I cried during PT today.
I hate crying in front of people.
But here it is week 12 and I am still not cleared to run because I still can’t stand on my bad leg with out my torso twisting to adjust for muscles in my hip that can’t hold all my weight and yes, a few weeks ago I couldn’t even lift my good leg but progress has been slow these last couple of weeks and every day that I’ve pushed past the boredom at the gym on the elliptical or rowing machine or in the pool I just kept telling myself — just a couple more weeks.
And now I still have a couple more weeks.
And while I love my physical therapist, if she suggests spinning to me one more time or asks if there is something else I can try, I might punch her in the throat.
Really, I think this is what brought on the tears. Not being told I still shouldn’t run — I knew that was coming. I’ve been doing the exercises, I know my hip muscles are too week. But her sweet face as she asked if I’ve tried the elliptical. I just wanted to punch her and never stop. Instead, I started crying.
Yes, god damnit, I’ve tried the elliptical. And hot yoga. And walking on the treadmill on an incline. I’ve tried it all. If I enjoyed any of these things half as much as I enjoyed running, if any of these things cleared my head and made me feel as good and accomplished and physically fit as running I wouldn’t be here right now.
I’d be at a spin class.
So, about all that patience I had …
Every year my office participates in the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge. For those of you not in the know, it is a 3.5 mile race through Central Park that kicks off JPMorgan’s wellness program.
I had signed up to run the race back when I thought I would be up and running by now. When I realized I might not be ready to run, I resigned myself to walking the 3.5 miles as many folks do. Continue reading “Sarah K – Week Nine (revisited)”
Three weeks until I can run again and three weeks of PT under my belt.
I must admit, I was very skeptical of PT when I first started down this road and was relieved when my doctor told me I wouldn’t need any PT for the first month. I even agreed with the nurse practitioner during my one month follow-up that I wouldn’t need to see my PT more than a couple of times (but of course if I wanted to, I should call her so she can refill my PT prescription).
Well, today I made that call, because PT is amazing. Continue reading “Sarah K – Week Nine”
Or as I like to call it: The Start of Physical Therapy.
I had my first physical therapy appointment today. I returned to UPenn, where the doctor who I love works (but also where the surgeon who thinks I should take up bowling resides). At first the PT didn’t seem on board with my goals (Goal. Singular. To run again in 6 weeks), which shouldn’t surprise me given the surgeon her patients typically see. She was also shocked to learn I wasn’t given a list of restriction (crossing my legs, bending my legs beyond 90 degrees, turning my foot inward or outward) telling me her patients typically have to wait until after eight weeks before they can cross their legs.
Man, am I glad I didn’t go to that surgeon. Continue reading “Sarah K – Week Six”
The past seven days I have reveled in the small advances I was making, whether it was climbing the stairs normally, not needing my Tylenol regularly (and then not at all), leaving both my crutches at home or taking the subway again for the first time in almost a month (funny how you can miss something like a smelly subway so much). I started to feel like the poster child for hip replacement surgery at the office and among my friends (“I can’t believe how normal you are.” Because, yes, my limp is normal). But more than anything these past seven days I looked forward to my 4-week post-op visit. The visit where, if all was going according to plan, I would be given the all clear to go back to the gym.
Continue reading “Sarah K – Week 4”
My dad visited over the weekend and as we sat in my backyard, enjoying a beer and a cigar (him) he started to get wistful (as cigars often make him) and he started talking about when he leaves my house (or my sister’s house or my brother’s house) he always feels a little guilty. He also always looks in his rearview mirror hoping to see us chasing after him, begging him not to go.
This last part turned out to be a lie.
An hour or so later, my father left and as I turned back into my house, I saw that he left the bag of things my mom left behind. I grabbed the bag, hobbled out the front door, down my stairs and started screaming “Dad.”
I waved my arms. I screamed louder. But he pulled out of his parking spot and headed down my street.
I had to run for it.
And by run, it was more like a really awkward skip with my arms still flailing.
Fortunately, I only had to awkwardly skip half a block as there is a stop sign at the end of my street.
While I was proud of my sort of half block run, I won’t be attempting that again anytime soon. They say you have to walk before you can run and I’m still very much limping (in general – not from the run). I’m down to one crutch and getting up and down stairs easier and faster. So I’ll refrain from any more awkward skips in favor of getting off the crutch and walking without a limp.
I returned to work on my two week anniversary. I know this is early for some, and I promised my mom and my boss that if it proved to be too much I would go back to working from home, but I was bored at my house and feeling really good. So, it just made sense to go back to the office.
Also, I thought it would be nice to put some distance between me and my fridge.
The main thing holding me back from going back to work was transportation. As great as I am doing, stairs are still tricky – tricky slow going; not tricky hard. And after venturing out downtown last weekend I knew people don’t care if you have crutches – they will plow right over you. I assume this goes double during rush hour. And since the stairs from the subway platform are crowded and scary enough when I’m not on crutches, I thought it would be best to avoid them all together until I could take them two at a time and throw an occasional hip check if necessary.
Fortunately, a good friend offered to drive me to work when I was ready to get back to it.
The transition from my kitchen office to my office-office was smooth, there were a couple of unanticipated bumps. For instance, I now know the importance of a cross-body work bag: when on crutches, a standard purse on your shoulder will mean stopping every six or so steps to adjust your straps.
Also, when you make a Starbucks run, be sure to bring a friend to help carry your coffee.
The bandage came off and it is ugly.
And I had prepared (mentally) to talk how my friends argued that it was a cool scar and I countered that there is nothing cool about a hip replacement scar and how I was thinking about coming up with a better, cooler story for my scar than hip replacement when this morning I opened Huffington Post and saw the images of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing at the finish line and felt nothing but shame.
These runners, these survivors, they have been through so much and to be back at that place, with their scars and their running shoes and their messages of hope and inspiration shamed me and my silly worry about my silly scar.
It also made me feel incredibly proud to be a part of the global running community and has me more sure than ever that I will be back to running. Maybe not soon, but soon enough.
Recovery, as it turns out, is not a straight line.
I am a bit of a math nerd and since I was doing so well out of the gate, I expected my recovery to continue on a straight line, every day marking exponential improvement in my pain, swelling, stiffness and mobility. I even considered digging out my old TI-82 to graph my recovery. Continue reading “Sarah K — Days Five and Six”
I wasn’t prepared for how cranky I would be. But by day four, everything was irritating me. I tried to remain positive and see everything in the best possible light, but it didn’t matter. I was so annoyed. By everything. Continue reading “Sarah K — Day Four”