Sunday, August 21, 2011

Future Fear and Fretting

It's a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon.  But, it's really too warm for me to want to be outside.  I prefer sitting in the living room, curtains closed against the heat, fan blowing mostly cool air. After church, Kailyn and I went to Costco, and a garage sale, then home to do . . . not much!  I read for awhile, thought about maybe getting something accomplished, then decided I'd rather not be too productive.  Tomorrow will be time enough for that, as I'm heading into my classroom to get it ready for Open House this Thursday.  Makes me tired just to think about it! Fortunately, Kailyn and my sister are going to be my "movers and arrangers" and hopefully, I'll stay in director mode and not mess up the progress I've been making in my recovery the past few days.  (More on that later!)

When I wake up on Monday, in my mind I'm thinking it will be sort of a practice run for when it's really back to school.  I'll do my "laying down" exercises (I guess they will be with me for a couple years, or so I've been told!) then make a decision.  I'll either read the paper while I have a cup of tea, or start the rest of my exercise routine which begins with hopping (not exactly a "hop") on my bike and pedaling for 20 minutes.  Then I have a whole new set of muscle strengthening exercises (which are mostly not very fun, as my muscles aren't working very well!) which take about 20 minutes.  I am now expected to stand on one leg, with knee slightly bent (which my new knee hates, by the way) for 30 seconds.  It's impossible without holding onto the counter, and dropping my good foot on occasion, just to keep myself from crashing to the floor! That "slight" bend is a killer!  I can manage it with my knee locked, but the PT doesn't think that's going to be helpful (and even I know she's right!) I'm also supposed to do more mini squats, then practice sitting and getting up with no hands.  Sheesh, I'm finding this a serious challenge!  Oh, and modified "bridges" while on the floor!  I was amazed but I can actually get down on the floor, and up again, not very gracefully, but able. The good news is that these and other new exercises are actually working to strengthen  my muscles, and I've been walking practically like a normal (slow) person without my cane for most of the past two days. (picture a really old lady . . . )

Anyway, all this exercise stuff is adding an hour to a morning routine that wasn't there last June.  I'm kind of freaked out about getting myself to work on time.  Especially since it still takes me about twice as long to do pretty much anything! (remember, really old lady style)

While I am definitely a "morning person"  I am not a fast morning person.  I honestly don't know what I do with my time, as my working day habit is to get up at 5:15, and I am usually rushing out the door at 8:00.  I putter and putz around, leisurely read the paper, eat breakfast and pack my lunch, start laundry and generally just fuss around the house.  That was before I had surgery and now have this new and revised exercise program to cram into my morning routine.  Several months ago, I went to an aqua aerobics class at 6 am three days per week, and, while I'd like to get back into that, I feel responsible to also do the required physical therapy activities.  The pool isn't going to give me the same sort of exercise/stretch/strengthening as my PT has assigned.  Oh, what to do, what to DO?

I was complaining to my husband on the way to church, as I held an ice pack on my knee (because I ran out of time to ice before church) about having enough time to get ready when school begins.  He said, "Is there any rule that you have to exercise before work?"

I thought a minute, then said, "No, but after I exercise I have better movement, so I think it helps me to exercise in the morning, and again do at least some of them in the afternoon or evening."

So, my pragmatic husband said, "Well, exercise in the morning then."  Case closed, conversation over;  we were in the church parking lot anyway.

It is my standard MO to fret and stew mightily about that which I am concerned over.  Which, is why I'm writing about this fear right now, as it's much more satisfying than discussing it with David!  He's a good husband, but a man of few words, and virtually no worries.  (Sometimes, I just hate that about him!)

Maybe I just always have to have something to worry about.  (Someone in this family has to do it!) Last week I was freaked out about the infection on my scar (which did turn out to be just fine, although I still can't go back to the pool until it's completely healed), but for some reason, after my massage on Wednesday and then physical therapy session, I could hardly walk. It hurt worse than it had hurt in the first few weeks.  When I went to the doctor on Thursday, they were worried, so I had another x-ray and had to wait around to be worked in for an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. Two and a half hours later, thankfully, everything looked fine, but that didn't make walking any easier. I was really struggling and doing a bit of unladylike cursing and banging my cane against inanimate objects in futile frustration.  Friday afternoon at physical therapy I kept crumpling whenever I used my surgery leg for steps or standing.  

