Happy Accidents

I was doing my yoga last week and I had a thrilling moment when I sat down, absently and automatically placing my legs in Lotus.

One of the things I miss most in the two years since the accident shattered my knee is sitting tailor  fashion with my legs crossed. I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but I am, as one friend likes to say, vertically challenged–5’0″ on a good day. So I frequently sat cross-legged when my feet didn’t reach the floor, or when I had to sit on the floor, or any opportunity that it would seem comfortable.

They did a fabulous job getting my knee back together, but the muscles are very tight and I still can’t bend my knee enough to sit on my heels. At least, not without some hysterical screaming from the pain. I try to avoid that.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really been trying to increase the bend. I can ride, and run, and work around most yoga moves, so I figured it is what it is. When I stretch out, I push the leg to bend as much as possible, but I wasn’t doing any special PT to make it bend more.

I still have to wear a light brace everyday to give it support.  I use a pull-on neoprene for most daily use, and a bit heavier one for actual exercise. I have tried twice to give it up, once last March (my leg didn’t like it at all), and once last August (my leg was fine the first week but quite unhappy the second). I will probably try again this summer, but if I have to wear a brace on my leg for the rest of my life in order to be active, I can live with that.

But I am gleeful beyond description that an ability I figured lost to me forever has returned. It’s not perfect, my right leg is three or four inches in front of the left one if the left one is tucked in properly. But it IS a cross-legged position 🙂 and-

-I can sit in Lotus at the end of my practice, breathing deeply and happily.

Musings of an Elavator Snob

This week marks one year since my accident. February 6th, to be exact. Or so I am told. I don’t have too many memories of the week.

If you weren’t reading my blog at the time, I was hit by another car on the way to work. After three broken ribs, one broken knee, a lacerated live, a punctured lung, three fractures in my pelvic girdle and a Life Flight ride, I woke up two days later.

Oddly, the broken knee was the most lingering of all my injuries. Over the past year I have worked hard at trying to make it bend again.   And last Thursday I had the last reminder of my accident removed: the plate that held my knee together while it healed.

Talking with my husband, it occurred to me that I had come back from the incident like an athlete. That is not something I would have called myself. Definitely not graceful, and not terribly good at team sports. But I knew what I had been able to do before the accident, and I was determined to be able to do it again. The shape I had been in definitely helped me as I tried to get better. I definitely had the focus of an athlete.

I learned at an early age that anything worth having doesn’t come easy. My parents were prime examples of this, they worked hard and they didn’t let pain or sickness get in their way. In my 20s I didn’t have much of their drive, but I have come into my own in the last  10 years.  So after the accident I have worked really hard to regain my fitness.

My husband constantly accused me of pushing it too much. And of course I was. But how would I get better if I didn’t? It’s a fine line. Pushing enough to improve, but not enough to hurt oneself.  It needed to hurt a little, just not too much.

Stairs in particular presented a challenge. My job at the hospital required a lot walking to the patient rooms, on all the floors. When I went back to work, I had to use the elevators. I was able to walk up  stairs before I was able to walk back down them, since my knee didn’t bend and the muscle above it wasn’t strong enough to hold as I stepped down. Even after physical therapy, my knee seemed stuck at a 90 degree bend and tripping sent  uncomfortable reverberations up my leg.

But I kept at it, and eventually (about a month ago) I could walk down the stairs fairly comfortably without holding onto the railing. Not that I just started using them, I have been two-stepping down the stairs since mid summer. Which leads me to my title.

I have become an elevator snob.

I know sometimes they are quicker (although it seems  not to be while you are waiting for them), and in our hospital it is hard to take a direct route from the basement level to the third floor, however, as I trot up the stairs with metal in my leg and sheer determination to not fall on my face, I do have a tendency to look down on the people waiting for the elevator. Especially when I meet them coming out of the elevator on the first floor!

