I’m a people-person and I enjoy talking with the therapists and assistants, so physical therapy has actually been fun. The young professionals in there were born in the early 1990’s. Let that sink in for a moment. While I was working my first job as a holiday helper during the seasonal rush at a local retailer, then graduating high school and later entering my freshman year of college, they were in diapers or toddling around the living room. That fact alone is almost inconceivable! God bless them.
I’ve counted on my fingers, squinted my eyes, recounted…and yes, I’m getting older.
With aging has come this rehab journey, and I stumble to truly embody this code:
WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE ALL THERE.
As with the birthing pains of labor, embrace the pain. Embrace and OWN every stinking painful moment because in them–not in the absence of them–is a gift called the present. I am tempted to wish away the struggle, but here in the pain & fear (can you say…waiting for MRI results) is where I find my need for God Himself amplified to the maximum degree. I’ve been spending lots more time in my bible lately.
Consider the evidence of exhibit A. Scar tissue begins to form in the inflammation spots of this painful condition, from which it can take a year to completely heal. I am thankful that I have these young trolls (lovely little pain inflictors) to do the following:
- A. Put my feet in a pulverized-corncob heated machine for 15 minutes.
- B. Ultrasound with gel on both feet, 5 minutes each side.
- C. Dig full pressure (massage?) the painful spots on each foot, thereby breaking up scar tissue.
- D. Apply patches of anti-inflammatory medication to the soles of my feet…
- E. Hook said patches up to battery powered electrical shocker…buzz
- F. Connect to grounding patches on my calves.
- G. Finish with a layer of ice cubes on soles of feet and wrap with velcro straps
SO I CANNOT ESCAPE!
Here’s the thing: After the first two PT sessions of this (in addition to stretches and stationary biking), I was completely puffy & swollen and so entirely fatigued that I *forced* myself through the next 24 hours on both occasions. And if I didn’t have my little baby girl to keep me moving after my other offspring were loaded on the school bus, then I would definitely have collapsed. Of course that collapsing couldn’t happen.
I brought this swelling and fatigue issue up to my physical therapist. He said the machine that gives the electrical current to the bottom of the foot, well it breaks up inflammation and distributes it up the calf and into the filtering system of the body, a.k.a. the lymph. With my autoimmune condition the inflammation is hindered/clogged in that filtration process, so it creates MORE systemic inflammation = more swelling and fatigue.
After that he suggested we skip the electrical patches portion of the regimen.
Since then, viola, no problem! I don’t wish for a 24-hour crash and burn afterwards (one that I can never get anyway). Recovery can now go as expected with the normal pain level of “getting worse before it gets better” after each session. I’m thankful I brought this to his attention or I may have turned into a sleepy Goodyear blimp.
Staying present, to me, is giving gratitude to God and finding something to be thankful for in the middle of the mess and pain of life. I’m imperfectly practicing this.
What does “Wherever you are, be all there” mean to you?
In what situation do you have to just…be?