This morning Michael and I drove in the pouring rain to see my Physical Therapist, Geoff Grell, for my weekly checkin. I figured that since I’m still on non-weight-bearing status, he wouldn’t have many new exercises for me. Wrong! Apparently I can make make progress even while not putting weight on my leg, and I was psyched to get a new set of exercises for the week.
Most exciting for me were the Range of Motion exercises, one of which is pictured here. I get to move my leg laterally, in and out, on my own muscle power or assisted with a strap. This was SO refreshing. My muscles have become really tight over 3 weeks of sitting in one place, and it feels so great to release them. Even better is that he gave me permission to push JUST A LITTLE, to stretch just slightly farther than is comfortable. Like my pain can go from its baseline of 2 (almost totally content face) up to 3 or 4 (just a little frowny face) without me worrying that I’m doing damage. But no 7’s or 8’s, which is fine by me. It’s like I’m getting my body back, getting permission to use it, trust it, not be scared of breaking it.
But I do still have to be scared – or maybe more accurately, aware – of not breaking it. I still have 1 more week of non weight bearing, and I am determined to be a good little non weight bearer. I don’t think I’ll be tempted towards overconfidence. I know that this isn’t like building muscle; I can’t keep stressing this injury and have it rebuild stronger. I think my challenge will be to stay aware of the injury without being scared of it. Because I don’t have much pain when I’m not moving around, so I catch myself getting up out of chairs and having to think, “Ok, which foot can I step with?”
Balancing between fear and overconfidence can be tough. For me, it was learning to drive the refrigerated truck at the farm, then rolling it on its side on my first solo trip, and then driving it home that night, after a kind friend let me ride shotgun throughout the day’s deliveries. Ego was shaken, reefer motor was toast, but everything else was ok. Then it was learning to ride my road bike. Getting beyond the fear of the skinny tires and going fast down hills, while still staying in control.
Ironically, I was feeling the most focused on the day of my crash as I had in a long time. I was totally nailing that ride. My heart rate and power zones were exactly where I wanted them, my nutrition was working well, I was feeling strong and focused, and I was absolutely having a ball. I guess it just shows that even on my best day, there are things outside my control. Like little dogs.
I want to find that place again on the bike. I don’t want to ride scared for the rest of my life; if I’m going to do that, I might as well stay in my Lazy Boy. And I know it will happen. It might take some time, but it will happen. For now, a little movement, some nice isometric holds, some work on the range of motion, and maybe a nap this afternoon. We’ll get there.