Apr 7, 2006

Electrotherapy and Staying Longer

This is the post I mentioned in the AudioBlog I left late Thu night. I wrote this Thu night, but was unable to post it for whatever reason. Enjoy!

Can you say relaxed?? Last night I slept for ten hours straight! The most since over a month ago – it was fantastic. I also put in my contacts for the first time since the surgery too! I couldn’t get them in with my right hand, as my fingers were too jittery, but my left hand got them in just fine. It is nice to not have glasses sliding down my nose all day.

I met Holly in the lobby at 11am in the wheelchair so that we could head over to my physical therapy consult together. The trek there was interesting. I’m learning that most sidewalks slope downward toward the curb – not fun – makes your wheelchair want to move toward the street! I’m going to have to make the trek on my own tomorrow and then three days a week starting next week. I hope I can walk better by then.

The PT consult went well. One of my problems now is that I cannot move my ankle or toes at all. When I walk without a brace, my right foot clomps down flat on the ground. The muscle on the front of our lower leg, I call it the shin muscle, is not kicking in voluntarily at all.  It will bear weight, but won’t do much else. He suggested a technique I think they call electrotherapy. He attached these rubber pads to my shin and cranked up some machine. I could start to feel a tingle and just a little pain. He cranked it up even more and it felt like big time pins and needles running thru my leg. It was quite painful – but the muscle contracted and my foot rose at the ankle. We did this about four times, ten seconds on and ten off. I have to admit, for my first time, it was rather hard to tolerate. I had to tell him to turn it off. We did three more; ten seconds on and thirty off. It was interesting, but painful. He then showed me some exercises and also encouraged me to try to ride an exercise bike to get my legs doing something repetitive. I didn’t have time tonight, but will try to get into some type of routine next week. I need to work in time to continue some occupational therapy for my arm. I need to work on strengthening it and increasing my dexterity. I can’t write that well at all and really need to work on that. I also want to start working my leg muscles more. I really want to be comfortable with everything working before we begin radiation therapy.

With that said, now that the surgery is behind us and we have a long road of recovery and treatment ahead, Holly and I have finally submitted a request to stay on active duty in the DC area for an additional 180 days. I think it makes sense to stay here to continue treatment. Besides, I really want to get back to a familiar job and to continue to live somewhere I am comfortable with for now. I really want to get back to Texas, but we agree that this is the best course of action for us at this time. I really want to get back in my uniform and back to work. That will be a good day. We understand that we’ve submitted the paperwork a bit late, but under the circumstances, we didn’t really have a choice. Please pray that the paperwork gets processed quickly and that our request will be approved soon.

One last note -- remember the electrotherapy on my shin? After Holly and I went to the Commissary and PX, we came home and I was sitting on the sofa. I took off my shoe, ankle brace and sock and crossed my right leg over my left knee. I sat there for a bit and thought, “move foot… moooove.” The therapists at NRH sometimes tell you to move a part and then they lightly tap the muscle to try to stimulate it. So, I tapped my shin and thought about moving it… and it moved! I think it did at least… I was able to see movement and I felt the muscle and it seemed to contract! I tried it a few more times and it did it again. Now, I could be faking myself out by making it move with another muscle, but the therapist will be able to confirm if I’m imagining things on Friday. Please pray that all the muscles come back strong!

That’s all for now… off to my comfortable bed!
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