Posts Tagged ‘#physicaltherapy’

There’s been so much going on lately that I can’t even begin to catch up. As much as I’d like to make blogging my first priority, it’s just not possible. Instead of telling about the vacation from hell we took the week of Labor Day, I’ll jump to yesterday. ATI, the physical therapy place I went to last month, offers a program where you can use their facilities and equipment to exercise for 30 days after you’ve completed your therapy. The 30 days doesn’t start the day of your last session, it starts the day you come in to start doing the exercises solo. I had taken off for vacation so missed that week and then last week there was so much going on, I knew I’d only be able to make it once. So I decided to wait and start yesterday. I had been dreading it but it went really well. They let me use one of the evaluation rooms and I kept the door partially open. I had to go in and out to retrieve the 1 & 2 lb. leg weights, the strap for hamstring stretching, the exercise ball, etc. It’s nice to have the benefit of using the extra stuff I don’t have at home. I’m going to look into getting these stretchy ankle bands that are connected and you wear them and walk sideways across the room and back. They really give a good workout to the hips. Probably the best part is the 10 minutes of warm up on the recumbent bike. I’m going to try to stick to going a minimum of 2 times a week for the next 4 weeks and take full advantage of it. I’m also going to stop over at the yoga place next door and see about trying some yoga classes. I don’t know if I’ll like it and am trying to figure out of I have to invest in yoga pants and a mat before I see if it’s something I want to do long term.

Last Friday at 10 am, hubby had a phone interview for work. It was his day off and basically screwed up the entire weekend. When he first started in his current dept. over 5 years ago, they told him that everybody that starts as an H band (pay grade), automatically gets the I-band (pay raise) after 1 year doing the job. Well, just before the year was up, they quit doing that. People no longer get it, they have to apply for the job. It is the same job, just more pay. They only have so many slots at that band now. So the one open I-band slot has everyone that doesn’t have it vying for it in the office plus people from across the country, some at even higher pay bands. It doesn’t seem to matter who has more seniority or who does more work or better work. Part of it is who the supervisor puts in the good word for and the other is the phone interview. Hubby felt like he hit a home run in the interview. I was in the other room but heard most of it and I was really impressed. I’m not going to get our hopes up since so many other factors come into play. 2 of the people in his office should’ve retired awhile ago, one is 69, the other 66. They have no intention of retiring! Without going into the long sordid story of the politics at his work, I’ll just say that it makes me crazy because it reminds me of so many unfair things that went on at the Post Office when I worked there back in the day. I need to remember how lucky I am that I don’t have to contend with all that anymore. 🙂

I had booked hubby’s doctor’s appt. for Sept. 11th. I had made it way early on Aug. 12th since our doctor books up early. Even then we got his first appt. of the day at 11:30 am. Well, hubby took off that day to go to the doctor and was up in the shower about 10:45 am when the doctor’s office called. They wanted to make sure we knew that the appt. had been cancelled and rescheduled!! I said, “You’re just telling us now?” The receptionist said, “No, we called to let you know before.” I told them we’d never heard from them and have an answering machine so if they’d left a message, we’d know. Well, she kept insisting which makes me crazy. Boy, I never noticed how many things make me crazy but it’s A LOT. Even in the shower, hubby heard me on the phone and called to me. I went up there with the phone and handed it to him in the shower. I figured the doctor decided that morning not to come in (that sounds like something he’d do) and they were covering for him. They said he was on vacation all week! Hubby asked if they could take his blood for the A1C test and cholesterol and they said yes so we went in anyway. It was the fastest time in and out of there ever–about 20 minutes. Hubby’s blood pressure was still high but when he weighed himself on their scale, he was down 15 more lbs.

