Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Access and Ability (like Sense and Sensibility, Only Contemporary)

Today my friend and I had to wait for ten minutes in front of a building because a vehicle had parked against the only curb cut and the driver left it unattended. Ironically, it was a wheelchair accessible institutional van, and the lift was left lowered. So I guess the driver thought no one else at the hospital building would use a wheelchair or scooter. Since my friend's brother-in-law rides in a wheelchair, she is familiar with such issues and was equally angry. I am exhausted from going to PT and the other office, though my left shoulder is beginning to unwind. That's good.

I'm still showing Hoffman's sign. The PT said it can take the nerves a while to "realize" they're not compressed (or to actually decompress, I guess), or it could be the disc below, herniated. One friend has me repeating the "I did not rupture the disc below" mantra, which may be another way of saying, "denial." The bladder issues have been substantially better, and I'm not running to the bathroom all the time or leaking, with a few exceptions when I was extremely exhausted and in very terrible pain. I guess maybe the PT's explanation applies here too, that it takes the nerves a while to decompress or recognize that decompression. I'm glad for that explanation, because I was worried that the problem hadn't been addressed or things hadn't worked after all. Anyone who knows me would be amazed how little I can suddenly do. The PT and I decided on a new category of "weenie" for my quantified hand strength (weakness?, anyway, it was my term, he just thought it was funny). So I have to do exercises pushing my shoulder blades back and resistance exercises with a rope thing (since I'm allergic to latex therabands), gently pulling my arms back at the sides. I can't believe how difficult this easy exercise is right now. It's unbelievable! And I mean this in a fascinated way since this is strength that will return quickly with use. That's not something that concerns me.

Since my husband's lost a lot of work time to help out and has impending deadlines, I am scheduling my friends who have volunteered to help me out with some chauffering. With PT 3 times a week for now, a doctor's appointment or two a week, and some work meetings, my husband can't do it all, especially given that he's doing most of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, increased laundry, childcare tasks, and helping me.

I feel like a moocher, but my friends seem genuinely glad to help. So I went to PT today and my friend drove me down the street to the cardiologist's office to make an appointment in person. My husband joked they probably only take appointments by phone, and I said that I'd call from the cell phone in front of them. Fortunately someone was there since it was lunchtime. The front office person/usual receptionist apparently isn't the grouchy one. She seems to be a very gentle person with a kind demeanor. But while we were talking, my friend heard the other office person snarling at a patient about having to deal with two other patients already and some other issues. I hope I get the care I need there and will find out the front office person's name and try to just deal with her.

My internist added today that the cardiologist's office is now run by the same group that was running his the last couple of years. He says the "front office staff there was often so rude it became legendary, and there was nothing I could do about it. Most docs are stuck in that situation, unfortunately." I wish more doctors would be this brutally honest. I love him for that. He just works with his nurse and his wife now, and outsources some billing and other responsibilities, thus lowering overhead and costs to patients.

My friends are impressed with how my husband can now twirl my hair and pin it to the back of my head in a few seconds.

And I've got to, in turn, go show him quickly how weirdly difficult these easy exercises are! And finish the movie I fell asleep during last night.

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