Saturday, October 05, 2013

My joints are too flexible. My poker face sucks.

After several appointments were rescheduled, I finally went for my Apostherapy evaluation. Apostherapy is an Israeli-developed form of physical therapy that trains your muscles to support your joints appropriately. Joints that have been injured are often poorly supported by muscles. It's not the muscles' fault. They just stiffen and tense up around the joint, which causes pain. An enormous load of pain.

Having injured most of the joints in my body at one time or another, I have a great deal of pain. Basically, all of my joints are overly flexible and I'm extremely accident-prone.
  • I'm flat-footed and pronate because my ankles are weak: I sprained both of them within four days when I was a 17-year-old spending the summer in Israel, and I've sprained each of them at least twice since. 
  • As a senior in college, I developed neck and shoulder problems from spending too much time hunched over a computer working on my honors thesis. I still have pain and stiffness from time to time. Going to a chiropractor helps, but I haven't made time for that recently; I probably should.
  • I am knock-kneed, thanks to the horrible personal trainer at Crunch, who in 2006 probably stretched out my ligaments too much, and they never quite recovered. 
  • I've had lower back and pelvic issues since 2000, when I slipped on a wet floor and sprained half my pelvis. My hips are not properly aligned. The pain was more or less cured through acupuncture, but it resurfaces now and again to torment me.
And after all these injuries, I never received appropriate treatment. Hopefully that stops now. The Apostherapy program is designed to retrain all of my muscles to properly support most of my wobbly joints: knees, hips, back. Don't think my ankles will be assisted, and pretty sure my neck and shoulders won't. But fixing my knees and hips will have a huge impact on my well-being.

I don't know if I'm allowed to explain how it works in more detail than the website does, so if you're interested, check it out. I have some confidence in my physical therapist, because what she told me about myself made sense: all of my major injuries do seem to result from various overly flexible joints.

But it better work, because it is hugely expensive and not covered by insurance. I was hoping I could pay for most of it next year using flexible spending dollars, but I had to cover a whopping fee on the first day and will receive large credit card hits in November and December. The final three payments will be in 2014 and I can use pre-tax dollars for them.

So that's the latest on the knees. I went to an ENT and an allergist because my sinuses have been dreadful this past summer and autumn. I had sinus surgery in 1995 and was hoping I would never have to undergo that agony again, but was feeling very uncomfortable.

The ENT prescribed a steroid spray, which helped a teeny bit. Then I got a wicked sinus infection and bronchitis, for the second time in six months. A friend suggested I see an allergist, so I made an appointment. After jabbing my forearm thirteen times with a surprisingly painful circular needle, the allergist realized that one of my psychiatric medications might be suppressing the histamine reaction. Annoying. So a tech drew some of my blood for tests, which showed that I'm not allergic to basically anything: dust, mold, cats, dogs, ragweed, pollen, grass.

This is good news in case I ever get a cat again, but if I don't have allergies, why are my sinuses always inflamed?

"It's non-allergic rhinitis," said the allergist. "Try a different steroid spray for a few weeks. If it's not better, come in again and we can try some prescription medications." She also told me that my deviated septum, which was repaired in 1995, has re-deviated. "An ENT would know more about whether surgery is needed," she said.

I was slightly tempted to go back to the ENT and lobby for another surgery, since this time I would go to a cosmetic surgeon and get the tip of my nose refined while my septum is straightened, but for now I'll stick with the steroid spray and see what happens. I'm also thinking I should go to an acupuncturist to see if they can get rid of some of the sinus inflammation. About a month ago I went for an acupressure facial treatment, and the esthetician was horrified at all the stagnated ch'i in my face. I think my whole head is stagnated.

But acupuncture will have to wait for a bit, because I'm starting to study for my LCSW exam. I went to my first review course and ran into a former co-worker whom I actually like, which was a pleasant surprise. I'll study for a few weeks and then schedule the exam.

And then I will really start looking for another job, because at this point I'm just hating mine. I pretty much hate four of the counselors, who have treated me like crap even though I've treated them fairly. Other counselors remind me that these counselors have had problems with all the previous social workers, so I know it's not my fault, but it's still unpleasant.

I hate not having an office. I work in the chart room, which has a computer and a phone, but there's no privacy. I have one tiny bin in which to store all of my personal files and effects. It's poorly ventilated and extremely dry; I'm convinced that's why I've had bronchitis/sinusitis twice in the past six months. (Which didn't exactly impress the allergist. "If you've had bronchitis six or seven times in the past six months, that would really be something to worry about," she said.) But missing weeks of work and going through significant pain and discomfort is bad enough.

I hate that methadone maintenance programs don't expect anything from the patients. So most of them don't do anything. They get food stamps, Medicaid, and weasel their way onto SSI. They stop using heroin but continue using cocaine -- or don't stop using heroin and continue using cocaine. I don't respect people who aren't trying to change for the better. Which means I don't respect a huge number of my patients.

At my last job, with people mandated to treatment by parole or other agencies, we had to deal with a lot of resistance ("I'm only here because my P.O. makes me come here"), but we also saw a huge amount of change and growth. I like being an agent of change. I do not like enabling stagnation. I'm an acolyte of Albert Ellis: if you want to feel better, you gotta push your ass. Not sit around using heroin and cocaine and watching TV all day.

This appears to be a particular problem in the clinics where I work now; in other neighborhoods, I saw patients who were making more of an effort. Which could be because of the neighborhood culture, or because of the clinic managers. Doesn't really matter, because the end result is the same: I don't like working where I'm working.

And people are starting to notice, sometimes, that I'm not happy. The fax machines are kept in the clinic managers' offices. I had to go in there and fax a document to help a patient secure housing. Sitting in the office waiting for the fax to go through, I began imagining how I'd tell everyone off once I got a better job and gave notice.

"I hate working here," I'd say to the clinic manager. "You're the worst manager I've ever dealt with. Nobody respects you. You play favorites. You let a little bitch without a license make my job extra difficult and disrespect me in front of patients. I want to--"

"What's wrong, Ayelet?" asked the clinic manager, interrupting my flood of negative thoughts.

"Oh, nothing -- I'm just waiting for the fax to go through," I said, hastily rearranging my features into a semblance of pleasance.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

No comments:

Post a Comment