As we were leaving the doctor’s office, hubby asked me if I wanted to stop at the Sears Outlet store in Melrose Park. It’s only a few blocks away from the doctor but half an hour from home. They only have a few of these in the area (we found out later that they have one in Niles which is much closer to us) so figured we’d take a quick look. In April, our basement flooded again and we lost our dryer. So I’ve gone 5 months without a dryer which has been interesting. I’ve been hanging the clothes on the clotheslines in the basement which takes a few days to dry, even running the dehumidifier. The larger items like sheets I’ve been hanging on the railing in the 2nd floor hallway and I’d go and turn and alternate them until they were dry. This is tedious and time consuming to say the least. I was putting off the inevitable while we decided what type we wanted. Seriously, I didn’t even want to buy new appliances! I hate spending money on things like that EVER but especially when there’s so much else I’d rather buy. Our living room couches turned 16 years old today. Our sunroom furniture is even older. The LR couch has had the reclining handles break off and the foot part of the recliner break off on my side a few years ago. I sit sideways on it leaning against the armrest which is broken. No wonder I have back problems! We’ve thought of getting new furniture for years but 5-6 years ago we had old dogs which got sick a lot. Then we had puppies which you don’t want to tempt with new furniture. Now we’ve got an incontinent grandma that makes me not too keen on getting a new couch either. I guess I can always find an excuse, can’t I?! We really love La-Z-Boy leather furniture but it’s not cheap. That’s the next hurdle we need to get over. Baby steps here…

So the quick look at appliances turned into 2 hours. Sears Outlet specializes in things that have minor damage. Like someone bought an appliance and it got dinged up as it was being delivered and they refused to accept it. They are the same items you find in any store except they are discounted due to cosmetic damage. We had been debating whether to get the newer front loading type of washer and dryer since they are on pedestals and hopefully high enough so the next time our basement floods (and there will be a next time) they’ll won’t be affected. Of course, I’ve heard some bad things about them due to odor and that the pedestals are so expensive too. I’m cheap and am always looking for a deal. Sears Outlet had every brand under the sun and we looked at each of them, not being particularly sold on any given brand. I’d been loyal to Maytag my whole life. Having replaced my original Maytags with Maytags and then having to replace both the washer and dryer separately due to floods in the past. I’ve always had white and they hadn’t even matched this last time since they were purchased years apart. Circling around, over and over again, looking at the different models with the aid of a salesman who’s been there 3 months, we were getting more confused. Our top loading washer and dryer were set up in the basement with the dryer on the left and washer on the right. When we had looked months ago at Home Depot, the salesman there told us that the front loading HAD to be set up with the washer on the left, the dryer on the right. I wasn’t wild about this and asked the Sears Outlet salesman if there wasn’t a way that the doors could be switched to the other side so that the new ones could be put in the exact same position my old ones were. The guy said no. I didn’t really have my heart set on a color, though I liked the gray and even the blue ones. Looking at the prices, a lot of them were marked only a little bit down from the original prices of $1099. Then there was a pair of RED Samsungs which were deeply discounted. I didn’t even know that Samsung made anything but electronics. If anyone knows me well, they know I just HATE the color red. It is the last color I would pick for anything. I don’t like wearing it, I would never get a red car, I just keep away from it at all costs. Since I’m not going to be riding in either the washer or dryer and no one’s going to see it, it seemed like something I could tolerate. So imagine my surprise when I’m drawn to the red pair over and over, mainly due to the price but also they just looked like the newest models. So we told the salesman we’d take the red pair and then he had to see if they had the pedestals in the tango red color. After waiting for him to talk to his boss and many other delays, we finally got down to business and paid. Even with the discounts, we had to pay $69.99 for delivery and various additional expenses of a new water hose for the washer, a new dryer vent, taxes, etc. It came to $1932 which all of a sudden didn’t seem like any deal! 😦 We found out they could deliver the next day (Thursday) or Friday. Friday was the phone interview and hubby wanted to “just get it over with,” so we settled for Thursday.