Imagine my surprise when I found myself walking decently Saturday afternoon!  I am convinced it was the new and improved exercises I'm being forced to do, and even though they're still difficult, they seem to be working on those wimpy muscles!   Ya-hoo!  Today I've not had near the pain, and only crumpled on my way out the door to church. (another cane bang!)  David told me he noticed my foot was a little crooked when I stepped down, so maybe that's part of the problem.  Since then, I'm making more of an effort to walk and step up and down with my foot straight.  Duh!  You'd think I'd have noticed that before!! (Well, Mindy did notice at PT, but the problem is I don't notice!)

So, I'm a little less stressed at the moment, thinking about going back to work.  I think I need to relax my grip on wanting to get back to the pool until I'm walking consistently well without my cane.  That means I need to make the time for the exercise program in the morning before work, and just know that it's what I have to do to experience success on this recovery journey. And, I maybe need to quit whining, and worrying, about the whole time situation.  It will be what it will be. I will survive. If I don't get it all done before work, it will all still be there, waiting for me, when I get home. Maybe, I need a new mantra . . . Fret Not


  1. Yes indeed, fret not. I need that one too. You do have a lot to think about. You have a lot to do. Put this to do at the top of the list: take care of myself. If you don't take the time, the effort and the determination to get everything back in working order, it won't get done. I used to tell my husband this little piece of advice: No one from that school will be there to take care of you if you don't get your strength and mobility back. Taking the time to heal benefits you first. Then you will be able to your other job which is also high on the list.

    To be perfectly honest with you, I am scared to death of ever going through a knee replacement. I think you have really dealt with the whole thing in a remarkable fashion.

  2. I had to chuckle, because your David and my Kyle are seriously cut from the same cloth. :)

    Maybe multi-task your putzing. You know bike and read newspaper at the same time. Kneed bends while doing laudry... (I'm a planner, can't help it!)

    Good luck with open house. I will be doing that Monday evening. Kids on Tuesday!

  3. I think you are asking WAY too much of yourself in too short a time. That's what I think. You are doing GREAT but just don't realize it. I've known two friends with knee replacements and neither one of them was as far along as you are now in such a short time frame. Maybe if you could just go back and re-read your early posts again? :-)

  4. DJan has, I think, hit the nail on the head. You've come so far in a truly short time--the few weeks of summer, Sandi. Maybe the wise thing here is "to fret not" and to print out your summer postings about your recuperation. You could then do what Stacy suggests and read those postings as you do your stationary bike ride.

    Of course the Buddhists would say that you live within each task. No multi-tasking. Perhaps doing that--thinking of how your muscles feel and work and talk to you as you do your exercises will help you embrace even more the goodness of your own body.

    Then all shall be well. No fretting, just embracing.

  5. Just read posts back to early May and love how you express events of your life. Good to hear you are recovering. Like many teachers I knew you work very hard and expect a lot of yourself. I did that too. But overdoing it when you're young makes it harder in later years. Make time for yourself on a regular basis. Celebrate all the goodness in your life often. You have already achieved a lot, more than many who do not devote their time to teach others and care about their charges!! Loving that you do! Ah and reading the classroom brings a smile as I recall those times and all my helpers over the years.

  6. Perhaps you should have a mantra:

    Every time you catch yourself fretting, stop, think about it for a moment, make sure you have the problem by the tail, put it into the category where it belongs, ie. not worth fretting, fret but only a little, don't fret; then deal with it accordingly.

    Just as you would do in class!

  7. Hope all goes well in the classroom..use that cane to keep the kiddos in line! You're doing good, and progress is happening, I can tell. You know, the tourniquet that is used during surgery also makes the muscles remember you're overcoming a double whammy here! Hang in there!

  8. I can totally relate to all of this. I am a worrier, too, and my husband is blissfully (annoyingly) free of it all. I have come to realize that the major difference between us is that he can identify what he doesn't want, move on to identifying what he does want, and focus his energy on that. I get stuck at seeing what I don't want and railing against it instead of using my energy in the opposite direction. Those exercises are, whether you are aware of it or not, moving you in the direction of what you do want. When your consciousness catches up, you will be golden.

    Much love.

  9. All that exercising sounds brutal! I'm so proud of you for sticking with this whole program. I little venting is good for the soul, and great to read. Wishing you a great start of the year.

  10. It's natural to worry about establishing new routines after any major change and, after your knee surgery has left you doing things very much slower until full recovery, it's even more understandable to be concerned about being able to get everything done in time and still arrive at school to see out a full day in the classroom!

    I'm guessing, though, that you will probably find, after you've lived through the first couple of days, things will fall into place a lot easier than you're anticipating right now.

    Just go easy on yourself to begin with and do the best you can, until you're able to do a bit more. So far, you've already come a long way from where you were!


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