Physio Assessment at Tapping House

An account of my first visit to Tapping House Hospice and the physio assessment that took place there.

INTRODUCTION

At 11AM today, exactly as planned, a vehicle arrived to collect me and take me to Tapping House Hospice for a an introduction to their physio arrangements. The physio came in person along with the driver. In the rest of this post I will describe what happened.

THE JOURNEY THERE

Major housing developments have opened up a lot of North Lynn in recent years, and we were able to head for the main road to Hillington, the village in which the hospice is situated, by way of Lynn Sport and the industrial area of North Lynn. The journey pased without incident, and the physio then conducted me to the room wherein the sessions will take place when I can start them (next week’s sessions are already full, but it is just possible that I will be able to attend sessions from the week after next). 

THE ASSESSMENT

The assessment consisted of a number of parts:

  • Get up from a chair and sit back down five times in a row.
  • Stand in front of the chair with my eyes closed and my feet together for 90 seconds – I felt that I was shaking like a leaf when I did this but apparently the reality was less dramatic than what I felt.
  • Walk to the door leading into the ‘snug’ 
  • Walk a short distance, turn around and walk back (the physio neasured the appropriate distance).
  • Put one foot on a step and bring it back down again five times
  • Then it was time to sample the equipment – two minutes on the treadmill at its lowest speed, three minutes on a bicycle simulation (it offers much more physical support than a real bike, but you pedal it as if on a bike – my average speed over the three minutes was 14.1kph – just a tick over 8.5mph – a baseline figure against which future attempts can be measured) and a brief introduction the all-over workout machine, which I did not enjoy since my balance has never been the best, and I did not feel secure at any stage.

I think I have missed something as there were supposed to be seven stages, but this is what I remember of the assessment.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

Louise made some sensible suggestions about outside walking, involving making use of the area immediately outside my bungalow, which I shall put into practice from tomorrow (weather permitting) – I did actually manage a visit to the very local shop yesterday, but it was tiring. She also helped me with some advice on regulating the breathing, which I shall endeavour to make full use of.

HOMEWARD BOUND

The journey home passed uneventfully, and although we had taken the precaution of bringing the wheelchair along for the ride it proved to be unnecessary, and we probably won’t bother with it next time I go to Tapping House. I enjoyed my first visit to the hospice, and look forward with more enthusiasm than apprehension to getting involved in group physio sessions once there is a space for me.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photographs taken today:

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Pot outside the main entrance (2 pics)

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A nice map of Norfolk displayed above the reception desk.

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The gym equipment.

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Health Update

An update on my health situation…

INTRODUCTION

I have just had a visit from Louise, a therapist at Tapping House to fit a new toilet seat and frame to make it easier for me to use the toilet, and to discuss possibilities re therapy at Tapping House. This post attempts to give an overview of the situation.

MY CURRENT STATE OF HEALTH

My body appears to have responded well overall to the cancer treatments I have endured over the last few months – as I have mentioned elsewhere the tumour counts appear to be regularly falling. I am currently experiencing breathing issues which could be caused by any of several possibly linked issues:

  • One of the areas worst affected by the tumours were my lungs, and although the tumours there appear to have almost gone the current issues could still relate back to the cancer.
  • One of the drugs used in my chemotherapy is known to sometimes have an adverse effect on chests and lungs, and it is possible that this is a contributory factor.
  • I have recently had a lung infection, and currently have a mild chest infection for which I am on antibiotics, and there is no doubt that both of these have contributed to the problems.
  • Finally I have through necessity been been very inactive for some time, and this may also partially explain why such activity as I am currently capable of tends to leave me breathless.

The therapist has given me some tips on breathing and on posture when on my feet (e.g in the kitchen), and will be in contact with me again in about a week to see if I am improving, with a view if I am to starting me on physio sessions at Tapping House. She has also indicated that she could take me out in the wheelchair for sessions in which I sit for some of the time and walk for some of the time (the weather is exceptionally mild for an English February, and getting outside more would be good for me).

