A new record and a new idea

Prior to today, the longest therapy session has been 3.5 hrs, which I’ve had several times. Today’s session was 3.75 hrs.

Normally, I would start my sessions with an anodyne and heat treatment to loosen and prepare the tissues for what was to follow. But lately, because of the intensity of my therapy, Jason has suspended those treatments, so as to allow more time for a lot more PROM (passive range of motion) exercises.

While I was doing some of my exercises today, I noticed a woman who had great range of motion. She was doing things that I haven’t even tried yet (advanced movements). I told her that she was doing very well, and I asked her how long it has been since her surgery. She said, “November the 7th. She is 2.5 months into her recovery. I am 4.5 months into my recovery (August 30th surgery), and she will be through with her therapy before me.

I asked her how it was that she has come along so fast. She told me that it was because she was “hard headed.” By this she meant that she had a lot of determination, and that she wasn’t going to be slowed down because of an operation. I told her that I have a lot of determination and have worked very hard to try to succeed in my recovery too, but that determination hasn’t won the day for me. At that, we agreed that we’re all different, and our bodies don’t all heal the same. Her therapist overheard our conversation and said that this woman is the exception to the rule, and that I was closer to the norm.

I’ve seen a lot of people come and go since I’ve been going to therapy. A while back, I put up a post comparing rotator cuff surgery to a marathon. It appears that if this is a marathon, then I’m running in the back of the pack, because some of the other runners have already finished and have headed to the showers.

Today, Jason started off by telling me that he had something for me. He is suggesting that I buy or rent a medical device that I will use at home that will put me into my stretches and hold me there for a sustained period of time. He told me that I am “tight,” and that he can stretch me and get me where I need to be, but a half hour later my muscles, tendons, and sinews contract to where they were. He said the device would help me, because it would “hold” the stretch and let everything re-calibrate to the stretched position. I would use it 2 – 3 times a day. It would sort of ratchet up, and as my muscles stretched, I could ratchet it up some more and hold it there (kind of like the old medieval rack only for shoulder surgery rehab). If my insurance covers such a device, this could be the next phase of treatment to help me get my range of motion back.

Today’s therapy might have been the most intense session to date. Jason is trying everything he has to get me to loosen up.

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4 Responses to A new record and a new idea

  1. Hang in there. My Mom had a frozen shoulder after shoulder surgery to remove calcium deposits. It took her a long time to get her motion back, but she eventually did. She also had to do loads of physical therapy. She may have been at the back of pack too, but she did finish the Marathon and surely you will too.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks a lot for your encouraging comment. I love to hear of the success of others. Right now I don’t feel like I did the right thing getting this surgery. Thanks again for your kind words.

  2. Nancy says:

    Hey Uncle Tom!!! This is Beth! My mom has been telling me about your rehab and keeping me up to date but today was the first time I could read your blog as we are in Erie!! I have found interest in everything you have been saying being a physical therapy student and all. lol I know it probably won’t help at all, but I just wanted to encourage you. I have had the opportunity to rehab several rotator cuff repairs now and have also worked with some patients with frozen shoulder. I have always told my patients that every patient, doctor, surgery, and situation is different because I always feel terrible when they get frustrated and see others progressing faster or having a less difficult time then they are. That is true for all types of rehab….total knee, total hip, ACL, and so on. I have never really been the patient…I have always been the one wrenching on the arms, legs and causing the pain… aka…”Jasoning” =) But I can understand the frustration and as the therapist, I have felt bad when people get discouraged and rejoiced when gains are made and I can discharge someone. I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work. You have determination and are dedicated to your rehab (this is something that not everyone has and that is a battle for the therapist lol). It sound like you have a great physical therapist working with you too and you are doing all the right things. Everyone situation is truly so different because of so many variables and your situation just sounds like one of the tough ones!! I will keep following your rehab and praying for you…both for healing and to be encouraged because you’re a great patient and doing a great job!! Love you! Beth

    • Tom says:

      Hi Beth!
      What an unsuspected surprise. I can tell how familiar you are with all of this. You can speak the language of a physical therapist. It has been quite a learning experience for me – in a lot of ways. I started out with a lot of confidence that I would be done with all of this in the average amount of time or even before then, but it has not worked out that way.

      Your Mom and Aunt Anita have been some good cheerleaders for me, and I really appreciate that, because it really is like running a marathon (and I know that you know a little bit about distance running as well).

      Thanks for all the encouraging words! You are probably surprised that I’m replying to your comment at 11:20 pm. That’s because I’m not sleeping very well through all of this (which gives me more time for blogging). 🙂

      I think you have a good temperament to be a therapist. They have to be kind of upbeat and positive people (as they inflict pain on their victims :)), and I think that you are that type of person. I’m sure you will do well at helping people like me recover from surgery.

      Thanks a lot for your kind words and thank you so much for your prayers. May the Lord bless you!

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