May 4th, 2004



One of the things I and my physical therapists have been doing is trying to massage my scars every day. The thing is: there is a thick cone of scar tissue underneath the visible scar, which can stick everything (muscles, tendons, skin, bone) together in a painful way. Massaging the scars, while very painful, breaks up that stuff underneath so that everything can move properly and smoothly.

Despite our efforts, my lowest scar has developed an adhesion -- meaning the scar tissue is now stuck to the bone. Ick! If I push the skin by it, the scar stays stuck in place. It's pretty freaky-looking. The only way to fix it, as I understand it, is to rub it firmly until all the scar tissue breaks free from where it's stuck. Ouch.

I've been massaging it, but I can't inflict the necessary amount of continuous force on myself to fix it. I start to, then it makes me hurt, cringe, and finally I start shaking my hands and shoulders violently, unable to continue. I think it is some sort of reaction to my mental conflict between wanting to push away the hands that are hurting me, yet at the same time actually being the hands that are hurting me.

This morning my PT worked on it for me, rubbing hard, trying to break up the scar tissue. I sat with my face twisted up in a grimace, my hand in my mouth. I started biting one of my fingers to distract myself from the pain. As she kept going, I started whimpering involuntarily. She kept rubbing, saying to me, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"I know, I know," I replied with a cringe. She stopped for a moment, went to the cupboard, and pulled out a paper towel. She handed it to me, and I looked at it dubiously. I wasn't sure what she expected me to do with it -- twist it up and stuff it in my mouth, so I could bite on it like a bullet? "What am I supposed to do with this?"

"Whatever you want to," she told me. A moment later she added, "I thought I heard you sniffing." Then she attacked the scar tissue with renewed vigor.

Now I understood: she thought I was crying. Oddly enough though, I don't cry when I'm in pain. I'll make nasty faces, I'll whimper, and sometimes I'll even cry out and yell loudly.....but I don't cry. I can't remember when the last time I've cried from physical pain alone (mental pain, now that's a different story). I wonder why that is?

Anyway, at one point she exclaimed triumphantly, "There, did you feel that? I felt a pop!"

"That's great," I told her. "Does that mean we're done?"

"No, but I got one of them."

"Good -- how many more are there?"

"I don't know, it depends. But we got one!" I tried to feel pleased, but the fact that she was still torturing my knee made it difficult. Eventually she stopped though, telling me that it was enough for today. I was relieved, even though the scar is still stuck.

On the plus side, my day had nowhere to go but up. As F pointed out to me when we talked on the phone a moment ago: if you eat a live frog every morning, your day can't get any worse. My PT was my live frog this morning, and the rest of my day got better and better from there!

Showing off my printer

This evening G came over, and we went to dinner/breakfast. (i.e., breakfast food at dinnertime.) After a lovely meal, and excellent conversation, we returned to my house and I showed him my shiny new printer.

"It's so cute, and it fits so perfectly on top of your hutch like that," he told me.

"Well actually, I wanted to move it over here where the scanner is, and swap them." The scanner was a bit too wide, but we discussed various possible logistics for a bit. I explained that the reason for a swap was: with it tucked in the corner like it is now, I can't actually see or reach the paper feed properly. "I had to stand on the chair in order to load the paper."

He looked at my wheeled office chair. He looked at my knee. "You did what?"

"Oh, that's nothing. You should have seen all the crawling underneath, climbing around, and moving things I had to do to get it hooked up properly!"

He continued to glare at me sternly. "You did what?? With your surgery-torn knee?!"

I made a mental note not to mention that I'd actually climbed from the wheeled-office-chair to stand on the surface of the desk, in order to reach the paper feed most conveniently. "Well, I had to get all the cords run, things set up and loaded, you know..."

"You did what??!! You didn't mention this in your journal post."

"Well, I didn't want anyone to scold me.... I was very careful and very safe, you know," I reassured him earnestly.

He relented, then he apologized. "That's okay," I tried to tell him, though I'm not sure I expressed myself properly. You see, I don't really mind when people show concern for me. In fact I kind of like it. It reminds me that they care.

After all, it's the people who care about you, not your stubborn independence, not even your shiny new printer, that ultimately make life worthwhile.