I was provided a packet of exercises a month prior to my surgery, before I left the hospital, and even at my post-op appointments. The doctor must have really wanted me to exercise. Now here’s the thing, I am awful at following doctor’s orders. Providing me with packet after packet was not going to help me do them any more than it would with one packet.
The exercises were quite beneficial in improving your flexibility after surgery. However, so is doing daily household chores. I figured if I wasn’t going to attend to my arm exercises as regularly as I should then I would need to do the next best thing: chores.
I recall at the beginning, my arm movements were limited. Raising my arms in any direction caused some type of pain. Stretching, pulling, sharp pains, muscle spasms, it seemed like those would never go away. Reaching for a glass from the cupboard became my goal. At first, I would grab a step stool, pull it as close to the cupboard as possible, step up and slowly reach for that small glass on the bottom shelf. In the beginning, I definitely struggled, but as time went on, I was able to do it just fine. Then I moved on to the next shelf, it was about time I started drinking from larger glasses after all. Again, it took some time to reach that shelf, but I it became easier over time. I made sure to attempt everything at least five times before calling for help. Although it was nice to have someone else do the chores, I did the laundry. Reaching down into the washing machine was as much of a struggle as reaching up into the cabinet. However, as time went on, so did my flexibility. When I realized I could do more, I was happy to attempt it, and even happier to accomplish it. When I was able to accomplish a task, I felt like I was able to see the end of struggling in sight.
After saying all this, don’t get me wrong, please do your arm exercises. I could only imagine how much quicker I could have healed if I was diligent enough to do my exercises more than once a day. Perhaps I should have requested physical therapy from my doctor to assist with those exercises. Either way I went about it, the exercise was necessary in the healing process. Just remember that doing a task at home, no matter how small, should come with the feeling of success. It’s just one step closer to feeling whole again.
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