Saturday, July 19, 2008

No traction is good traction

On Thursday, I finally went to PT. I took my Pronex cervical air traction unit with me. I had tried to use this twice at home and always found it to hurt a lot, so I stopped trying.

The PT guy, Rich, is really nice and willing to try to work with me. He asked if I'd like to try the traction unit there so he could see if I'm using it correctly. I said yes. I laid on the table and he put the device on top of two pillows (I know that my anatomy now is such that my neck is very short and it leans forward. One friend told me my neck reminds her of a turtle's) to accomodate my anatomy.

It really felt good. In fact, it felt euphoric, but I know that is from something making me feel very stable, something I live without. I pumped it two pumps on the little rubber bulb and then let it off and did that a few times. Very low key, low impact.

Since then, all kinds of symptoms have amped up. I just can't be messing with my neck. The problems with swallowing have increased and the burning tingling on the back of my head/scalp is back. I have a lot more pain back there, too and a lot less strength (not that I had much to start with!). My thinking comes with difficulty and I have trouble writing (handwriting). This morning, I had something new, my left eyelid spasmed more strongly than ever before, for about an hour, and when I looked in the mirror, my left eyelid drooped and my right one did not.

I am thinking to tell Rich that I'd like to just forego the inversion table, even after all the work my work comp insurance went to to get it authorized. I just don't think I can be messing around with the positioning of my head and neck, and then with anything, it goes right back to the wrong position when I'm done and that just causes even more nerve compression.

I am so dubious about getting the fusion surgery, even if it's available to me (meaning, if my bones are good enough to hold the screws). I just don't know anyone who's had it long term and don't know how they are doing. The one person I do know has had to have a revision.

Yet, when I first put on the Johnson CTO and feel that security, especially from the forehead strap, I have to think that a permanent fusion with rods up the back of my head would give me that secure and euphoric feeling too. My problem, as ever, is that there is no one I know of who is like me, who has had these same injuries, whom I can relate to. Even TCI docs can't tell me they've done this fusion on others like me and tell me the results. I don't like being "special."

I hadn't been wearing my CTO vest for about 3 weeks. I was just sick of the looks from everyone and the constant questions of "what happened to YOU?" I didn't want my son to see me in the contraption and I didn't want my future daughter in law to worry about me. In a word, I wanted to be "normal" or at least, to look normal. I don't know what it is about the CTO that causes people to ask so freely about why I'm wearing it. I doubt anyone does that continually to someone in a wheelchair.

But, I've started wearing it again and do feel it's added stability.

I love my garden. I just can't work in it like I did last year. I can't mulch or pull many weeds, but I love the fact that it is there and I can go outside, in the fresh air and have something to "do." I can drag a hose over and water things and I can deadhead. I can't pull many weeds and I can't cut back things that are "past" but I try not to think about those things.

Since the little bit of traction, sitting at the computer for any length of time is cause for added pain and also this burning in the back of the head. I guess I'll close. Thanks for checking in!

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