 

 

Weekly Rundown

Another week flown by! Time goes so fast as we get closer to the holidays. One day seems like the next..and the last. I barely know what day it IS!

I am happy to say all my presents are bought and wrapped-save one. It arrived on Sunday (poor mailman), and I have yet to wrap it, but at least they are all in the house. Now I just need to figure out the Christmas dinner, as my family comes here.

Which I love. Christmas is just the most wonderful time of year:the movies, the spirit, the music, the hope, the love. The idea of Christmas is a special feeling towards the rest of humanity, whether or not presents are involved.

Happy Holidays to everyone, no matter what you celebrate. I hope they are marvelous for all of you.

I did slack a bit last week, which I will happily blame on the holiday and the busyness of getting everything ready.

Monday: weights and physical therapy. I did straight weights, not adding yoga in between as I have been  recently. I did do 3 sets of 15, and it took about 36 minutes. I felt fantastic afterwards; and I know I must have worked extra hard, because my core hurt a bit the next day!

Tuesday: off

Wednesday:  I did 12 minutes of yoga first thing in the morning, before getting ready and heading out to walk with my friend. We did two loops around the exterior of the hospital, totalling 2.10m in 46 minutes. We had just enough time for coffee in the cafeteria before I headed up for work.

Thursday: Weights and PT again, again with just straight moves and no yoga. No twinges the next day, but it was still a good work out. I did 3 sets of 15 again, but I must have done it quicker as it only took 31 minutes. Or I forgot an exercise. That happens occasionally!

Friday: off

Saturday: off. I was slacking big time. We had a snowstorm aimed at us, so I decided to go  to Walmart (groceries & the tail end of Christmas presents), Tractor Supply (horse food), Hannaford (more groceries) and then gas. I left at 7am-with snow dusting my car white-and got home around 10:30-when the snow was several inches deep. After putting everything away, and eating breakfast, I settled in with the laptop. And by noon my eyes were drooping, so I gave up and went to nap with Bruce on the couch.

Sunday: weights and PT again, this time with yoga stretches thrown in. I can’t even say how marvelous, and how strong I felt. I did only do 3 sets of 10, but they were different exercises than I had done earlier in the week. Plus there was the running around cleaning the house. Sunday was “kitchen” day–reorganization of shelves, cleaning of the refrigerator, and cleaning up all the odds and ends that get ignored on a normal cleaning cycle. Now we just need the new stove to arrive and it will all be perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Rundown

Its Tuesday, yes, I know. Yesterday was the first “real” day of my vacation. I ran around Friday, Saturday and Sunday and yesterday, well, I wanted to do nothing. And I did! I barely got 3500 steps for the whole day. I fixed that today 🙂

Monday: Daisy and I went out for a walk to the “long” end of our road, which equalled 2.23 miles in 38 minutes. It might have been faster, but she does like to sniff! Upon our return, she rolled all over the couch. I did yoga. I just don’t like rolling on the couch, I guess. I did one of my routines from Sara Ivanhoe’s videos.I have been putting off doing any of my videos as I wasn’t sure I could do all the positions. I think I could probably do this video now, but it is so much nicer to be doing it outside on the porch.

Tuesday: off  🙂

Wednesday: 26 minutes of free yoga. The routine I did on Monday was a lot of strength, so I did a lot of stretching in this session. I felt like a happy pretzel when I was done.

Thursday: I did an 8am to 8pm stretch at work since someone had called out. The good thing was that I knew (volunteered) early on, as I was there when they called out Wednesday night. So I  got up nice and early (however, not as early as I planned. Sleep good) and did my Arm Weights and Leg PT. I did 3×15 reps, but skipped the plank roll-ups.

Friday: First day of VACATION!! I spent the day running around with my husband, and although I considered riding, in the end I took the day off.

Saturday: my Insane Inflatable Race. Even though I didn’t “race,” it was a blast! We had a team of 7 ladies, and we were all very supportive of each other.

I did definitely sleep well that night!

