Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Chronic Pain

So I've got this bad shoulder. I can remember clearly the exact moment it appeared too. I was walking home one March evening from dinner with a friend. There wasn't any pain, it was just this tired feeling that went right up my left arm. In the 5 years that have followed, I have seen 4 physios and 1 occupational therapist. All have pretty much given up. The verdict? I'll probably have to live with this from now on.

But I've been thinking. I spent a long, long amount of time with the occupational therapist going over changes in my chair. We changed the back from a soft foldable back to a hard one. They changed the canes on the back of my chair to angled ones because it was felt that part of the problem, aside from outright overuse of my arms in general, was that my arm hit the cane as I was reaching back to grab the wheel and stopped my arm from going back in the direction it should naturally go in. The interesting thing was, in this whole process, I have found it incredibly difficult to identify and verbalize exactly where and when the pain comes and if it gets better or worse over time. I think my O.T. was incredibly frustrated with me. I'd try a back and it felt fine for a while, and then just when I thought it was good, after about 10 days it started to hurt. Excruciatingly.

So we finally settled on this hard J-something back and I can't say unequivocally that it is better than my old back. Sure, I do notice some difference, like more support to my lower back. But I still have the shoulder and arm pain. I'm actually home from work today as a result of it. Although it may have been aggravated by lifting my Macbook repeatedly in the past 2 weeks with my bad arm only. I've stopped doing that to see if it makes a difference. One thing I do notice is that my height was a problem. I'm really short and I wasn't hitting the right parts of the back, even when it was installed as low as possible on the chair. It wasn't custom made for this particular chair. To add height and stability, my O.T. added a wooden board under my ROHO cushion. Even with a medium profile ROHO, I still get pressure sores on my coccyx with the board.

It's been a really frustrating few years. And I can't help but think the inevitable outcome will be an electric chair soon. I'd like to try these swanky Motion wheels that have batteries in them and give you more push for your push. I tried them out and they were awesome! The problem? $6,500!!! Did I mention I don't have insurance?

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