Thursday, November 28, 2013

Setting the Right Tone

I wake up most days shaking. Not because I'm cold or scared (though I often am), but because of tone. "Tone?" you say. Yes, "tone." Not a sound, not a color, but a muscle.

The first time I heard "tone" used this way was during my check-in evaluation at the rehab (October 2010). The OT, feeling my upper arm and shoulder, said, "Hmmm, you have a lot of tone." I think I said something like, "Oh, really?"; but I was thinking, "Thanks for noticing; I have been working out."

So where I previously had understood muscle tone to be something you strive to achieve, I was about to enter a world where tone was wholly different. Most tangibly, for me, this has translated into tightness in my left extremities (fingers and toes).

The tone has also reared its head as Clonus, where -- especially in the morning, my brain misinterprets something as simple as a yawn into a series of involuntary stretches and convulsions.  It's nice to see the fingers on my left hand extend (something I can't do intentionally), but it's also frustrating how something innocuous -- like rubbing an itchy eye -- will start my left arm vibrating.

I've been going to "Tone Clinic" at the rehab for awhile to manage my flexibility.Which brings me to today's medical update and the reason I did not flail quite as much this morning: My physiatrist  had been suggesting Botox injections for my foot and ankle, but my insurance reflexively rejected the request for that expensive prescription (apparently not buying my doctor's therapeutically-relevant argument and instead choosing to believe I had some sort of narcissistic desire for younger-looking feet). Fortunately, there was an alternative in stock. I had it done yesterday afternoon.

I wasn't terribly excited about getting an injection in my leg, but it was quick (maybe 20 minutes) and relatively painless. The strangest part was how the electrode helping my doctor find the nerve endings (a neurological stud finder) made the muscles in my calf pulse.

It's only been a day, and I do feel a little more flexible in my foot but not more movement in my ankle and toes (which is the goal). Interestingly, when I try to flex my ankle, my left arm shakes.

So on  this Thanksgiving Day, I'm thankful for being comfortable with where I'm at (acceptance isn't the same as surrender) and that there are still some new things to try. If the injections help my foot, we could move on to my hand. My doctor is also taking a class in this other type of treatment.

By the way, the video of my blog presentation is now available (I'm at around 34 minutes).

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