Some Necessary Perspective

This past week has been hard. I’ve had at least three days of what I would call backslide, where I wasn’t making good progress. I’ve felt as though I’m more stiff than usual, not bending well at all. Conversely, I woke up Friday morning and realized that the swelling in my knee had gone down a lot. Pretty much over night. But I still can’t straighten out my leg as far as I once could – that’s diminished in the past week or so.

When I went to PT on Friday, Jennie had me start out on the bike, doing easy half circles for five minutes. It was really tough at first but by the end of the time I was able to make full circles.

I asked her about the lack of consistent progress. She immediately apologized that she hadn’t told me that at the start. I had to point out to her that she hadn’t been the first therapist I’d seen, that someone else should have explained that situation to me. But at least she agreed, that yes, someone should have told me that I was going to have setbacks and that my daily progress wasn’t going to be linear. What they really wanted to see was progress week over week.

Something else she told me – that it might take a full year before all the swelling subsided in my knee. It might start to look fairly normal after about six months, but chances were it would remain slightly puffy for quite some time.

Awesome.

One of the important measures that they do every visit is to see how far my knee is bending. Last PT visit, I started at 104 degrees and went up to 108.

I was dreading this portion of PT, afraid that I’d really backslid.

Now, they expect you to backslide between PT visits, actually. Since I ended at 108, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to come in the next visit and be back down to 105, possibly even 104, but then push it up past 108, say, maybe to 110.

The first measurement that she took? I was at 113 degrees.

Wow. Not at all what I was expecting.

With some stretching, and some pushing, I was able to get that up to 118.

Evidentially, 120 degrees is the goal. That’s considered “function.”

Are you fucking kidding me? 120 is *not* what I could consider functional. It isn’t even adequate. I believe I was at 135 before the operation. I plan on blowing far past 135. That was why I had the surgery.

So I told her my fears, about how it had been such a bad week.

She gave me this look, something like exasperation.

I’m four weeks plus a few days post-op. However, according to her, I’m functioning at a six week post-op level.

And also – I need to stop worrying about it and *don’t push*. I’m doing fine. Really really well, actually.

Oh.

I really had needed to hear that.

One of the other things we talked about was balance. At first, she merely wanted me to stand on one leg for a while.

Uhmmmm, I already do that every day. While I’m brushing my teeth. I’ve been doing that for the last week or more.

I explained to her my goal of having such good balance so that when I’m 80 years old, I won’t fall over and break a hip. I can still do a Romanian leg lift standing on the OEM leg – hinge at the waist, healing leg straight out behind me, down to touch the ground then slowly back up. I don’t have the strength to do it while standing on the healing leg, not yet.

So I showed Jennie that I could do that exercise, still had the muscle control to go down slow and controlled then back up again. She was very glad that I had showed that to her, because it helped her to realize that merely standing on one foot was going to be really boring for me. She gave me different exercises to do instead.

All the while with the caution of being gentle and careful and I’m doing really well. Even when I don’t think I am. Even when I’m frustrated with what I think is a lack of progress. I’m making really good progress. I’m still at the four week point. I need to continue to focus on healing.

So that was kind of my wake-up call for the week. I’m doing well, even if I’m not 100% better. And I need to be patient.

Did y’all have any kind of wake-up call this week?

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