Superhero Toy Chest

LaserThe other day Rhuematoid Arthritis Guy was asked if he wanted to play with a real laser gun! Would a superhero ever turn down such an offer? Of course not. So I donned the green goggles (everything around me all of a sudden looked like it had been slimed by the Joker) and had at it. All I needed was a safe full of money to crack into.

The electrodes had just been removed from my ankles – for about twenty minutes electrical currents of varying intensity were being delivered to my body. (It’s always interesting to see the look on the technician’s face when they realize just how far up they have to go in order for my nerves to register any sensation of the pulsating current.) And even though I had been warned that five minutes into the session there was going to be a change in polarity – please don’t get scared – I still found myself letting out a short shriek of surprise when that polarity change came.

So while I played with the laser gun (hold in one place and press down on the button until it beeps in approximately two minutes, then move to another point and repeat) the technician took out the ultrasound device and rubbed it around my tendons. The metal surface would have been quite cold were it not for a large dab of anti-inflammatory gel that had previously been applied to the spot.

In between the different treatments on my hand and feet, warm water bags and towels were wrapped around my wrists and ankles to keep them warm. With the inflammation of the past weeks the circulation levels have dropped considerably, causing my hands and feet to plummet to seemingly sub-zero temperatures when left uncovered. (It amazes me how one area – the joint – can feel like it’s on fire while the surrounding area feels like it’s frozen.)

While I would like to say the above is a typical visit to a superhero spa (leave those wax strips right where they are!), I must confess that this was one of my recent visits to the physical therapist. I have been going every other day for sessions that last between an hour and a half and two hours.

Yesterday, in the room next to me was a young rugby player – bearing his latest sports injury as a badge of honor. I soon realized that they entire rugby team goes to this clinic on a regular basis to treat their most recent war wounds. I’m just waiting for one of them to ask what sport I was playing when I got hurt. This time I’m going to be a rugby player – from the opposing team!

My physical therapist gave me a Sammons Preston product catalog the other day and marked off a list of items I needed to get.  Last night I ordered some ulnar protection gloves to sleep with, some padded gloves to use with my crutches, some different types of wrist wraps, padding grips for my utensils, and a really cool knife! As I flipped through the catalog I was amazed at how many types of assistive devices exist. (It was almost as cool as flipping through Best Buy’s Sunday flyer.)

Physical Therapy Toys

On a related note, this past weekend I stumbled across FunkyArthur, a British online retailer which specializes in modern mobility equipment and arthritis aids. It’s sort of a cross between the Museum of Modern Art and Walgreens. Check it out!

I still have quite a few physical therapy sessions scheduled. The first goal is to bring down the inflammation on the ankles and wrists, followed by the knees and elbows. Once the inflammation seems to be under control, we plan on dedicating some session to strength building exercises. The first few sessions have helped quite a bit and I am looking forward to the upcoming session.

If you have any interesting stories of physical therapy, or have your own great assistive household device that you just can’t get by without, please do share!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

4 Comments
4 comments
  1. Millicent says:

    Interesting, & hey—whatever it takes, right? It really is amazing how many different aides are available to help in so many ways. Thank goodness!

  2. Yvonne says:

    I recently had surgery on my right wrist. I had developed “trigger finger” that was not improving. After the surgery, I had physical therapy. At the first session, the guy hooked me up to a little contraption that is supposed to increase your circulation in the area and promote healing. It’s like a “stimulator”. He turned it on very low and asked if I could feel it…….of course, stupid me, said no. After several times of looking at him blankly and saying I couldn’t feel it…..he turned it all the way up!! I nearly jumped off the table screaming I FEEL IT NOW!! I swear they must have a hidden camera to film these things and then post them on Youtube….still waiting on my debut!!

  3. Cathy says:

    I am really impressed with all the physical therapy you are doing. Did your rheumatologist recommend it? When I saw my rheumatologist for the first time five years ago, I imagined him recommending this type of treatment. Instead, it was all about the meds. Working with my chiropractor now, I am learning some movements to do that help remind my joints where they belong.

  4. RA Guy says:

    Millicent, thanks for your continued supportive comments!

    Yvonne, I’m beginning to think there is a conspiracy to make us yell..hehe. Actually, my physical therapists are very good about increasing the levels very slowly until they register.

    Cathy, my PT was actually recommended by therapist, who has a family member who also lives with RA. My PT and my rheumatologist did communicate before my sessions started to make sure they were in sync. The shots I had last week didn’t seem to help too much, but the physical therapy seems to be having a very visible effect on reducing the pain and inflammation. That is good to know, and I think it is something I will continue to use in the future as a more preventative measure.

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