Monday, March 17, 2014

Physical therapy

first, I want to apologize for my computer not allowing me to make capital letters. Especially capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, like "first".....although it did capitalize "Especially." go figure.
anyway, my ever so astute neurologist suggested I solve my balance problems by having physical therapy. I took a dim view of that for a bit, but then agreed, since they will come to my house, and my insurance will pay for it. Otherwise, no way.
I actually had two (2) physical therapists: Ann came on Mon and wed. for my upper body strengthening, and Joni came on Tues and Thurs for my lower body strengthening. both just about killed me at first.
with Ann, I used dumbbells, borrowed from a neighbor. two and a half- pounds. Up and down, over and across, meet in the middle....all fairly simple, but I sure felt muscles I didn't know I had.
She also advised me to take one of the molded plastic lawn chairs and put it in the shower. I had really begged for some kind of grab bar on the tub so I could take a warm tub bubble bath, but she said NO. she had too many clients who got in the tub and couldn't get out for days. and that was only because someone happened to come over to check on them.
So lawn chair is in the shower. It works just fine. I had put a stool in the shower stall, but she said the lawn chair would be better, because it had a back where I could rest by back on it. cool. I have the kind of shower head that is on a long cord, for lack of a better word, so I can aim the shower head where I want it. shampoo, body wash, rinse and I'm through. Use the arms on the lawn chair to boost myself up, if necessary.
Lower body exercises are more intense, later in the therapy sessions, we added leg weights. borrowed from my younger daughter, who has had nearly every bone in her body broken (through horseback riding accidents, roller skating, and just plain being unlucky) so she has all the equipment I needed. Velcro is a wonderful thing, as I was able to put the weights on my ankles and then do the myriad exercises.
My favorite exercise is stretching in the morning. I watched my daughter do her stretches in the morning while she was here at Christmas time. Now I feel like I'm doing my stretches with her.
the last exercise was just walking down the sidewalk. I went only three houses the first day, with my torturer-- er, I mean, my therapist. the next day, I added another house, to make four. Up and back.
today, I'm up to seven houses. that's almost a half a block. I'm getting stronger; look out, world.
Now, if I can only get my computer to cooperate....I'm strong enough now to whack it until it submits.
but I don't think that would be a good thing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not a great evening

I met some friends for dinner one night last week. One of the women was visiting from out of town, and her hostess asked her where she would like to go eat.
Well, the choice she made was not one of my all-time favorites. Let's just say, it's over-priced, crowded and noisy, too.
But away we went.
I arrived a bit early, so I went inside and put our names on the list and was handed one of those little discs that lights up when your table is ready. I was also told it would be 30-35 minutes.
Since the night was delightful for a January in Fort Worth TX, I had no problem waiting outside on their patio.
Soon my friends arrived, after having a heck of a time finding a parking space.
Sure enough, our table was ready. The noise engulfed me. Tile floors, stucco roof, no curtains on the windows, nothing absorbed the din of pre-dinner drinkers at the bar, and other patrons eating their dinners, talking above the din.
I started getting a headache even before we ordered our overpriced meals. I ordered a somewhat moderate dinner, knowing full well I wouldn't eat all of it. The portions were huge.
And our dinners arrived. We were seated at a circular table, and the only person I could hear was seated next to me. Forget talking across the table to other people.
So my diner to the left of me led the conversation and I replied as best I could to what I thought she had said. I have a friend who says when she can't hear anybody in a din like that, she just makes up what she thought she heard. I think that's what I did. Making sense of something was futile. I think I answered and followed her conversation, but probably not.
Finally, we were all paid up, doggie bags ordered for one thrifty diner, and we proceeded out of the restaurant.
By that time, I was completely disoriented. I asked the woman in the lead, "Why are we going out this way?"
She said, "Because this is the way we came in."
Ah, now I could see the hostess table with the twinkly little discs, and harried looks on their young faces. We were indeed on the way out.
My legs felt like rubber; I had to proceed with caution and not fall. Then it dawned on me: I was having one of those "disoriented and shaky" moments from an event in July, where I found myself shaking all over, being disoriented, and physically exhausted. My primary care physician checked me over, assured me it wasn't Parkinson's, and sent me to a neurologist.
He knew the minute I started telling him about my experience with shaking all over and extreme fatigue. "I know exactly what you have," he said. "And it's simple and easy to treat."
He then said I have "benign essential tremors" that were triggered by the over-stimulation of the event. I take Primodone, an anti-seizure medication, twice a day and am free from the tremors.
Until I entered that restaurant, that is.
So now I know I have to look out for myself when choosing a restaurant. It needs to have a quiet ambiance, even more than a moderately priced menu selection. Call me difficult, call me demanding, but just don't call me to a restaurant that has no noise buffers. I'm looking out for myself.