I thought I would just start by describing yesterday's physiotherapy appointment at the hospital rehab department and save the "at home" set of exercises for another post.
My physiotherapy is supposed to be working on my 3 "S"s; Stability, Strength and Stamina. The idea is that I should not loose my balance and fall as frequently, but that if I do I will have enough strength to right myself. I am also exhausted most of the time and we want my physical endurance to improve.
Tony, my therapist, does most of the exercises along with me. He says it is good for him to get a workout too, but a lot of it is that I still can't seem to exercise and count at the same time or keep any kind of a pace on my own, but I do a pretty good job of mirroring his movements. I also have trouble with movement, lights and sound throwing my balance so watching others movement in a controlled way is good training. He occasionally has a radio on or alters the lights and it is a source of great irritation to me, but it is all in the direction of acclimating to these stresses.
My therapist, as usual, had me start warming up by walking on a treadmill. It has only been a couple of months that I have been able to even stand upright on the darn thing because of my balance problems.
I have had a lot of severe pain and problems with my right (good) hip as a result of my bad gait. I also have physical damage in my left knee as well as the neuro caused problems. Tony wants me to work on my walking skills with the treadmill because there is a hand rail on both sides and I even out my stance that way. When I use my cane I lean heavily to the side and when I am using a walker I tend to lean forward too much. I can walk more upright and I self correct better on the treadmill. The other odd feature is that I can hear my left foot when it drags against the tread of the base and I can respond by picking up my foot when I hear the noise clue.
The next set of exercises was over to the parallel bars where he had me do some mild squats, again watching that I pay attention to keeping upright and my back straighter as I move. This has at least two purposes. One is to work on building up the muscles to support my weak left knee and ankle, and the second is that that kind of up and down motion triggers nasty nausea and vertigo.
Next we moved on to the double width plinth (exercise bed).
Lie on my tummy and do leg lifts going backward about 10 X per leg and do two sets. My right leg lifts high and left leg really struggles to do anything much in that direction.
Lie on each side, with the lower leg slightly bent and lift upper leg toward the ceiling.
Lie on my back and basically pull my bent leg across in front of me in order to stretch the hip. Repeat with the other side.
The Exercise Ball is more my idea of a fun time. I even have one at our lake cottage. (yes I have a blog about our lake too)
I faced my therapist who was sitting on a different ball and we started rolling the balls in little circles under us. (side to side version of nausea) Next we raised one arm and lowered it, raised the other arm and lowered it. It got trickier as I tried to raise one foot at a time off the ground and I managed not to fall off the ball. Interestingly the hard part is not lifting the weak left foot -- it is raising the right foot and trying to use the left foot on the ground for stability. Next we tried lifting a leg and straightening the knee so the foot goes out in front. Advanced moves would include lifting an arm and the opposite leg at the same time and an even more advanced goal eventually will be the same side arm and leg together.
Once again we moved on to the plinth and I laid down with the ball at my feet. I got to take it easy for a minute and wait for the world to stop spinning. Next he had me put my legs up on the ball and I did some bridges. "Pull tight the abdomen and lift your behind off the bed while pushing the legs down into the ball to balance!". My legs and body fell off the ball sideways and we tried again and again.
The hour long session was over and I had really earned the cup of water Tony was handing me.
I went to get myself a second cup and I tried to hold the cup with my left hand while I pulled the water cooler lever with my right. The cup went flying and I had water all over the floor and myself. Tony got down and moped it all up while assuring me that things like that happen all the time.
I was tired and I started having major speech issues as I usually do when I get too stressed, excited or exhausted. I needed to sit in the hospital waiting room and rest for a long time before I could be understood well enough to call a cab to take me home.
I went home and napped.
Red Rubber Ball
is written by Paul Simon and was recorded by a group called Cyrcle.
The lyrics that run through my head when I am "playing" with that exercise ball are:
And I think it's gonna be alright Yeah, the worst is over now The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball The story's in the past with nothin' to recall I've got my life to live and I don't need you at all The roller-coaster ride we took is nearly at an end I bought my ticket with my tears, that's all I'm gonna spend And I think it's gonna be alright Yeah, the worst is over now The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball