Range of Motion

Remember the Super Moon? It happened a couple of months ago and I'm not going to try to explain the science - NASA does it so much better - but suffice to say, it was the full moon and it was huge. So naturally, I dragged my mother out with me and we meandered about the darkened streets of downtown Toronto, hunting down the moon. Despite having given it a good hour to hop up over the horizon and rise above the urban landscape, we didn't have much luck and headed home. Almost there, I decided to turn around for one last look and there it was:

I took a lot of photos that night. I love my camera, but it isn't very fast in the dark, so every image was slightly fuzzy. I found a bench and tried to rest the camera on that, leaning out over my left armrest to find a surface that was reasonably flat, but still a good angle to get a picture. Then I did the same on a garbage can and by this time, we've been out for a good hour and I was shivering with cold which didn't help matters in terms of getting a non-shaky image. Nonetheless, I kept on going and at some point heard my mother's voice behind me saying "no wonder you hurt if you put yourself through those kinds of contortions to take pictures."

There is much talk in the disability field about range ofmotion exercises. It means taking a limb through the extent to which it can move and it keeps joints from developing contractures or fusing. There have been times where an eager health professional will discuss - okay, monologue – about getting the attendants who provide service for me to do range of motion exercises. Thanks to the fibromyalgia, my body does not respond well to other people moving parts of it because it's very easy to go past my limit and my body responds to such indignities with a month's worth of injury. Still, eager health professionals persist and I’ve finally found the perfect comeback.

Very simply, I say "my entire life is a range of motion exercise."

When I make a cup of tea, I hold the cup in my left hand and reach forward to fill the cup, reach to the side to put the cup in the microwave and then move my right hand across my body to press the numbers. This takes me through my range of motion as far as my arms will go in several directions. Playing with Lucy does the same, as do brushing my teeth, making lunch, putting groceries in the door of the fridge, turning off my computer by pressing the button on the power bar with my foot, using the other foot to press the automatic door opener to get into the bank and… well, you get the idea.

It shuts up any well-meaning professionals. Okay, it makes them laugh first and then makes them go away so I can get on with my life range of motion exercise.

Pretty handy.


Vanessa Collins said…
Loved this post, Lene! I have the same issue with PT. If PT in a pool makes it impossible for me to walk for the nest five days, shouldn't they just stop harping about PT? Any come back for me to use? ;)
Cheryl Wright said…
Perfect comeback! I must admit, I do several range of motion exercises just to get out of bed in the mornings! I'm still pretty mobile on my own, yet I still wonder about those times when I may not be able to....so I shall continue on 'wrangling ' my motions on a daily basis and hope for the best!
Renee said…
I’m a disabled PT with RA , Fibromyalgia, and other stuff. Before I was forced to retire I worked with folks with multiple disabilities. It’s important that you are seen by a PT who understands loooooong term rehab. I’m telling you if I was younger and healthier I could demonstrate to you (and teach your care worker) appropriate active, active-assistive, functional ROM exercises as well as some gentle joint mobility/ passive joint mobs which would not only help maintain joint range, but also decrease pain and swelling! It is hard to find someone with the right touch but they are out there! I also hope you and your caregiver have been instructed in proper positioning — especially for the days you are “down for the count” and not able to be as physically active as you normally are.

Recently I was seen by a PT for increasing back problems (with ridiculopathy to both legs) and the care I received was not up to the standard I expected. It does take some “shopping” sometimes to find the “right” PT (just like with finding the right MD.) Some PTs are better than others at meeting the needs of some types of patients—— especially folks who need long term preventive care.
❤️ Renee

Tony K said…
Unfortunately a lot of people don't have wear with all that you do and need the prodding from professionals.

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