I had my first physical therapy session today.
The physical therapist is located in downtown Canby, about half a mile from our house. As a treat to myself, I walked to the appointment (cane in hand, of course). Kris was afraid I was going to do this — she knows me well.
It’s a gorgeous day, and the sun was shining, but not yet too hot.
As I started my walk, I passed an older gentleman, also with a cane, out for a stroll. We paused briefly to chat — how often do two men with canes pass each other on the street? — and he asked about my surgery. He wished me luck, and we hobbled our separate ways.
From down the street I could hear the strains of Mexican music, oom-pahing from somebody’s home. A high school boy walked past, skateboard in hand, looking over his shoulder toward the school. Presumably he was ditching class, probably ditching a final.
I came upon the source of the loud Mexican music: a house under construction, all the workers Hispanic. (Remind me to post the track list for my Mexican mix sometime. Mexican music has a bad rep, but some of it is quite good.) On the next corner I came upon Skateboard Boy again, his arms draped around his girlfriend, his skateboard still in his hand. Apparently they had other plans than to take their final exams.
I hobbled down Third street, looking at the lawns and gardens, sweating in the sun.
I passed the gas station, revelled in the smell of cyclobutanes and stale nicotine. (All strong odors smell fantastic after having lived in a confined space for two weeks.)
At Highway 99E I faced a bit of a challenge. The highway was wide, and my pace quite slow. Could I make it across the highway within the time span of the signal? Yes, barely.
I said hello to the mailwoman. I stopped at the frame shop to look at the art in the window. The donut shop was tempting, and reminded me how hungry I was, but my wallet was empty, and Kris had my debit card. Passing the bicycle shop, I felt a pang of jealousy for those able to ride a bike on such a beautiful day.
In all, it took me 32 minutes to make a walk that I could normally make in less than ten. And my knee was sore, too.
My physical therapist, Tyler, measured my current recovery. My unassisted leg extension is -2 degrees, which he says is very good. My unassisted flexion, though, is only 50 degrees, which is below average. I’m having difficulty flexing my quad, especially the interior muscle on the group. He stressed that I need to work on developing strength in this muscle in order to accelerate the recovery process.
Tyler walked me through several exercises intended to begin building strength in the leg. We did leg lifts during which I rested on my back, leg lifts in which I rested on my left side, and leg lifts in which I rested on my right side. We flexed my knee. We did quad contractions, which he wants me to do several hundred times per day. (Basically, I imagine that I need to do one every time that it occurs to me that I ought to do one. Like now.) We did a funny little exercise in which I simply moved my knee cap with my hand.
Tyler stressed that cases like mine are the most dangerous, most at risk for reinjury. I have no pain in the knee presently, and might be inclined to take unnecessary risks, to do more than the knee can handle. For example: I might try to walk half a mile to a physical therapy appointment.
Tyler made me call a friend for a ride home.
I’m glad I walked that distance, though. It made a world of difference to my mental well-being.
Now it’s time for me to enter the CPM machine for six hours. Ugh.
On 05 June 2003 (10:49 AM),
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