My confidence is starting to improve as time goes by and I do more things without falling or having other accidents. 

At some stage, when I am strong enough to go through such a procedure, there remains an operation to be endured, and that will probably entail some recovery time as well. 

For the time being I will be seeing at least one carer once per day, which remains a necessity as it ensures that someone who can presumably recognise warning signs will be seeing me daily, and one hopes will be ready to take action if needed. 

With a fair wind I could be starting therapy sessions in just over a week, and I hope to spending more time out of the bungalow and to be more physically active in the not too distant future.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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A card from my friends at NAS West Norfolk

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A couple of illustrations from George Smoot’s “Wrinkles in Time”

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Comparison between two antique maps of Norfolk – this one in my aunt’s house (four images)…

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…and this one which belonged to my grandparents is now on display in my bungalow (five images)

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A Session With Tapping House’s Physio

An account of yesterday’s very successful meeting with a physio from Tapping House.

INTRODUCTION

Louise Gent, physio at Tapping House Hospice, came to visit yesterday as planned. First of all I showed her my flat and demonstrated things like how I get in and out of bed and down to and back up from the toilet. She has arranged to get me a new piece of equipment for the toilet – a combination of  a frame and raised seat because she noticed that to get up I had to put both hands on the metal grip to generate sufficient leverage. 

This led on to discussions about…

THE FUTURE

Louise’s opinion having seen me in action was that my basic mobility is not too bad but that because of the fall I took at the weekend I lack confidence, which is entirely accurate as far I am concerned.

I will be attending regular sessions at Tapping House starting fairly soon. They provide transport for people, so this gets me out of the bungalow as well as helping to rebuild confidence and fitness without overstretching family or friends by needing someone to take me to Hillington where they are based. 

Tapping House have made it abundantly clear that they will do all that they can to help me, and I in turn will do my absolute best to benefit from their help, for which I am very grateful.

PHOTOGRAPH

Just one pic today – while I was watching the world go by from by bungalow a magpie was doing likewise from a perch near the top of a tree that is fully visible through my living room window…

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Looking Ahead

Accounts of a very important and successful meeting yesterday morning and of a personally very satisfying moment also from yesterday when it was cinfirmed that I have got anm Arts Award (Bronze level).

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with two things that both happened yesterday, one of huge significance, the other less so but very personally satisfying. 

A VERY SUCCESSFUL MEETING WITH REBECCA FROM TAPPING HOUSE

I had arranged to see Rebecca yesterday morning for a follow-up meeting after our first very successful meet-up a little earlier. This meeting went magnificently, with Rebecca making a number excellent and logical suggestions for ways to help me. I have agreed in principle to meet with either an Occupational Therapist or a Physio to talk about ways to improve my physical fitness. She also suggested that I might be interested in courses they run at Tapping House where I would have the opportunity to meet others who have had similiar experiences to my own, which also sounds a very interesting possibility. 

Knowing that I need help and support to get through this difficult time in my life I am minded to consider any options that seem sensible, as all of the above do. I finished yesterday’s session feeling much better about life in general for the knowledge that such potentially useful help and support is being made available.

Whatever happens from here on, Tapping House have already proven to be worth their weight in gold, and I am very grateful for everything they are doing for me.

AN ARTS AWARD

One of the last things I did before illness took over my life completely was to submit a portfolio at Musical Keys for an Arts Award (Bronze Level). It has now been confirmed that I did enough to earn to said award (equivalent apparently to a grade D at GCSE), which I am delighted by. In addition to the specific Musical Keys stuff I had to produce something about seeing art in the flesh, and I had chosen something where the only photographic record of the occasion was my own, so this award means, albeit at a low level, official recogniton for my photography. I also had to produce something about an individual artist who had inspired me, and I opted for Maurits Cornelis Escher, for whom there is an official website from which I cribbed (and of course admitted to doing so).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some pictures to end this little post:

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This globe is on display at my aunt’s house
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A cricket themed tea towel being displayed as an ornament in my kitchen.

