|"Sunset Calling" by Gina Rathbun|
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It's been awhile since my last post; my reason is pretty lame. I couldn’t write. Not even one sentence you’d be interested in reading. I've been busy trying to keep it together. Outwardly, I'm sure no one noticed; but inside I've been exhausted and down on the progress of my healing; wanting results from the investment of time spent on exercises I have been doing to get me out of the wheelchair. Patience is truly a virtue and I don't have it. I suppose I possess it in shades now by default, but I've had no choice in receiving an unwanted attribute given all that I have endured already. This experience has been grueling in every sense of the word, and I wish I could say that I'm further along--not running just walking. Some see the progress--they don't live inside my everyday world, which blinds me of where I'm at. My chiropractor, Dr. Mohr, sees it, with each adjustment to disentangle a body that has been more stationary than in motion. Truth is, it wasn't until March that I could stand without pain on my right ankle. Meanwhile, the rest of my body has fallen to a more sedentary lifestyle because walking has been flat out hard and some days impossible: my legs weakened from non-use and my body has more around the middle--sitting for long periods will do that to you. On the positive side, I've started rebuilding in a pool. This new found movement has allowed me to pool walk, an exercise that has liberated me from the apparatuses used to keep me mobile on land.
A couple of months ago it became a state mandate in Florida to have a chair lift at community pools. And, fortunately for me, the installation and timing of the chair lift was convenient and, well, miraculous. I got to a point that re-learning how to walk required more therapy and use of more muscles to help stabilize and balance my gait. The foot and ankle surgeries did the job of allowing me to stand firmly on the ground, but I needed to work all the muscles around my ankles, since they were adjusting to a new distribution of my weight. My community pool is just across the street from my house (I never wanted the expense of up-keeping my own), and now I'm in the pool no less than three times a week. The chair provides assistance to get in and out of the pool for those who don't have the strength to climb stairs or have other physical challenges. I can walk in the water without assistance--no holding onto the wall or floaties, and the activity has lifted my spirit and attitude as any good exercise will do. And the best news, I'm walking on my own in the pool for the first time in over a year and a half. My prayer is that this activity one day will transfer to land.
For those of you who have followed my journey and surgeries, this post acknowledges two critical components to regaining movement and strength: chiropractic adjustments and aquatic therapy. Both manifest positive changes in the body, and, in my case, support each other. My chiropractor, Dr. Mohr says, "Adjustments create more motion in the spine and allows the nervous system to work optimally."
Pool therapy is useful for a variety of medical conditions by using water to assist in healing and exercise performance. The first time I entered the pool the buoyancy supported my weight thereby decreasing the amount of weight bearing on my joints--especially my ankles. Suddenly, I was performing the exercises that I had strained to do on land. I can now incorporate the resistance of the water, which allows for muscle strengthening without the need for weights and is less painful to perform. Aquatic therapy also utilizes pressure to decrease swelling and improve joint position, and, as a result, and, according to the research, improves pro-prioception. Increasing blood flow to injured areas is so important to healing; I only wish I had submerged myself into a pool sooner or was told to do so earlier.
Not everyone is a candidate for aquatic therapy and always check with your physician before doing a program. However, for me, incorporating therapies have not only improved my attitude and strength; it has disentangled both my mind and spine, while standing a bit taller and staying focused on the end result: walking again.