I’ve had more physical therapy than ever imagined possible, but I can walk 3 mph (on pavement) and I’m using my hip joint like a legit walker. I’m standing up straighter and dreaming about X-country skiing.

I’ve also faced some realities. My therapist is applying to Medicare for an extension on my therapy. Even though I’ve achieved the stated goals of a person after hip replacement, I have not yet achieved MY goals in rehabilitation. It’s a win-win thing. They need my business and I’m very happy to have a personal trainer (who is also a person I like) and an almost private gym.

I’m the ideal physical therapy patient. I WANT to improve. I understand physical activity, I’m movitated to follow instructions and try things. I went into it with certain goals (and a few dreams) but my recent physical therapy induced existential meltdown a couple weeks ago led me to the place where I am now.

I’m probably not going to run again or do lots of severe hills. Somewhere in my mind and heart this has been working itself out in the realization that for the past few years, in severe pain, I’ve had a good time walking my dogs 1 mile an hour around a small loop trail in one little place. I had enormous pleasure just in that small “hike” (not the pain part). As all that was going on, I was being taught by my own self things I had not begun to be aware of.

Our bodies ARE our minds.

So today I had a sit-down with my therapist. “We need to talk,” I said. Half-joking. I’d been reticent about asking what we are doing now and thought we might actually BE breaking up. He explained how the Medicare thing would work, and I explained my realizations about the objective reality of my age-related physical limitations. We both agreed that I’ve done incredibly well, but I want (and can achieve) more in terms of flexibility and strength for the purpose of being safer on an uneven mountain trail. Pain creates a little “being” of its own in our mind/body and the main drive of that “being” is fear as a self-protection tool. Fear stiffens us where we’re weak. It’s human nature. It’s the same thing as a kid not wanting to try learning something new for fear of failing, or a guy not wanting to ask out a pretty girl for fear of rejection, in a way. I’m fighting that and physical therapy helps me fight it. Not all the limitations are purely physical. As I said, our bodies ARE our minds.

So we spent my session today moving forward, literally.

17 thoughts on “Results

  1. I’ve also been doing a lot of walking lately and it hurts. It always hurts and in recent years, more than a little. But on the other hand, like you, I absolutely know I need to do it. Despite the pain, when I’m finished dragging my reluctant body across whatever distance I’ve dragged it, I feel better. Not pain-free because that’s not going to happen, but looser and more flexible. Stairs are a whole different issue, but walking on a relatively flat, paved surface is what I can do. And I have to do it. There are many things I really can’t do at all, but this I can do and when the opportunity comes up and Garry offers to bring the car around, I grind my teeth a little and say, “No, I need to do this.”

    I am absolutely certain if I stop pushing this little bit, I will solidify and be unable to do much of anything. Age is truly not for the faint of heart.

    • The more I do, the less pain I have in the arthritic joints (both knees). Having the guidance of my PT has been very important. I can even get up and down from the floor easily. Somewhere, my mind has been weighing things to assess their importance. Is it important that I run? No. Is it important that I can get up off the floor without hurting myself? Absolutely. My philosophy is that the more I can retain of strength and flexibility the better for me. We’re designed to move; if we stop, we’re fucked. ❤ Keep walking.

  2. Martha, Martha, Martha, I’ve never loved you more than before you posted this AWESOME video which, in 1990, spoke to me in ways so profound and spiritual I wouldn’t even believe today I could’ve experienced back then.

  3. Im trying to relearn riding a bicycle after 10 years of not cycling. I could do 40 miles in the past, or further. Now I can’t even get on the bike, can’t get my leg over the thing…you are right, its fear of falling that is stopping me. I must persevere.

    • I can’t swing my leg over my bike either. I lay my bike on the ground, straddle it and lift it up. It’s embarrassing but it works. Then I get to ride. Careful perseverence is everything. Right now I’m in pain from overdoing something yesteray at PT, so tomorrow we will negotiate that. For me, it’s all about focusing on what I can do and doing it. ❤ Hang in there.

    • It was a mind-blowing moment. Really uncomfortable and misery making, but… I guess we don’t grow as people without confronting stuff we don’t want to look at even from the corner of our eyes.

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