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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feeling Good about Feeling Not So Good

Today I went back to Aqua class for the first time since before the surgery. I was welcomed back by those who remembered where I had gone, and encouraged to do what I could but not push it. I went ahead and did everything. There were some things that I did not do as well as before but I suspect I did some other things better.  Throughout I felt the knee and its stiffness. It felt great being able to handle the class, to answer that question.

A few hours later I went in for my second PT appt with Paul T. This one was quite different from the last which was mostly measuring. At the beginning I sat on one of the soft tables while Paul pressed my knee down. Straightened it, in other words. This move is never pleasant for me (Wade did it too, of course) but I know it's necessary to get that movement eventually. To get it straight. So I managed to take deep breaths and hang on as long as I could, and managed to joke a little through the pain. I know what needs to be done. After the straightening he then had me bend it, and as usual I found it a little painful to move from one extreme to the other. But I managed, did okay in that area. Flex is easier to get because there is wiggle room in the knee to get more bending, even when it is somewhat inflamed. Straight is harder to get, particularly for me, because for years the knee was not straight. So we are breaking new ground in a very real sense.

Then I was off to a bike. I got it going well enough, feeling good that I could do a bike, but when Paul asked how it was I had to admit it was not difficult enough, I was not reaching the level he wanted, which was "moderate difficulty". I pushed it harder, faster, brought it up to a new level, and started to feel like I was working. Did this for ten minutes, felt pretty good about it. From here I got to use a machine I forget the name of - I lay on it on the diagonal and bent my knees until I couldn't any more, until I reached a stop point, and then slowly raised myself again. Because of the diagonal I wasn't putting all my weight on my legs and I was able to manage this rather well, got some good bending in. Up to 120 degrees, in fact, which is 10 degrees greater than was measured last Monday. I don't think I need to worry about this part, the bending.

Finally, I got to work on straightening my leg. The leg got hooked up to a stim machine, which stimulated the muscle for ten seconds, then laid off for ten seconds. Every time it went on I had to straighten the knee. Kept it up for fifteen minutes. This was one of the longest fifteen minutes in my life.

Before I left I asked Paul what I could do at the gym. He said the bike and the leg press, but that is all, and don't put too much weight on it.  Tomorrow I will do that. Along with the regular at-home exercises.

After leaving the PT office I went to a market and picked up a few things. Although my knee felt like it had been through a wringer I still managed to focus on walking and standing correctly as best as I could. I drove home and unloaded my groceries and sat on the couch, satisfied. I feel well used. The real test will be how well I sleep tonight. I'm looking for some relief.

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