Monday, May 19, 2008

Falling out of bed

Some people have noticed the lack of knitting and sewing content lately. It's partly due to an arthritis flare-up. I came down with an infection and my joints swelled up so badly, I gained 2 pounds overnight. Basic activities became so difficult, I cut down on my non-core activities. (But, perhaps, I should reclassify creative pursuits as core activities?) It got so bad that I restarted physical therapy again.

I used to go to a PT 7.5 miles away from work; my home is halfway between the hospital/my network of doctors and workplace. 7.5 miles doesn't sound like much, but it can take 45 minutes during commute hours--and I try to book my appointments before or after my workday which means the traffic is always bad. The old place was fine, but all that running around 2-3x per week was adding to my stress. This time, I decided to try a new place that opened up on my way to work. It is less than 5 minutes from either work or home.

My rheumatologist said that he had another patient who went there and had a very positive experience. I am so glad I made the switch. Today's session was very different from anything I have ever experienced in 20 years of (off and on) PT.

The PT I met today is trained in the Feldenkrais Method. He asked me what kind of things I have problems with. I replied, "Getting out of bed, in and out of chairs, and sitting for long periods of time." He asked me to show him how I get out of bed. I complied.

Did you know there is a right and wrong way to get out of bed? (He never said that I did anything wrong; he asked if I would like to learn an easier way.) I had never given rolling out of bed much thought before. But, after he explained the easier method and the bio-mechanical reasoning behind it, I got it immediately. So, if you asked me why I was late getting to work today, I could honestly say that I was practicing getting in and out of bed.

Excuse me, I have to go practice see-saw breathing, alternating belly breathing with chest breathing. Apparently, most people have difficulty with the former but not the latter. I have no trouble with belly breathing, but have very little range of motion in my rib cage. We think it has something to do with the ribs I cracked in a mountain biking accident, trying to keep up with the Boulder chapter of WOMBATS (Women's Mountain Biking And Tea Society). That's a whole 'nother story.

It is hard to get out of The Most Beautiful Bed in the Whole World, but one must.


  1. Anonymous08:03

    How interesting--I have had a PT show me the proper way to sit and get in/out of a chair, but I never thought about getting out of bed.

  2. Anonymous15:21

    During a stint in an ICU, I also had a PT teach me how to get out of bed. I don't know if it was the same way you learned, or if it was specific to my partiular situation at the time. The PT didn't need to work very hard to sell me on the benefits of doing it her way: following her instructions, I COULD get out of bed. Trying to do it my old way, I COULDN'T. These days my strength is back and in truth I'm not sure if I've gone back to my old habits since I don't think about it anymore.

  3. I hope you feel better soon. Is the proper way rolling to one side and then slowly raising yourself with your arms? I was told that sitting up from a prone position is very stressful for the heart.

  4. Roll over on your side to the edge of the bed. Swing your legs off the bed as you move your head diagonally upward. Instead of bolting upright, trace an airplane takeoff or landing approach with your nose and gain/lose elevation gradually.

    Swinging legs off the bed at the right time shifts the center of gravity downward. That energy can be harnessed to ease the torso upward.

    Commentator Eric sent an email explaining, "if you get your hips in the right place, they act as a sort of pivot point, with the weight of your legs swinging down off the bed counterbalancing the weight of your torso/head swinging up into the air."


Comments are open for recent posts, but require moderation for posts older than 14 days.