle money in front of me as motivation to keep going if she had to. I never put that theory to the test in the end, I don’t think she was ever serious about it anyway, but it made me laugh all the same.

When the Monkey Pole bar was fitted to my bed to help me sit up, I would pull myself up on it a few times just to build my arm strength up to make using the sliding board easier. It probably wasn’t the best thing for me to do looking back on it, but it helped me get stronger and that was all I cared about. I hated the slide board so much in the early days. It should have been my best friend because it helped me get from my bed into a chair, but I found it really hard to use so it just made me feel weak and very frustrated. By the time finished using it though, I could even get on and off it without help, so I guess something paid off somewhere.

Now, when I don’t feel like putting the work in (which is more often than I would like to admit) I try and think back to what the post-surgery, sixteen year-old me, would say to that. I think she’d call me lazy, and I think she’d feel let down that I didn’t continue with the hard work. So, I still try and push myself to work hard, both for my family and for myself.

The coffee table challenge

One of my stand-out memories of physiotherapy as a kid will always be the time that I had to walk across a coffee table independently. There was a point to it; it was so that I could get my agility badge at Brownies.

I remember being so surprised when I found out there was an adapted version for disabled people that the minute I came across it in my badge book with my grandma I decided that that would be the one that I wanted to earn next.

My heart sank when I saw that the above task was one of the things that I would have to do if I were to get it. The idea of having to walk on something that was raised about the ground with no one holding my hand really scared me (still does, if I’m honest) but mum insisted that it would be worth it.

We had a word with my physio at the time (who had to do the assessments and sign to say that I’d done everything I should) and they agreed to help. I still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when mum pulled the offending table into the middle of the room and told me that that was the right length for the distance that I had to go. It only got worse when they helped me climb up.

I’d like to point out that at this moment I made matters worse for myself by standing still for ages arguing the toss about why this was a bad idea – when really if I’d have just shut up and got on with it, it would have been over much faster (ahhh, hindsight). I’m pretty sure I even told the therapist involved I’d never forgive them for putting me through it. I said that more than once back then. Whoopsie.

So anyways, after what felt like a very shakey first few steps I made it all the way to the other end and felt slightly amazed that I’d actually gone through with it and not backed out. I got cuddles from mum and I even managed to pass. The brown and yellow badge took pride of place on my sash for a bit. I don’t even remember what the other tasks were now. It didn’t really matter after that.

The reason I’m posting about this I guess is because I still regard this as quite a big achievement. I was afraid of doing something, but I did it anyway (and without falling over, no less!) I think that sometimes I forget to view the achievement in the little things and I don’t appreciate my success anywhere near enough. I think it’s time I started.

What have you done to make yourself proud lately?