Thursday, August 03, 2017

Re-hab one more time....

I'm of an age where I hear a lot of talk about hip replacements.

And swapping out knee joints.

Maybe that's why, when my right knee started hurting, I went to see the surgeon who had operated on my left knee 8 years ago.
Back then, an MRI had shown that a piece of "padding" in the knee had torn and dangled enough that it got in the way when the knee flexed.

Now, I'm picturing a sheet drying on a clothesline, flapping and billowing in the breeze.

I had a vivid imagination.

Knees tend to flex a lot so that piece of meniscus had to be cleaned up with a fairly simple procedure.

Insert a tiny camera into an incision below the knee to take a close-up look.

Then make another small hole to insert tools needed to snip and smooth the problem.

Dr. Marshal Hay did the operation, my knee quickly fully recovered and I was good to go.

A few months ago, when my right started to swell and become painful, I asked my doctor to send me to see Dr. Marshall Hay again.

I recalled his calm and soothing manner from all those years ago and was VERY happy when he studied the MRI and declared I did NOT need surgery.


He prescribed exercise and said rehab should take away the pain and shortly, I could re-start using my treadmill at home.

He sent me to ATI physical therapy near my home, across from Northwoods Mall on Rivers Avenue.

Twice a week I went to learn and perform exercises that strengthened my right leg, my calf, hamstring and even my glutes.

My young therapist Robyn also addressed making my foot and ankle stronger to improve my balance.

When I first tried walking a straight line heel-to-toe, I realized why the police make suspected drunk drivers do this. To do it properly requires good balance and concentration. Robyn did NOT have me extend my arm and touch my nose.

We started each hour with 10-minutes of bike pedaling to loosen me up, warming and stretching my muscles.

Robyn knotted a colorful piece of stretchy material and placed it around my ankles. Then she had me sidle sideways across the room.

No problem at first but I quickly started to feel the burn along my thighs.

I was exercising muscles I had never really thought about before.

But she was not through with that piece of fabric.

Next, she moved it up above my knees while I was seated and had me stretch my arms forward and stand up. She showed me how to stop "lunging" and simply rise up to my feet.

One simple - though clever - device was a wooden platform angled to 45-degrees where I faced a wall, stood on it, and felt my calves tighten.

A 30-second stand, step off and step back on for 10 sets.

I'm pretty handy with tools and working with wood, so I made one for use at home.

My cat was amused to see me stand perfectly still for half a minute, my face to a wall, and repeat it over and over.

She also calmly ate her Kibble, watching as I would glide sideways across the kitchen, feet hobbled by that stretched band.

After working at the ATI center, and taking home illustrated pages of exercises, I would repeat many at home.

We would end each session with a gradually-increased time on their treadmill.

One day, while pedaling on the bike, I asked about the stairs and a tall ladder I saw in the corner.

I assumed the mock stairs were to rehab people until they were comfortable going up and down stairs. My house has several different levels so I am sure that what it was for.

That indeed was the purpose they served but I asked if the tall, extension ladder was used mainly to change light bulbs overhead.

Actually many people are injured on the job and ATI works to make sure they are fit to return to the workplace.

Often workers have to climb up and down ladders so this was another dedicated strength builder.

I saw others using large inflated balls to stretch their legs and "bungee-type" cords to exercise their arm use and reach.

As we were winding down my days there, it was suggested maybe cut it back to one day a week or maybe every other week.

That reminded me that when I completed 90-days of rehab after a 2002 heart attack, there was a Graduation Ceremony.

The trainers gathered around me, placed a black mortar board on my head and took a photo.

Robyn thought that was great and said ATI uses a fancy Championship belt like the kind winning boxers wear and she went to look for it.

Robyn came back, I posed and she snapped a photo with my phone camera.

I noted the belt was too small to go around my waist and resolved to work on that with diet and exercise.

As I held the belt in place, I could hear "Eye Of The Tiger" playing in my head.

The pain in my knee is gone, I avoided surgery, and now I am using my treadmill at home again where I can watch Netflix.

Wonder if they're streaming any of the old the ROCKY films?

(Click on the photos and links for more detail.)

Thanks for tagging along on my sweaty exercise program, Hey, I've dropped 7 pounds!

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At Tue Aug 15, 10:18:00 AM , Blogger Ian May said...

Well done on your lack of surgery, and well done on losing seven pounds - I wish I could!

At Tue Aug 15, 01:51:00 PM , Blogger chuckography said...

Ian, even with my love of craft beers, I find that a glass of Jameson on the rocks in a good "diet" drink. So more booze, less pounds.


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