Sunday: Arm Weights and Leg  PT again. It was a cloudy, drippy day, so I didn’t get on a horse. I did go out and fix the back line so they could go out and get rid of some of the friskies. We also did some running around town, so I slept well that night too!

Weekly Rundown

Just a mite late, as I had a crazy weekend and a rather busy Monday too! It was a good week, the weather up here has been great. Daisy and I, as well as Kate and I, went out for some wonderful walks. I didn’t get to ride much, just because of the crazy busyness of the weekend. But I did play with the horses. Definitely a good week.

Monday: I took the day off, even though it was Labor Day.  I did ride Christopher Robin for 22 minutes, much of which was taken up with discussions of where I wanted to go versus where he wanted to go.  I will say, those discussions are very good for my legs, as I need to push him where I want him to go.

Tuesday: Arm Weights and Leg PT. I am still doing 3×15 reps–just can’t make myself go for that extra rep. But I am  alternating exercises instead of resting, and I did another 10 of my plank roll-ups, followed by a 2 minute plank. I think it was a good workout  🙂

Wednesday: I took Daisy out for a walk/run. Unlike last week, where I was just checking how it felt to run, this one was planned. I walked about 150 yds, then ran 75, and then walked 150 through-out the 2 mile route.  It felt really great–and Daisy loved it. She still led me the whole way, running or walking. When we got back, she had a drink and rested, while I did 10 minutes of stretching.

Thursday: a walk with Kate. We did 2.93 miles, with quite a bit of hill work. We walked around a local cemetery, and then down the trail that led from it.  The trail, which is a rough dirt road, was REALLY steep at one point. After we got to our turnaround point, I saw a mowed grass road leading back up and suggested we go back that way. Unfortunately, it curved into the woods–and back down. So I made poor Kate walk up the really steep part, then back down and then up the original road and its steep part. Of course, going down was much harder for me than going back up was. But good for our legs, right?

Friday: a busy day planned, so I had to take it off.

Saturday: I had a party in the afternoon, so my morning was packed. I went to town very early to grocery shop, then Daisy and I conquered Blinn hill. We walked down the hill (half a mile) and then back up and home. The last 300 yds was the hairiest, as it was very, very steep and I had a dog pulling on the leash, she was so excited to keep moving.  Going down hill is still the hardest, so when we reached the bottom I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t rolled down the hill.  After we made it home, I did 15 minutes of stretch-y yoga, then ran around getting ready to go to the party–which was great!

Sunday: the pony got out, not once but twice in the morning. So we had to go out and officially reinforce all the weak spots–so nice of him to show me where they are! After that, I had housecleaning to do as my cousin from Fl was coming to visit.  I did get my Arm Weights and Leg PT done, and even managed to lunge the horses. Since I seem to be good at plank right now, after my plank roll-ups, I did some push ups. Those are a weak spot of mine, so I think I will trying to do more in the future.

 

Weekly Rundown

Silly holidays. I really feel like I am doing this rundown on a Sunday. It feels just wrong.

Weather has still been gorgeous up here, so lots of outside activity. We are getting chills at night and then warm afternoons, just like fall. And some nice orange leaves are showing themselves. My favorite time of year 🙂

I was rather terrible at noting my exercise for the week, so it’s a good thing my phone does it too!

Monday: off

Tuesday: yoga, with a focus on strength poses. I did some warrior and other bent knee poses to strengthen my leg and knee.  I am definitely doing the poses for longer, as my sessions have gone from 18 minutes to 30 minutes. I do vary which poses I do, but I don’t do that many more. As always, I felt relaxed and ready for my day afterwards.

Wednesday: a walk with my friend Kate. We did the rail trail again, but took a right about 3/4 of a mile in and did the loop up by the State House. On the way back down the hill to rejoin the trail, we decided to go left because we had only done just over 2 miles. By the time we turned around and got back to our starting point, we had covered 5.57 miles! I guess that was a good walk for the day.

