PT & Out in the Open to Think

Yesterday morning I had my first appointment with a physical therapist in a long time and this time it was at a location of my neurologist’s choice not a location based on convenience. We didn’t do much but assess my situation but even just from that I could tell that this physical therapist was good. He knew what he was talking about and wasn’t just reciting what he had memorized from the textbooks; he was applying his knowledge in a problem solving manor, the way physical therapy should be.
He wants to focus on my core strength/stability. He thinks that because the tiny little muscles in my core are not working the way they should be to stabilize myself as I walk that other larger muscles are trying to compensate and do a job (stabilizing) that they are not meant to do. Because they are constantly struggling to keep me stable and upright they are in a constant spastic state. The goal now is to retrain my brain to use my core muscles to stabilize me as I take a step rather then using larger muscles like my quadriceps. This is frustrating because it’s not a matter of lifting weights and strengthening but a matter of trying to get my brain to send a signal somewhere else when I take a step. Not easy but I think this makes perfect sense so let’s see how this goes. I am supposed to go in twice a week for 12 weeks I think?
Oh, I should mention, my goals are to improve my gate (which I think is putting pressure on my knees causing knee pain) and possibly reduce the effects of spasticity in my legs.

Now, a separate note. Obviously I have been going through a period of “being unable to think” these last few days and my mind has been full of unorganized thoughts driving me into a hopeless mental collapse. It was suffocating me. So yesterday, after I got back from physical therapy I decided I just had to get out, I had to breathe! My typical 1 mile (1.5 kilometer) walk around my neighborhood, through the dirt field, and through the park, was not going to do. I needed space. So I decided to try taking my dog for a drive to the edge of town where I used to walk and ride motorcycles as a teenager. I have never taken her in the car before but she did well once she was in there. She just sat there on the back seat and looked out the window as I cruised across town.

I have not been here in years, it was weird, to be somewhere I used to spend so much time in and to be somewhere that the last time I was there I was flying down a dirt path on my motorcycle. The terrain was much more rough than my typical path that I have got used to since my relapse back in 2012 and that was nice because it was something different. At this point I have pretty much memorized every rock and bump in the ground along the path around my house because I have been walking it almost everyday for a year now. I could probably make it all the way with my eyes closed! New hills, new paths, new brush, new everything as well as a much better sense of “isolation” because here I am at the edge of town and you can’t see anything but dirt and mountains for miles. I like feeling isolated from society, I can think, it’s brings about a feeling of transcendentalism, something I strived for when I used to camp or ride motorcycles out in the middle of the desert. Something I miss. The feeling of sitting on a motorcycle on top of a hill and being able to look hundreds of miles in every direction and see nothing. Peace. In the distance I can see the city and it seems so small and with it are all my problems that usually feel so overwhelming but now also feel so small.
Being out of my “norm” allowed me to look at myself and my issues from more of a “third-person” point of view. As I walked along a trail I had walked many times in my life before, I felt I could even assess myself much better physically making the problems of my body seem even more simple and solvable. I guess it’s just a matter of mental perspective; I felt better which made me feel more positive.
My dog liked this new walk as well. I let her off the leash so she could wonder around but she never explored too far away from me. She has always had a hyper active nose; she has to smell everything and because all this was new all she was doing was burring her nose in things to take in the history of her surrounding with a sense that we humans will never understand. It’s like she can see an entire world with her nose that is invisible to us. I have been depressed on and off as winter rolled in because this is when I can actually go outside but now I have no one to go anywhere with. All I have been able to do was walk the same circle that I have walked all year by myself. As lame as this may sound, it felt nice to get out even though I was just with my dog! Sure I still have to be extra careful because if I got hurt she can’t help me the way a person can, but I still felt more “secure” then if I was by myself. Even though I did not venture as far as I wanted to, I still would have never even thought of going for a walk here if I didn’t have her with me… It really makes no sense, I know, but now I am thinking “hey, I was certain before that I would not get to see Forrest Falls this year because I have no one to go with but I think I can actually take my dog up there to walk some trails”. Again, no crazy hike, nothing dangerous, but simple walks around the picnic areas would still be nice. I need this until I meet someone who can go with me on these outdoor trips. I can finally get around so much better than I ever thought I would be able to while I was in rehab so to just sit here in my room on the computer kills me, it’s like having a car but never driving it. I need to use my body now that I can again, otherwise, it’s just a waste.

2 Responses to PT & Out in the Open to Think

  1. Anonymous says:

    I used to take my dog with me everywhere. You can´t get a better friend! She too had a good nose, so I used to hide things for her to find. She loved it!
    I had her for 16 years – she´s gone now, and I miss her so much……..:(

  2. I don't think she could FOCUS enough to find something, she just goes crazy with the sniffing non-stop like it's the only way she cane breathe! But yeah, I went back again with her this morning, just got home, I wanted to try taking pictures. She was able to wonder around a bit while I worked on some shots. It was good. But I am sorry to hear, 16 years is such a long time!

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