What The Heck Does That Mean?
My PT has been saying this to me at every lesson since the very beginning. A large part of my rehab is gaining more tolerance so I can do normal things again. Basic things, like walking without the walker. Or walking with my eyes open.
It is amazing how you take for granted all these things that a healthy and normal brain does all by its self! It’s amazing really all the things our brains can do without us even thinking about it. When we get hurt and our brains stop doing these things automatically, we realize how lucky we were for so long!
PT has been a long journey for me and I’m still on it. I’m lucky that the physical therapist I have specializes in concussion recovery. He understands what it has been like for me going through my recovery. Most importantly he knows that the only way to keep improving is to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
Things Can Never Stay Easier For Long
The exercises that I have been doing for the last few months have started to get routine to me. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they were easy. That would be a stretch. My tolerance level for these activities has gone up now. That is a good thing of course.
What’s the bad part? The bad part is that if you never take your shoes off at the beach you will never be able to walk on the hot sand. Still confused as to what that means? It is okay, I was too at first! It means that when I get comfortable with a certain level of exercises, it is time to push and do harder things.
Eyes Opened Instead Of Closed Is A Whole Different Ball Game
Things that are as simple as doing my standing exercises at the bar with my eyes open instead of closed. My eyes have been a huge hinderance throughout this whole ordeal. I had gotten to the point where I could hold the bar(with my eyes closed) and do marching, rocking back from heel to toe and stepping from side to side.
I would do those bar exercises with my eyes closed. In between each exercise, I would sit and do a resistance band exercise. Things like kick out, marching and open and closing my thighs.
Over the last few months or so I got to the point where I could do this without too much dizziness or nausea. Sometimes with none at all. My headaches would still get fired up. Everything bothers my headaches. It has been so long now that I’m starting to be able to suck it up most of the time as far as that goes.
Time To Take Off My Shoes Again
My last two PT lessons had me “taking off my shoes on the hot sand again”. In other words, pushing myself past what is comfortable. To gain tolerance and train my brain and body that it can still do all these things.
We have added a balance exercise that has me sitting criss-cross apple sauce ( or Indian style if you aren’t easily offended), with my hands over my head. I have to keep my eyes open and bring my body as far forward and back, left and right as I can. It is a way to train my body to balance and that I can correct myself if I start to lose balance in any directions. It is practice for getting my brain to get my muscles firing properly again.
Doesn’t sound bad? For me, it is enough to make me go from feeling pretty okay to having my head pounding and the room spinning. I have to keep telling myself that just a few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to do it at all! Let alone with my eyes closed.
One Good Thing- Staring At The “Haystack Yellow” Paint
Doing my bar exercises with my eyes open I have the same problems. I was told today that the color paint on the wall I was staring at was Sherwin Williams “Haystack Yellow”. I had to laugh because obviously whoever named it that had never seen a haystack before. The color was all wrong! The mention of Sherwin Williams though was encouraging. It made me think of my grandfather who worked at Sherwin Williams for many years.
These last few lessons have been hard ones. It isn’t a linear process with T.B.I recovery. Just when you get comfortable with one set of exercises that means it is time to get uncomfortable again. Time to push for the next level. Each push is one step closer to being able to comfortably do all the everyday things I used to do.
Focusing On How Far I Have Come
Even knowing this is just the normal rehab process. It can still be disheartening and frustrating. I just have to keep focusing on how far I have come. All the things I can now do, or at least do more comfortably than I could before. I may have a long way to go. The distance I have already come through finally almost seems shorter than the distance I have left to go on this journey.
One Step Closer To Enjoying The Beach
So today I had to step back out on the hot sand again. I have to push myself to walk on the hot sand until it isn’t so hot anymore. Then it will be time to push on to the next level.
Every step on the hot sand is one step closer to being able to enjoy the beach. Remember that! I think everyone can find a way to apply this to their lives in one way or another!