Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is the Shoulder Bone Connected to the Foot Bone?

Doug got to wondering about what the mechanism is that causes my shoulder/arm to work less well when I’m tired than the rest of the time. That got us to wondering about it and we don’t have any good answers. I do know that, during my occupational therapy yesterday, Sheila (OT) was working the shoulder blade and associated muscles, which at various times caused the tingle in my fingers, especially my little finger, to reappear. Other manipulations brought sharp head pain. And, the portion of my upper arm that aches when my arm is tired is connected somehow directly to the muscles around the shoulder blade on my back. Those seem to be the main culprits in not doing their job, and somehow everything else radiates from that. My shoulder is now taped again, by the way. Kearney consulted Dr. Google to learn that fatigue is a major symptom after just about any kind of brain trauma (this category includes brain surgery), which means that the brain has to work harder to process life going by as well as to heal itself. She points out how long it can take for even a badly scraped knee to heal—and that’s only skin.

Doug’s original question was why fatigue in the CPU--he’s a computer guy--would lead to soreness in muscles/limbs, and wondered if maybe there’s a connection to nerve signals in both directions between the CPU and the limbs being affected by hormones and if exhaustion affects hormones. (He was concerned about turning me into a computer after Kearney had just objected to me being turned into an object, but she didn’t object, so I’ve stayed with his metaphor.) Doug’s question was about the difference between the limb getting tired after doing a lot and it getting tired just because the brain gets tired. All good questions. Does anyone know the actual mechanisms?

On a related point, David visited this weekend on his way to taking his mother on an 80th birthday journey to her land of origin, and we got to talking about customer service. That reminded me to write a follow-up on the response (sort of) we got to our report about our medical adventure, including our counting exercise. We got a two-sentence letter thanking us and saying it had been passed along to relevant others in the organization. As David pointed out, it would have been nice for such a letter to include even the most passing reference suggesting that its content had been read and considered. This applies especially to the simplest suggestions, like double-sided name tags. Why is stuff like this so hard to perceive from the inside and so clear from the outside?

Today brings PT and strength training. Then, rest, as today is another teaching day (3-hour class, prep and aftermath) and that’s about all the energy there is for exertion these days. More later.

1 comment:

  1. You have to love those computer nerds. Brian and I were married for months before he finally gave up on trying to reboot me when I was "malfunctioning".