Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting to bottom of things.

Today was an excellent day. I drove (that's right drove) to NYC to meet with a highly regarded shoulder specialist to get to the bottom of why my range of motion is still so limited and the pain continues in my left shoulder. I was very impressed with my new doctor who spent a delightfully un-rushed period of time with me listening to my story, examining my shoulder, reviewing a set of recent x-rays and explaining a few of the possibilities with me. The next step will be to get more information through additional tests. I need an MRI (to investigate soft tissue/muscle damage), a CT scan (to get a better sense of bone healing from various angles) and an EMG (nerve test). It will be some week next week but I expect to have a much better sense of the prognosis and treatment the next time the doctor and I meet.

The second reason my day was so enjoyable is that I made a pit stop on the way home at Helen Hayes to visit Bob, my former roommate, and a few other friends, therapists, nurses and aids. Things change fast in a rehab hospital. I knew that many of the patients I had been living with were discharged around the same time I was, but I was also able to see the dramatic progress the few who stayed had made in the past three weeks. It was also fun to see the nurses and aids who had known me only really from a sitting or lying posture.

One of the best things about the visit is that I was able to walk into the hospital without crutch or cane. I've had a real breakthrough over the past week. Through a combination of Feldenchrist work, massage, physical therapy and strengthening exercises, I am now able to walk without my crutch for sustained periods of time. While I still feel some sensitivity and weakness in the left hip, I have even been able to counteract the slight limp which had developed. This continues to be my focus as I build strength and balance.

The visit to Helen Hayes was wonderful for a variety of reasons. 1) I was able to reconnect with some amazing people, 2) the dramatic progress I saw in my friends reminds me of what is possible, 3) It was great to show my therapists how far I have come and 4) I was reminded that even the worst prognosis can be counterbalanced by love, determination and hard work.

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