Thursday: Arm weights and Leg PT. Still doing 3×15 reps, but again, doing them slowly so that it works the muscle fiber more. Takes about 31 minutes to complete. I also increased the difficulty of my plank rollups.  The original exercise I based it off from had a one-legged plank, then roll up to standing position on the one leg, and roll back into plank. Last week I started the one leg plank/roll up, but only did 10. This week I did 10 with each leg. I did alternate legs, which I think makes it easier. The original exercise had 10 on each leg before alternating. I will get there 🙂 I had left time before work to lunge the horses, so I went out–and discovered Christopher Robin in the front yard. Little rat had gotten out earlier in the week, so they were locked in the barnyard. Whenever he got bored, he figured out how to get out.  Four times last week. He was always happy to go back in and never gave me any trouble catching him.  Just bored. And he got out of being lunged, since by the time I checked the fence, it was time to go back to work.

Friday: off

Saturday: a nice walk with Daisy. We did about 2.85 miles in 53 minutes.  On the way out I started thinking, “I wonder if I could” at the 1/3 mile mark. So Daisy and I jogged about 50 yards, then walked some more and ran some more, just short bursts.  Walk or run, Daisy doesn’t care!

Sunday: a short–1.13 mile–walk with Daisy, and then 28 minutes of yoga. This time I did mostly stretchy positions. After I did a little housework, I rode Charby. She was a bit of an airhead out in the road, and after we started dancing sideways, I hopped offand did some ground work with her. I wasn’t worried about her, just whether or not we’d be dancing  when a car came flying around the corner.  Then I hopped back on and made her work  a few more minutes.

 

Weekly Rundown

Another week of Mother Nature being kind to us–if you didn’t mind the humidity. It was rather like living in Florida some days. But the sky was blue and the sun was bright and the AC was cool, so I have no complaints.

Monday: Arm Weights & Leg PT. I did the 3 x 15 reps, but instead of resting in between the reps, I alternated exercises. So I did 15 bicep curls, then 15 overheads, and back to bicep curls; or 15 shoulder raises, then 15 squats, then 15 shoulder raises. It rested the muscle, but not my body! Just added a little bit more intensity to the workout. Made it a little faster too, down to 30 minutes.

Tuesday: Did a slow mile with Daisy, taking about 25 minutes to go 1.17 mile. When we got home, I did 25 minutes of yoga; focusing on stretchy moves. Of course, she lay on the couch, watching me.

Wednesday: off!! Had a lovely morning of sitting in front of the tv with Daisy and my computer before heading off to work.

Thursday: Out with Miss Daisy again. We went a little further this time, doing 2.2 miles in 45 minutes. And we included the big hill 🙂 This time when we got home and I did yoga, I added more strength poses to my routine. I have been adding  a lot of warrior poses to strengthen my knee, and it seems to be working as it no longer feels like someone is driving a spike down into my knee –until I hold it too long!

Friday: Arms & Legs again. Still doing the 3 x 15, but alternated exercises again. I worked on my PT bending more as well. Afterwards I went out and made the horses exercise. They weren’t as happy with the exercise as I was 😛

Saturday: a long walk with Daisy. I gotta say, this little dog leads me going out and back–and we were hustling on this walk: 4.1 miles in 1 hour 11 minutes. Having to live a real person life, afterwards I cleaned up and went grocery shopping, then puttered around the house. After a lovely nap with Daisy (we do everything together!), I went out and rode Charby. She was a good girl and we had a nice 20 minute ride.

Sunday: after cleaning the house in the morning, I went out and got Christopher Robin ready to ride. He was feeling a bit contrary again, and he made me work much harder than Charby did. But it was still a good 20 minute ride. Later in the day I got on the treadmill and put my legs to work. I did 10 minute warm-up, then 10 minutes running, a 5 minute walk break, 10 more running and a 5 minute cool down. The running is coming easier now, and my sweet spot on the treadmill is now 3.5MPH.  I was pretty stiff later in the night, but these things will happen as I get in shape!

