Thursday, August 9, 2012

Carrying On


I just went outside to give some hay to the horses, and I noticed Silk was hot so I decided to rinse off her neck with some cold water.  It took me so long since I had to protect my right arm – I am no longer wearing the brace!  I was struggling with the hose, the pump, the corral gate, getting over heated and so frustrated that when my husband appeared magically and asked if I needed help, I started to cry. 

This is only Day One of my daughter’s vacation in California, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t get discouraged over the next week as I attempted to get back to my usual chores. I’ve had a setback in my physical therapy due to over zealous aggravation of my soft tissue around my elbow. Both my doctor and my pt guy – two very confident young men - blamed me for being too diligent with my exercises. I walked around for a while feeling bad and angry until I realized that this was not my fault. I was only doing what I was told to do. So I decided that I wasn’t going to be blamed or intimidated by anyone. There felt like there was all this pressure and false deadlines being imposed on me. I am going to heal in whatever time it takes, through thoughtful and encouraging steady effort, not by anyone trying to make me feel worse than I already do.

Over time, I’ve learned to be an advocate for my horse and for my child. Now, I have to stand up for my own instincts about how to deal with the pain and get better. So, I’ve had a talk with the pt guy, and he is backing off, being less aggressive. We’re still working hard on bending my elbow, but he promises he will listen to me when I tell him to stop, whereas before he’d keep going while telling me that it has to hurt if it is ever going to bend. Hopefully, I’ll feel less frightened when he starts to go at it. Just as I had to gain Silk’s trust in the beginning before she would let me do things to her when she was sore, this fellow is going to have to win back my trust. There’s a delicate balance in this pt twisting and bending, and I think it’s a real art to know how far to go and when to stop. If I don’t feel confident about what he’s doing, I’ll look for a new person to help me.

It was unexpectedly hard when I wasn’t feeling my usual strength and confidence to be able to stand up for myself. And even though I have moments like I did in the barn with Silk where I am overcome with frustration, I know that this too shall pass.  There are so many people in worse situations than I’m in who persevere and triumph. This summer, I’m certainly gaining a new perspective on my health and aging that I’m sure will change the way that I approach so many things in the future. 

8 comments:

Annette said...

Set backs are hard. I had one today as well -- just when I thought I was almost there. Between the pain and the frustration, all I wanted to do was cry. We'll get there; we just need to listen to our bodies and not the young PT guys -- who are young and heal quickly.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Annette - I'm glad that you understand and I hope that you'll continue to improve. I really liked your post about showing Jackson - if anyone reading this hasn't seen it, go to "News from Aspen Meadows" and check it out. Very thoughtful and compassionate!

Grey Horse Matters said...

There really does come a time when you have to stick up for yourself and do what you feel is right. I went through the same thing with my knee. One guy was really good and another was torturous and sarcastic. Had to bite my tongue a lot with him.

Anyway. I think you've got a good perspective on how your therapy should go. Hope you feel better and heal quickly.

Oak in the Seed said...

As much as we are told to heal in our own time, it's hard to convince a young person that our lovely, aging bodies, our SELVES, march to a different pace and deserve the time and grace to heal. It always takes longer than we can imagine. (And you have full permission to throw these words back at me if ever it is necessary).

billie said...

Glad to read that you were able to stand up for your own pace in the recovery process. I am experiencing a parallel thing with tendonitis in my right elbow and it is so frustrating when it seems like it's healed and then it gets "tweaked" again and I realize it is simply going to take time. It's own time, not my time.

One thing that has really helped is lymphatic drainage massage - I had no idea it would make so much difference. My massage therapist also taught me how to do it on my right arm in between sessions. It makes a visceral difference when I do it.

Take care and big hugs for complete healing!

Victoria Cummings said...

Everyone - I so appreciate your reactions to this post. I felt like I was whining a bit and almost didn't put it on the blog. But you all have made me feel so much better and it helps to know that many others have gone through difficult physical challenges and gotten back on their horses. I was able to do the barn chores all by myself this morning. It took 3 times what it normally takes but I was really proud that I was able to do it! And I have located a lymphatic drainage massage therapist who is supposed to be really good - so thanks, Billie, for pointing me in that direction.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

The consequences of physical limitations and healing are so hard to deal with!

Glad to hear you've got a plan for communicating with your doc and therapist now.

billie's advice sounds good to me too. My former yoga teacher / massage therapist recommended when you are in the shower, raise both arms above your head and brush / scrub / loofah from fingertips to heart. I do it every shower - it helps promote lymphatic drainage daily. :)

Deborah Carr said...

My, my, Victoria. It's been so long since I've dropped by...and here I see you've battled Lyme disease and a dislocated elbow this summer. I'm so sorry that all this has happened, but glad you are taking charge of your healing! I hope your husband is ok...Lyme disease can be a nasty thing when it settles in. I do hope you continue healing properly!