Friday, September 28, 2007

An Ode to great Physical Therapists

I often wonder where I would be without my physical therapists. In many ways they are closer to the details of my case than my doctors. They are on the front lines everyday dealing with us patients, they are physically intimate (simply because they touch and feel your muscle spasms) and emotionally intimate, because they work with the patient daily, and see the daily fluctuations.

I have met many physical therapists, but, to this day, I really rely on the incredible team here in Vail. at the Howard Head clinic. Without them, I would be in far worse shape than I am. The group is prinicpally focuse on sports rehabilitation. So, they are not merely, getting you to the point of doing activities of daily living. The goals tend to be a bit more elevated -- functional rehabilitation.

When I am here in Vail, I do PT anywhere from twice daily, to daily, and currently 3 times a week (due to insurance limitations). My sessions last anywhere from 1 hour to 5 hours. And, that is where, I say, the dedication to the patient comes in. Michael Wahoff, my primary PT is one of the best guys I know as a person and a PT. His dedication is inspiring, his troubleshooting skills are quite impressive, and, his interpersonal relationship with his patients are quite calming.

I count my blessings in this regard everyday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weekend Road Trips

On Saturday, my Uncle Misha, the Suduko warrior, and I took a lovely drive through Gore Pass, Hwy 134, North of Vail, Colorado to Kremling and through Silverthorn back to Vail. We saw some incredible fall colors. The intensity of the colors was overwhelming at times. The colors have changed so quickly. Essentially in three weeks the colors have gone from green to yellow. The weather has shifted from 70 degree days to 50 to high sixties, with 30 degree nights. One of the benefits of being here in Vail and spending the time detached from my normal life is that I am more inclined to explore new places, take day trips on weekends, and that is something very special. I really have had a chance to see some incredible new places, get a larger sense of American west history, and be in breathtaking beauty. like Independence Pass, between Aspen and Leadville.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Forward Ho!

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


And that is about all that can be said. Too many concurrent synaptic firings -- pain, frustration, exhaustion,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rough Times

The times when I want to write are always the times that are the worst. It is cathartic to work through in words what one experiences especially painl. Also, it is a way to categorized overwhelming emotional and or physical experiences.

So, I guess I am not feeling so hot. My joints are struggling. We have started a heavy duty PT routine, with significant load bearing. Last week things were going well, this week, I got a bit sick and things have acted up everywhere. The game is to figure out which joint is hurting the most sometimes. Generally, things are managable, but, when multiple joints hurt I really get so overwhelmed, I nearly shut down. I hate it. And, I am frustrated.

I am finally ( famous last words) confronting the essence of what it means to have a long term condition. Up to now, I have essentially been managing tactically, as each joint presents itself. (That is the word I use when my joints flare up. It is way to reduce the discomfort on many levels. It sanitizes the experience. Allows to be processed in bite size chunks, cuz, sometimes that is what I need bite size. Maybe that is why I like bon bons so much.

Anyway, I have started to put things in motion with my doctor's to try to establish a long term strategy for addessing my joints. Or, at least find out if they can do that. I am 3 months into being here in Vail and feel like we don't have any very good solutions. I am still in pain. I am trying really hard. But, there are still so many ups and downs. We have only been addressing things tactically. After two years of intesively doing this, following 10years of dealing with this particular diagnosis I need to do something different. Going on disability was the first step, Coming to Vail was the second step. Now, we are going to define the next steps.......and see where they lead.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Finally, I got my uncle to take me camping. We went to an area of Colorado called RedStone, stayed in a lovely campground called Bogan Flats. We were just south of a town called Marble, where some of the most beautiful white marble is quarried. The marble for the Lincoln Memorial was quarried there. It was a sureal experience to see huge blocks of pure white marble tumbled down a huge cliff.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Paperwork Saga

After 3 weeks of chasing down paperwork to support my disability case. My case is finally approved through to Nov 9th. It took 4 emails to the doctors, about as many phone calls to clarify what was needed, my records from PT, several phone calls to the disability insurance adjusters, and calls to payroll.

That is a mere peek into the effort reqired to stay on top of the paperwork associated with my medical shit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time flies

It is nearly 8 weeks since my surgery. I am working on getting onto my feet and walk without crutches. Somedays are good, others are not. I have moments of hope that maybe I can get out of more surgeries. Then there are others where I am not sure what is going to happen. It is quite tiring.

For instance, today is a rough day after two days of strength training. So, I am down on the couch. I have little umph.....

These are days when I wonder how am I going to manage.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Paperwork trail

I have had to dig into my paperwork surrounding my treatments with focused due diligence. I am amazed how extensive that process is. Almost overwhelming to keep it all together, following up on the disconnects between the doctors and insurance agent for my disability, pursue doctor's bills, my insurance company to find out why some things were denied. It took me 3 months to coordinate between the doctor's and an insurance nurse to finally end up with a denial for a particular treatment, because it was experimental in the insurance companies eyes. This all is the seedy underbelly of having a chronic medical condition. Simply yuky....and at times angering and nerve raking.

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