Somehow it is Friday again and for the first Friday in a long time I have NO PT because my physical therapist went on vacation to Brazil for the next ten days. This is good and bad. Good because it means my non class days will be totally open to get ready for the summer student research project. Bad because it means I am totally on my own when it comes to not letting my back and shoulder go back into full on defcon 5 mode.
I spent the last two days in kind of a funk about it because OW.
To add insult to injury, I ran out of my ibuprofen horse pills, which leaves me with a bunch of muscle relaxers that I can only take at night unless I want to risk falling asleep in the middle of the day/school pickup line.
It is making me realize how much she has been helping me, even though half the time I want to start crying in the first ten minutes because, you guys. It is SO HARD. It's is like every Lifetime movie you have ever seen about someone learning to walk again after a terrible accident except that I am learning how to sit in a chair, fold laundry, stand up from a seated position, and reach for things. We do fun exercises like "OK, pretend you're doing laundry at your counter. Reach for a towel. NOPE, WRONG. Reach for the towel. NOPE, CHEST OUT. Reach for the towel. DON'T FORGET YOUR CORE."
Progress is sure but slug-like.
The biggest problem I can see is that my core packed up and left about five years ago.
On Wednesday, I told the therapist that I had been experiencing "tightness and pain" at a new and unpleasant level since our previous visit, three days prior. She kind of nodded her head and wrote something in my chart, then had me lie on my belly so she could do the part of the visit I call "CPR", where she presses her hands against my spine and uses every ounce of her ninety pound frame to push it down towards the table such that I cannot inhale and suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
"Woah, dude! What happened? You are JACKED UP! No wonder this is bothering you!" she said subtly when she looked at my spine.
Later, she manipulated my shoulder blades, holding the right one up and over to the side, asking "This is where your shoulder blade will be one day. Does your insurance give you unlimited visits? Because this is going to take a while."
I felt great for a few hours after lots and lots of pushing and pulling but then my shoulder started to lock up again once I got home with the kids (are we surprised?). It's been driving me nuts the last couple of days as the laundry has piled up and I've gritted my teeth through the dishes and other mundane details of my life. I've tried to maintain my posture and check myself against a wall as many times as possible throughout the day. I've been doing my exercises, creating artful sculptures of towels and canned goods in an effort to recreate the therapy table in my house. I've been taking muscle relaxers at night and icing down my shoulder as much as I can during the day.
But this morning I finally tried a new thing she showed me, where you roll up a towel and lie on top of it with the towel roll under your back wherever the knot is for five minutes. I did the first knot first, for five minutes. It felt better but not 100%. Then I tried doing it for the second knot, which I usually avoid messing with because it is the GRANDDADDY OF KNOTS, the one that once got so bad I had to babystep all the way to my neighbor's house to ask her to get my phone up off the floor for me so I could call Ryan and scream unintelligibly into the phone. No need to piss that sucker off.
But this morning I was kind of desperate so I went for it. When I got up I felt NORMAL, WHICH IS AMAZING.
I'm going to take that towel everywhere I go from now on. That towel is my lovey, (funny story, last night I found my dad in my kitchen holding a wet plate and a dishtowel, looking curiously at the dish towel. I asked him if he needed help and he said "Is this a dishtowel or is this someone's lovey?" A valid question at my house).
I cannot wait until my PT gets back and sees my relaxed rhomboids. Rawwr.
And now I have to actually get started on my work stuff, because now I can SIT IN MY CHAIR. Good times, good times indeed.