Goodbye, Therapy

Therapy is over, at least for now. I’m so grateful to Grace for her excellent care of me these last two months, and the progress I made with her help. She challenged me to do more than I thought I could do (can we say stairs?) because she knew I could do it, but she also listened when there was something I wanted to do or had problems trying to accomplish a goal. It’s on me now to keep going because I do NOT want to lose ground, though my knee problem is limiting me somewhat.

I do know I’ve lost some upper body strength in spite of using my arms to wheel the chair around everywhere. I have Therabands and small arm weights, and instructions from Susan on how to use them – I just need to actually use them instead of admiring them and leaving them untouched. So I’m going to rearrange things to get those weights closer to where I mostly sit here in my living room. If all I have to do is reach down to get them, I can do those arm exercises several times a day. Let’s start with once.

I’ve also gained weight. This isn’t terribly surprising since I’m not moving all that much and eating all the time – and because the food here is amazing and plentiful. I’m up about 17 pounds and I can tell by the way my body feels and the way my clothes are fitting. I’m not ready to make a commitment to working on weight loss again, but the first step is acknowledging the issue. I worked so hard to lose my weight on Noom and with MyFitnessPal, and I don’t want to go back to where I was.

On my last day of therapy, we went down to my old rehab pod area to use the giant scale. You can roll on with a wheelchair, or get up and stand using a walker, which is what I did. Then we weighed the walker so I could deduct it from the total to give me a realistic number. Which is important, because I have two doctor’s appointments before the end of the year, and they will both want me to get on a scale because doctors ALWAYS want you to get on a scale. But because I know the offices and know the scales, I know there’s nothing to hold on to and the step up is higher than what I’ve done in the last four months. I just don’t feel safe getting up on it, and my therapist concurred. So we arranged to get my weight another way and I’ll pass it along when I get to the doctor.

I’m learning that before I go somewhere, I need to make sure that the space is wheelchair accessible. And I need to be sure I don’t drink much of anything before I go in case their bathrooms are not workable. Even ADA compliant bathrooms may not have much room to maneuver. I also need to schedule my transportation; no more hopping into a car and just going when I want to go somewhere. I haven’t done a car transfer yet and am not sure really how to manage it coming from the wheelchair – from a walker, I could turn around and back in, but from the chair? Lifting my knees up is also a serious limit.

My legs still aren’t very strong. Honestly, who knew how much strength it takes to just stand up and walk around? I need to continue working on the leg muscles, and my therapist confirmed that using the NuStep would definitely help. The machine here is still broken so I’ve found a place to order one for my own apartment, and they’ll deliver and set up completely for an extra fee (of course). I need help rearranging some things in the room where it will go, and think I’ll wait for my brother’s Christmas visit for that. If I decide to sell it later, the same company will buy it back and refurbish it for someone else. But I know that having it right here, and an aide who can help me get on and off safely, will mean I’ll get the workout I need.

Because I want to be able to not use the chair so much. I have this lovely shiny red rollator that I want to be able to use – but I’m not ready yet. Grace explained that my legs aren’t strong enough and I’m putting more weight through my arms on the walker. That doesn’t translate to the rollator, which expects you to have stronger legs and be able to walk faster than I can. So for now, I’m still mostly in the wheelchair but walking in the hall every day with the AFO on the right foot to prevent foot drop. But I’ll get there and have my fancy rollator for when I’m strong enough to use it.

But I made cookies this week with my aide. That involved endurance standing, moving around the counters without falling down, and opening the oven and bending to move cookie sheets without falling or burning myself. Making cookies is part of Christmas for me, and it was important to be able to do this – not to eat myself, but to give away. I felt like a normal person and got a great sense of accomplishment as well as the fun of baking with someone else. The cats didn’t help.

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