Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Long and Winding Road
I know that this is "a process". That the body doesn't heal overnight. I get that. I'm just starting to get worn down by the fact that I keep going in and doing all of this work, going through all of the pain that they inflict on me, and then seeing zero progress from one week to the next. I've tried to embrace my inner bad ass and just grit my teeth through it all, letting them tug at my arm like it's not attached to the rest of me while trying not to wince or grimace or swear too much. The truth of the matter is, it fucking hurts. Like, I know people tell you that PT is painful, but I think your average person going through PT is dealing with something relatively minor, like pulling a muscle in their shoulder, or pain in their hip. I think the ante gets up significantly when you throw in an injury with scar tissue involved. You hear that term a lot, but what you don't realize when you're hearing it is that to get through the whole scar tissue roadblock, you have to fucking tear the tissue. Literally, rip it. Take a moment to imagine how fabulous that feels. What seems to be "special" about my situation is that usually when scar tissue pulls apart or tears, the person stretching you out can feel it happen, because the joint gives a little bit and things loosen up. With mine, it's even more exciting. With mine, you can hear it. There is an audible popping, snapping or ripping noise when they break through my scar tissue. I'm told that's not terribly common. In fact, the first time it happened the physical therapist said "Wow, for me to hear it means we're breaking through some seriously bad tissue". Gee, awesome. Just lucky, I guess. I think it freaked him out though, because after I left he called my surgeon's office to make sure they weren't doing anything that could damage me further. So there's an example of how rare it is. Woo! I'm exceptional!
It also sucks that I can feel my muscles and tendons tugging against the anchors that have been inserted into my bone every time they work on me. I can feel precisely where he anchored each muscle, and I can feel everything pulling against those anchors every single time. It's a disgusting sensation. My big worry is that even after I'm "normal" I'll still be able to feel that. I would prefer not to.
I think the uncertainty of things is what's heightening my anxiety. Sure, I'm told that I should be able to make a full recovery to normal, or at least my surgeon thinks so. I've gotten some skeptical looks from my physical therapist on that front. I've also seen zero progress in weeks, no matter what they do to me. I am starting to worry that it's all a load of crap and I'm going to be one armed for the rest of my life. Then I try to imagine not being able to do normal things that I think of now as "I can't do that until my arm gets better...." becoming a permanent situation. Stupid things, like washing my hair with both hands, or putting on a necklace. Then it's big things like picking up my niece and nephews to hug them. Or if we have our own kids, not being able to properly hold one because of my arm. Not being able to walk Ronan because I can't trust him not to chase a rabbit and pull me over onto my arm. Not being able to hug anyone properly because I can't bend my arm in quite enough. Those are the things that scare me. I'd be better at dealing with the PT if it meant I could be guaranteed to get those things back.
I know the road is supposed to be long, and I'm at the beginning of it, but I keep feeling like I'm already falling behind. Mostly I just want to be back to normal.