Probably the best thing about being knocked down a peg or two, in my case by knee surgery, are the moments of indescribable glee when I reach a new milestone. It reminds me, in a weird sort of way, about how excited I'd get when one of the kids smiled (with eye contact!) for the first time, rolled over, first stood up, took their first step, etc. Important stuff, much of it captured on film. It's no less exciting for me when I reach a "first" as I travel this new-to-me road to recovery. Today, it was showering alone and making complete revolutions on the stationary bike!
Day 13 ~ I once again greeted the morning in frustrated tears. I woke with as I attempted to slid my foot towards my bottom to bend my knee, wondering how I was going to manage 3 times, let alone 20, which is my minimum goal. And I make every effort to do this 3-5 times each day, along with the other five exercises given to me at PT for daily use.
This morning I am unbearably stiff, and disheartened beyond belief. I settle myself in my favorite spot, (no easy task, as I have to drag my water bottle, book, exercise recording chart, pen, miscellaneous pill bottles, phone and cane) ready to hunker down into an all out pity party of one. David brings me my tea and asks what I'd like for breakfast. "Could I have some scrambled eggs and a piece of toast," I whine. He busies himself in the kitchen and I cry out, "I'll NEVER be able to walk! I can BARELY bend my knee! I'm NOT getting any better!" And David patiently tells me that I'm expecting too much, too fast. Tells me that when he had surgery it was months before he walked. And, basically, without saying the actual words, tells me to quit feeling sorry for myself. (I'm just a little pouty, as I really do want to feel sorry for myself this morning!)
All the while I eat my breakfast, drink my tea, and read the paper, I am stretching this damn knee, to the best of my ability. I spend some time massaging it, mostly just the top part, as I can't reach the bottom area. I discover I can drop it down through this little space, between the chair and the recliner part, that allows me to stretch back with my foot, then, I carefully lift it as high as I can, and repeat. As I'm massaging I'm sending little messages to my knee: I love you, right knee. You mean the world to me. I want what's best for you. I love you. You are my friend. I care about you. You are special to me.
While reading the paper I come across a really neat article about visiting Versailles by bike tour. After getting pumped up about that possibility next June, (We are visiting France in 2012 with our daughters) I decided to give my stationary bike another shot. I'd managed on Friday at PT to ride four minutes, forward and back, pain point to pain point. Then, I went two minutes backwards and another two minutes forwards.
Yesterday, despite repeated attempts to accomplish the same thing at home, I could not. I could go pain point to pain point, but not all the way around. It hurt too much to force the issue. But this morning, I went pain point to pain point, and WHOOPS! Backwards for 80 revolutions! I'm not sure how much time that is, as I started counting only planning to go maybe 10, and surprised myself. Regardless, it was a HUGE moment, that thrilled me more than anything else has since this knee journey began.
I've been frustrated by how hard it is to walk, and felt that the "magic" will be when I can ride the bike at some level of comfort. It hurt this morning, like crazy, but it wasn't so bad I couldn't manage and it seems like I am walking a little less stiffly since. I have also been stopping frequently while I trudge along with my walker, like every other step, and stretching my foot back to lengthen my stride, which I think is helping. On Friday I was told I can practice with a cane at home, but must use the walker in public. I don't like it, but I also completely understand that falling would be detrimental to my recovery in a big way. I do NOT want to risk falling!
After my successful bike episode, I decided I wanted to try taking a shower. Friday I was shaky and had to take frequent rest periods between showering, dressing, drying my hair, brushing my teeth, etc. before I went to PT, so I haven't been too excited to try again. But, success leads to success!
What unmitigated bliss, to sit in the shower, washing my hair, using my funky sponge on a dowel to scrub my feet and toes. It's pretty heavenly, just to remove the much hated white knee sox (TEDs), my constant companion for the next four weeks (two weeks done!). I still must make concessions, sit versus standing, nix shaving legs (no need, they're covered for another month!), and sit on a chair while drying my hair. But, still, I did it, all by myself, and didn't have to take three separate breaks to lay on the bed in-between as I did on Friday. I've made so much progress!
So, while I'm physically chair bound, earth bound, and house bound for the upcoming weeks, I am delighted that I can "soar" on my magic carpet of small successes. I can soar as I begin planning one portion of our vacation next year (Fat Tire Bike Tour of Versailles ~ how cool is that?).
I'm soaring . . .