Monday, August 11, 2014

The Value of OT - I Stand Corrected

So, if I'm honest, I would say that OT (occupational therapy) is a waste of time. At the very least, I would say, "It can't hurt, but I don't think it helps." Well, I think I might want to tone down my opinion just a bit.

You see, my youngest son had OT during the early intervention years. He still has OT at school to help build strength in his fingers in order to use a Brailler. My oldest son has OT to help with writing. In each case it seemed as though progress took years; even then in the case of my oldest son, it didn't seem to help as his writing is still barely legible. Progress did happen, but I wasn't convinced that it was a result of OT.

I have OT to rebuild strength in my arm and hand. Last month, I was sent home from the OT's office with a rubber band, an exercise band, and a list of exercises to perform. I thought, "Seriously?" Nevertheless, I resolved to do the exercises because 1) deep down I'm a good girl and do what I'm told - HAHAHA, just kidding! I do what I'm told when I agree, or when it suits me but that's a moral failing and I digress; and 2) there was no way that I could start with lifting weights. In my last post I noted that my left hand strength using a dynamometer was 2 PSI (pounds or pound-force per square inch). I went to my OT appointment today, and it was 5 PSI - more than double what it was last time! The OT exercises are working, albeit slowly (from my perspective). The fingers on my left hand can curl a little bit more into a fist. It's not a very strong fist, and I still can't squeeze or flex. However, I am building strength.

The next phase is to continue strength-building exercises while working on coordination and dexterity. That's going to be difficult. My hand and arm movements are choppy and clumsy. Sure, I can curl my fingers a bit more, but I still can't grip anything properly. Yet. (As a side note: thank goodness I no longer drive a stick shift or I would be up a creek. Gripping the steering wheel with my left hand is challenging.) The shooting pain still hasn't gone away. Yet. Although I'm still flabbergasted and annoyed that all of this resulted from donating blood, I'm glad I had the opportunity to do so. Regardless of where I am now, I have hope that things will improve. Yes, things could be better. Things could also be much worse: I could be in a situation where I'm the one needing donated blood. So if you get anything from this post remember: there is value in OT, and don't be afraid to be generous even with your blood.

Slow and steady wins the race.

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