A Busy Day

An account of a very busy and important day in my life, intended to be written as positively as possible.

INTRODUCTION

I am finally relaxing at home after being on the go since about 10:30AM today with various things. This has been a very important and very tiring day for me. 

DOCTORS SURGERY 1: BLOOD TEST FOR MAGNESIUM COUNT

Owing to the fact that I was nearly out of chewable magnesium pills (I have been on three a day among the large number of medications I take) I was required to attend the doctor’s surgery for a blood test to assess whether I needed more magnesium or not. This was followed by a return home for…

DISCUSSIONS WITH PEOPLE FROM TAPPING HOUSE RE ONGOING SUPPORT AND PALLIATIVE CARE

This session, which ended up lasting for over an hour, was easily the most constructive I have had with any sort of support workers over the whole time since I became ill. They listened and understood as I told them about the negative effects autism has on me specifically and how that impacts on my support needs. They made some wonderdul suggestions about how best to help me, and it is quite clear that are extremely serious about doing everything possible to support me through my recovery. 

I actually felt, as I have not in other circumstances over these few months, that I was being regarded as of interest as a human being, not merely as a patient or as an example of an autistic person (though recognition of this last is hugely important and thoroughly welcomed). 

I now believe I can look to the future in the certainty that support which is tailored to my specific needs will be available to me, and that is HUGE news.

LUNCH WITH MY AUNT

When my mother and I initially planned today we had intended to have lunch at Pizza Express, but the tightening of the schedule made that an impossibility. My aunt provided an excellent lunch and as proof that my appetite is returning I was able to eat two platefuls of food. Then it was time for…

THE OPTICIANS

My mother had arranged an appointment at Vision Express in King’s Lynn for me to have my eyes properly tested. My current spectacles, which will become my back-up pair in about ten days time definitely address my astimgatism, but they do not fully address the other eye issue I have that lenses can correct, my mild myopia. 

I accepted the advice of the experts and for a considerable price went for varifocals tailored to the needs of an IT Professional (which when I am well enough to work is what I what I am). 

There do not appear to be any really serious problems with my eyes, although as a safety measure the optometrist made a non-urgent referral to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (which means I shall see them in about six months time – they are permanently struggling).

All in all I was at the opticians for nearly two hours, with a lot of getting up and down and sitting in chairs that may look nice but don’t actually offer a lot of support.

After this it was time for a…

A TOP UP SHOP AT SAINSBURY’S

This was accomplished with a minimum of fuss once we had got there, although there was an incident in the car park that was nearly very unpleasant indeed. A blue van whose driver was clearly about a million light years away mentally pulled out right across our car (it was our right of way – he was bang out out of order), and we came much to close to a crash (of which I would have borne the brunt) for comfort. My mother limited her official response to a single blast on the horn. I can only hope that this near miss woke the driver up properly and he was more careful for the rest of his journey.

We were sufficiently quick shopping to have time for a very short break having…

HOT DRINKS AT MY AUNTS HOUSE

These had to consumed fairly rapidly because of yet another late addition to our busy schedule. I had developed an ache in my left thigh area, which necessitated…

THE DOCTOR’S SURGERY 2: BLOOD TEST FOR POTENTIAL CLOTTING

During my time as an in-patient I had a blood clot around the original site of my piccline, in my left arm, and then a little later an episode of severe chest pain which was mainly caused by pericarditis but contributed to by a small pulmonary embolism, so the possibility of a clot in an unusual location had to be taken seriously. 

Thus a tiny sampleof blood was taken from one of my fingers to be tested. Fortunately it came back negative. I have been prescribed extra pain killers but apart from the discomfort it causes there does not be anything serious about the problem with my left leg.

HOME AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally, with the clock close to 6PM I was able to leave the surgery and be driven home. I am now somewhat rested from my exertions, and in less pain. Finally for, those of you who have made it to the end, here are some pictures:

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This jellyfish in glass is on display at my aungt’s house.
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All the remaining pictures come from Addenbrookes, taken this Monday.

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