Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 23, 2013

Physical Therapy Evaluation
Tuesday,  July 23, 2013

Somehow it seems appropriate that I start my first ever physical therapy on the birthday of my sister, Janet, who is a physical therapist.  (Happy Birthday, Janet!)

Even though I was up late Monday night, I got up early so I would have time to make breakfast for Stephen and Kristina before I went to Physical Therapy.  Much to my delight, while I was working in the kitchen, I looked out to see Stephen mowing my backyard!  What a blessing!  After he finished and cleaned up, I joined them for breakfast and then headed to the building that is shared by my orthopedic surgeon and the physical therapy group he sent me to.

I arrived at the Brownsville Rehabilitation Services office and had an assortment of papers to fill out.  I was very impressed with one set of questions that were used to start evaluating my need for physical therapy.  The first question had to do with how hard it was for me to open a jar with a tight lid.  At this point, there is no way that I can do that.  I do well to open one with a loose lid.  The other questions dealt with the degree of difficulty in doing every day tasks at home and the office.  I felt it was a good over view of the areas where I have trouble.

A physical therapist named Sol (I think) did the initial interview going over an assortment of questions and reviewing the form I had filled out about the degree of difficulty in performing assorted tasks.  Then he had me try to squeeze some device to test grip strength in both hands.  The injured one tested at 8 pounds while the uninjured one was 50 pounds.  That  kind of sums it up.  That 8 pound grip had my hand shaking badly - it was a real strain.

Next he took me out to the workout room and I was seated at a table where a therapist named Carlos, connected electrodes to the injured area around the elbow and set those to vibrating.  Meanwhile there were heat packs above and below the arm.  I felt like it was "shake and bake" time.  I do have to say, the following 12 hours or so were almost pain free for the first time in a long time. 

I was given 2 exercises to do twice a day (10 times each time) for the next couple of days before I start the actual physical therapy on Thursday afternoon.  Most of my sessions will be at 8:00 a.m. (by my choice) but a couple will be in the afternoons.  There will be 9 actual therapy sessions and then an evaluation session at the end, besides the one today.  They said to allow an hour and fifteen minutes per session. 

It was 11:30 by the time I got to the office.  Ron left to do a job at the island and later Stephen and Kristina arrived to have lunch with me.  They stayed for most of the afternoon.  We had a nice visit and Stephen showed Kristina around the shop and the warehouse.

During the afternoon at the shop I had one episode with the Cochlear Implant that really threw me.  I had one of those times when I get a real loud noise in my head.  These have happened a few times in the past, but this one turned my head into a loud echo chamber to where I could not stand the noise.  I took the sound processor off, and that helped some but it did not quiet the noise, it only eliminated the addition of external noises.  I will talk to the professionals in Houston  about this next week, but it seems to just be a part of tinnitus that is often associated with hearing loss.  The spell lasted about 30-45 minutes.  This episode was the hardest on my nerves of any I have had.

In the evening we all went to Jeff and Barbara's for supper.  It was the first time they had met Kristina and I think they had a great visit.  The grand children are always delighted to have their uncles visit and they gave Stephen a workout. 

Barb fixed a salad and tortilla soup for supper and a great peach cobbler for dessert that had everyone wanting to lick the pan.  I was exhausted and was the first to leave last night.  I think the afternoon "noise episode" may be one reason that I was so tired last night.  I talked very little in the group during the evening; the noise was just too much.  One on one conversations were fine.  I spent some time visiting with Barb while she fixed supper and some time enjoying chats with the grand children.   I started this blog when I got home, but didn't get far before heading to bed.

There are a few times that Cochlear Implant patients have chosen after a time to have the device removed because all the sounds are just too overwhelming.  I am no where near that, but I think I can see how that happens.  I had been deaf for a relatively short period of time, but if someone has been deaf for many years, the adjustment must be major to go from silence to being bombarded with sound.  I continue to adapt, but there are times I just need to step away from the crowd and have some quiet time.  Last night I found a few minutes of quiet by leaving the crowd and picking up hundreds if not thousands of tiny LEGO pieces that my two youngest grandsons had scattered in another room.

In one of those "one on one" conversations last night, Rebecca and I chatted as she explained a picture she had done for me in her art class that several of the grand children have been taking this summer.  Rebecca wanted to do a picture of a Tufted Titmouse.  They are mostly gray, black, and white with a little color under the wing.  The art teacher told Rebecca that black and gray are not real colors, so here is the Tufted Titmouse the way she felt she had to do it.  But you may note the arrows with patches of shading beside them, pointing to areas on the bird where those "non-colors" need to be.  I love this kid!!!  She is so much like me in that her rebellious streak will always come through!  Great job, Rebecca!

I guess I will also include part of an art project Nathan was working on, too.  He was working with 3-diminsional objects.  This was when I had some quiet time with him.  I know these art projects don't really have to do with either my implant or my broken elbow, except that I with my Cochlear Implant, I could hear my grand children explain their projects to me.  As a TV commercial likes to proclaim: "Priceless!"


  1. Hands together for your continued progress with the implant. It does take time & patience to cope with the new noises. Wise of you to take a step back & seek peace & quiet for a few minutes. It is very stressful getting used to all the noise & learning to separate the sounds & conversations, as I remember working with Ralph on it. As for your PT, work at it for your rewards will be almost making it back to where you were before the injury. Like many of the injuries, it may turn out to be life time exercises to maintain the flexibility & strength in your arm. It is certainly worth it tho!! Hugs, thoughts & prayers your way!!!

    1. Thanks, Dottie. So often your prayers come from a personal knowledge of the given situation. We do seem to pray more when we really know what a person is going through. I don't like, but need to remember that you are right about the elbow possibly needing a lifetime of exercises.