Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Spring is springing

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In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood

You know that saying, “Spring has sprung?” It hasn’t. Not exactly. I suppose that, if you look hard enough between the raindrops, you can see the first tentative tendrils beginning to spring forth. But it’s taking too long! I want to smell like dirt. I know I’m not the only one. These two are pretty excited about the warmer weather, too.

Gypsy Vanner stallion.

He’s a racehorse. A Thoroughbred, if you ask him.

Gypsy Vanner mare.

She’ll not be left behind.

This past weekend provided a tiny hint of what’s to come, and I enjoyed every minute that I could get outside. I went out early on Sunday for a bike ride, but the sun wasn’t out, and it was freaking cold. I lasted only 5 miles before packing it in. My nose was running faster than I was biking.

After the sun came out that afternoon, a friend and I went for a walk on the Monon. It was sunny and warm, the company was fabulous, and we just kind of ambled our way north. I’d no idea how far we’d gone until we finally got to a cross street and looked at the app that was tracking our progress. Over two miles. Whoops! We had to get back to the car, so there was no choice but to trek back the same way. So I logged over 4 miles on the knee; that’s the longest walk I’ve taken since the big surgery in September 2012. I was worried that I’d done something that would cause some nasty repercussions because it was achy and tight by the end of the walk, but I was pleasantly surprised to wake up the next morning and find the knee to be in general working order. Progress! I don’t think it hurt that I’d iced my knee from the inside out with a full cup of Huddles fro yo.

Physical Therapy Update

I told my PT last week that I’m cured. “I don’t need to be able to walk, go up/down stairs, bike, ride… nothing. I’m going to be a couch potato the rest of my life.” Why? Because she was making me do a dumb exercise that I didn’t want to do (by “dumb,” I don’t mean hard exercises; I mean the ones that make me look dumb while doing them). I’m not about doing the dumb exercises in a room full of people. But, as per usual, PT won the battle of wills. I did the exercise.

We didn’t tape my knee last week because it was covered in slime so that my PT could do some soft tissue work. I didn’t think too much of it until the next day when my knee was feeling more swollen, stiff and generally uncomfortable. I did some quick research on the world wide internets and found a place close by that sells similar tape. I slapped it on and felt better inside of 24 hours. Before this experience, I wasn’t entirely sure that the tape really did anything. Now? I still don’t know if it’s the tape or if I just like having a security blanket. Doesn’t really matter because I feel a bit better with it, so I’ll use it.

We’re still working on the IT band. This week brought more stretches and exercises targeted specifically at the hip muscles. Glute medius. Hip flexors. Something like that. I just know where it’s supposed to hurt when I’m done. We added the leg press back in for the first time in a long time. I can do a single-leg press with 150 lbs using my “good” leg. Guess how much I’m allowed to do with my right leg? Twenty-five pounds. Yep. That’s it. And I’m not allowed to move through the whole range of motion; I have to do small presses on either side of my bad ROM. Not that I want to do the full ROM. I totally agree with that part. I bring it up just as a comparison. Because I feel like I should be able to do more at this point…

My PT told me that she was going to give me membership in the “Should Club.” It’s because I keep saying, “I SHOULD be able to do this. I SHOULD be able to do that.” Usually, it’s things that I just want to do. I should be able to bike more than 10 miles without having to suffer consequences. I should be able to stand on my feet for more than an hour. I should be able to sit at my desk for more than 20 minutes before the knee aches. Those sorts of things. My PT apparently doesn’t have much sympathy for my lamentation of self-pity. From now on, I’m going to change my tune… I MUST be able to bike more than 10 miles. I MUST be able to stand on my feet for more than an hour. I’ll let you know if she’s more sympathetic to my new tune.


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.

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