25 July 2003
I can't tell you how good it feels to be sitting here typing unfettered by immobilizer
and feeling...darn normal.
Oh, I'm a long way from being 100%, but right here, at this moment, in this seat, it
feels like I've jumped back 6 weeks.
It's a weird process, this rehabilitation. I fell asleep last night while watching TV,
so while I had planned to wear the contraption while I slept, at least for a few days, I
didn't. I felt fine when I woke up. In fact, the shoulder felt better than it had
yesterday. Obviously some repairative process had been at work through the night.
So this has been a day entirely without immobilizer. I was going to wear it on the
exercise bike, but didn't. I even alternated between riding in the normal bike riding
position, both hands on the handlebars, and holding the left arm down at my side. I felt
that the extension of having the arm on the handlebar was probably a good exercise.
I cringed when I had to do my exercises the first time, but surprisingly, it was easier
to lift my arm up over my head than it had been yesterday. This is not to say comfortable
by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely easier than yesterday (my second session
of exercises was significantly easier, since I did them in the shower).
Yesterday I was discovering that my brain had to get used to sending signals to my left
arm again. Today those synapses are starting to fire and things are starting to come back.
In fact, there are moments...brief flashes of time...when the arm, hanging at my side,
feels so "normal" that I go to put my hands on my hips and remember that I can't
quite do that yet.
Today I washed my hair. I mean normally washed my hair--a two-handed job. Of
course, I had to kind of tilt it off to the side to get my left arm up high enough to do a
good job of shampooing, but I was thrilled to do it.
Weirdest thing, though. As I was washing the hair, I was wondering what in the world
had happened to my hair. It was the same shampoo (good ol' Prell)...but my hair felt
coarse and almost wire-like. I wondered if something got into the water (as it so often
does here). I didn't like that feel at all. But then, I ran my right hand over the
left side of my head and the hair felt normal. I guess the sensory pads on my fingers need
a bit more retraining (despite the fact that I've been using them for typing all along)
before they, too, are back to normal.
Yesterday it was awkward to brush my hair because while I could kinda sorta get the arm
up high enough, the pressure of pulling it through my curls was too much for the shoulder.
But today I can do it.
I managed to grind my own coffee beans today. To unload the dishwasher. To fold
laundry. To vacuum. Well, I started vacuuming "normally," pushing the machine
with my left hand and then decided maybe that was a bit too much "resistance" to
give on only day #2.
I am consistently making sure that I reach for things with my left hand instead of my
right, especially if they are above my head (though the vat of peanutbutter is a bit too
heavy--probably just as well, as it keeps me from eating too much of it!)
The knee was also much better this morning. Last night, walking back from the farmers'
market, I was very discouraged because the "tightness" didn't seem to be
changing at all and I was afraid this might be the new "normal." But this
morning it felt decidedly better and I put in 10 minutes on the exercise bike.
By later in the afternoon, after all the suff I've been doing, it began to feel tight
again, so I decided to give it some time under ice.
If this is the pattern I'm going to follow for the rest of my recovery, it will be
fine--letting the sleep at night work its restorative magic, and then finding out how many
more new things I can do again as the day progresses.
It's only day #2, but I'm very encouraged.