I came home from Physio with both my crutches yesterday. I was disappointed at first but was told by a fellow Spoonie that I was being a bit hard on myself and I suppose they could be right. I’m just so eager to get rid of the things that I’m pushing myself too far at times. Including at yesterday’s session. It was my first Physio session out of the water and I was really excited to reach this, the next step in getting me back on my feet. We started off by waking up the muscles in my legs, which are still weak, although Jo tells me they should improve dramatically now. Waking up exercises included basic stretches and then lifting heels when lying flat (harder than it sounds and highlighted the difference in strength between my left and right sides). All these things were to prepare me for the parallel bars.
When I told my boyfriend about the parallel bars he had visions of me swinging and flipping like they do in gymnastics but I’m afraid to say this wasn’t the case, (maybe something we can work towards?!). At first we just used them for some weight-bearing exercises, as I’ve understandably fallen into the habit of favouring my right side and am not bearing enough weight through my left side, even though it isn’t painful any more. We used exaggerated leaning to each side, bearing weight on each foot in turn and holding the bars for balance; then some hip wiggling that would have put Ricky Martin to shame. Again, this wakes up muscles that have been asleep for the past four months, reminding them that they can bear weight, as well encouraging me to move more naturally.
Once we’d spent ten minutes working on our leaning and wiggling, Jo told me I was going to walk to her using the parallel bars to support me, instead of the crutches. This was the moment I’d been waiting for, but for some reason I found the bars a lot harder than crutches and made a bit of a mess of my first attempt. After a bit of practise I did manage it, although I’m sure there’s room for improvement. It’s not just about getting from one end to the other, it’s all about posture, correct weight bearing and natural movement. It’s a lot to think about all at once, even though usually we do so automatically!
It must have been hard work because Jo suddenly grabbed a chair and told me to sit; I’d gone white and she’d thought I was going to pass out on her. It was only when I was sat down that I realised my heart was pounding, my hip aching and my head a bit woozy; I think I’d been concentrating so hard I’d somehow blocked it all out. After a rest and some water, I begged Jo to let us carry on but she wouldn’t let me back on the bars; instead, we went back to the bed and worked on some exercises to strengthen up those unused muscles, including a new exercise for my hips. I only managed three reps of this exercise before the muscle gave out and Jo said all the colour had gone from my face again, so she called an end to the session. I was disappointed but feeling rather wobbly, so didn’t argue this time.
She promised me that I’d made a lot of progress but I mustn’t have looked convinced so she went and grabbed one of the physios who first saw me, who said I was looking tons better than I did back then, (about 6 weeks ago). I can’t believe how fast I’ve forgotten just how bad things were and I need to keep reminding myself of that – I’m really lucky to be doing so well and if things carry on the way they have, they’ll only get better.
I might not be rid of the crutches this week, but it will happen.
Examples of Weight-bearing Hip Exercises (Livestrong)