Update on my Rehab/Recovery
As noted in my last entry here some weeks back, I can make it around the first floor of our house just fine, and my medical appointments requiring car rides around town go quite smoothly these days.
Moving forward, I am facing 3 areas of functionality that continue to limit me: walking in the “Real World,” climbing our stairs to the second floor (routinely), and driving.
Previously, I described the real-world challenges and difficulties of walking and moving about, using the example of our dog, Stella, yanking me unexpectedly and causing me to fall. Well, the world is full of random events like that, like uneven sidewalks, and, well, dogs. I have started walking around the block, and that feels great — but my stamina is lacking at this time. I used to walk the dog 2-3 miles daily. Now, a slow stroll around the block and I am exhausted.
I finally made my first attempt at starting up the stairs in our house, mounting the 5 steps to the landing before turning around to come back down. There are 12 more steps past that to reach the second floor. I suspect I will make it there in the next day or two, if I am careful. My concerns about falling remain front & center in my mind due to my brother’s death last year after falling down a couple of steps on his stairs. I hesitate nearly every time I even think about climbing any stairs. My hope is that keeps me cautious.
Driving? Well, that could still be a ways off. As noted above, surprises, startles, and random things all impact my safety in these fragile attempts at increased mobility. When driving, that risk is even more acute. Not only are there more factors, foreseen and random, but the possible negative results are sobering. It may be a while before I do anything other than the simplest driving.
Mostly, it’s slow going in my little world of rehab. And it’s hard to focus outward, still. My troubles are tiny compared to many people. Still, faced with these daily limitations of movement and functionality, it’s hard to get motivated to focus on anything beyond overcoming the limitations. I long for the days when I can not only move about easily and pain-free, but when I can do so without having to concentrate on various aspects of my physical being usually taken for granted — things like balance, turning, sudden changes.
Back in September, I visited a spinal specialist who recommended against surgery at that time, suggesting PT and patience — until at least December. He did mention a more involved test that could be used to determine more precisely where any nerve involvement might be causing impairment. I’ve recently scheduled that EMG test but will likely cancel it instead. As I understand it, that test offers better diagnostics if we wanted to consider surgery. But given my functional recovery so far, we are looking to avoid surgery at this time — or any time in the near future.
It’s just still going to be a longer road to recovery than I had thought. My PT echoed that, saying the most common thing she tells her clients is that it will take lot longer than they think to regain/restore functionality. That’s exacerbated even more as we age, so my status as an old fart means every inch of recovery is harder fought than it used to be.
And the road goes on forever, and the rehab never ends.