Less faff returning to the hotel this week. I checked in at 9am (after navigating through another two coach loads of Chinese students – we’ve worked out they’re here to visit the Harry Potter set) I requested the same room as before and they obliged. I unpacked, settled in and then headed to the first talk at 10am, Weekend Review. We discussed our goals and whether we achieved them openly and chipped in with ideas on how we could have done things differently for goals we didn’t achieve – see my Weekend One post for more info on mine. This is the plus side of having such a small group – we’re able to discuss things in more depth and support each other more.

Straight after was the misleadingly named Foiling a Flare Up Talk. “Foiling” means stopping something but thankfully RNOH realise that even when we do everything “correctly” there will still be times when our pain worsens. Life doesn’t stop. So they come up with a personalised plan for you to take away and use in those times. The talk emphasised that flare ups are temporary setbacks, they may require us to reset our activity levels back to our baselines but we should continue to move and stretch even at our worst and pace up again from there. The techniques to use in a flare up are pretty obvious:
Keep up correct posture
Pace rest and movement accordingly
Relaxation
Distraction
Stretching
Ice/heat
Communicating our issues with others
Identifying triggers
Staying positive
Re-reading the course material.
No mention of pain medication there but they can’t prescribe or comment on your medication so perhaps that’s why.

Straight into another talk after that: Anatomy and Healing. By this time I had been sitting upright for 2hours and I started to feel PoTSy, despite getting up and moving and guzzling salt and water. I asked to lie down in the room briefly (5 mins) and then slowly sat up and returned to my seat. POTS expertly demonstrated that no matter what RNOH say, sometimes you really need to lie down for longer. It took one of my course mates (a nurse) to notice that I’d gone very pale, shakey and was clearly struggling before the PT conceded that I needed to lie down again. 20 mins more on the floor and I was much better. The actual talk was fairly interesting, I enjoy the physiology bits. I can post photos of the slides if anyone wants them.

After we had lunch (cheese and ham panini with vegetable crisps) and then I had a little break before physio. The session was really good. I’ve nailed posture, holding the position correctly for much longer without pain or tiredness. I can do it standing, siting on a chair or on the floor and I’ve found it’s coming naturally. Rather than having to remember to sit with correct posture and reverting back to slouched after a few minutes, now my normal is good posture. When I tire I get up and move or stretch (I own you, pacing!!) and I allow myself to slouch for short periods now and then. The slouch is definitely starting to feel abnormal! We worked on my walking more too. I had been struggling to do it correctly without looking like a robot as there was so much to think about. The new Physio I’ve been handed over too made it much simpler: all I had to do to start with was engage my core. Sounds simple enough – and I could do it. Except I couldn’t engage my core, walk AND breathe all at the same time. I was tensing my whole upper body, not moving my arms and holding my breath. I wasn’t swinging my hips out though – small victories!! After a lot of practice I did actually get it, and although I have to actively concentrate on it I can walk properly now. Yippee!! Some praise and encouragement rounded my day off nicely. I really think I’m starting to show improvement 😀

I have cooking class on Tuesday which you have to bring your own ingredients in for. One of my course mates (CM from now on) very kindly drove me to tescos and we actually used our pacing skills. In the real world!! We parked in the disabled bay, got a trolley for my CM to lean on/help steady her walking and took it very slowly. We only went to the aisles we needed rather than walking the whole way round, we had little rest breaks and most importantly we sat down at a cafe and had a drink before we headed home. Pretty pleased with myself for implementing a tool that goes completely against my nature, but it did the trick. I didn’t faint, wobble or feel terrible and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to say that after a shopping trip! Feeling really positive about the changes. Bring on the rest of the week!

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