Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How Am I Doing?

Friends have been asking. Family members have phoned.  Apparently, I have been remiss in keeping you all up to date on the progress of my physical self.  Allow me to rectify the situation.

I'm doing just fine.

Three years ago this week I had one sip of wine to celebrate my birthday.  I'd been teetotalling since the bullets flew; that one sip went straight to my head.  I sported an idiotic grin for the rest of the night, a living and breathing advertisement for the inadvisability of mixing alcohol with narcotics. I was unable to drive myself, nor locomote without a walker or a wheelchair. My exercise regimen consisted of flexing and pointing my toes.

On the upside, I didn't cook or clean or do laundry.  My mailbox was full of cards and letters and my inbox held greetings from long lost friends and relatives.  I needed lots and lots of stationary and was forced to shop for that which makes me happiest - pens and paper.  In many ways, life was good.

And now, 38 months after being perforated, I feel as if I am truly starting to feel healed.  Despite my orthopedic surgeon' dire predictions, I have not felt that the arthritis in my hip warrants the installation of a replacement joint. My decision to follow the physiatrist's advice has been rewarded.

He was right - this is a tissue issue not a structural issue.  My inner self was bound together with scar tissue and myofascial adhesions.  That's what was impeding my progress, not bone on bone pain in my hip socket.

Don't worry, I didn't know what myofascial adhesions were either until I found that they were the source of my problems. Scar tissue is replacement fabric which is of inferior quality to the original manufacturer's equipment.  It's rougher and less flexible and has the awkward ability to attach itself to muscle and the tissue surrounding that muscle, aka the fascia.  Once those bonds are created, movement is restricted and pain ensues.

The exit wound scar on the front of my thigh is five inches long.  The entry wound is on the back of my thigh, a small, nearly undetectable circle of purple. All that area is covered with scar tissue and myofascial adhesions.  My hip doesn't bend because my quadriceps can't fully engage because the scar tissue has created lumps and bumps and dead ends for the nerves and the muscles to circumvent and it's really hard to bend your knee without using those muscle.

Please, believe me.  I've been trying to do it for 35 months.

Did you notice a discrepancy between the date of onset and the date just above? It's not a typo, it's a fact. As has been the pattern throughout my recovery, when I was ready for something new, the perfect solution appeared. In this case it involves scraping.

Shannon, she of the magic massaging fingers, didn't feel that I was making enough progress under her tender ministrations.  Not that her ministrations were all that tender; she was happiest when her thumbs were exploding knots buried deep within my flesh.  But I still limped out after every session.  She knew what I needed, and she hired a practitioner who could provide it.  His name is Cristoff, and he comes equipped with a four inch scraper.

Yes, a scraper. It has a beveled edge and fits comfortably in his hand. He tightens the skin over the offending area, and runs the tool up and down and then across and back again over and over and over the scar tissue. He has a great time.  I just try to continue to breathe.

I'm only able to tolerate the pressure and the sensation because the numbness has finally begun to wear off.  It's only in the last three months that I have been able to tolerate any touch at all.  With all this attention, there is actually blood flow to the scar itself.  It's lost its sallow appearance and is now quite warm to the touch.  What might otherwise frighten me is now a source of comfort.  It's not an infection raging beneath the surface, it's the normal flow of blood and oxygen, repairing the tissue and removing the crud surrounding it.

It's nice to have my body cooperating with my psyche.

My PT has taught me to do Nordic Pole Walking, dragging the poles behind me and using them for forward momentum as I take large, wide, slow, steady steps forward.  She's all about big, explosive movements and I'm seeing the results.  In two weeks we're planning a two mile outdoor hike.

Like I said, I'm doing just fine.  Thanks for asking.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!