December 5th, 2006

Cut cuddle and be Cute

Various things

My body/brain has decided to go on strike,, so I got very little done last night. This seems to be nothing new, though. So, in no particular order, here are a few notes about stuff I want to talk about in greater depth, but probably won't get to have time to do so.

First, thanks go to Anndrea, who observed Disabled Persons Day. I'm honored that she chose to include my blog! Also, in
This engaging entry
Andrea just summarized the last week of my philosophy class. Which is probably a good thing, because the current movie we're watching is extremely visual, so I need more help comprehending this stuff than usual.

I'm extremely happy that I got a chance to get into the Holistic Health course offered over J-Term. Seems like a good course for a future medical social worker, and it gets me out of the house sooner. I love my family and friends, but living in an area where you can't get anywhere without a car is not fun. This will shorten my break, but it may be a good thing.

I kind of got called out yesterday. I made the mistake of preceeding my comment in class with "This might be insignificant but..." Unfortunately, it wasn't insignificant. It's nice to know that it was otherwise a good comment though. The thing is, I feel very much like I'm in ninth grade advanced science, and wondering why I'm in the advanced class.

Today, if nothing goes wrong, I will finally be giving my presentation on pain management and relaxation. This should be interesting, to put it mildly.

Lastly, I'm finding this time of year to be interesting in the sense that now that I've had more theology background, I'm sitting here analyzing Christmas Music. It's fun to go "OOH, that's where that perspective came from..." In short, I continue to prove my geekness when it comes to using what I learned in school. It's funny because people are always asking if I'm done with my "Generals" yet and telling me how nice that will be when I'm done. The thing is, I like most generals, except I'm dreading math. I love learning different perspectives, although taking philosophy at the same time as theology is somewhat confusing. Especially when you get to Sarte, who says there is no God, and then go to theology and read the Bible with the premise that "God is sovereign."

With that, I need to get ready for the day.

Cut cuddle and be Cute

Chronic Pain Management through Relaxation (or is that true?)

I was able to give my presentation on pain management today. I think it went well, though I could've talked about aspects of that for much longer than the three to five minutes allotted in class. Mainly, I focussed on relaxation skills and applications for pain management, though I also defined types of pain. In that little bit, I said that acute pain is what we experience when something is wrong, like if we hit our fingers with hammers. I also mentioned that acute pain happens to some of us more often than others which got a laugh.

I then basically discussed the various relaxation techniques and how they can apply to pain. Breathing, or more specifically, focussing on breath is a good way to not focus on the pain (to an extent). It's portable, and can take very little time too.

Muscle relaxation is also helpful. There's progressive muscle relaxation, which we experienced in class as actively tensing then relaxing the muscle. But I found a few references to passive relaxation where you imagine the body softening, and becoming warm, soft and relaxed. That's good with pain, since I've noticed that tensing can be really painful if you do it in the part of the body that's in pain.

Then there's imagery, and I talked about how imagery can be a distraction, or you can imagine things that decrease your pain. For example, imagining warmth sometimes decreases my pain. I also mentioned the body scan concept here, where you specifically imagine that painful part relaxing once you're deeply relaxed.

I then mentioned a few relevant studies, which I can't find right now. But all in all, it was a good presentation. I wish I'd had more time though. One last note, which I actually presented at the beginning is that relaxation is usally just one part of managing pain. It's rarely, if ever, the only thing needed to control pain.

Then, though, the professor started talking. She said something interesting, which I don't remember ever hearing, and don't know if it's actually something I could practically apply. She said medications don't work as well after reaching over a five out of ten on the pain scale, so it's best to catch the pain then. If that rule is true, I've been breaking it for over a year. I mean, I always take medication that's supposed to be on a schedule as I'm directed. I never intentionally skip doses of my daily medications. But meds like Percocet, I tend to avoid until I have to take them (usually a high six or seven or more). So, is this a reasonable guideline to follow?

Cut cuddle and be Cute

Further along in relaxation class

Among the top five techniques that don't work (including imagining ducks on a pond), is the technique of imagining the painful part of the body in ice water when that painful part is aflicted with RSD. This is because ice is one of the most painful stimuli, at least for me.

As for why the ducks on a pond thing doesn't work for me, there are two reasons. One, is that I can't see a duck on a pond. I'm better off imagining an ocean, which I can hear. The second is purely psychological in the sense that I associate that with injury. The second to the last week in training, Julio, our classmates/dogs and I went for a walk around a pond in a park, with lots of ducks for distractions. Julio got a bit excited, and let's just say I ended up with a scraped up knee, and almost passed out the next morning because of the evilness of Backteen (spelling is wrong I'm sure), and an empty stomach. These experiences are right up there with desensitization techniques I've tried in the past (desensitization for the foot that is).

Just thought I'd share...