Physical Therapy, Like Success, PAYS OFF (Update)
Back on March 19, I wrote a blog here comparing physical therapy to the road of success. It takes time to rehab the injured area on the body to restore it to normal functionality. Not unlike when you come up with an idea, then a plan or strategy on how to achieve success - whatever it might be.
Well, it's been exactly two months from the day I wrote about that and I would love to share the progress I've made since then due to consistent measures in place: attending my weekly PT sessions around my work schedule, carving out time to do the necessary PT home exercises for Bertha (the injured rotator cuff in my right shoulder who wanted nothing but to be left alone and be lazy) and what I added along the way to enhance the results I wanted.
Was it easy? OH, Hell NO!
But I was DETERMINED TO CREATE THE OUTCOME I WANTED. Key word: DETERMINED. Key Phrase: CREATE THE OUTCOME. If you really think about it, it is relatively easy to put these practical principles in place for better health, better finances, better success, BETTER ANYTHING!
Come up with a workable schedule.
In other words, create something that you are WILLING (another keyword) to work in your normal, every day duties. If you want to improve in an area, it has to be added to your daily schedule that is routine. Why? Because changes are only made when you do something different from what you were doing before-hand.
If you want to learn how to make an omelet, are you gonna just put the pan on high, throw in oil and butter and then drop the eggs in? Of course not - unless you prefer just fried eggs. There is a method to creating a beautiful omelet but it takes time to learn and create a desirable outcome.
The same thing with getting Bertha to do what I wanted her to do regardless of her laziness and bitchy attitude about physical therapy. She hated Andrew and Natalia (my two physical therapists who are awesome in their different methods of showing me what exercises would improve the internal and external rotation, strengthening targeted upper back muscles, triceps and even the wrist and hand flexibility.
There were over 100 exercises I could do to warm-up, tone, strengthen, flex and cool down. The beauty of it is that Bertha had no idea what I would throw at her because I had variety in my workable schedule. Variety is the spice of life and it keeps you focused and never bored.
My PT schedule worked around my job schedule during the week. Initially, it was twice a week remote in and three times a week commute to work. Until last month, I was doing that until my orthopedic surgeon gave me the recent green light to reduce it to once a week physical therapy and commute four times a week with no restrictions other than no lifting above 20# (at least for now).
Follow the Three "C's".
Be committed. Be consistent. Be coachable. Very simple but not always easy to do because human nature is inherently lazy. We will try to justify why we cannot follow through on things we claim to be committed to doing. Sound familiar? Raise your hand and nod your head if you agree with me.
Well, I'm right there with you because I had to battle that with Bertha all the time. We want change and we desire to improve - what we don't like is taking action when it goes against what is pleasurable and requires additional effort. Okay, actually ANY effort.
10 days after my surgery last November, I saw the PT director and she explained what will be required of me to ensure success in improving the shoulder. She told me that 80% of it would me being committed to do my part. 90% of me being consistent because she realized there will be days it might be too much for the shoulder/arm and it would need extra rest in between. Lastly, it was 100% of my willing to be coachable.
Like I said, there is a method of "madness" to achieving the desirable outcome you want in whatever area you hope to succeed in. it does take sacrifice. It does take time. It does take patience. But commitment to it starts with a decision, doesn't it? The first step before you can take action is to make a decision. Am I wiling to do 80% 90% 100%?
My desire to get Bertha back to as close to 100% functionality was greater a desire than my biggest discomfort, pain or limitation during post-op surgery. Though I could sleep all day, I often lacked sleep because of the pain, or achiness or any movement that might disturb Bertha's tranquil repose - and she let me know it many times even while lounging in the recliner.
So I was committed, despite being uncomfortable and inconvenienced and restricted. Hate all those words but that was part of the recovery. I was consistent in making sure I got to all my PT appointments and my husband was a great trooper in getting me there thru rain and cold during the winter months of my medical leave.
And despite all of Bertha's efforts to persuade me otherwise, I took control of my body and ignored Bertha and listened and observed how the PTs wanted me to exercise the shoulder. And it wasn't just Bertha that needed to re-learn how to be flexible. My arm, my wrist and especially my fingers struggled immensely during those first 8-10 weeks.
But I was committed to being consistent no matter what. I was willing to be coachable and if I did a movement incorrectly, my PT would simply adjust my stance, explain why the exercise was important, how many repetitive moves I had to do and that it also needed to be done at home at least 2-3x/day.
I decided I would do it twice/day in between my appointments. Once in the a.m. for 30 minutes and once in the p.m. for 30 minutes. By following the three "C's", I got my shoulder to do what I wanted it to do upon command and it felt so great as time wore on that I saw the progress every week improve little by little. Bertha got stronger, more flexible and was able to meet the "normal standards" set by the PTs and my orthopedic doctor.
Still: Know Your Limitations and Simply Adjust.
My biggest hurdle right now is that I am still unable to reach behind my back. That will take time and I accepted that it is possible I may never reach the flexibility my left shoulder has but I can live with that. For now, I still do as many stretches as I can to master that internal and external rotation.
In fact, I just told my PT on Friday afternoon that I feel I am at 92.4% recovery - the other 7.6% is mastering that back side reach as close to 100% as possible.
It is okay to realize that there will be limitations and adjustments on the road to success. It doesn't make it any less important in what you are achieving. Perception determines what can be measured and managed. Manifestation is created from the very beginning you make a decision.
When I returned to work back in January, I was restricted to just desk duties and no lifting of anything more than one pound. But I knew I could not just do shoulder exercises. I had to move the rest of my body so it could get back into the swing of things.
So I added walking during my breaks and during my lunch around the huge hospital campus I work at in Salem. Then I also added walking around my neighborhood on weekends. Often, my husband would join me so I had to walk faster (he is the tall, elegant Estonian Viking...I am the short, petite happy Hawaiian) so I had to keep up 1.5 steps to his stride.
When took an online course about goal-setting a month ago, I created a health accountability jar (it's also a blog I posted to my website at lifeafter50plus.com). I am proud to say I have not added one twenty-dollar bill to that jar since April 6th. It was incentive for me to walk at least 10,000 steps a day and I have continued to do so which resulted in a 10-pound weight loss so far. Amazing - because to me, that's a perk I didn't even think about!
Bertha and I continue our road to progress and possibility of achieving 100% functionality - for now, I am enjoying a healthier lifestyle, I can reach for things that I could not 3-4 months ago, I can drive normally without any winces of pain or muscle aches, and I can carry a load of up to 20# - almost as much as a Hinode brand bag of rice!
So the next time you find yourself having to go through physical therapy or any type of recovery for illness or injury, consider how important is it to you for your health to be your wealth.
After all, do you not know that your presence here was meant to make a difference not only in your own life, but the lives of others? Think about it.