Wednesday, September 22, 2021

An Advocate for Physical Therapy: updated

Experience can be our teacher although you wonder sometimes how some people seem to learn so little from experience. The experience I want to commend comes from a number of sessions with a physical therapist. 

I asked my doctor for a referral to the location where Niki is the physical therapist. Annie, my wife, had been helped by the exercise to overcome some pain. My doctor made the referral and I was soon on Niki's schedule.

I wanted her to address the issues I have as I age. Balance was a major issue. The first time I had a series of 8 sessions also included help with back pain from a couple herniated discs in my back. I first experienced the pain in 2009. We are talking about 11 years with this ordeal. I have tried various approaches. Surgery was not on my list. I hear too many people have surgery without all of the best results. I don't know if it would make a difference. At my age in the 80's it was not an option and now I am 90.  Surgery is even less of an option.

Now at 91 I have been back to see Niki. I needed physical therapy after cateract surgery on my eyes. There were a number of limitations during that four week period with rules, no driving, no gardening, no lifting over 5 pounds, etc. I lost physical strength. To regain my strength Niki gave me some exercises and she returned to work on balance. Physical strength and balance are related. Now I am finished the physical therapy, I had to wait to drive for that. I have returned to the fitness center and I am getting my strength back. Best of all I am back in the garden where production is heavy with a number of plants. Green beans and tomatoes are especially productive as well and egg plant and several variety of peppers. 

We have a new fertilizer in our five raised beds, worm castings. A town over, LeClaire, has a worm factory in a garage. I buy by the pound now for my other plantings. More about gardening and worm casting later. Gardening is also physical therapy.  To be continued

Continuing with this addition.

I turned 92 on June 1, 2022. I have a new schedule for exercise. We go to the Fitness Center twice a week, usually Monday and Thursday. My wife is using an exercise guide called Ten X. For my age I am using an amended version. I have six resistance machines that I use with 3 sets of 12 each with the last sets going for failure. Aging has caused me to lose muscle mass. I am attempting to keep what I have left.

We are putting protein supplements in our smoothies. I have forty plants of Italian Kale. We use Kale in the smoothies. And I am freezing gallon plastic bags for future smoothies. 

I purchased on sale an exercise bike from Costco. A great price. I can register my steps on my iPhone. With the recent addition of a smart watch this will be easier for capturing all my steps. Sometimes I forget to put the iPhone in my pocket.

Bladder cancer has entered the picture. At present I am apparently clear. On April 4 they removed an aggressive cancer tumor. It was the third one removed, none have penetrated the wall of the bladder. Good news. I will have a bladder scope in July to see what is next. I am cutting down on coffee as directed by the doctor. The result is better sleep at night with fewer times for getting up. Eight hours of sleep is my goal. That is achieved most nights. My dog is being cooperative. He likes to wake me up at 6 AM for petting. Previously I have gotten up. Where he gets his dog clock for knowing the important times of his day I haven't figured out. The new arrangement with Foxy. He lays down again after the first early morning petting and has another snooze so I can have a concluding snooze. More petting and we come down stairs for his trip outside before food and my first cup of coffee.

Gardening continues to be a big part of our exercise. The exercise provides a lot of turning with raised beds where we can sit on the side to work. Many of the plants have been started from seeds under a three tier grow light. I have six summer squash, three varieties, started from seed that should produce in a couple weeks. With four 8 x 20 foot raised beds we will have plenty to share. We have already shared a number of heads of baby Romaine lettuce. Fresh is best. 

I get behind on the balance exercises from time to time so I have to get back in practice. I do catch myself from time to time when sports skills seem to be intact, wrestling and hand ball. My reflexes for catching items before they fall on the floor are still in operation.

Along with the above I will add the Anglican practice of the Daily Office. The discipline is becoming more important for peace of mind, connecting with the Transcendent and larger community, past and present. For 25 years the Chaplains and the Befrienders started our day in the hospital Chapel with a shortened form of the Daily Office at 9 AM. In Chapter 15 of St Paul's letter to the Romans he sees Scripture as a companion: "A Called one alongside." I agree. Physical Therapy and Spiritual Therapy are a unity, One.

Continuing with this addition: 6/23/2022

I want to thank those who reply to this blog. This blog seems to catch the eye of physical therapist.

Last week I tripped on my left foot (neuropathy) and my right leg kept me up right but took on all my weight. I needed help walking to the car. With a cane I was able to get around later. There was improvement, then the pain came back below my hip, back to the crutches. With a referral from my primary physician this coming Monday I will begin physical therapy again. 

So much for the introduction. There is more to be experienced.  Phenomological would be the philosophy involved. 

Marlin Whitmer

Retired Hospital Chaplain. 







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