Three times a week, I visit the wonderful people at Accelerated Hand Therapy of Morristown, where they give me lots of activities to do. I stretch to touch blocks to the top of my head, I bounce weighted balls on trampolines, and play with putty. As a warm-up, I have to dip my elbow into paraffin, a hot wax that's about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the therapists stretch and bend my elbows and wrists.
Both of these splints hurt while I wear them, but when all is said and done, they help me increase the range of motion in my right arm. Wearing these two types of splints intermittently is considered an aggressive type of therapy, but it's necessary, because like most elbow fractures, my injury was pretty bad.
After a particularly grueling day of therapy, my therapist got out the handy protractor to measure my range of motion. 100. Again. No growth. "Numbers aren't everything," she reminds me. Let's think about the function of your arm. What are you able to do now that you couldn't do before?
I've begun to touch the top of my head. In recent weeks, I've learned again to eat with a long fork with my right hand. I can brush my teeth if I concentrate. Scratching my nose is easier than it was. Yes, scratching my nose! But these are small successes, equally important in the process of healing, of growth.
When we don't focus on the number, but on our function as learners, as teachers, and as arm-users, we can more readily see how we've grown...and what our next steps will be!