Monday, February 20, 2012

Working towards wellness

I had my first physical therapy meeting today. I asked my doctor for this because I've been stuck at home pretty exclusively for the last 10 years. I'm not just a couch potato, I'm a couch potato plant. I've been sitting so long I've grown roots. My balance is terrible, and my endurance is shot compared to what I used to be able to do. So they're starting me on pool exercises, and we'll work our way up to more land-based exercises as my endurance increases. And there's one key thing I really like about this whole arrangement: safety.

There's the safety of the warm-pool exercises. Access to this will allow me to work out and not have to deal with the consequences of gravity as much. The resistance of the water will help with building strength. The warmth of the water should reduce my pain flares, and give me greater endurance so I can work out longer.

There's the safety of using a trained medical professional for my rehab. I want to be able to push my limits like any exercise program. The only way I'll ever be able to do more is if I train myself to do more. But testing my limits can be pretty dangerous. I had one adrenal collapse while hiking in the mountains. Not a fun time. I can go too far if I'm not careful. And when I do, the results are catastrophic. So having a health professional guiding me is a huge relief. It means that if I do suddenly collapse, they'll be there and know just what to do. They won't panic. They're professionals.

Additionally, working with a physical therapist means that I know I'll be training my body correctly. Even in the intake exam, where they tested my muscle strength, the therapist had to correct my posture. While lying down, even! Apparently I've gotten into a bad habit of using my pelvis to life my legs instead of using my legs to lift my legs. It's easier that way because my muscles aren't as strong in my legs. But, as I said, it's a bad habit. Using my body like that will give me more back trouble down the road. It was something I started because of my pain, but now that training is working against me. This is a chance to train, doing things right, so I'm not injuring myself later.

It's exciting to be doing so real, tangible work towards my health goals. Going to doctors and taking my medication is responsible, and I'm all for it. But it doesn't seem quite as substantial as actually doing something physically. Exercise feels like work. Work feels like progress. I can already feel my self esteem rising. I'll be able to say, "I've got to go work out," and "oh, that's my day for the gym" like normal, healthy people. I won't be a couch potato plant, rooted to my spot, anymore. It will be glorious.

Among my goals are being able to work in the kitchen to cook a whole meal on a daily basis. That may not sound like much, but it's something I haven't been able to do for a decade. Only this past year did I get up to the point of being able to cook from start to finish. I was so excited, I was posting my finished meals on Facebook for weeks. I cooked an extra portion for my roommate, just because I could. But it's not a regular event. Most of my meals are still microwave. I think when I'm able to cook a Thanksgiving dinner again, I might just frame a photo of it and hang it on my wall.

The Great Potato Soup Experiment of 2011


I will get there. We begin tomorrow!

P.S. I am still taking donations for my trip to Seattle for the cure for my Autoimmune Hypophysitis (the nasty pituitary disease). I am at 10% awesome. Thank you!

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