Can It Get Any Worse?

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My new temporary life of keeping feet up, using a walker, and getting acquainted with the Marilyn Denis Show.

Last Thursday, September 14 I injured my knee to the point of complete immobilization. Doing what? Not from doing parkour. Oh no. I have blown my knee by sitting at a desk for more than six hours a day, five days a week, for decades. In the last few years, I have done next to zero physical activity outside of a few random walks and swims.

I have already been diagnosed with mild osteoarthritis in both knees – no surprise since I have weighed two hundred and cough cough point cough pounds for the past 10 years. On Friday I was told I had swelling behind my knee, putting pressure on the tendons. It didn’t sound dramatic enough for the pain I was feeling, but okay. I was given a prescription of Tramadol, which eased the pain a smidgen, but more importantly gave me the lovely sensation of floating and put me to sleep.

On Friday I could move through the apartment enough to get to the washroom, couch and bed. By Monday, I was hobbling a bit better, and decided to get some physiotherapy intervention.

The physiotherapy session on Monday was good. I have not had much success in the past, but this time tried someone new. My therapist explained what was happening – my hamstrings were very tight, and with the inflammation behind my knee was putting a lot of pressure in there. My therapist taught me some stretches and gentle exercises I could do at home. The exercises seemed ridiculously simple. He cautioned me to start slow and easy and work my way up. Slow and easy don’t usually work into my lifestyle. But slow and easy  slapped me in the face to teach me a lesson. Slow and easy can hurt too.

From the time I left the physiotherapy appointment to the time I arrived at home, I was in excruciating pain. Those few easy exercises made it feel worse (disclaimer: The small print in the physiotherapists office did say this could happen). I was crying and in near hysterics. How could this be happening to me? All I could see was myself holed up at home unable to help myself anymore. The Tramadol I was prescribed on Friday wasn’t touching the pain. I doubled the dose. I eyed my medically prescribed (honest) marijuana. I wanted out of my own body the pain was bad. I could not extend my leg at all. I’m not a moaner or a screamer, but to get down the hall to the loo had me screaming profanity between sobs. It was sad. It was a low moment.

I’m not one to give up easy though. Luckily our floors were recently changed from carpet to vinyl. Our wooden chairs have felt pads on the bottom to they slide quietly. I was able to push one to help me get to and from the loo. Also luckily, my sister still had our Mom’s walker. Michael picked that up for me that evening.

Although pushing a wooden chair was nostalgic and reminded me of when I was learning to skate when I was a kid, there was something humiliating about getting that walker. But darn it, it helped.

On Tuesday, the pain eased marginally. By noon I felt brave enough to try some of the exercises I was assigned. Most I could do, one I could not. But I did what I could. I never thought a few simple stretches would break me out in a sweat, but I felt like I had run up 10 flights of stairs (if I could run upstairs… heck, if I could run at all).

I spent the rest of the afternoon convalescing in the recliner looking at my toes.

Today is Wednesday. A bit of a set back in the morning, more on account of me not taking the pain medicine. I dutifully pushed me and my walker to get out of bed to the living room. After a breakfast of tea and toast (an aside, my lovely husband has been tirelessly supportive and has made me buckets of tea, perfectly toasted toast, soup, fluffed my pillows, filled my water glass, and given me an earful of scolding with colourful language when he’s caught me puttering around on my feet. The walker as given me some freedom, and have been enjoying the gentle clack-clack as I unlock the wheels, load up the seat with my iPhone, notepad and tea mug and zoom through the apartment. In my mind I look like a swan gracefully swimming on a still lake, but in reality I have a limp and my legs are bent and I look like a hot mess.

For a long time now I have been thinking of sharing my journey into health and fitness on social media. I have had a lot of false starts. I have been inspired by many people in my circle and beyond who have had shared their stories. I am hoping that by sharing my journey I will inspire others, and will gain your support and enthusiasm as I come back from this period of near immobility, into someone who is healthy and active.

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In the past I created many detailed spreadsheets to track my road to fitness. None of them worked. Why? I didn’t do the exercise. This scribbled mess has worked two days in a row. A win!

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