Tag Archives: physical therapy.

ODR: Therapy and struggles

I wanted to cry and I almost did but I stopped myself and wondered if I needed to see a psychiatrist.

I want to talk to someone, but Mom responds to the things I say with details about all the other tragedies happening in the family.
My brother just sighs and tries to be comforting by patting me on the shoulder, and totally failing.
I don’t want to burden my dad with anymore suffering.
My friends all seem too busy, and I don’t want them to have to take care of me like I take care of them.
I don’t want to depend on anyone.
I’m scared to.
I’m scared they’ll get overwhelmed and hurt and leave me.
Because I get overwhelmed and hurt and leave them.
I don’t think it’s possible for them to be stronger than me, for them to want to help, because I’m so weak that I can’t help.

I hurt and want to vent it and get rid of it, but I don’t see how I can do that without hurting anyone else.

Then my sister asked how I was, and I kept up my wall and told her the details she already knew, and kept some back, to protect her and keep me from losing someone else, to keep someone else from thinking about how weak I was, how pathetic, how I just needed to get over it, fix my life, be strong, and live like everyone else.
I was prepared and built up walls, letting out what I wanted to let out, attempting to keep control.
And then she found out my shoulders were sore and stiff from surgery still. She told me to get a massage, and then to call my physical therapist, and I agreed and said I just didn’t have time or energy yet. And then she massaged my shoulders for me…and I felt my eyes well with tears at the fact that she was trying to ease some of my pain.
And I don’t know how to express my other pain or how to make it go away.
Because I don’t feel happy, and I don’t want to feel sad, but I don’t know why.
Because every time I say I’m sad it’s excused away.
You’re just tired.
You’re just hungry.
You’re just stressed.
Sleep and you’ll feel better, eat and you’ll feel better, stop having problems and you’ll feel better.
Problems don’t stop until you fix them.
I can fix the superficial problems, but the other ones are deeper.
The deeper ones I don’t know what to do with.
I can’t fill the emptiness.

And every time I feel sad I explain it away.
You’ll feel better after this assignment.
You just don’t know what you’re doing with your life.
You just want more friends.
You just want better friends.
You just want someone to talk to.
You just want someone to help.
You’re just worried about your friend with cancer.
You’re just making yourself sad by thinking of sad things.
Everything will be better if you just hold on.

Doing nothing is easier than doing something.
But it hurts.
When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, theoretically change happens.
But I’m too busy to change. I’m too tired to change. I’m too focused on trying to be happy that I forget I’m sad. Except when I stop working, when I stop rushing from thing to thing, and I’m left alone in the aftermath of my racing through activity to activity. When I’m alone and I have a spare moment, I cry again.

I just want to be happy.
(Oct 2015.)


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Filed under ODR: Old Drafts Revisited

A poem: Guard her heart.

You stole my heart, and I didn’t even realize it was missing until I saw you with her.

Then suddenly that heart was being shot straight through, more than pieces two.

Is there anyone who,

Can put it back together?

In a perfect world, you would have never got near it.

In a perfect world, you couldn’t just sear it

with your words and your being and your look and me seeing

how much I want to be with you and be like you, and be made new

by growing into love with you.

You stole my heart, I glanced back and suddenly it was gone

like the lyrics of a song,

something forgotten, on the tip of the tongue, that just won’t come.

You stole my heart, and I wish you wouldn’t pawn it, with all the love that’s on it,

I wish you’d keep it for yourself, to guard and keep in health,

to hold and love and cherish, but to you I think it’s garish.

Too much beat and shine, “I don’t want this to be mine”,

you’ll think upon the time, when the chance comes to let it go.

Let it go, let me go, or break the pieces that are left, from your unexpected theft, and me seeing you with her.

I hope you guard her heart.

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Filed under Love Poems

Five minutes to


Is it weird that I kind of feel like somehow marking this day? Not really celebrating…but…doing something?

It’s two years since Neurosurgery.

Two years since my senior year of college started without me.

So I kind of feel like something should be happening. Like I should make it special. Like something special should happen.

But that’s weird.

Alcoholics and Addicts have their Clean day.

Almost everyone celebrates their birthday.



…and I have two years since doctors cut into the back of my skull so that I wouldn’t be like a time bomb waiting for my spinal fluid to pop from the pressure. I think that’s why I had the surgery. I dunno. Time and words make my description of it more colorful, while my memory of it grows weaker.

Or perhaps I shouldn’t live in the past.

Or I should simply see how I’ve grown.

The seeing how I’ve grown part is what I want to do.

…neck brace free.

Nearly normal.

Normal in almost all appearances.

I don’t know.

And now it’s September 17th.

Happy Anniversary Catherine, you’re not paralyzed.



Filed under Cdukulele's life.

On Physical Therapy

My ankle throbs.
My legs ache.
My arms are weak.
What more can I take?

I saw the doctor. 
The pain isn’t there.
It comes from my spine
The reason’s not clear.
I stretch,
I bend,
I reach,
I’m getting better,
Am I though?
If pain is the measure
Then I do not know.
Slowly it’s better
Then quickly it’s worse
Stop for a moment
And in Pain immerse
Therapy daily
Is there an end?
I do not feel like the doctor’s my friend.

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Filed under All Poetry, General Poems

Talking about my surgery / last year.

I don’t know if you want to read this, but here it is. It’s a post about last year. A scattered catalog of my surgery and the time before and after it. …I wish there was a better way to tell the story, but I’m just trying to cram it all in this post, so we’ll see what happens.

