Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The shoulder and neck are better, though not cured. Too much time on the computer, using the mouse and the dull throbbing starts. Moderation, that most elusive of qualities, is my holy grail.
The immediate goal to work on the cow face pose, which with my hypermobile joints I used to find so easy in yoga class. One arm reaching backwards over the shoulder, the other behind the back reaching up. The hands clasp. Once I was proud of my prowess, glowed when the teacher praised my flexibility. Yes, I know, self-congratulation is at variance with the non-competitive spirit of yoga, but that didn't stop me. The karmic comeuppance is that these days I can just about manage the pose on one side only. Impossible to move the right arm upwards behind my back.
The difference between a year ago and now is still dispiriting. A lesson is humility. Also in self-forgiveness: nobody made me sit at the laptop for hours at a time without taking a break
I'm supposed to do exercises three times a day. Some days it's only twice but Sheila the physio is pleased with progress and the gap between our appointments has lengthened from weekly to fortnightly to monthly. At my request - she knows I do massage and is supportive - we name the muscles, bones and joints beneath her fingers as she works, massaging and stretching contracted muscles, neck then arm then shoulder, me on the couch, her standing alongside. A litany, a recitative: Pecs minor, scalenes, subscapularis, levator scapulae, coracoid process, C4 and C5 ....
When we tire of A&P we talk about cats, hers and mine. Or gardening.
I turn onto my back. She places both hands, one over the other, on the injured shoulder, leans her weight forward onto her arms. Clavicle and sternum are pushed towards the spine and my lung capacity is reduced by what feels like 90%. She's a large woman in her early forties, as tall as I am and a former shot putter, solid and muscular. The effect is not dissimilar (I imagine) to being run over. I close my eyes, wonder if my skeleton can take it, imagine the pistol-shot crack of fracturing bone.
At the end of the session the muscles in the right shoulder and arm feel blessedly looser. Silent prayers of thanks for the NHS. And for Sheila. We've almost, in a way, become friends. Not quite, the professional relationship takes precedence, as it should.
But I like her, and I'm grateful.
A visit to a National Trust garden last week. I couldn't tear myself away from the spiralling, unfurling ferns. Uncurling. Releasing. Stretching out of themselves.