It's been a good week. Since my "revelation" on Saturday, I've experienced continued progress in my recovery journey, and it has renewed my optimistic outlook. (which I thought I'd lost forever!) I think I'm going to walk again! (Without a walker or a cane . . . eventually!)
Thanks to an email from a new friend, I started walking with my wheeled walker on the street last Saturday. It's a pretty slow process, and I'm now walking the length of three houses, plus across the street and back. It isn't pain free walking, but I'm walking, and it feels good to be going someplace other than the bathroom, even if I just wheel myself down the street and back again!
This week at physical therapy I've been working hard learning new exercises, and coming home with renewed pain, making it challenging to see success at times. The one real measurement of progress is the degrees of bend and straight in my knee that the PT records at each session. While it seems backwards to my mind, the bending goal is 120 degrees on my new knee (my old knee measurement is 136). Yesterday, I went from 112 to 115, which completely surprised me. That is solid progress!
Of course, straight, they want zero degrees (as opposed to 180, as I would think!) and I was at three, which is not so great. I've actually been at one before, but I seem to be having a harder time straightening than bending lately. I'm told just keep doing the exercises where I rest my heel on a styrofoam cylinder, and gravity then forces my knee to hang straight. It's another exercise that is painful as I'm supposed to hold that position for five minutes, ten times a day. I made it to two minutes, four times, last night before I went to bed, where sleep evaded me, as aching overtook the darkness.
It was one of my roughest nights. It seemed I was awake more than I slept and woke eventually not feeling very refreshed at all. There was no comfortable position, and despite taking a pill, and bringing an ice bag to bed with me, I slept fitfully and poorly. For the first time since surgery, I couldn't force myself to do my "laying down" exercises before I got out of bed this morning. I hobbled toward the kitchen, fixed tea and a piece of toast, took a pain pill and settled into my recliner with ice on my knee. And here I sit!
As I write, the ice and the pill beginning to take effect, I am trying to gather that transitory optimism back. I know it's there, hovering on the periphery, beckoning me: Be optimistic! It's getting so much better. You're making strong progress! Don't let yourself slide back. Smile!
In all reality, I want to kick that unsinkable Molly Brown person back to bed, at least for the moment.
But then, not really. If I'm honest with myself, and I try to be, I want to drag myself over to my bike and pump start my day. I want to work on the exercises, even the ones that hurt, and literally put one foot in front of the other, and walk, maybe going one house further today than I did yesterday.
Four weeks from today I am officially back to work, with an all day inservice, and a two hour "Open House" that evening. I am optimistic that I will be mostly recovered, and able to perform my job. Realistically, I know that I will not yet be 100%, and that I will need to recall the lessons learned this summer about taking care of myself. Some that come to mind are: acceptance, take it slow, delegate, pay attention, listen, be gentle, be patient, trust, ask for help, be kind, exercise, don't give up, and know my limits. All of those lessons can be taken into the classroom with me, and will help me be the teacher I want to be for each of my new students.
It hasn't been the sort of summer I would wish for, or want to have. It's been a crazy hard summer and it isn't over yet, (thank God!) because I'm not ready physically for it to be over yet! But, I am in the place I am meant to be, and I am optimistic that I will one day be glad I had this summer, for all its fears and challenges and misery and lessons.
I'm not quite there yet . . . to that glad place, but I'm cautiously moving in that direction!