Weekly Rundown

I spent a great deal of the week watching the Olympics. Can one get a better inspiration?

I did also have a good week of exercise, how could I not? Watching the Olympics while exercising  certainly makes one’s personal aches and pains seem insignificant, and lets one push through 🙂

Monday: after a busy weekend, I decided a bit of stretching was in order. I did 23 minutes of yoga, focusing more on the stretch poses than strength poses.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: The long walk. My friend Kate and I walked the rail trail for 4.78 miles, taking an hour and forty-five minutes. It was early enough the humidity had risen (too much), and we got just the first few drops of the promised rain as we came to the end.  Somehow I managed 19,000 steps before the day’s end. That is definitely the record for me so far.

Thursday: Arm Wt & Leg PT. I did 3 x 15 reps, taking 35 minutes. I have been bending my knee with a line during these sessions, and I have to admit to being a bit depressed that I have not increased my bend (without help) at all. I am still working on it, but not sure I will ever get a full bend back 😦

Friday: I thought I would take the day off, but did do 11 minutes of yoga to stretch out my muscles. Felt fabulous!

Saturday: Arm Wt & Leg PT. I did 4 x 10 reps, which I had recently switched to, thinking that more reps with a few less per rep was an increase. Would somebody please check my math?! Cuz it occurred to me on Saturday as I was working out that 3×15=45, while 4×10=40. *facepalm* I also went out and lunged the horses, which went very well.

Sunday: a busy day. I rode Christopher Robin for the first time this year. He was a good boy, except he had strong ideas about where he wanted to go. We had a few discussions about whether we were going out on the road (I said no, he said yes), about whether the white boat cover on the lawn (that I made sure to have him check out before I got on) could be walked by, whether we….well, the list goes on. So I got a lot of strong leg work on him 🙂 Later I got on the treadmill. I did go a little faster while running, finding the sweet spot (for now)is 3.2MPH. This time I did 15 minutes of walking, then 10 running (wow, I can run 10 minutes and still breathe!), 5 walking, 5 more running, and a 5 minute cool down. Then 12 minutes of yoga to stretch out. Yup, I slept really well last night!

Weekly Rundown

I made my blog name come true again!!

Monday: Treadmill came out of the mothballs. I did 23 minutes at 3 MPH walking, then I thought, well? My doctor said he would be ok with me running in August. And it was August 1st. So I ran 3 minutes. It was gimpy, and I slowed the treadmill to about 2.3 MPH, but I RAN! We were worried about how much it would hurt, if I had enough cartilage between the bones to soften the impact. It didnt’ hurt. I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day.

Tuesday: walk with my friend Kate again. We started on the rail trail, but looped around the first town so that we did 4.75 miles this time.  It took an hour and forty-five minutes, and it felt great. I am getting used to the miles, and I don’t stiffen up at work.

Wednesday: Yoga day. Thirty minutes of strength and stretchy poses.  I even did Eagle pose, holding for 4 breathes. My right leg has not been strong enough to hold it quite that long, so I was pretty happy.  Ok, so my toes don’t hook around my calf on either leg, but its a work in progress.

 Eagle Pose

Thursday: I thought I deserved a day off 🙂

Friday: my husband had this idea to make his Grammy’s blueberry cake, and wanted to go up the hill to pick some to make it. I knew he  probably shouldn’t go by himself (I was right, I picked 3/4 of a pint and he picked just enough to top it off), so I grabbed my cane and climbed the hill with him. The cane was very helpful coming back down the steep hill. After we came back, I did my Arm Weights & Leg PT, although I only did 3 x 15 reps since I did climb the hill.
PS: the cake came out great, if only I liked blueberries!

