Friday, March 2nd, 2012

I pinched a tendon in my rotator cuff. Not on purpose. I didn’t even know I had a tendon caught in my rotator cuff. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t have kept pinching it in there. That hurts.

I found out about this when I visited a physical therapist yesterday morning and told him about my symptoms. Actually, I might have found out about it the week before when I was talking with Judy, one of my coworkers. She mentioned she was visiting a physical therapist for pain in her upper arm and described symptoms identical to the pain I was experiencing. “Well, you’ve probably got a rotator cuff injury,” she told me. And she turned out to be right, so I probably could’ve saved myself a couple bucks there. If she had shown me the exercises she was doing to fix it I could’ve saved myself a few trips to the clinic, too.

Anyway, after telling the physical therapist about my symptoms and letting him give me a good going-over, he explained that my injury was not at all unusual for people who have spent years at a desk, hunched over a keyboard, staring into a computer monitor. To repair the damage, I would have to exercise for months and months to rebuild my muscle tone. I tried to picture myself at the gym three times a week, pumping iron, and was having some trouble doing it, but it turned out that wasn’t what he had in mind.

First, he asked me to slouch. I thought that was an unusual request, coming from a physical therapist, but he’s a professional so I figured he knew the dangers associated with what he was asking me to do. I slouched.

“Good!” he said. Again, I thought praising me for slouching was a little odd, but again I kept it to myself because he went to school for years to learn how to do this and I didn’t.

“Now sit up straight, and then draw your shoulders back and look up at the ceiling,” he continued. I did what he told me and felt myself turn into a question mark.

“Hold that for a couple seconds, then slouch again.” And that’s all there was to that exercise. I do that ten times twice a day. It’s a foundational exercise.

So’s this one: Rocking my pelvis back and forth. Again, he praised me for my flexibility. I was under the impression that I’d sort of let myself go in the five years since I retired from the Air Force, where they made me work out three times a week, but it turned out that I was a lot better off that most of the people who needed physical therapy. “Do you ever get people who can’t do that?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. Lots.

And this is an exercise that’s apparently pretty tricky, too: Tucking my chin against my chest. It turns out my head juts forward. It shouldn’t do that, so I have to re-shape my spine with this exercise so I can tuck my head back where it’s supposed to be. This feels wrong, but he was impressed that I could do it without him having to tell me exactly what it was supposed to look like. “Have you ever done physical therapy before?”

Nope. First time. I’m just that good.

pinched | 6:15 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
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Monday, July 4th, 2011

I made my own, very personal July 4th fireworks yesterday when I slammed my finger in a window. I’ve never seen so many stars.

We were just about to sit down to dinner last night and I wanted to open a couple windows to let the evening breeze in. One of the windows opens with a crank, so the chances I could hurt myself on that one were almost nil, although I’m sure that, given enough time and an appropriate distraction, I could manage it. The other window is a bipass, the kind that has one pane that slides past the other like a patio door. In the summer we leave the bipass windows open a crack at night cool off the house, so like most people I lay a piece of lumber in the track to keep the axe murderer from getting in at night. Even though the axe murderer does his work with one of those huge double-edged lumberjack axes, he’s always considerate enough to look for an open window to climb through and, if he can’t find one, just goes away and makes a note to come back later.

I opened the window all the way in the usual manner, hooking the end of the piece of lumber with my pointer finger, but I was in kind of a hurry last night and yanked the window open at the same time. Up until now I’ve been coordinated enough to get the piece of wood out of the way of the sliding window, but last night my reserves of coordination must have completely run dry because I didn’t get the stick up far enough to avoid mashing my finger between the end of the stick and the window frame. Wowzers, that hurt.

Bled like a stuck pig, too. I didn’t just mash it, I cut the pad of my finger open, and the cut’s right across the part of the pad that presses down on the keys as I type. To judge from the number of times I wince as I type, I think the index finger is probably one of the most-used typing fingers. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

(Weirdly, I don’t have to use my injured finger to type the word “Ouch.”)

window | 9:20 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags:
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