Being skewered, electrocuted, burned, suctioned, and scraped.
It’s what saved my life, or at least what gave me my life back.
Ten days ago, I couldn’t lift my arms without excruciating pain, I couldn’t pick up anything heavier than a couple pounds without my shoulders screaming at me, I had several nights where I didn’t sleep because there was literally no comfortable position, I had radiating pain all the way down my arms and to my fingertips, and I had been in nearly nonstop pain for four weeks.
As of today, I can hold my camera for an extended period of time, I can lift other moderately-sized things (but not the laundry basket. I may never be able to lift a laundry basket again. I need laundry service for life I’m sure of it.), I can sleep in multiple positions without too much pain, and most importantly, I can run. And it feels so amazing.
Now. It’s still a process and I still have ups and downs – and the one thing I still can’t do is sit upright with my feet on the ground for a long period of time. Such as yesterday, which started off completely exhilarating with a fantastic run and no pain, but ended in a good deal of pain and zero minutes of sleep after I had a two hour meeting. But sitting like that can be avoided more than you’d think, and overall, the trend is clearly toward less pain and more life, and my happiness level compared to a few weeks ago has skyrocketed.
And all because of being skewered, electrocuted, burned, suctioned, and scraped.
Not nearly enough people seem to know about the miraculous powers of Physical Therapy. I did, but only because of a couple prior running injuries. The miracles my PT had performed then, such as the time I hopped into his office on one foot while carefully balancing the other foot that was swollen to roughly the size of Australia and later walked out with zero swelling and hardly a limp, gave me confidence that he could help me get through this as well.
For the local people, my irreplaceable PT is Robert Funk at OnMark Physical Therapy in Moody. He’s a Muscle Miracle Worker and currently holds the title as My Favorite Person.
I drive 20 minutes and go past multiple other Physical Therapy clinics to get to him because he’s the only one I would trust to skewer, electrocute, burn, suction, and scrape me.
Wrecks are funny – okay no they’re not funny at all. Wrecks are weird – you really have no idea how badly you’re hurt until a week or two later. I’m fairly certain that my brain only had a set number of receptors to process specific pains, and as we fixed the ones I identified, I just kept discovering new ones.
We started with my leg and neck, then moved on to my shoulders and arms. And, slowly, all of the body parts are starting to feel normal.
It’s a miracle I tell you.
But the methods to get to that miracle were nothing short of fascinating.
There’s electrocution, but probably most of you are familiar with that. The tens unit is strapped onto the most sore places to shock those muscles into submission. I find this process quite comforting and downright restful.
The tens unit is paired with a heating pad that comes straight out of boiling water, which is also lovely – until the towels between me and the heating pad disintegrate.
Thankfully, Robert’s assistants are always there, ready with fresh new towels.
Next is the muscle scraping – a procedure called ASTYM that regenerates soft tissue – also relaxing and surprisingly effective.
The suction cup is the newest tool in his arsenal, used to separate my soft tissues and help them heal. It kind of feels like being pleasantly pinched by rubber pliers.
The massages are also quite fantastic, and always leave my sore shoulders and neck so, so happy.
And then there are the needles. Also known as skewering, although I think perhaps I’ve been the only one using that term.
I don’t mind needles. I never have. So when Robert asked if he could use the technique called Dry Needling on my tense muscles, I didn’t hesitate. Why not? Sticks and Stones can break my bones but needles can never hurt me.
The actual insertion of said needles is undetectable. But when they do what they’re supposed to do and skewer the jammed muscle, it feels rather like a very pinpointed charley horse.
You might also be interested to know that he uses his finger as a guide so that he (just barely) doesn’t stick the needle all the way through my leg. On my neck, he uses my shoulder blade to prevent puncturing a lung. He’s really quite thoughtful like that.
But seriously. Those needles are stupendous. Just like a miracle covered in chocolate.
Robert would find a lump in my neck or shoulders, stick a needle in it, and by the next day that lump was gone. He needled my shoulders four days in a row last week, and in one week, I went from nearly no pain-free arm movement to nearly complete pain-free arm movement, and from a sobbing, crying mess about my constant pain to an ecstatic, frenzied runner.
Since all of you are dying to watch, I had one of the technicians hold my phone one day for Periscope and saved the video just for you:
It’s downright fabulous to be in less pain, and I’m beyond happy to feel nearly normal most days, even though I’ve probably still got at least a few weeks to go in my therapy, and there are some things that are beyond even his ability to fix, like the damaged discs in my neck.
But life, oh life – it’s wonderful to have life again.
