Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Now Comes The Hard Part

No, this is not an Anthony Weiner post. (sorry, just couldn't help myself)

Almost 7 weeks ago I injured myself while skiing. This morning I had a follow-up appointment and the doctor told me what I've been dreading to hear--it's time to start physical therapy.

My leg hasn't bent in almost 7 weeks. The mostly severed tendon is screwed to my kneecap, and "flexible" isn't a word that any reasonable person would associate with my left knee. And that's by design, when you think about it--the knee has had to be immobilized so the tendon can heal, but that's meant that everything in there's gotten rigid. Now it's time to "unrigid" it. And that terrifies me.

I don't like pain, and this is going to hurt. The only times since the injury when I've had the immobilizer off are when I'm in the shower, and my leg is absolutely, positively not going to bend. So I have to go to "therapy" where some goons are going to bend my leg until it feels like it's going to snap. Sorry, there's no way around it, that's what's going to happen. And it scares the crap out of me. My first therapy appointment is in 2 weeks.

The doctor asked if I have a hot tub available--I do, right out in my backyard. I drained it some time after Christmas and was going to clean it and refill it--and then the injury occurred. So there it sat all spring, empty. A soon-to-be-former student of mine has agreed to come clean and refill it for me so it can be a part of my therapy. I find it slightly entertaining that I stopped using it in the winter and will start using it again in the summer!

Until then, the doctor told me to start walking around without the immobilizer. Yes, I still have to use the crutches, but to try to allow the leg to bend a little bit. (Personally I think the doctor is nuts on this one!) I am a good patient, following all directions to the letter, so I'll do what the doctor instructs--I'll even do what the physical therapy goons instruct. I will walk again, and I will do it without a limp, and following their instructions is what it will take to make that happen. So as I sit here typing, my leg is "getting some air". I feel so exposed without it, and not just because the leg is open to the air.

Just to be safe, though, I'll probably continue to wear the immobilizer at night.


Ellen K said...

If it is any comfort, I have great respect for physical therapists. I saw PT save my daughter from back surgery. A good physical therapist will help you overcome your fear. I know it will take time, but you can do it.

If it's any comfort, I broke my left wrist yesterday while looking for serving spoons for the annual retirement party. Today and tomorrow are finals. Playing with pain is sometimes the only option.

MikeAT said...


The proper term is physical terrorism...I say that as a past and future victim :<)

But it's better in the long term...

I would say have fun but I think you would not want to post a response on a family friendly blog

Elaine said...

I'll be straight with you. You're right - it is going to hurt like hell. That's how it was with my hand. If it helps, it isn't as bad as giving birth :p

You will have an advantage. Because it is your leg, you will have an easier time doing your exercises every waking hour. Stock up on advil. Use the hot tub. Don't give up when it is hard, and make sure you have a good friend you can vent to.

It's hard, but it is worth it. And I know you can make it through... and even go skiing again (though with fewer trees plz! )

In the meantime set little goals. Standing without support. A 5 degree bend of the knee. Because little goals add up.

And if you do need someone to vent to about this.. who has done something similar, feel free to contact me . You're not alone.

Polski3 said...

You will get to walk again. The pain will diminish. I won't say anything about my theory that physical therapy began with the inquisition.....:-)

As some German philosopher and later, Arnold as Conan the Barbarian said, "That which does not kill you will make you stronger."

And, It is ok to cry in PT. Keep us posted.

Darren said...

Nietsche and Ahnold can kiss my butt--this isn't gonna make me stronger, it's just gonna hurt!!!

Steve USMA '85 said...

Yep, it ain't gonna make you stronger.

Hopefully though, it will bring you back close to normal.

And yep, it's gonna hurt like Hades.

Suck it up my friend, drive on.