I admit it, I’ve started therapy. In my mind anyway the word therapy conjures up the Hollywood style image of a patient lying on the psychiatrist’s couch. While I may not be quite normal by society’s standards, who is? If everyone was exactly the same we might as well be drones like male honey bees – or the Borg. While we are all more or less assimilated into our societies, so far humans have not quite become the collective conscious of Star Trek’s Borg and are still free to think for themselves and go their own way.
Mine though is a different sort of therapy. Post injury physical therapy, though in my case it is more specifically called occupational therapy since it is mainly just for the arm. I haven’t posted an injury update in awhile and my therapist thought some of my pain descriptions were pretty awesome so I thought I might as well share. She has all sorts of great advice about how to manage pain with heat and cold so I’ve learned things like a bag of frozen peas is just as good as any store-bought cold pack and you can make a hot pack with a bag of rice.
I don’t like to take any medicine if I don’t have to – just listen to a TV ad for any sort of drug. They all have side effects so horrendous the original condition if not life threatening is probably preferable. Due to the sad state of health insurance in America, the first night after my fall I declined my husband’s offer to take me to the ER and instead made myself a sling from a towel. Feeling helpless and wanting to do something he insisted I take an Advil, which I let him give me to make him feel better. That one little pill is the only painkiller I’ve taken since I broke my elbow joint.
The next day I let him take me to the walk-in clinic. Still costly, but far less so than the ER. The doctor there offered to prescribe something for the pain, as did the orthopedist later, but I declined. Medicines are expensive and I probably wouldn’t take pain pills if I had them so why spend the money?
For the month my arm spent in a splint it was pretty immobile so there wasn’t all that much pain anyway other then the impossibility of finding a comfortable sleeping position for that arm. Now that it is out though and learning to move again it has all sorts of different places that can hurt in different ways.
Inside of the elbow joint it often has a sharp feeling, like a needle jabbing or broken glass moving around. Even when the splint was on I would sometimes feel like the IV was bothering me, except of course there was no IV and even if there had been the needle wouldn’t have been poking into the elbow joint. The outside of the elbow often feels as if I have been leaning on it far too long on a very hard surface, though in actual fact I can’t lean on that elbow at all. It did feel that way with the splint on as well, but then again it was up against the hard surface of the splint.
My wrist (which was also injured) is not so happy about moving yet. The forearm is just a general soreness and above the elbow more the feeling of having lifted something far too heavy, though I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than a dinner plate and even that feels like it weighs a ton. A couple fingers are still stiff and have lack of feeling and numbness going on along with that tingly feeling you get as say a foot recovers from “falling asleep.” Some of these pains come and go. They aren’t all constant nor all present at the same time.
The first time I took a shower without the splint I was happy I could finally shampoo my hair with both hands until I realized I couldn’t reach my head. I have since gotten to the point where I can, but when moving the arm towards my head or face the arm feels like a marionette on a string where another person is moving it for me, and my fingers against my face or head feel like somebody else’s rather than my own.
I could not touch the back of my head until the therapist said to roll my shoulder back first. It’s a bit weird to have to consciously think about how to move what, but it does increase the reach, though the feeling in the arm is awkward and pinched when doing so and there is no strength in the fingers to comb my hair or anything that a person would normally do when reaching for the back of their head. Not that I can reach down far enough to get a comb through my hair anyway. Overall though, considering how grim the outcome sounded initially I have more range of motion than I expected and it could improve more in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile my insurance hasn’t turned out to be completely useless. They have lowered the price of some things since insurance companies tend to have write-offs for various things (which likely serves to artificially inflate prices so they can then reduce them). They have also actually paid a minimal amount. The bulk of the expense is still mine though.
Even though the majority of what would be their responsibility just goes toward meeting my deductible they have tried to get out of paying by sending a letter through another company requiring proof that this accident is not the fault of a third party who ought to be responsible for paying so they don’t have to. I guess they are out of luck on that because my dog has no money.