Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Physical Therapy Evaluation
Monday,  August 19, 2013

My car needed to go in for a check-up today.  Why not?  Ron and I keep having them and the car is getting a real workout these days.  The brakes needed work and a couple of other minor things needed attention, so Ron took it on his way to work and I took his car to the Rehab place for my Physical Therapy evaluation.  The head of the department is the one who does the evaluations and he was comparing today's results to those when I started 3 weeks ago.  I have had nine sessions so far.

One of the first things he did was measure around the elbow, at the bend.  It had gone down two centimeters.  At the start it was 4 centimeters larger than the other arm, so I guess that means half of the swelling is gone.  Next he measured hand strength.  Earlier, the right arm (undamaged) was at 50 pounds and the broken one was at 8 pounds.  Now the damaged one is up to 21 pounds, which is a nice improvement, but there is still a long way to go.  Of course he had an assortment of questions about the pain and flexibility.

The next thing he did was measure the angle of the extension.  It had improved by 15 degrees, but still is 40 degrees off from where it should be.  When the arm is pulled in, there was some improvement, but again more is needed and there is more pain on that position than on the extension.  With the extension, that is just as far as it will go, it doesn't get to a painful point, it just stops.  He also checked hand rotation and says again, it is better, but not good yet.

He would do a test and return to his computer and enter a variety of data and then check another function before again returning to the computer.  Later he gave me a sheet which I had filled out on the evaluation before therapy started.  I was to high-light what it was now compared to then.  There really was little change in that I still can't open a jar with a tight lid.  I can barely open one with a lose lid.  My pain level is similar, but maybe in different areas.  I still can't mop a floor or vacuum the house (these are on the evaluation sheet).  He gave me a sheet of exercises to do at home.  They include some from earlier and some new ones.

It is obvious that the arm with the broken elbow is getting better, but there is still a long way to go.  He asked if I wanted to continue therapy if the doctor orders it.  I said yes, I want to continue; I am not content with where it is now.  He is recommending 2 times a week of more aggressive therapy and the doctor will look at it tomorrow and decide what he wants me to do.  I see the surgeon at 8:30 tomorrow. 

The evaluation appointment took around 30 minutes and I had a few minutes to talk to the man as he walked me out.  He is from the other side of the world as are so many of our doctors.  He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Boston University and says he has been here 22 years and loves it.  His wife is not as happy here as he is.  I told him I liked his staff and thought they were very friendly and upbeat.  He said he was very proud of his staff and thinks they do a great job.

From there, I headed to the office and before long Ron left on a couple of jobs.  I spent much of the day doing Immersion Reading.  I have noticed that if I turn the volume down some, I sometimes  struggle to understand.  I know that sounds like a, "Well duh...." statement, but it shows me how important it is that the people I talk to speak up.  Whispers are not going to be heard.  If the volume is up, and I am reading along, I understand every word with no trouble and don't even feel I need the printed words.  As I turn it down, I become dependent on the printed words.  I think I will slow the speed down tomorrow when I turn down the volume and see how I do.

The office wasn't very busy today so I did a lot of reading.  Mom stopped by for a few minutes.  While she was there, she wanted a demonstration of the Immersion Reading.  She said at the volume I was using, she couldn't hear it with her hearing aids on.  I did fine with all the customers today including an elderly man who spent 15-20 minutes relating a long story to me.  In the past it would have been hopeless.  I would have either just stood there and smiled and nodded, or told him I needed to finish some paperwork in my office.  Now I could enjoy the conversation with him.  He obviously just needed someone to listen.  I had never met him before.

We closed a few minutes early to go pick up my car.  Ron told the man we would be there at 5:15.  We arrived at 5:05 and he was closed.  That conversation must have lost something in the translation.  So I will need to take him to work in the morning before my 8:30 doctor's appointment. 

He had another job to do after work, so I rode with him and shopped a few minutes at Wal-Mart while he did the job.  We stopped for supper on the way home and it made for a long day, but I was glad I didn't have to fix supper when we got home.

This is not related to either my Cochlear Implant or my broken elbow, but just a side note.  Our youngest son had sent me a text this afternoon telling me that he tried to call last night but missed us.  I told him we were home and when he told me the time, I said that I had just taken off my sound processor and his dad slept through the ringing phone.  For all of our married life I have been the one to answer night time calls and Ron's brain hasn't learned that he needs to take over that chore.  As we texted back and forth, he said that the day had been good as he started a new semester.  I told him I thought I needed a "back to school" photo of him as he started his last semester in the seminary.  He laughed and said he didn't think of it.  At supper I told Ron that our last child was starting his last semester and that we would no longer have kids in school after this.  He laughed and said, "Don't believe it."  He could be right. 

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