Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm in Therapy...

...and Thumper is just not happy about it. My broken finger is healing well, but when the orthopedic specialist held it and asked me to wiggle the tip and I couldn't generate so much as a twitch, she said, "You need to be in physical therapy. Now. Tomorrow."

I was unconvinced about the wisdom of beginning a plan of treatment that involved somebody forcibly bending my finger when the bone is still in pieces, but now that I've been to two PT sessions, I understand that the injury itself wasn't the biggest hurdle on my way to recovery; instead it's the tendons and ligaments that have tightened up during the three weeks that my fourth and fifth fingers were immobilized in a splint. Maybe y'all already knew this, but it's stunning to me. Three weeks without moving it, and it's as if it were an intricately detailed wooden carving of a finger.

I strain to bend it until the muscles in my forearm ache and the rest of my fingers are trembling from the effort, and nothing happens. I stare at it and try to bend it with my mind like a spoon in a magic trick, and it just sits there. I try to type because my physical therapist says that's an excellent exercise for it, and it hovers above the keyboard. If so short a period of immobility has turned my tendons into stone, how is it possible that anyone who has been bed-ridden for any length of time ever manages to get up and walk again?

I took Thumper with me on Monday morning, and he colored in his coloring book and chatted with several therapists and patients as they went through their exercises. To keep him from getting scared or upset, I tried hard not to show pain on my face or in my voice as my therapist forced my finger to bend. As she was working on my hand, I asked her about toe walking, something Thumper does when he's barefoot around the house. Our pediatrician has been concerned for as long as Thumper's been walking, but I've ignored his concerns because it was something he mostly did when he was nervous, like during doctor visits. Recently, it's seemed like he might be doing it more, so I brought it up with my physical therapist. She called over another therapist who works with children more, and he had a couple of suggestions, including putting swim fins on him at home to force him to heel strike when he walks. The more we talked about it, the darker the cloud over Thumper's head became and the less he had to say. Finally I asked him if he was mad, and he said, "Yes, because I don't want physical therapy!" None of what we talked about involved him getting PT, but he made the leap in his mind and decided getting PT was definitely a bad thing, even though I wasn't writhing in pain, nor was anyone else in the office that day.

So when I told him last night that we would be going to physical therapy again today (our second PT appointment), he said, "Are you going a million times? I'm going to do something fun with Mama when you go."

At 3 times per week, it's going to be a long four weeks...

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