What should have been a joyful event to get a new washer and dryer turned into a less than happy event. Wed. night we got a recorded phone call saying to expect delivery on Thurs. between 8:15 and 10:15 am. So we got up extra early to make sure we were ready. The delivery guys called and showed up around 8:45 am and stayed an hour. They came down and removed the 2 existing appliances and as they were taking them to the curb, the junk man was driving around in his truck and asked to take them. So that worked out or we would’ve had to pay $10 to get rid of them! Then one of the delivery guys said he could only put one of the new hoses on for the washer because the one to the hot water was rusted on. They don’t carry WD-40 or anything to loosen it. Then they said we should’ve boughten a new gas pipe (salesman never mentioned this) and the dryer wouldn’t be covered if they didn’t use a new one. Then they said the 2 pieces wouldn’t fit! Hubby and I had measured as soon as we got home from ordering it. We KNEW they would fit. Then we find out there are NO manuals. I’ve never used one of these new fangled machines and had no clue what I was doing. I still don’t but that’s a whole other issue. 😉 When we were at the store, we had seen bags taped to the back of each machine with papers inside that looked like manuals. Lord knows what those were but we were out of luck. After the deliverymen left, we went online and found the PDF version of the manuals. We only printed out about 8 pages of each. I sat down to read and saw there’s a whole section on “switching the doors from one side to the other.” Hmm. Another case of me knowing more than the salesman. Well, now we’re stuck with them where they are. Still trying to decide if we want any extended warranty. Everytime we have it on something, we never use it. When we don’t, we always need it. You just can’t win!

What’s it like going from top loading to front loading? Different. I wish I could say I’m in love with them. I can’t. I have a shelf behind the washer and dryer that I always kept all my detergents on for easy access. Now the machines are so high and stick out farther that I need a stepstool to reach it. I had asked the salesman what people store in the pedestals and he said he didn’t know! I can’t put washing powder down there if there’s any chance of flooding. I also used to sort the clothes on top of the old waist high appliances. This isn’t possible so I’ve put a small table down there to work on. The hardest thing is I can’t physically feel the temperature of the water. When I select “hot,” I don’t know how hot it is or even IF it’s hot! That’s all because you put the clothes in an empty washer, shut the door, put the soap in a compartment on the top left side and push buttons and GO. In my old machine, I started running the water in an empty machine. I would use my hand to check the temperature. I would add the soap to the water and let it dissolve as it filled and when the agitation started, THEN add the clothes. The nicest thing is both are SO QUIET. I mean so ridiculously quiet that you could sleep next to them. So far, I’ve washed 2 sets of sheets, a bedspread and 4 loads of laundry. I don’t notice it getting the clothes any cleaner, in fact I’m wondering if it’s worse on stain fighting. I always used Shout on stains, then add the clothes to Tide with Bleach or regular Tide. Now there’s a compartment for “pretreating.” It says in the manual to add part of the detergent to that section. I’m still using Shout but also tried the pretreating thing on one load and wasn’t too impressed. That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion and washing all of the things with my lovely RED appliances. 😉




