Rehab Day 1 – So It Begins

It seems whenever I have an important appointment at the VA it rains and is cold. Yesterday wasn’t any different and the parking lot was full, so it was a pretty long walk in the rain again. Nothing serious, but at least this time I was better prepared for it and wasn’t in shorts and a t-shirt and approaching hypothermia by the time I got in the building. Not a fun thing.

Elliot and how I felt after yesterday’s initial PT session

The big thing today was meeting my new physical therapist over at VA Togus. It was our get-acquainted day, where you flounder through the initial 10-15 minutes while you both are rapidly attempting to figure out if we are a good fit.

Needless to say, I hate meeting and explaining all my wonderful injury history to new medical people. This is based on previous experiences with medical professionals who tended to fixate on running being a terrible thing and telling me that I would never run again. Then I tell them my goals and watch the eye roll happen because I am an old guy who still plans on doing shit beyond sitting on the couch, want to remain athletically active, and doesn’t fit into their carefully constructed stereotypical retiree. In my case, I want to run 30-40 miles a week and if the body is holding up to it – a marathon on October 1st in Portland, Maine, and fix many of the issues that have been long-standing ones for me.

We went through my medical history, goals, and injuries. While we were going over that stuff I started feeling comfortable with her approach. I relaxed when we started joking around about both of us being short basketball power forwards, whose ankles were toast that kind of tipped the scale over to the positive. 

Then we moved on to figuring out where I am physically. The poking, prodding, walking around, going up and down a set of stairs, attempting to squat, balancing one leg, stretching this way and that. You know all those wonderful things you gotta do for them to see where you’re at. After all that, she identified core, glute, and hip weaknesses that I need to work on. Strength and balance-wise I am fine so it seems.

The bottom line was she was happy with the basic recovery routine that I put together after the surgery and didn’t attempt to re-create the wheel by putting together something different until I see her assistant next week. We both agreed the knee needed a bit more time and what I was doing was in line with what she typically would recommend for me. She and her assistant will put together a plan to address the core, glute, and hip weaknesses that she identified as the pain levels from the surgery continue to recede for the next appointment.

We agreed that I should see them once a week and then if the knee continues to progress as well as it has, get on the treadmill at some point in January to do a gait analysis and at my suggestion check to see if I need to be fitted for orthotics. Yeah, I am beginning to wonder if they might help me in the short term in re-balancing how I run. I figure that it’s worth a shot at this point.

As I said today was all about getting to know each other, figuring out what I need, and getting a schedule put together. It was a nice start and we will see how this PT session goes.

Dreams

Let’s go back to how I began the day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually remember my dreams. So it was interesting that I remembered one, and more so since it was about running. Even when I was putting up big miles and running decently it wasn’t something that I did. Last night I did and actually remembered it.

I dreamt I was running in a race and it was on a road course that I didn’t recognize but there were a lot of hills. It was a 5K race and I was doing really well and finished with a time that wouldn’t be something I expect at this point in my life. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched about it in the dream. 

For obvious reasons, I ain’t gonna say what that time was, especially since I don’t know if I will ever get into that territory again for a 5K. Yeah, it was that much of a stretch…well we will see how things go. However, my subconscious seems to think it will be possible with the repairs that have been made, along with some attitude adjustments and training changes I will be making. At least some deep dark part of me believes that I will be running again and that I will be running better than I have in a long time.

Time will tell.

Getting out of dreamland and back to reality…The Knee – is still pretty sore and I notice it even lying down. I am not entirely confident when walking on it yet, but I still seem to be doing okay as long as I don’t attempt to go too fast. Any sideways stuff makes it really grumpy damned quick and if I bring the left heel too far back towards my butt, again it gets rather grumpy and stops things quickly. 

Even so, the knee is improving, and not having bandages on the portals is a good thing. Both portal cuts look good and clean, so I am progressing, but I also know that it is going to be another 3-6 weeks before things start to really improve. I probably won’t notice how much improvement I have made daily until I look back on entries like this and realize how far I have come.

After my PT Appointment

I stopped to schedule my two follow-up appointments with the front desk and bantered cheerily with the person doing the scheduling. I was limping pretty good after all the twisting, poking, prodding, etc., that went on during the exam. Then as I was getting ready to leave, another Vet who was sitting in the waiting area stopped me and commented on how good a mood I was in for being there in the hospital. 

The below is pretty close to what was said, but I know it’s not exactly what we said.

I replied, “It’s a choice, I can be all down and out about things that I can’t do, but what good would that do? Even though I can’t do things quite the way that I want, and am dealing with knee surgery just over a week ago. Why not focus on the things that I can and go from there.” 

He just chuckled a little and told me that I had made his day a little brighter and he’d think about what I’d said. We said our see ya laters and then on the way home I got to thinking.

He seemed lonely and down, I probably should have stayed and talked a bit longer with him, but my knee was aching pretty good from the poking, prodding, twisting, and bending I had been through for an hour or so. Plus I had to return all the meds I didn’t use, so I knew that I probably had another hour or so ahead of me waiting around. 

That being in a hurry thing.

Looking back, it would have been better to have talked for a couple more minutes with him. Sometimes, we are so busy living our own lives that we don’t think about what kind of impact a few minutes of our time can make in the life of someone else. 

As we move further away from the COVID restrictions, isolationism, and re-learn how to interact with other people again, maybe we can make more time for others, who may need a few minutes of our time just to talk.

I have a feeling that the next time someone attempts to start a conversation with me like that, I will make a point of taking time to see what’s going on. 

Just a thought that perhaps this is something we all should be doing when the circumstances are such that we can.

2 comments

    • I think it is because you have been following me since Dec 19, 2014 and you can’t follow twice with the same address 🙂 BTW thank you for sticking with me through all the changes that I have made through the years 🙂

      Like

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