05 May 2008

session #1 + more observations

MONDAY, MAY 05, 2008 09:21 PM, EDT
First therapy session! Ok, first was "where do we go", followed by outpatient registration, but then therapy. The session took place 9am-12pm. I kicked it off by getting off the elevator and promptly hearing, "John Link!" I turned to see Brian, the Program Supervisor with whom I had been trading e-mails to organize all of this post-surgery stuff. Awesome! We schmoozed for a minute before hunting down my therapist club. Bonus points for such a suprising welcome.

Time to start the festivities. First, we spent a solid 1-1.5h rolling around on the mat to evaluate my abilities, limitations, etc. It was fascinating to me to see what had changed since the surgery in Portugal, and what I wasn't even aware of in the first place!

Note: some of this might be disheartening on the surface; recall that surgery was 24 days before this evaluation, and afterwards it takes a while for the body to catch up again.

--Arm and leg touch sensation are strange and patchy. I have already mentioned this, but now I have a more complete objective analysis. Pre-surgery, I had fairly thorough light touch sensation all over, and it was consistent everywhere below injury. That is, I felt soft things not quite as well as a typical non-injured human, but nothing was numb and I could identify location accurately head to toe. Now there are a few places on my forearms and upper and lower legs where I can't feel soft touch or identify location correctly. Also, my right forearm and the ulnar half of that hand are a little numb all the time, and touch sensation there is weak. Oddly enough, sensation in my feet is as good as before. Huh??

--I have shoulder subluxation. So, the joints shift slightly out of place when I try to move an arm from one end of its range of motion to the other. Minor bummer.

--Some parts of my right arm and shoulder are stronger/more developed than the corresponding parts on the left side! I'm left-handed, and I had assumed the left side (esquerda!) would naturally function better than the right (direita!). False! Most notably, I think my right bicep is stronger than my left.

--Apparently I have slight control of the glutes and some hip muscles. Mind, nothing functional - I can voluntarily cause muscle stimulation, i.e. "fire the tendons", but I can't move anything. Smiles nonetheless. I can't even guarantee when I started to have this ability, since it has never really been tested on me before.

After the eval, there was some time left to pedal on the RTI (FES, ERGYS, electrical stimulation) bicycle and talk about Tigers baseball.

First session done!

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