Physical Therapy and Getting the Screws Put to Me

(A little poetic license here as it was actually Tuesday, Feb 18 when I wrote this.)

I went to physical therapy today. It was like getting kicked in the nards. And maybe even like someone harikiri-ing me. I’m not sure, as I haven’t ever experienced either of those things. I do know the pain of being at one point when I left PT and coming back way below that level. Pain. Physical, emotional and mental was abundant. It’s really difficult not to harden up and be resentful. I tried softening into it and flowing thought the brick wall I was facing instead of ramming myself into it. This whole process of healing has been a great lesson in patience and humility. Every time I think I am making progress, it seems like there is a set back.

That is the small picture. In the big picture, I have come a long way. I am here to tell you, PAY ATTENTION—to what you do at every moment. You never know what is going to take you down and cripple you. This goes for physical and emotional experiences. They go hand in hand I suppose. It’s been extremely difficult these past several weeks on both fronts for more reasons than just my surgery of removing the screws. Life has been putting the screws to me and I am learning how to endure that and walk away gracefully—literally and metaphorically.

I’ve been changing my mind and therefore, changing my circumstances. It’s true that most suffering comes from your mind. I have a tendency to obsess about things and play things over in my mind. I started an eight-minute meditation program with this book about 2-3 weeks ago. I have not been consistent in doing it and find it very difficult and rewarding when I do actually do it. I have been supplementing it with guided meditation, which I very much prefer. I have been listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn through You Tube, which my friend recommended to me a while back. I think it has helped a little—both of them. The thing is, I need all the help I can get. I am changing my paradigm and that is always difficult. This year has brought many challenges and I am grateful for the opportunity to grow. Growth is sometimes quite painful.

Last post I said I would write about physical therapy. It has taken a while for me to get back to it and here’s what happened today. I was really glad to get back and start to be more proactive in my recovery. The first thing we did was measurements to see where I was. Dan said I’d lost some flexibility. So, it’s true folks—use it or lose it. I warmed up on the bike for 10 minutes then did two stretches—gastroc stretch and soleus stretch. I then did the front and back, side to side and rotation on the round wobble board. I used to do this on one leg but now I’m back to doing it on both legs.

Then I stood on the wobble board that only goes front to back or side to side on both legs for 30 seconds front to back and side to side for 4 times. I was able to balance for a little bit closing my eyes. Closing your eyes makes it much more difficult and helps develop proprioception.  Then I stood on the big blue squishy pad (first he said with two feet but that was way too easy even with eyes closed) on one foot, thirty seconds, 4 times. I tried closing my eyes but couldn’t stand for more than a second  without starting to fall.

Next was one-legged calf raises on the  bench. It was easy at 15 lbs so I went to 20. Then stepping over cups 3 times down and up to assist with my gait and balance. Then the shuttle! I was practicing jumping on this one legged before my surgery. Today, I did one-legged squats then one legged heel raises which after the second one, sharp pain permeated my foot and I was forced to ask them to lower the weight. It was almost enough to make me cry.

Then I did resisted eversion and inversion with the band and toe curls. The toe curls brought me to tears. One thing I was really proud of when I left PT before was that I could curl that thing like a champ, half way down. I couldn’t do curl my toes at ALL when I first went into PT. When I did my first toe curl this time, sharp pain leaped through my foot and I could barely move it. There was a total disconnect to what I was expecting to happen when I made the movement and what my foot was actually capable of doing. I didn’t want to cry in public so I breathed deeply until the tears went back into their sockets. Not only was I in physical pain, I felt like I just flunked physical therapy.

Perspective. I keep telling myself I have to look at my circumstances right now, not before I had the hardware out, and deal with what is happening in the present. I do not need to think about the past or future or compare myself to either. Stay here. Now. Do the best that I am capable of at this very moment. It may be a disappointment according to those other things but I am perfect according to now. Compassion. Breathe.

That’s all I can write now. I’m changing. Growing. Breaking out of the shell. We shall see what creature emerges.


3 thoughts on “Physical Therapy and Getting the Screws Put to Me

  1. glad to see your update! Good job on all the exercises! This little device has become my FAVORITE exercise (balance and do squats on it) over the last year…certainly made my skiing balance off the charts even if my technique is less than stellar (… sounds like you are doing some balance activities like that as rehab which actually excites me for PT when I get there…

    As I have not been in bad pain really since the day of the injury two months ago, today was my last day at the gym after work, having a great workout (still mostly upper body other than one machine that lets me work legs without pushing on my feet), enjoying it and making the most of it before surgery tomorrow.. anyways I saw your responses to my comments on my phone while I was there and smiled and said to myself ‘my first lisfranc friend!’ 🙂 So while we are at different ends of our endeavor I hope you can gain a momentary smile by that.

    As I mentioned I use to meditate quite a bit. Not that there is a ‘thing’ to achieve but when I started to spend time not only focusing on breath, image, or sound, but being a bit more aware of my ego (present awareness of life from a ‘3rd person perspective’) is when it fell off (just when I was in a place to start polishing that reflecting mirror of self!) But I am TRYING.. (no promises, going to try not to beat myself up if I fall out of it), but trying to use the ‘severity’ and the intensity of this experience to catalyze a rebirth of that focus and perspective. So your words about going with the flow vs hardening up resonate deeply with me.

    Like others, I think I’m going to do a blog (might be a good week or more before it goes up), for me the catharsis of letting the mind stream out is just too hard to resist. But I’m going to sprinkle it with lots of beautiful mountain photography I’ve taken over the last 5 years…

    Cheers to further strengthening and lessening pain for you.

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