I am discharged. From physiotherapy.
I can’t believe it. Still sinking in to the old brain that I’m discharged, for real this time.
I’ve been discharged before from physio, that was in the year or so after the crash in 2000 and from a different physiotherapist. Those times the insurance company cut me off then I went back, the insurance company paid again, then not; in the end, they paid whatever I had to out of my own pocket when we settled a few years later.
But after being summarily cut off then reinstated and long before we settled, I had been discharged from regular physio to regular massage therapy. But my physiotherapist had said I’d need lifelong physio. After settlement, I returned to physio here and there when I could afford it until I could no longer. It was many years before I found a place I could afford; for the last three years or so, I’ve been receiving regular treatments from certified athletic therapists at a physiotherapy clinic. At one point I think we were all wondering if I’d ever improve. And perhaps they were wondering if I really was doing my exercises. Oh yes I was. I have a habit of forgetting my habits — a brain injury thing I’ve discovered that the professionals don’t seem to recognize — so my exercises are scheduled into my calendar. Weights and yoga. Every week, except when I was sick and too weak and fatigued to do them or only a partial routine.
Then I learnt about laser therapy in 2013. I saw someone I hadn’t seen in years who had more mobility than the last time I’d seen him. How was that possible? Laser therapy. Hock your house, and get your mobility back.
Not only get your mobility back, but get some liberty back too. The big change for me is being able to walk again. In the last four months, I’ve been slowly increasing my walking pace, the distance I walk, and how many times I can walk per week. Brain biofeedback taught my brain how to walk so that I no longer had to think consciously about walking. Laser therapy made it possible for me to walk for exercise and stress reduction.
And so that brought visible improvements in physio, which my certified athletic therapist has been exclaiming over in the last few months and led to talk of discharging me in June. That didn’t happen because I had a bad flare up. This week, it did.
The doctor at the laser therapy clinic had suggested I swim in a warm pool for the sake of my quads, which might have myositis (muscle inflammation).
i mentioned this to my athletic therapist, who went through my range of motion in neck and shoulders to assess where I’m at now. He noted some continuing sticky areas that hopefully me and the laser therapy can continue to improve on. He said I may not ever be able to touch my toes again, and for now, I’m OK with that (the last time I could was right before the crash). And then we looked specifically at the front crawl motion, for I have right-sided problems moving my arm and rotating my shoulder. It seems to be the same brain problem that made me have to think about how to walk plus my shoulder is weak. I have to get used to the pool and swimming again — do the breast stroke for now, he advised — before I attempt the crawl. And practice the pattern on dry land to retrain the brain. And then start slowly, otherwise I could reinjure the shoulder.
At the end of my appointment, me and my therapist grinned at each other, disbelieving and excited that this day had come, shook hands, and I walked out to get a celebratory cinnamon thing and to sit in the sun and rest.
I’ll probably have to go back, maybe I’ll overdo something in my new-found freedom of movement or maybe the usual seasonal weather changes will kill me, but if I do, it’ll only be temporary. And that’s OK.
The best part of this discharge is I’ve gotten my walking back, I can start swimming again, and unlike previous physiotherapy discharges, I was ready to leave.