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Today I was able to move about freely without feeling like I was going to “hit the floor”. Not the fun kind of “hit the floor” like Flo Rida and the Apple Bottom Jeans song, either. I made it to physical therapy and was evaluated on my range of motion movements compared to my first visit. I gained 10% on most things and only 3% more on standing up and bending backwards. My spine only bends at the top, not the bottom. I’m hoping I will continue not only to maintain but improve my flexibility. My physical therapist is putting together an exercise plan for me that she’ll give me Wed. that I can continue with. She’s also allowing me to have rest days instead of doing the exercises every single day. I’m kind of gung ho and when I commit to something, I don’t waver unless I have a setback like being sick. Then all bets are off. Anyway, I’m going to continue but be less rigid and listen to my body more. She asked me about my pain level and I realized it is much less. It actually helped taking it easy this week and not going full bore. I can do everything with less pain and also am not as stiff.
As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I have gotten into what I call Treasure Hunting. It’s going to estate sales and looking through other people’s crap for something of worth for cheap. It’s such an odd, eclectic (kind words) group of people who do this. I guess that makes me one of them! 🙂 A lot of them are older people and foreigners. Not to lump everyone in together but a lot of foreigners are cheap and know a good bargain. I can’t fault them for this. I’m inherently cheap but not enough to make it on Extreme Cheapskates yet. The day I start saving my urine in bottles to save on flushing the toilet, I invite you to shoot me in the head.
If we go early to the estate sales, we have to wait in line and then they give out numbers a half hour or hour before opening. We’ve done both where we’ve gone early (never early enough to be first) but often just stroll over about an hour after it starts. If you go early, there’s a chance you’ll get something really good. There’s also a chance that the first person will take whatever you’re interested in and you did it all for nothing. When we’ve gone later, we’ve still found really good stuff, just not often. It’s a crapshoot. Anyway, we’ve been doing this since Spring and not every weekend. Then there’s some weekends that we go to only one sale and get nothing or go all weekend and come back empty handed. We are really selective about what we get. We only get cool things we like and haven’t seen before. We also won’t pay a ton for anything. So if we love it but the price is retail, we pass. We are finally running out of wall space and so have to be really picky if we get anything else.
The first several months it was like a clique with the people showing up outside these places to wait. They all knew each other and would only talk amongst themselves. Now the past month or so, we have struck up several conversations with some of the people. There’s this one older gentleman who must be about 86 and has a strong accent. I’d guess he’s from Czechoslovakia or Hungary. The guy is a hoot! He comes up to us telling the lamest jokes you’ve ever heard. “What is the first thing you take off of a naked woman?” “A naked man.” Ok, so the guy is creepy too but as long as he doesn’t touch me, I’m fine. The last few times we’ve seen him, he tells my husband, “Next time, I buy your wife!” He thinks this is funny. It was mildly amusing the first time. Not after as many times as I’ve heard it. I would give anything to be quick with a reply. It took me an hour after this happened on Sat. to think of the perfect response. It had me laughing out loud and when I told hubby, he laughed too. He doesn’t humor me if he doesn’t think I’m funny. So next time he offers to buy me, I will say in a thick foreign accent, “You think I prostitute?” Saying this as a noun, not a verb. Because I’m sorry, that’s the way foreigners talk. SOME foreigners. My favorite foreigners are the ones you can’t tell are foreigners because they speak better English than I do. I want to hug them all because you can just tell they appreciate being here. I think it’s wonderful that they embrace their culture and heritage but the best thing would be for them to learn English so they can really share their homeland and ethnicity with us. I’ve always thought speaking a foreign language others don’t understand is selfish. It’s exactly like whispering. People can’t hear what your saying and it’s exclusionary. Keeping others in the dark is unacceptable. I’m all for dual language households. In fact, I marvel at anyone who learns more than one language and the earlier you start, the better. I just think that you can speak English in public and whatever you choose in the privacy of your own home. I’ll probably be stoned for this opinion but I stand behind it.
I sure got off on a tangent there. I’m definitely going to say that to the old man if he tries to buy me again. I may also ask, “How much?” The other funny thing I heard this weekend was when my husband asked a guy, “Do you work here?” and the guy replied, “I’ve been accused of that.” As a rule, we try to only go to the estate sales that are in our town or neighboring suburbs. They are all over the Chicagoland area, up to an hour away but that’s not worth our while or gas money. Sometimes we venture into Chicago itself but not more than 6 miles. There was an ad for a Vintage Collectible Shop going out of business. So we took the drive into the city and it looked like a fly by night place. They didn’t have much merchandise and only some of it was old. Not much had a price marked on it. We bought nothing but I had the best laugh I’ve had in ages. I saw a painting on the wall that could’ve been of me! It’s a nude brunette woman, shown from the back, standing in a bathroom. It was like looking in a mirror. I’m not one to go for nudes hanging in my house or I would’ve inquired on the price. My husband didn’t get the same kick out of it as I did. I took a picture with my iPhone and was going to Instagram it but then IG was acting up. I looked it up online and it’s a reproduction painting by artist Fernando Botero from Columbia. He has a ton of other famous paintings with this fat woman (aka my doppelganger) and other fat women doing different things. I couldn’t get it out of my head and remarked about it to my hubby. Online they sell for about $200+ which is more than I’d pay. If I could’ve gotten it for $50 or less, I might’ve gotten it. I said to hubby, “Where would we hang it if we got it? It’s not right for the living room.” He answered, “On the refrigerator.” He told me that I’m not even close to that big, that the woman in the picture is the size of the 2 of us put together. It’s crazy that that’s how I see myself. If I look in the mirror at the back of me, that’s what I see. TMI, I know. If I look at myself naked from the front, I throw up. If I got that painting, I’d be inclined to tell everyone that I’d been the model for it. 😉 I never thought I could be a model before but now I’m wondering. Maybe if I contact the artist, he will consider using me for his future work. Heh. Actually, that’s the closest you’ll ever get to seeing a naked picture of me. You’re welcome. 😉

