Friday, July 17, 2009

Pain Management: Weeks Three & Four

Weeks three and four went by similarly to weeks one and two. Hydro and physio were very much the same - I increased resistance in the physiotherapy, and Justin has me walking the dog every day: not far, but far enough to count. To the corner and back. Relaxation was very much the same as the first two weeks - still something I know how to do. The key is to actually DO it.

The Tuesday OT sessions were cooking and craftwork (mosaic). Mosaic, apparently, is excellent for fine motor skills - for the rehab patients, it's a way of giving them fine-motor exercise without boring them to tears.

For us, it was an exercise in learning to pace ourselves, and reinforcing the various techniques we picked up in cooking. Bench height, positioning, looking down at our work by bending the neck, not curling the shoulders. Reaching for things by shifting weight, when possible, rather than having the arm at full extension.
Also, when doing kitchen work, open the cupboard and put your foot on the bottom shelf. This gives your body a more relaxed position to work in.
When kneading dough, use the weight of your body, rather than your arm muscles. And don't bother looking with your eyes - your hands know exactly where the dough is.

And a bunch of etceteras. Including:
* use pre-cut frozen veg, it's not only easier, it's probably been snap-frozen within hours or even minutes of picking. Supermarket 'fresh' food (even some greengrocer 'fresh' food) has probably been in storage for days or weeks.
* similarly, go ahead and use frozen pastry rather than making your own, unless you particularly enjoy it.
* prep your food over the whole day, don't try to do it all in a burst all at once. It won't hurt the carrots to sit in the fridge chopped for a couple of hours.

Individual psych on Tuesdays continues to be ... interesting. I'm not sure if it's helpful or not, but based on the mood I'm in on the Tuesday trips home, it probably is. We're digging out stuff like how I feel about my body, and he's giving me 'helpful ideas' about my body that are TRUE.

You know how self-help books and counsellors and psychs say stuff like 'don't think negative thoughts, think useful helpful ones'? Well, my psych listened to me talk about that, and pointed out that you have to believe the helpful thoughts you think, otherwise you're just going to get cynical about your own thoughts.

So he agreed with me about some things about my body: it's broken in a lot of ways. It's not fair. It's hard to do things I want to do.
Then he gave me true things to think about when those things creep into my mind. "Yes, all that is true, BUT:"
* But my body enables me to hug my pets, and Tateru, and Feldie.
* But my body enables me to help Feldie with her hair and makeup.
* But my body enables me to type to my friends, and write tutorials, and so forth.
* But my body enables me to take Vi (the dog) on walks. Albiet short ones. And the physios and I are working on that.
.... and so on.

The Thursday group psych sessions are a bit less helpful to me than the individual stuff, since a lot of it is stuff I already know. However, like the relaxation stuff I already know, it's a matter of putting it into practice.

Thursday education session on week 3 was on community services and supports - neighbourhood houses, TAFE short courses, respite services, disability pensions. Nothing entirely new to me, but some of the specific places were new to me. After the course, I'll sit down with the sheet and start calling around. If I can control the anxiety. :(

Week 4, it was on relapse prevention. Which, essentially, amounts to 'make sure you keep doing this stuff, and when-not-if you have a slack day, or a slack week, or even a slack month, forgive yourself and keep going'. It included techniques like making appointments with yourself in your diary, and letting other people help you - once again, nothing surprising and new.

And sadly, I no longer have C and M and S working with me. The other S, who started with me, stopped showing up. We think she's dropped out. But C, M and S were on their week 5 when other-S and I started: so my week 4 was their week 8, and they've finished the program.

So Thursday was happy-sad, and I hugged them all, and - well. Said goodbye.

Tuesday, I get to be the experienced one in my week 5, while three new people start their week 1.

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