So if you have sore spots, please go get some holes poked in them. I promise you will feel like a new person.
Disclaimer: Although the diagrams are completely accurate, this post has not been approved by any medical professionals, including my physical therapist. But it should absolutely be considered professional, sound medical advice.
18 thoughts on “On Not Being Mostly Dead.”
I am so happy you’re getting back to normal. Have you ever heard from the lady that hit you? If I ever hit someone else, I think the guilt would about do me in!
No, I haven’t heard from her.
Best. Post. EVER.
You’re right about not knowing the extent of your injuries until later. My car accident was back in July and I just started seeing a new chiropractor. We looked at my x-rays yesterday. When my neck x-ray came up my jaw dropped and I may or may not have said a bad word. My neck is effed up. Explains a lot of issues I’ve been having. :-(
So glad you are doing better and able to run again! I love acupuncture. I used it to make sure 2 of my babies were turned head down and to get labor started with my last one. I wish I could afford to have it done more often, but since insurance doesn’t cover it, it gets expensive quick. Although yours is probably covered as part of your PT. it does make me very happy to see that there are others out there utilizing acupunctures benefits.
Robert is a great PT!!! He has repaired parts of me on numerous occasions! Right now I am going to OnMark in Hoover. Great PT there, too. SO glad you are improving and that God has gifted therapists to take care of us when we fall apart or when accidents happen.
Hats off to Robert and Annette at OnMark PT!
Thank you Heather!!! New way of describing PT at OnMark better known as the “Contortion Chamber & Torture Emporium!”
Ok so I feel like a really bad reader-friend for not checking in on you more than I have! I’m so sorry you are going through this! When I first read about the wreck and saw the damage, but that you said you were ok, I had a feeling you’d feel differently in a day or so :( You know I’m a Facebook-only-mostly social media-er, but I am thinking that I may really enjoy Periscope. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the PT vid – there should be one for any kind of procedure so you know what you’re getting into! I would watch them all stinkin day-I have always wanted to watch surgeries! (I know I’m weird). Hoping you can get back to yourself really soon, especially in time for Noah’s bday and Christmas!!
I’m so glad you’re able to run again. Hurray! It’s so nice you’ve been able to find some relief from the pain that will hopefully be long lasting. It’s so great that there are procedures that can help. This may sound funny, but it was fun hearing your voice in the periscope. I had never really thought about it before, but to me, you have an accent. I live in the west and you might think that I have an accent too. :) I truly am pleased that you’ve found some relief. Thank you for all your fun posts.
A lot of people over the years have commented on how I don’t sound like they imagine. :-) It’s weird how we create someone’s voice in our own head..
I’ve been really worried about you so I started praying over you! So so so glad that you are getting relief!
So Clearly I’m really behind on my emails, but this comment really meant a lot to me! I really appreciate your prayers! It’s been quite a trying 7 weeks.
So glad you are doing so much better! I hate needles…I don’t know if I could do that! Although it does look very painless according to your video. Love the Princess Bride comparison. :)
Awesome post! Inconceivably amusing! (My brain is fried at the moment, so I have nothing more clever to say than that.) The video of the needles is fascinating.
I’ve been trying to get my wife to do acupuncture for years, but she is scared to death of those little needles lol. Just mainly wanted to drop in to let you know that I have been praying for you through this.
And to stay away from dead squirrels LOL
Thanks for the prayers! What I’m doing isn’t exactly acupuncture (it’s dry needling), but it’s extremely helpful!
YAY! Really so glad to hear you’ve found some relief!!
Since having my baby 6 months ago and quitting my job, I haven’t had as much free time online (that sounds bad, huh?!), so I haven’t been keeping up with your blog as much, but this morning I happened to find a link to this post. I was just in a wreck a week ago that entailed an ambulance ride to the ER, and despite the ER doctor assuring me, “you just have a broken foot and bruised ribs,” I am in terrible pain and have extensive bruising all over my upper body. Thank goodness my parents only live a mile away, as my mom and husband have been taking care of me and husband had to go back to work today. Anyway, I’ve no doubt I will be in need of some physical therapy later on, but my aches and pains are still changing from day to day so I can’t even tell what needs fixing yet! Wrecks are the worst. I’m glad to read about your experiences with your physical therapist, though. Gives me some hope that things will get better!
Oh my! I’m so sorry. I hope you’re able to get some relief soon. I’ll be glad to chat about my experiences if you need a like-situationed friend! It’s taken SO MUCH LONGER to recover than I planned on. I know that’s not encouraging, but all that to say, listen to your body and don’t believe ER doctors.