Today, I attended another physio appointment. I never thought that I would, but I am now well into my course of physio. It’s actually going very well. When physiotherapy was first suggested to me, by my Doctor, my immediate images were of Olivia Newton-John singing ‘Let’s Get Physical’ and images of 1980’s and 1990’s breakfast tv exercise Guru’s ‘Mad Lizzy’ and ‘Mr. Motivator’. I have little doubt that my Doctor saw the look of horror that made it’s way across my face in that moment. Nevertheless, I agreed.
When your body hurts a lot, through cramps and stiff muscles, you reach a point where you’ll try pretty much anything. I was relieved to find that my images of physiotherapy were way off track. Phew! My appointments are provided through the NHS and, in this case, an organisation called Allied Health Professionals deliver this service on behalf of the NHS.
My physiotherapist is called Daniel; a handsome chap and someone who clearly cares about his work. He has been excellent at describing to me what has caused the pains I have, the workings of my bones, tendons, muscles and nerves and he has been most forthcoming with the homework he gives me! It’s important to feel a sense of confidence in whoever provides you with treatment. Daniel has earnt my confidence, although I would be happier if he gave me a little less homework.
I am often distracted by a view through to the room next door, however. This is where often elderly patients are being put through their paces by having to do stretch and step routines or they suffer the indignity of having to bounce around on a giant inflatable ball that is reminiscent of a space-hopper! This causes much chuckling, some audible flatulence and a fair degree of squealing! It looks like fun but sadly this is not something that I will be doing. My sessions are a little more mundane.
The cause of my difficulties was originally thought to be Fibromyalgia but Daniel had found that a number of my difficulties could not be explained by that. He and I both suspect Parkinson’s will be the diagnosis that I am finally given.
Within minutes of attending my session, I was standing, stretching, learning new exercises, laying down, being tested for pain, back up again, more movement and new exercises and a thorough consultation. It sounds a lot, but it was careful and Daniel makes immediate observations of anything that causes me pain or discomfort. We chuckle a bit, too. He has a good sense of humour and I think he appreciated that I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the things he had me doing; not to mention that I have hayfever and couldn’t stop sneezing when I first arrived for my appointment.
My appointment was at Aldeburgh Community Hospital, in the beautiful seaside town of Aldeburgh, here in Suffolk. Here is a photo of the hospital, on what has been a rather cloudy early afternoon:
The hospital is set within a private residential road. There is a real quiet countryside feel about the place. The receptionist, whose desk sits close to the entrance, is always incredibly cheery and welcoming. I hope she wouldn’t take offence if I say that she is of more mature years and, somehow, seems delightfully eccentric; as only English men and women of a certain age can be. She tends to always be in a bit of a frantic state, but akin to the most charming of comedy sketches that only the late, great Victoria Wood could have written. The Physio. Department is very close to the main entrance, which helps.
I have to admit that I was a little sceptical about how beneficial physiotherapy would be for me but, if you are in a similar situation to me and are also uncertain, I have to say that physiotherapy has turned out to be incredibly helpful.
The exercises I have to do are carefully paced. In fact, when Daniel first showed me the exercises to practice, which have grown in variety over my course of treatment, I doubted they would make much difference. I was wrong, for these simple, gentle exercises have proven to have a really positive impact on my ability to move more freely. They have also helped with my stamina to cope with pain, when it does strike. My biggest difficulty is that, when I try these exercises at home, my two dogs try to jump on me. They seem confused by my antics. They think it’s a great game.
Initially, I had wondered whether I would be a good patient and actually do the exercises that I have been taught, between appointments. I found very quickly how beneficial the exercises have been and so it has been no hardship to choose to do them almost every day (okay, so I’m not perfect but I have done them most days) for not doing them really did have consequences. I learnt very quickly that not doing the exercises would render me back to having difficulty and so it’s a ‘no brainer’ to get on and do them. I know that Daniel’s keen skills would make it impossible for me to get away with not doing my homework, without him noticing.
Have you ever had physiotherapy? If there is something you would like to share with others, of your experience? Do you have a crazy pet who will not leave you alone while you do your physio exercises at home?
(C) Dean Parsons. 2016.