My Doppelganger

My Doppelganger

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July 23rd, just 3 days before #BlogHer13, I went for my EMG (electromyogram) test. Clearly, I didn’t have enough on my plate and needed to squeeze in more that week. This is a test that evaluates and records the electrical activity produced by muscles. Basically, the doctor is looking for the source of nerve pain. I had to lay on an exam table and first he sent electricity through different nerves. Then he stuck needles deep into the muscles all over my calves and feet. I didn’t know if it would hurt but I’d done a bit of research online to find out what to expect. I didn’t want to find out too much and come in with expectations of a horrific experience. The first part was just the electricity and it felt like having the bristles of a hairbrush pushed hard into my skin. It hurt but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then he took needles (much bigger than accupuncture needles) and slowly jabbed them into my skin over an inch deep. Hubby came along and watched. I had asked him to take pictures but he didn’t, instead chatting up the specialist. The needles hurt a bit when inserted but hurt A LOT when he would twist them around under the skin. I would’ve given my kingdom for a broomstick to hold between my teeth when the pain hit hard. Now I know if I ever feel that type of pain again that someone has made a Voodoo Doll of me and is sticking pins in it. I also came to the realization that joining the circus and becoming The Human Pincushion is no longer an option. I guess I’ll have to settle for being The Fat Lady or The Bearded Lady if I decide to runaway and become a carnie.

