Back at the “Gym” — Flexibility

Kind of a big day for me. I returned to physical therapy this morning — the real deal — not just the guy coming to my house to make sure I’m moving around. As it happens, yesterday they moved into their own facility. They were sharing space in the local gym. Their new space is beautiful and includes a lot of new equipment, including a semi-recumbent bike a lot like the one in the picture above. I rode it today. I was so happy to “ride.” Since I cannot yet get safely on my Sainted Airdyne, I haven’t had anything approaching aerobic exercise since my surgery. I took my archaic iPod (“Online? What’s that?”) out of my pocket and listened to my anthem (Running Up that Hill) then to Bruce Springsteen singing about not surrendering. I could’ve kept riding godnose how long, but since it’s been a month, I thought I should be prudent.

Then my therapist, Ron — whom I like, respect and trust very much — put me on a table and tried to get me to “let go” of the operated leg, to relax it so it would fall over the edge. It was so difficult. I could feel all kinds of fear clinging to that joint. I’m lucky in that my body is VERY articulate in transmitting messages to my mind. It said very clearly, “I’m scared!!!!” I said to Ron, “There’s all kinds of stuff going on down there.” He nodded. He knew. “It’s scared,” Ron nodded again. I sent a message to my joint that said, “Let go. It’s OK.” It did, just like that, relaxed. The reward was a massage of my quads and the IT band.

Then we went out to the parallel bars and I basically “practiced” walking without walking, using all the muscles and working on balance. Then we went back to the table where I did muscle response exercises.

One of the wonders of this is that I stand up straight.

Before we started, Ron interviewed me about how the surgery had gone, how I was feeling, what worked and what didn’t and then he said, “What are your goals? What do you want to be able to do when we finish here?”

My eyes filled with tears and I said, “I’m going to cry.” I don’t know why that struck me so intensely. “OK, on July 15 the Rio Grande Wildlife Area opens again. I want to be able to walk 2 miles with my dogs. With this, that’s OK,” I lifted my cane.

“You should use that, definitely, everyone should on uneven ground,” he said. “We can do that. That’s completely possible. What do we have, six weeks? Plenty of time. Let’s get to it.”

And we did.

RDP #5: FLEXIBILITY

25 thoughts on “Back at the “Gym” — Flexibility

  1. How wonderful that you were able to contact the fear, articulate it and release it! I work a lot with clients on this and it makes a huge difference in healing and recovery. Hooray for you and for a PT who gets it! And a new gym and a goal!

    • I think there are many people who have no contact with their body as a thinking thing, if that makes any sense. For me there’s no “body mind connection.” It’s one organism. That’s been one of the things that’s made this difficult, but that bike will help me a lot with that. I almost have to move in order to think. Us kinesthetic types…

  2. I’m very kinesthetic myself, and that’s probably why much of the work I do now is reintroducing people to their bodies. A lot of learned disconnection in the world, either trained out (got with the head) or trauma’d out(not safe to be present). And as you know and live, its essential to stay integrated, having input from all parts of ones being.

    • My PT is great — and he’s funny. And he was actually worried when I didn’t get in touch right after the surgery to tell him I was OK. My brain was just a fuzzy mess… Still a mess, but, clearing.

    • He’s great. He helped me a lot before my surgery. He always explains exactly what we’re doing and what it is leading up to. And he’s funny and irreverent and smart.

  3. I’m so glad you have that trust in your PT! I tend to be tense except when asleep, so letting my leg/hip relax to fall off the edge of the table would be almost impossible — it’s good that you can do that! You seem to be making excellent progress — keep it up and you will be able to walk those 2 miles with the dogs on July 15 — can’t wait for that post!

      • For naught? The PT is in its own way protecting your hip by making the muscular support stronger. You can’t mean that the surgery was for naught? Or do you mean that you need not to protect your hip in order for it to strengthen itself?

      • I mean I have a lot of bad habits of protecting the joint which are bad for me at this point. I have to relearn a lot like walking heel to toe and not leaning forward but standing straight because now I can. If I don’t get the education from PT the surgery will be for naught🙁

      • That makes a lot of sense (thanks for the reply!). Yes, you do need to walk and stand correctly — but by July 15 you will have learned those good habits as well as strengthening the muscles! PT does wonders when we need it!

      • I’m so grateful — and to live in this beautiful small town with this gorgeous brand-new rehab facility and a PT I trust. Where else could you say, “I really like that bike” and hear, “Come on in and ride it any time.” I love it.

  4. Moving forward. That is fantastic. You are a strong and determined woman, I have no doubts this July we’ll be reading about that walk!

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