Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learning to be Active Again

If you have never, even temporarily, lost the ability to do something physical that almost everyone can do, this anecdote may mean very little. If you have---

Yesterday, I started outpatient physical therapy at a place I had been before. Therapists work their clients hard, and if we are willing to stay an extra half hour or more and work extra, they let us. No extra charge.

The doctor and therapists have all been telling me how fast I am healing after a second knee replacement, and I was eager to get to the stationary bicycle.

The time came. I put my feet on the pedals. To my astonishment, both feet pedaled smoothly. No pain. I could pedal in complete circles with both feet.

And I surprised myself, because I teared up for a few seconds, then finished the 10 minutes with a great, goofy grin. Inside, I was trying to figure it out. No, it probably hasn't been 30 years since I could do this, but it has certainly been more than a decade. Maybe 15-20 years since I could pedal without major pain.

Not that I had a pressing need to bicycle during that time. But something I thought was absolutely lost is found again, and I can do it. Being able to pedal will lead to other things I can do again.

Shortly before this discovery, a theapist showed me a lunge move to build up the calf and thigh muscles. It involves leaning far forward with one knee bent, the other straight. I started to say,"I can't do that because of my knees." Bingo! Light went off! These are new knees. I can do these lunge exercises without harm.

I have flared up a bit for years at anyone who called me handicapped, but I have been. I still will be--other arthritic joints have not gone away. With the healing of my knees, however, I can do so much more. I am going to be able to bicycle and get on a treadmill regularly. The aerobic activity is one of the best medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, osteo arthritis, and indeed, countering the effects of aging.

Gracie and I really will take those long walks. I may go down to the senior center and take up line dancing, if it so pleases me--and I definitely will be working in my garden this spring. All of these things give me joy.

I know this because a bicycle pedal has promised it.

Tomorrow, I will do it again.


clairz said...

Reading this has brought a big smile to my face. I am so glad for you. My fake knees send greetings to yours!

charlotte g said...

Who you callin a fake? This is genuine manufactured joint here, and as welcome as the fillings in my teeth!