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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quality, Not Quantity

Yesterday I worked with a professional organizer for four hours, met with the home health nurse for about an hour, and then with a physical therapist for an hour. In between I honestly had difficulty getting any food in me, and I felt a little stressed.

The organizer and I got a lot done but there is a lot yet to do. I like her approach: it makes a lot of sense to work from broad strokes to finer ones. So we organized one file drawer and several parts of the office in a more general way that can be refined over time. Later I took out a waste basket full of trash and another full of recyclables, and several items ended up in the donation pile, which is currently behind the door into the office. I made an appointment with her to continue next month. By then I hope to have solved at least one of the spacial problems that remain in the office.

The nurse said I was no fun. Nothing much for her to watch, frankly. The wound is healed and looks great; I don't have other health issues, like diabetes or heart trouble, and I am managing the meds well for now. I told her I do have difficulty with pain at night. She had no magic solution. I will keep trying to find some way to get through it.  She will come back Thursday and very likely will take my blood to check the Coumadin effects. Gradually I will be off that blood thinner altogether, which is good news to me.

The physical therapist, Wade, mostly did paperwork (as did the nurse, actually), saying that of all the different places he has worked, the home health agency requires the most. It really seemed endless. Finally he watched me walk, watched my simulate using the toilet (I really do need a 3-in-1 commode to fit over the toilet, but not for long), and watched me get on and off my bed. When on my bed he checked the range of motion and extension of my knee. He showed me an exercise to help the extension (straightness) of the leg, to use in addition to those I already know, and said to group my exercises into those that deal with extension and those that deal with range of motion, and do one of those sets in the morning and the other in the afternoon. This seemed contrary to usual exercise practice to me, so I asked why. The reason is that working different ways on one goal does help stretch it out and warm it up. Makes sense.

He said he really likes to take this opportunity to get rid of the bad habits we develop when we have knee problems, so that we walk well, not just "good for having a knee replacement". To that end he suggested yet one more thing to think about when I walk around. I am thinking about exaggerating the heel-to-toe movement, lifting my leg consciously,  aiming for the inside of my foot when I step (to put the weight on) instead of the outside (as I have done all my life) and now I am to push the leg back to get it as straight as I can on each step.  This is a lot to think about as I walk. And on that note, he said, "Think quality, not quantity". "We know you can move," he said, so the aim is to move really well. I can agree with this goal wholeheartedly. I don't want to be limping for the rest of my life, but instead walking gracefully and with good balance. Again, yay physical therapists! You creators of better lives.

Interestingly, the nurse is almost-vegetarian and the physical therapist is vegetarian. So neither had any quarrel with my being vegan, even commended me for it.

Today I am following up on some of the work we did organizing, and doing the exercises as recommended by the therapist.  It's slow going as I am not exactly full of energy. These nights, even though I do sleep, do take it out of me and I find myself collapsing into naps now and then. If I could put off taking naps I might do better at night, but lordy, that is hard!

1 comment:

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