Saturday: Treadmill again. I did 15 minutes at a walk, then 5 running, 10 more at a walk, 5 running and a 5 minute cool down.  I thought I would do some yoga to stretch out afterwards, but somehow found myself doing a full  26  minute session with strength poses. My running was more rhythmic, I increased the speed of the treadmill and that seemed to help. Going a bit faster might even have been better, but I had this vision of myself getting face burn from the belt after going down! I will try faster next time.

Sunday: I made Charby do a bit of work 🙂 She is such a good girl; we had a great ride, just over 15 minutes. I rode in the driveway, my riding ring being overtaken by huge weeds since I haven’t been out there. I am using a bareback pad, which is incredibly comfortable and doesn’t have stirrups, which I thought would be better for my leg. It wasn’t that great for posting, however, my legs definitely felt that. I went back to a sitting trot 😉 After I released Charby, I did my drills-high knees, butt kicks, grapevine, etc. I even managed a skip, which I couldn’t do last time I tried my drills.

State of the Leg Address

My 6 month marker of the accident will be Saturday, so I thought it was a good time to check in with the state of my leg. Progess has definitely been made, although there is more to go.

When I came home from the hospital I was using a walker, then gradually got to a cane and now can walk at will. I was so slow, everyone passed me in the halls at the hospital! As someone who is used to whizzing in between people and speeding past everyone, that was beyond frustrating. I also quickly grew tired of people asking me what was wrong with my foot (that seemed to be the first guess, not my knee), so I put a lot of effort into walking properly, if not quickly.  And now I can walk fairly quickly, as well as not staring at the ground obsessively as I walk. I can walk downhill fairly well, even with Daisy on a leash. I am watching the ground pretty hard then, though!

When I came home, my leg was so sensitive that I couldn’t slide a towel out of the way with my leg, now I can kick the dog toy into the air–much to the enjoyment of Daisy 🙂 If I tripped or knocked into a rut while walking, it reverberated all the way up my knee–painfully. I didn’t play with the dogs when I got home, because I was worried that one of them would knock into my leg, and because I just wasn’t that mobile. And I definitely didn’t go out to see the horses. Now, I feed the horses, lunge the horses, and have even ridden a horse. I play with the dogs and I can fetch a toy if they lose it.

I started exercising with the PT exercises they gave me for my leg, and added on as soon as I could handle it. When I came home I could barely lift my right leg up, and did hip raises with only one leg. Now  my right leg is good for front or side leg lifts; and I can bend my leg enough to put my foot flat on the floor, so that I can do two-legged hip raises.

One of my favorite activities is Yoga, and much progress has been made in my sessions. My first attempt at Triangle almost landed me on the floor, as my leg wasn’t strong enough for me to stretch out over. Warrior positions were not even to be thought of, since my knee couldn’t bend at all. Now I can do Triangle easily (although getting out of Triangle takes thought), and I can do some Warrior positions–I can’t hold them as long as I would like, since holding my weight on my bent leg feels like someone driving a nail straight down into my knee after two breathes, but it is progress nonetheless! I am still trying to do Butterfly, and Lotus will definitely have to wait.

Stairs, oh, stairs. Up the stairs was the first thing I could do, leaning heavily on the railing. Gradually that became easier. Down the stairs is taking much more time. I am still in progress with that. The railing is still definitely needed, and I am now working on “form” so that I look like a rather normal person going down. A very slow normal person.

And I ran! Something I wasn’t sure was going to happen again. My doctor wasn’t sure how much cushion I had left in my knee after the surgery, and he wasn’t positive that running wouldn’t be very painful because of it. I did three minutes on the treadmill in a rather gimpy fashion, but with no pain and it absolutely lit up my whole day.

So I definitely have something to work on there. Once I can run somewhat easily, my other goals are  a Lotus position ( I love sitting in Lotus, in chairs, on the floor, whenever I get the urge), and Burpees. Bending the knee to get into these positions will be the key, and I will keep working on going down the stairs. I wonder if I could skip?