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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Day in the Life

I wake up after a series of waking-ups, not quite ready to meet the world. More often than not, my left arm is pinned down and my right leg stiff and in pain. I don't want to get up but I do. I kick off the covers, best as I can, and slide my feet over the edge of my bed, where I let them swing a little before placing them on the ground.

I stand by pushing my fists into the mattress, pushing myself up on my stiff, still-swollen right leg, and I realize that my left leg feels fine. I anticipate searing pain when I stand but that doesn't happen. It's more a deep soreness that does not want to go anywhere. I know that lying down again will not help anything, so I grab my cane and lean my way into the bathroom. By the time I have finished my shower I am still stiff but moving better. I get dressed. Often at this time I lie back down again on the bed and raise my right leg, placing it on an upside-down laundry basket, the oblong type, which is covered by a soft pillow. I elevate the leg for twenty minutes, reading to keep my mind off it.

Finally I get dressed and make my way into the office, kitchen, living room. I check email and Facebook, sometimes get involved in writing a book review or reading something, until I realize i have been sitting too long. Getting up brings back the discomfort.

There are two points on my knee that are especially painful. On the right side there is a small lump that is very sensitive. On the right is a wider area that feels sore. If I massage my calf area I'll discover pain there, too, an indication of edema. The swelling has gone down considerably but there is still enough there. I try massaging the left leg and find no pain there. Good job left leg!

If I'm up for it I put on my shoes. I must walk. A short walk around the small block on which my house sits. It is usually not too uncomfortable, but most of the time I don't feel up for more than this short distance.  On PT days the therapist shows up and we do some things, and sometimes it helps. I feel inspired to work harder on my own. I just recently made a chart, listing each exercise, the reps and set lengths, and what the exercise works. Each day now I mark the chart every time I do that exercise, aiming to meet the goal number of sets.

It feels like I've lost ground. I was able to walk rather comfortably not that long ago, a few weeks ago. I don't know why it has become not as easy. Part of me wants to push it but when I do I invite inflammation and that makes things worse. I tend to take the easy way: I sit on the couch or chair, reading or watching television, and get up to fix food or do an exercise or two. I will eat, take naps, sometimes on the couch, sometimes on my bed, do some exercises. Take drugs. The drugs I am taking for pain now are somewhat helpful. IF I could take two at a time they would be more helpful, but two makes me queasy, and the quease lasts for hours.  And before I know it the cats are asking for their afternoon meal, then it's dinner time, and finally I am just waiting for time to go to bed.

I think I will feel much better about myself when I am able to go back out into the world and especially when I go back to the gym. Going to the gym will help me feel better physically and mentally. It is easier for me to maintain a regular set of exercises if I do them at the gym, where others are doing the same thing. Even those that can be done at home. I can't drive yet, and I'm not sure I am up for a full set of gym exercises, but I could work up to that.

Time for me to take a walk.

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