No, this is not a post about how good it is to be driving down another American highway traveling to exotic locations while clearing the mind of life’s pressures. As much as I wish that was the case, this is about different therapy, doing rehab exercises to help my injured shoulder to heal.
After a visit this week to the Veterans Hospital Occupational Therapy department, I was given some equipment to use to hopefully mitigate the damage in my right shoulder. I injured it many years ago. Long story. Let me ‘splain.
My goal at the time was to become a special agent in the Coast Guard. I had a lot of hoops to jump through and it took me six years to get them done, for example I had to advance to a certain pay grade and to do that I needed an underway tour of sea duty. Then I was able to get a shore side tour where I was able to complete my college degree at night.
Finally after some interviews, in 1992, I was selected to go to ten weeks of training for the basic investigator course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, GA.
During the training, at the eight week mark, I injured my shoulder lifting weights. I went to the trainer who gave me some Motrin and was sent back to class. Fortunately for me, it was a Friday.
Saturday morning, I awoke in extreme pain, I couldn’t even move my arm and I knew I needed medial help. I hopped in my car and drove about 30 miles to the nearby Naval Hospital. Fun ride. My car was a stick shift and I had to shift with my left hand.
I was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, given a bunch of meds and a sling. This was were it got interesting.
I showed up at FLETC Monday morning for class. The class advisor took one look at me and told me either I could take off that sling as injured students were not allowed to train, or I could drop out of class and go home. After working six years to get into FLETC, if I dropped out, there was no guarantee I’d ever be able to get back in to another class at a later date.
I wasn’t going to let my goal evaporate.
I took off the sling and stayed, I tried as best I could to immobilize my arm by keeping my hand in my pocket. I went through the last two weeks in pain, doing all kinds of things, wrestling, handcuffing, shooting shotguns and so forth, but I made it through and graduated. I spent the next 20 years as a special agent in the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
Little did I know that I really messed up my shoulder. Seeking treatment after the initial injury didn’t help much and physical therapy wasn’t as advanced as it is today. Over time, the shoulder pain lessened and wasn’t a big issue.
Now that I’m retired, the shoulder began to really act up. I don’t know if some of it is age related, but the VA doctor believes I have some scar tissue in the joint. I now am on a round of rehab to see if that can improve it. That’s where the fun has begun.
I’ve been given a couple of pieces of equipment to use to do motion exercises. They are designed for a house, not an RV. The exercises all require a door, a normal door. In the Journey, we have two pocket doors and one bathroom door that is made out of very light pressed wood, not something to hang on.
Marti and I put our heads together and came up with an idea to hang one of the devices on, an overhead cabinet by the driver’s seat. With the seat turned, I can do some of the exercises as required. It is a simple pulley with a rope and two toggles to move my arm up and down in a variety of directions.
The other device, a couple of elastic bands had to go in the bathroom door.
It had a little ball end to lodge in the door and you pull against it.
I didn’t get it in right on one exercise round and it pulled the door trim loose. Oops, another project to fix.
Lastly, I was given a shoulder ice pack thingy to ice down my shoulder after exercise. It’s big, it feels good after all the exercises, but it is a battle to find space for it in the RV freezer. Yep, some of those hoarded Twinkies in the freezer will have to go. ;c)
I have to do these exercises for the rest of the month, three times daily and then return to the VA for evaluation. Hopefully it works and I don’t break anything else while doing them.
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