Exercise, but not as you know it…

I’m aware I’ve done the absence – post – absence – post thing a few times now. I am sorry about it. It’s either been illness or just not having the energy or headspace to write. it had slipped down the priority list somewhat as i might have said before. As of yesterday though, I am determined to begin again.

I did truly want to begin (again) on Thursday, but I was simply exhausted. You see, I woke up achy and sore that morning, more than I had for the past few. I knew I simply had to go though, no backing out, just grit my teeth and get on. And so I arrived at my destination slightly later than expected, more tired than I wanted to be, helper in tow. I handed over the form, which thankfully, this time the doctor had signed the right place, but it was close!! I watched her check the form as i chatted to a physio, and introduced her to my helper. Form complete it was time for the tour. The pool looked lovely, shimmering with heat though. After a short search, one of the physios found us a free room to change in, and off I went. Tracking Hoist next, in my day of firsts. Once in the pool, a cushiony pillow behind my head, I lifted my body so the sling could be detached and the float attached. To my horror, I was being given ‘quite a bit of support’ from both physios. At that point my mind flitted to the past, the monotonous lengths and the medals. After a short time floating, I was helped to stand, supporting myself in the corner of the pool, one arm on each side. The exercises  continued at a acceptable pace, while my mind railed against the simplicity of the moves, things that were once manageable were now embarrassingly effortful. One by one, each one I could manage added to the draft of the ‘exercise plan’.

Eventually, the physio I knew best suggested I swim, so I began to float on my back. Well, I mean I hoped to float on my back, but began sinking fast in the middle, as I had when I last attempted to swim. One of the physios came alongside and explained that she would have to support me while they consulted between themselves how much support I needed. Very quickly, they decided on a ‘noodle’, which the supporting physio quickly added, while asking me to try again, while never leaving my side, and  helping me spin round before I hit steps, or the side of the sitting hoist. We finished with a few ‘warm down exercises’  before ‘chucking out time’. Each person or group of people is only allowed 20 minutes in the hydrotherapy pool due to the temperature/heat the pool must be. ‘Them’s the rules’ as it were. My attempt at using the chair hoist to exit the pool was rather more successful than anyone expected. Someone (I forget who) made the hoist the same height as the shower chair and I simply slid my bottom from one to the other – result!!

Once finally showered and dressed, we opted to visit the cafe before the taxi home. I chose A mug of tea and a ‘lighter breakfast later’ which my helper and even the physio said I had earned.(FYI: this consists of one sausage, a rasher of a bacon, a friend egg, a tomato, some mushrooms and a tomato in place of beans). I decided there and then to make it my main meal, as calorie wise it seemed the most sensible thing to do.

Once in the taxi, it was not long before sleep beckoned.’ Sliding out of the taxi, my helper told me I was ‘asleep on my feet’, Making an effort, I got to my door in my little chair without falling asleep. The helper made up some dioralyte and a coffee, and went on her way, which incidentally I didn’t drink. I slept sat up in my chair for three hours solid. After this I cooked and ate some pasta before falling asleep again, waking only to the sounds of the buzzer when the carers arrived Having slept so long I decided to say up for a bit. Predictably I fell asleep in my chair, waking when the phone rang. Call finished sometime later I crawled into bed and slept more or less solidly all night, waking exhaustedly.  So far so normal for someone who gets next to no exercise.

Though by now, I’ve had a days grace, I am still exhausted. I fell asleep as I wrote this. I am determined to finish this in good time and attack my to do list after lunch, so I get a good rest tonight and hopefully avoid falling asleep in church tomorrow!! I am already thinking about what to write and auto-publish for tomorrow, so watch this space!

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Hydrotherapy is a form of physio/physical therapy exercise done in a small pool, heated to a correct temperature. The heat is good for muscle pain/spasm/joint pain, and so on. The water aids bouncy allowing the likes of me to exercise in a way I couldn’t on land. It is the least restricting form of exercise and can make a big difference for some individuals. My exercise program includes side-stepping, walking, attempts at pelvic swivels to build some kind of ‘core’ from the natural resistance of the water.

The explanation for my absence….!!

Dear lovely followers, (should I have any left?!) If you’re reading this now, thanks for sticking with me! As you might have noticed, I haven’t been writing much over the last week or two. There is more than one reason for this, but I can only go into a couple of those here. You might remember reading about my little accident a couple of weeks ago now. I thought then I hadn’t done any lasting damage, not even to my knee, but unfortunately, I have. How long it may last, I don’t know, but the healing process may take a while. Though I live in England and have the backup from the NHS, I’ve been having to fork out (pay up!) for physiotherapy, originally for chronic pain in my back. So bad, that had I not gone private, I would have had to start being hoisted, say, from my chair to my bed, within a few months to a year, because of the severity of the pain and the level of restriction the pain caused. Fortunately, it is making a difference, but because this meant I was already regularly seeing a very good physiotherapist, I knew that if between the physio and I we could work out what the problem with my knee was, she would give me as good advice as she could. I was getting to the stage with my knee where the pain in my knee would cause my leg to collapse underneath me. An absolute nightmare for anyone with any mobility problems, never mind how someone who has mobility as poor mine is. I am still attempting to transfer front on, with the help of my zimmerframe, rather than side on with a banana board as the strength, co-ordination, and control in my arms is far from adequate for this. For those of you who know about chronic pain and/or life altering physical disability, I am sure ou can well imagine how difficult tranferring had become. Aditionally, my leg collapsing would cause my knee to spasm, which would greatly increase the pain, which would mean putting even less weight on my leg than I could all ready…!! This meant I was willing to let the physio do whatever it took to work out why I was in pain and how to help it get better. What she did have to do may well may you wince, as she had to ‘create the pain’, i.e. get me to take two or three steps so she could see it collapse, and once I was sat. prod my leg to fine out where the pain was. Yes, it was a painful as it sounds!! It turns out, I have damaged a major nerve at the back of my knee, which wraps round the side of my knee. The whole thing is badly inflamed. Apparently the nerve at the back of the knee splits into two, there is the siatic nerve, and the other one, which I cannot remember the name of! Once this was diagnosed, my lovely physio-terrorist (sorry, therapist) was able to give me advice. Advice so good, it has already helped improve my knee by decreasing the number of times it collapses, reducing the resulting spasm and increased pain. Anyone with chronic pain, or severe disability or both, will tell you things often go in a vicious cycle especially with spasms or pain. Breaking that cycle can be heinously difficult, but once you do, it can make an enormous difference. P.S. For anyone who would like to read more about the causes and effects of pain, see Health Activist, Mrs. Rants excellent blog. ————————————————————————————————————————–

I wrote the majority of the above last Wednesday, but had no time to publish the post. I am finishing this in the early hours of Monday morning, a day and a bit after early 30th birthday celebrations. My lovely friend who organised the bash asked my Dad to say a few words. I admit to having moist eyes! I may write another post explaining a little of what my Dad said that night, but he also referred to my blogging skills when listing some of the things I am now filling my life with. Apparently, I am a “Master Blogger”!! I am well and truly back. For your amusement, I have included a photograph of me at my party, which the lovely Bryony took of me.

The photo shows me at my 30th Birthday party.
I am wearing a black sash which says “Birthday Princess”, and I have a large pink badge pinned to my jacket which says “I’m thirty, pour me another”, with a picture of a wine or cocktail glass on it! I have a big smile on my face. I didn’t realise until I saw this photo that I am sat underneath one of the ceiling lights, so it looks like I have a halo above my head!!