1. I have a bone disease that makes my bones weaker by making them denser (Osteopetrosis), I found out about it in the third grade, and it has been an annoying presence in my life, but mostly just an excuse for me to avoid too much calcium.

2. Because of said bone disease the doctors are especially careful of my hearing and vision, because there are itty bitty bones in near the eyes and in the ears that could potentially get too dense and hurt my sight or hearing.

                       March of my junior year of college I got a cold and my left ear starting ringing, and it wouldn’t stop, and then I met with the doctors in May, after returning home from college, and the ear doctor was all “Oh, nothing is wrong with you” and I was all “Thanks doc. My ear just rings for no reason. I hate you.” Except I don’t hate people, I just get very angry with them. And so then two days later the doc was all “Oh hey Catherine, I’m calling you on the phone to tell you that we are going to do an MRI just in case, because you have that bone disease thing” and I was all “That’s right. You better look into my weird symptoms that have lasted two months and probably aren’t just because I stood next to a stereo during a concert…” Except again, I didn’t actually say that. Then two days later/whenever the doc was all “Oh yea Cat, your ears really are fine, but I’m gonna send you to a neurologist because something looks strange like you have a Chiari Malformation and so the other doctor should see you.” And I was all “Yeah…Okay” and I hung up the phone and told my parents that I had an appointment with a neurologist.

I think I’m understanding a bit more now why my Mom was freaking out so much…

Then, we went to my neurosurgery appointment, and they were all “Hello Catherine! Do you have any headaches? Can you feel your toes? Do you ever get dizzy? Do you ever slur your words?” and I’m all “No….but my left ear is ringing.” and they were all “Uh huh…” and so they ran like a half a dozen of those little tests that doctors do, testing your arm strength, telling you to squeeze their fingers in your hand, looking at your feet, and then basically they were like “Ya, your MRI makes it look like you shouldn’t even be walking right now, but you are, so that’s weird…But we want to do this surgery, where we cut out a little bit of the back of your skull, and then go down and remove part of your C1 and maybe C2 vertebrae, and then sew you back together and let you recover, so that your spinal fluid will stop building up in a little pile in your back.” And then my mom starts crying, and my Dad looks all serious, and then I say “Okay”.

So after going to various appointments and talking to various neurosurgeons, July comes around, a whole 2 months after the first notice of my impending surgery, and my doctor says he won’t be able to operate until October, because of having operating room space. Of course I totally understood, because I was not on the brink of death, just on the brink of possible paralyzation, but I had my senior year starting in August….so we asked more questions. Then he said that he couldn’t wait until December for Christmas break. So we waited. Waited through July, and August, and started September, watching the facebook updates pile up as my friends started their Senior year… and then on a Friday in September the nurse calls and says the O.R. is open and tells me to come in on Monday for my surgery. Then I had surgery.

I was in the operating room for like, twelve to fourteen hours, but the surgery only took eight. I woke up in Intensive Care. I remember being thirsty, tired, and overall feeling miserable. I couldn’t move my neck…or I didn’t want to. They moved me out of Intensive care in the morning and I had a room mate for a while, and then several room mates, but I didn’t talk much, except to my nurses, and still hadn’t left my bed. At some point they gave me water again. They also gave me food, but I was too weak to eat and so a nurse spoon fed me. I did some physical therapy, got to the point where I could walk around, spent some nights in agonizing pain, my sister visited and stayed over nights a couple times, and ….well overall it was miserable. I learned that when doctors ask what your pain level is, it is on a 1 to 9 scale, not a 1 to 5…and morphine takes a while to kick in.

After 8 days and 9 nights I left the hospital with three hospital pillows and a bag of pain medications. I slept on a reclining chair and relished the fact that no doctors would be waking me up two afters after I had fallen asleep to take blood samples. I ate very little. I lost fifteen pounds. I had metal staples in the back of my neck that itched sometimes. I did not turn my head. A week later my staples were removed. It pinched and itched a little. Another week later I took my first shower/bath by sitting on a shower chair and pouring cups of warm water over my shoulders. I recovered slowly. It hurt. At week 6 I took my first trip out of the house, I went to Target with my cousin, I walked with a cane. Mainly I was just exhausted all the time, and ready to break into emotional crying fits.
After a month or two I probably should have been fine, or pretty much normal. But in December my neck really really hurt, and I still didn’t move it too much, and I went in for X-rays and found out the vertebrae they had operated on was broken. I spent Christmas in a neck brace, and found out I had to wear it for three more months.

Aside from the broken neck though, I had more or less recovered. I could walk greater distances at least. My legs were hurting, and apparently it was nerve pain/stress from the surgery and recovering, and sleeping in a reclining position for three months, so I had to start physical therapy. I learned some exercises to do, started taking more pain pills, and then went back to school in Ohio. I only took 3 classes and my thesis, but I had enough credits to graduate. I survived until spring break, came home, got the news that my neck was healing and I didn’t need the neck brace so much anymore, and then only wore the neck brace in cars. In May I graduated college, and by the end of that month I was out of the neck brace entirely.

I’m still doing physical therapy exercises, and have strained a muscle or two in my neck, but overall I am doing well. So that’s the story. More or less. If you have any questions go ahead. I kinda avoided certain topics, because I knew I would dwell on them, but feel free to bring them up.

I hope that…this was…at least a little interesting to read.

Thanks for reading this jumble of memories.





Filed under Various writing