Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh My Aching Back

Wow, there was a really great thunderstorm at Princeton this afternoon!! All darkness and rumbling and tons and tons of rain!! If I had my camera with me, I would have taken pictures.

{pretend there's a picture of a really neat half light/half dark sky here}

I had my 8th appointment with the physical therapist tonight. It got off to a rocky start since they thought my appt was at 3:20 today but I thought it was at 6:20--I work til 4:30 every day, all my other appts were 7:20 or 6:20, so I wouldn't have made a 3:20pm appt. Plus when they left the very schoolteacher-esque "you didn't come to your appt and we don't know where you are" repremanding voicemail, they referred to me as "he" as in "he will have to reschedule his appt". Jeesh. According to the documents I signed during my initial visit, they will record such behavior in my chart and charge me if it happens again!

Tonight was the night to decide if I continue with therapy or not (there was no question in my mind what the answer was). Janet (my therapist) asked how I'm feeling.

The good news is my pain level now is a 3-4 instead of a 5-6 like when I started (that's on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (get me to the hospital)). I have more flexibility compared to when I started. And she confirmed that my pelvic bone is indeed back in alignment now.

The bad news is the fact that I still feel pain, and it alternates from left side to right side. If I feel pain in the right side, I don't feel it in the left side. If I feel pain in the left side, I don't feel it in the right side. If I feel pain in the right side, it's in the lower back. If I feel pain on the left side, it's in the lower back and half way down my thigh. I'm in pain all the time, and have been since January 15. So that's more than 3 months of continual pain.

She asked how much I've improved since starting therapy, on a scale from 0% (this isn't helping at all) to 100% (I'm back to my normal activities). I said I'm at about 50%. She said she doesn't like to discharge patients until it's back to 85%.

Janet said I should have made more progress by now--and asked if I'm doing my exercises at home? Why yes I am (and Pete can vouch for the fact that I did my exercises at his house). She said she usually has a really good handle on what is going on with her patients by this point, and right now she really can't figure me out. She did spend some time pinpointing exactly where the issue is with my right side (around L4) and pushing on that spot (not on the vertabrae) in various ways for a while. I asked her what it feels like to her. She said it feels like it's immobile. To demonstrate what it should feel like (that it should "give way" to her presses), she then pushed in the same way on an area of my middle back that is fine. To me it felt like my back was jelly there, and it actually pushed the air out of my lungs in a little gasp. It's supposed to feel soft like that.

Then it was time to talk about the report she would write for the doctor. We talked about x-rays and an MRI. At first she said she would leave it up to the doctor as to if I should have an x-ray (to look for a possible hairline fracture) or MRI (for disc issues). I said that I want to have both, so that we all know what is going on. She said she will include that in the report, and I can also tell the doctor that as well. She said the doctor may send me to an orthopedic surgeon. She also said that setting up appts and waiting for test results can take some time. I said I don't want to stop therapy while waiting for those things, so can she recommend that I continue therapy since I'm seeing some improvement while we wait for tests to be taken and results to come back. She said yes, she will include that in the report.

She said she will write a report tomorrow morning and fax it to the doctor's office during the day. So I can stop by the doctor's office this weekend and hopefully get my script for more therapy and whatever else lies ahead. She scheduled the next 4 appointments for me (and printed them all out) so as long as the doc writes the script, I can continue with therapy for at least 2 more weeks without interruption.

On Tuesday I met with Janet's boss Marc, who is the owner of the therapy place. He treated me that day (to therapy, not to ice cream) and said he thinks I have a disc issue. He also thought my pelvic bone was completely back in alignment, but he tested that in a way that is different than how Janet tests it. He thinks I will be pain free someday.

I'm giving up my gym classes for the next month and will see if that helps. I'll walk around my neighborhood instead when it's sunny and can walk on the treadmill at the gym when it is raining.

Oh, and I really hope I don't get the stomach virus that Janet's mother and mother-in-law both have. Please no. Please?!

Wishing you good health!!!


  1. Pain-free someday sounds good to me! And without surgery, no less. I wondered if you were so quiet b/c you are settling back into life in NJ. :)

  2. Yes I watched you do those exercises every day, twice a day, for a week! So you were definitely following the programme (much better than I would too).
    Hope you see some improvement by laying off the gym. Fingers crossed for pain-free real soon now!

  3. I'm writing you an e-mail soon but I want to tell you I'm sorry that you are still going through so much and in pain!


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