Listening to Your Body

Sep 20, 2021

Physical therapy started at 9:00 a.m., and I knew I wasn’t feeling right. With help, I got dressed, got my shoes on, and put on my back brace. My physical therapist helped me transfer to my wheelchair.

There are two physical therapists working with me. While I’m transferring, the pain gets harder. I have a mask on, so the therapists can’t see how much I’m struggling.

We go down to the gym and find a blue mat to transfer to. As I transfer, the pain increases. I’m cringing from the pain, but try to remain as focused as I can.

One of the therapists is doing an assessment on me where he asks me to follow his directions and complete the tasks he is asking. For example, try and lift your leg as if you were marching. The pain continues to increase, and I’m doing everything I can to keep it together.

The therapists look at me and knows something isn’t right. Tears are rolling down my face as the pain in my back becomes too much. He asks me if I’m in pain, and I nod my head yes as I continue to cry; I’m struggling to talk.

My other physical therapist comes near and asks if I want to transfer back to my chair. I nod my head yes. The pain is becoming unbearable.

My other therapist pushes my wheelchair back up to my room. I continue to silently cry. My other therapist checks with my nurse to see if I’m due for any pain meds; she says no. I had taken everything before physical therapy.

My physical therapist contacted my doctor, saying I needed to be seen ASAP. Within ten minutes both of my doctors were in my room, talking with me. They felt it was best to reach out to my pain doctor and surgeon to discuss what to do about pain management. In the meantime, they told me to rest and that they were going to advocate for me.

My occupational therapist stopped by and talked with me. As we were chatting, I broke down crying from the pain. I was frustrated with myself that I couldn’t get through the therapy session. She grabbed a tissue box and handed them to me. She reminded me that I needed to rest and that my team knows I am working as hard as I can. I was really appreciative of her listening and being so supportive.

As I look out on the water, my mind is at ease. Watching the boats go by allows me to think a bit more clearly.

This recovery has been challenging, physically, mentally, and emotionally. At times I’m frustrated with everything that is occurring, adapting to my new body. It feels overwhelming. I have to take a step back and remind myself it’s okay to feel like this.

They say slow and steady wins the race, which is easier said than done. We all want immediate results, but everything takes time.

It’s important to remember to be patient and take your time. Don’t rush yourself, or give yourself an unrealistic time frame; otherwise, you will cause yourself unnecessary stress.

It’s essential to listen to your body. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it means you’re putting yourself first and taking care of you.

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