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Friday, April 13, 2012

Humble Pie

Slow walk home

Recovery is a humbling process. Two weeks after surgery, I was finally cleared to start physical therapy on Monday. Up until this point, I have been hobbling around on crutches with my leg confined in a straight-leg knee brace. Each day, I gently tried to nudge a little more flexibility back into my knee by hanging my leg off the side of the bed and trying to bend it. Ouch. I could bend it maybe 30 degrees. Needless to say, I was ready to start rebuilding strength and regaining mobility in my leg.

The crazy thing about living in New York City is that you don't realize how hard it is to get around when you can't walk on your own two feet. I had to call a car service to drive me 8 blocks to physical therapy. 

During my first session, my therapist took some baseline measurements to see how far I could bend my knee, the goal being to have my heel touch my butt when I'm lying on my back. On my first try, I was able to bend it a whopping 80 degrees. My knee felt so taut. I was afraid my leg was either going to snap or slingshot out and kick my therapist in the face. That would have been a great first impression. Afterwards, she taught me three basic exercises. 

At the start of my second session on Wednesday, my therapist told me to hop on the bike. I looked at her in disbelief. Excuse me? Was she joking? Nope. I hobbled over and managed to get on the bike. I could move my leg back and forth along the bottom path of the pedal stroke, basically from 12 o'clock to 9 o'clock (when you look at the spoke of the pedal). The last quadrant seemed completely out of reach. But each time, I tried to stretch my leg a little more. After about 10 minutes, I finally got my leg all the way around. Whoa. Again, I thought that something was going to snap. I did my exercises and learned a couple of new ones. By the end of my visit, I could bend my leg to 105 degrees! I also walked home since my car service left me behind for running about 10 minutes late. Thanks.

I had my third session on Thursday night. It was by and large the same drill as last time. However, I was able to complete a full revolution on the bike after only 3 minutes and I kept it up for a good 10 minutes. At the end of the session, my range of motion had improved to 125 degrees. 

It feels great to start moving my knee more. But, I'm not going to lie, it HURTS. It's incredibly humbling to see everything - your strength, flexibility, and basic muscle coordination - go to zero. It's humbling to have to relearn how to walk. I know that it's going to be a long road to get back to where I was previously.

I also know that I'm making progress. Going from 80 degrees to 125 degrees is huge! I'm also walking without crutches (for the most part). I'm most excited about this. Jasper gets worried when he sees me walking without my crutches and yells, "MOMMY!! You're not supposed to be doing that." Oh yes I am.


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16 Comments:

At April 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl said...

Look at your girl! making awesome progress. I would be afraid of things breaking and snapping too! Great job. You'll be back at the beach in no time! And I love that picture!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM , Anonymous Ginger said...

I just had a flashback to my physical therapy after my first knee surgery. GOD I hated that bike.

You'll be amazed at the progress you make though if you work through the pain. I would leave therapy crying and yelling at my therapist...but able to move just that much more. It hurts, but it's at least got a purpose!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM , Blogger Jolene said...

aww! I bet it is humbling, frustrating and an ode to patience all in one, isn't it? You are coming along so nicely and so poised with all of this. You don't complain, you don't get too down about it, you are just focused on progress. THAT is how it's done :)

 
At April 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM , Anonymous Jess said...

Wow. I seriously can't even fathom having to start from zero. Totally gives you such an appreciation over the human body and the sheer ability to MOVE at all. Let alone move, run, jump, sprint, surf! Hang in there -- you have such a positive attitude about this recovery process, it's truly inspiring.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:44 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Aww, thanks! I had a lot of time on my walk home to contemplate what I wanted to take a picture of, play with instagram filters...

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:46 PM , Blogger Christine said...

The bike!! I seriously thought she was mad. Who knew pedaling a damn bike could be so painful. Rationally, I know that I have to work through the pain and that it's all for a purpose. But then the instinctual part of me kicks in and wants to run away screaming. Yes, I keep reminding myself that running away would be counterproductive :-)

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:55 PM , Blogger Christine said...

An ode to patience - I like that. I'm trying really hard to focus on progress and not think too much about what I can't do. I'm also trying not to compare my recovery this time to recovery the last time around. Last time, I was 15 years younger!! Let's just say, things seemed to move along a lot faster then. Then again, that could just be selective memory.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:58 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Jess! I really appreciate all the support I've been getting. It makes it easier to be positive.

 
At April 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM , Anonymous Richard Livsey said...

"Injuries are a part of life. At least they've certainly been a part of mine. No one enjoys them, but if you avoided everything that might hurt you, you'd never get out of bed." Laird Hamilton

And I've had my fair share, you'll be back surfing at 100% before you know it.

 
At April 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM , Blogger Cotter Crunch said...

humble pie will always be cherished, remembered , and it has the ingredients to make you 10x stronger inside. Which you are.

 
At April 14, 2012 at 7:43 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thank you friend! Humble pie sure tastes bitter sometimes but you are so right. Thank you for reminding me!

 
At April 14, 2012 at 7:44 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thank you Richard! Love the Laird quote. Thanks for sharing it.

 
At April 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Brandy said...

Therapy is a slow process but you're doing great. Also, that picture above is so beautiful! Love it!

 
At April 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Brandy! I'm definitely thankful for the itty bitty progress that I make every day. Trying not to think about the long road ahead and just take it day by day.

 
At April 22, 2012 at 8:21 AM , Anonymous Karen Putz said...

Came over here via Teri Larson's post. I could so relate to this! I had ACL surgery back in December and I remember that first time on the bike-- the pain was beyond belief! (Worse than childbirth-- I thought!) I can tell ya, it feels back to normal four months later. Here's to recovery!

 
At April 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Hi Karen! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. Thankfully, after 2 weeks of PT, that bike isn't so bad now but that first time, OUCH!! I'm glad to hear that your feeling great.

 

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