Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?



I’ve been aiming for zero for a long time.

I’m constantly asked by my healthcare team to rate my pain between 0 and 10. For the last six months, my new 0 is roughly equal to what had been my 2. The pain has been so constant that I haven’t been without at least some kind of pain, whether a deep ache when I wake up in the morning or sharp pain while I’m working on my PT exercises. So when it’s only a 2, I feel like it’s a good day, and I rate it a 0.

That all changed this morning. I was able to honestly tell my PT that my pain was at a ZERO when I walked into therapy.

Let me explain.

I haven’t seen my therapist in three weeks because of scheduling difficulties, and those three weeks have been a total roller coaster. For a few days after my last session, the pain was uncontrollable, and I was unable to get back on my bike.

Aside: I’d been complaining about the fact that I can’t ride and do my PT exercises, and my PT was all, “Why don’t you quit complaining and do something about it? Mix it up. Ride one day and do PT the next.” So I was giving it a shot.

Anyway, I tried to go out for a ride, and it wasn’t terrible when I was on the bike. But I knew I was in trouble the moment I put my foot on the ground after I was done riding. Pain. Lots of pain. I’d only gone 15 miles, which is about half of what I’d been doing before starting PT. I finally gave in and called my surgeon to ask if he could prescribe an anti-inflammatory. He did. It’s a new one for me. The last one didn’t do a thing, so I didn’t have much hope, but I felt like I needed to try something.

About five days into the new prescription, I noticed that there seemed to be a tiny bit of a difference when I was doing my PT. A few days after that, I went on a 10-mile ride, and I didn’t want to punch someone in the face afterwards. So far, there’s no bleeding ulcer, so we might finally be on to something.

Three days ago, I did all my PT exercises and then some. Two days ago, I went on another 10-mile ride. Yesterday, I woke up feeling pretty good. I walked into PT and told my therapist that I was at a 0.

I’m amazed, too. It’s not like I’m not also still doing all the icing and elevating, so it’s kind of a small thing to be optimistic about. But I need very little to get excited, and I spent a good amount of time Tuesday night thinking about registering for the Hilly Hundred (a 100-mile bike ride over two days next month). I know it’s not reasonable, but I want to do something SO BAD!

When I followed up the 0 assessment with, “I’m thinking that means I can do the Hilly Hundred next month,” my PT’s response made me laugh.

“Did your doctor also prescribe crack?”

“Ha. No. This is real. This is happening.”

“It’s good that you’re so optimistic… unless you’re just that out of touch with reality.”

“Whatever! Fine. Let’s compromise. I’ll just do a short tri. That’s only going to be 18 miles on the bike. But it requires running.”

The look of disgust on my PT’s face was indescribable. Cracked me up.

She finally relented and said that I can do the ride… as long as I’m in a buggy hooked behind someone else’s bike.


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

5 thoughts on “Zero

  1. Glad to hear the pain is slowly going down! just remember that progress is progress no matter how small it is. I hear you about wanting to do something! When I sawbmy doctor last I asked him how far I could push it. he looked at what I wanted to do. I have recently found out Ironman is coming to Colorado next year. Like the full on thing. I told himthat from that date I had a full year to trian if he thought it would be ok. If it wasn’t for my daughter being there I think he would have said more colorful words.
    Anyways I’m glad to hear your making head with your knee. I know it has not been an easy road to go down.

    • See, so you know, too?! How it feels to want to do something, ANYTHING, so badly. I hate feeling hampered by this knee, so it takes just the tiniest improvement to make me think I can conquer the world. lol. I’m with you there. An Iron Man though… wow! I don’t know if I’ll ever make it that far. Good on you for setting your sights high! I bet your doc’s response was funny, even if it was frustrating, too.

      How is your recovery coming along? Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

  2. Yes he’s response was funny, I have to smile whenever I think about it. Let’s see my recovery for the first time is going really will (it’s about time). I can run 2 miles before I have to stop and its not from knee pain, its because my lungs are out of shape. Which in terms of Ironman is not very good when you have to run 26.2 miles. But I will take what I can get. I still can’t do a full squad only the mini ones but the fact that I can do that is amazing. I started doing plyometrics this week. I’ll just that phrase is so true about white man can’t jump! Well not the man part. I’m dieing to do a race of some kind.

    • Two miles is great! I hate how the whole body gets out of shape just because one body part decides to take some time off. I’m impressed. I haven’t “run” more than about 20 steps at one time since surgery. I use the air quotes because I was doing something that more resembled skipping than running; I have quite the hitch in my step when I do anything but walk.

      What kind of plyometric exercises are you doing? I can’t imagine jumping at all, so I’m super curious. I’ve definitely learned more exercises through the last three years of PT than I’d ever known before. I swear they make some of them up!

  3. Pingback: How do you measure a year? | Just What I Kneeded

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