Monday, January 26, 2009

Nerve Glides

In addition to focusing on the pectoralis minor muscle that seems to be shirking its share of work to keep my right shoulder functioning, occupational therapy now includes ‘postoperative ulnar nerve glides.’ The underlying theory here is that the sheath of nerves coming out of my spinal cord at C4, 5, 6 and 7 may be affected and need stimulation. Doing nerve glides means moving my arm slowly in a prescribed series of motions, some of which cause tingling in the little fingers which can escalate or diminish depending on the location of my head and neck. The interconnections, both physical and interpersonal, of all this experience are fascinating.

On the human plane, over the weekend, several of you sent your thoughts on recent developments. One recurring theme it is fair to call “lighten up” and another falls under the heading of continuing support and caring. I even got reinforcement on my SuperShuttle choices. On that point, after considerable run-around, “corporate” decided on Friday to refund my money for both their trip and the replacement taxi. It turns out that texting while driving is illegal since January 1 in California, and they’ve verified that the van was missing seatbelts. Don’t worry, though, it’s “only” been in service that way for a few months, and they don’t usually fill all the way, so “not very many” people have been riding without access to seat belts, which are also legally required. Finally, they’re seriously considering changing the Nextel phones the dispatchers use to communicate with the drivers to a system that will be tied into the vans and won’t work unless the vans are in “park” so drivers aren’t tempted (despite their instructions) to communicate with the dispatchers while driving… I haven’t heard back from the safety people at the airport who license transportation there, and will look forward to what they have to say.

Amanda, a former student who has recently read through the entre blog, wrote with a recollection of an incident I’d forgotten that must be four or five years ago now, in the time period when the first tumor symptoms were beginning to creep into my life, though we didn’t understand that at the time. Amanda was taking a class of which I had to miss a session because I’d had such a severe pain in my shoulder that I’d been sent to the emergency room by the patient advisory nurse. In women, shoulder pain is a symptom of heart attacks and I was pretty cross at the time, as I was clear that I wasn’t having a heart attack. Of course, I wasn’t, and the whole thing was a waste of everyone’s time and resources, and meant that I’d missed a class, too. (My teaching partner covered it by himself so the students didn’t miss out, but I still felt bad about the whole thing.) In retrospect, though, it was a tumor marker that none of us caught.

Amanda made a number of other connections, too, including pointing out the symmetry in comfort food from my early Sunday morning breakfasts with my father of chocolate milk and toast with the edges cut off to the hot chocolate and English muffins we had before Kearney went back to Madison in September. These jump out--once a perceptive and thoughtful person sees and notes them!

Getting to know the people who pass through these professional education programs here has been one of the true joys of the recent years of my life; our whole family has been enriched by the wonderful people we’ve met this way. I'm lucky to have had the chance to meet so many fine people

Elizabeth took me to task for not allowing enough time to heal (I know, I know, and probably need to keep hearing this )and to commiserate, My aunt sent a wonderfully loving letter about our shared loss of my mother and to caution me about impatience—a family trait she demonstrates, too.

As has been the case since the very beginning of this adventure, the caring and support and advice that comes my way sustains and nudges me in positive ways. Thanks for being out there.

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