This was the first and only time seeing Dr. Z. He didn’t tell me what to expect or if I was supposed to tell him when it hurt the most. The entire ordeal was being recorded on a laptop computer the doctor had hooked up to the electrodes and needles. It looked suspiciously like the kind of equipment used for paranormal investigations! The computer would make noises like when the Ghost Hunters are sweeping for otherworldly activity in the vicinity. On the screen was a series of graphs showing the spikes as they were happening. The whole thing seemed pretty medieval, even considering the advanced equipment. It seemed like something they might have done in the dark ages, after trying leeches to cure what ails you. Either that or it could’ve doubled as an agent of torture with the next level being tearing your fingernails out. The doctor didn’t tell me the results of the tests. He told me he had to compile his data. So we went and sat in the waiting room while he looked at things. Then he called us in and said that there seemed to be “some compromise of the nerves” in my lower lumbar vertebrae. We assumed as much from the MRI and just through process of elimination. He said I wasn’t a candidate for surgery or even cortisone/steroid injections since my pain wasn’t that bad. I had told them it was a 3-4 on a 10 scale. He asked if I’d be willing to go to physical therapy. I said yes and he wrote a prescription for that. I couldn’t read a single word of it.
Subsequently, I went to ATI in my town which is a physical therapy place. It is located in the building that used to house the Blockbuster movie rentals. I picked this place souly because it is 5 minutes from my house. I didn’t want to drive a half hour each way, twice a week. Wed. July 24th I went in and talked to the receptionist and gave them my prescription for therapy and made my first appt. for the following Monday. Then I put it out of my mind and went to #BlogHer13 and walked like 40 miles in 2 days in new sandals. I didn’t get any blisters and made out great with the walking. It was other things I had problems with.
July 29th, I went for my first PT session. It was mostly an evaluation of my flexibility. This was my first time EVER going for physical therapy and I had asked ahead of time what to wear. The receptionist said “anything you want!” So I wore white pants, sandals and a top. So I looked like a jerk showing up dressed like that. It was cool that day but I found out I should always wear shorts and tennis shoes. Good to know. Of course, the girl I ended up with as a therapist is kind of a tyrant. I mean that in a good way. She doesn’t take crap and doesn’t try to be my friend. She is pretty much all business. We get along like oil and water and I was briefly thinking of asking to switch to someone else but thought better of it. Right away she told me that I am literally inflexible. Not that my personality won’t bend. My body won’t move like it should. For my size, I’ve always been very flexible (or so I thought) until the last year or so. I used to be able to put my foot in my mouth! Don’t ask why, just go with the story. 😉 Now I can only get it about 6 inches away. I used to be able to bend over and put my palms flat on the ground with knees straight. Now I can touch my toes and that’s it. The worst thing I noticed when she evaluated me is I can’t bend backwards or bend sideways with my hand along my leg.
Ok, fine. I was game to do whatever she suggested. She started me on stretching exercises. These aren’t real exercises, people. They are just stretching. I told her I was going to a nutritionist/dietician on Aug. 2nd and was going to try to SLOWLY lose weight. In a way that I could keep it off. I asked her what other kinds of exercises I could do. She said NONE. That she didn’t want me doing anything but what she gave me. Okey dokey. She had me do the exercises on the massage table and told me to do them at home. I asked her, “Should I do them on the floor?” Her response? “If you can.” IF I CAN. Like she figured I hadn’t been on the floor in a decade or something. Please. I get on the floor regularly to play with my dogs. She has me lying on my back with one leg flat and the other pulled as high as I can towards me with a dogleash. Not as kinky as it sounds. I have to hold each side for 30 seconds and do 3 of them on each leg. Then pull my thigh forward with both hands for the same amount of time and #. There are several other stretches I have to do that take that long. It ends up being over a half an hour and I’m doing them 3 times a day. I feel like I’m short on time anyway and now I’ve got all this time eaten up by doing this stretching.
I go to PT every Monday and Wed. at 10 am and it lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. Thank God for insurance. If we didn’t have insurance, it would cost $438 each time! Now it’s a $25 copay. The first thing they do when I get in there is to put a wet/hot towel on my back. It’s something that gets heated up as you keep it on and it’s wet heat to loosen you up. I sit in a chair for 10 minutes with that against my back. Then they have me do 10 minutes on a recumbent exercise bike. That’s one where the pedals are out in front of you instead of underneath you. Then my therapist gives me a deep tissue massage. I’d never had a massage before and the first time she touched my hips, I about cried from the pain. I was sore for a whole day. The next time she worked on my thighs, it was almost as bad. Then the calves the next time were horribly painful. She told me I have all kinds of knots in my muscles. Yikes. Today when she did the calves and thighs, there was no pain at all! I’m hoping something is working!
Between feeling punished by no longer being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want (more on my weight loss attempt in a later post) and having to do these exercises 3 times a day, I was feeling rather down. I was complaining to hubby one day, “How would you like to have to do something EVERY SINGLE DAY and never get a break or a day off from it, no matter what?!” Whoops. I noticed the second it came out of my mouth. I caught it and started laughing. Leave it to me to say something so self-pitying to someone else who knows EXACTLY what it’s like. Hubby was diagnosed with diabetes 2 months ago and has to take his blood sugar 3 times a day. So I apologized and got a bit of perspective in a hurry. The sad thing is early on I asked my therapist, “How long will I have to do these exercises?” Knock me over with a feather if she didn’t say, “Forever.” Basically, if I quit doing these stretches I will turn to stone. Or rather get so stiff, I won’t be able to move at all. I’m sure Lot’s wife had this problem too. She turned into a pillar of salt but at least they could flavor food with her.
The whole idea behind the therapy is to strengthen my core. I was told I have a “weak core” which is preferable to a rotten one but still not desirable. The good news is that my leg pain has decreased from a 3-4 to a 2-3 as of last week. Fingers crossed that it continues! The bad news is that the pain in my left foot (unknown origin) is worse. I could hardly walk over the weekend. I want to be able to walk without pain but also to walk “smoothly” like I used to. I feel like I’m either limping or hobbling along. It doesn’t matter if I’m barefoot or what shoes I wear. A few weeks ago they showed the victims that were hit by a car at Venice Beach, walking away right after the accident. I looked up at the tv and said, “Look! That’s how I walk!” That’s disconcerting. All the other patients at PT are injured in some way, either from a car accident or working out wrong. Here I am with no injury and my only excuse for being like this is getting older. Sigh. When everything is working on your body, you don’t give any of it a second thought. I miss the days when movement was effortless and I was filled with energy. On the bright side, at least I can still remember them! 🙂

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