Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 9.5

Starting next week, I'll be cutting down my physical therapy visits from twice a week to once a week, partially because of school and partially because I just can. My therapist said that I'd be able to do so because I've been showing such great progress. That's a relief.

So the regimen yesterday was very similar to that of Tuesday's:

- elliptical: 10 min
- front step downs: 3 x 15 x 8"
- lateral step downs: 3 x 15 x 8"
- step ups: 3 x 15 x 8"
- leg press (both legs): 3 x 15 x 7th weight plate and 1/2 weight
- leg press (left leg): 3 x 15 x 4th weight plate
- squats: 3 x 15
- leg extensions: 3 x 15 x 1st weight plate
- straight leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 4lb
- hamstring curls: 3 x 15 x 2lb
- stretching (quad, hamstring)
- ice with stim: 10 min

I'll be able to work more on balancing stuff soon, and get back into running. By 5 months, I can start doing pivot sports again.

I can't wait to get over all of this mess! At least my recovery is going well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week 9

Yesterday was week 9. I visited my surgeon/doctor on Monday and yesterday was my 15th physical therapy visit.

My doctor was quite pleased with my progress and laid out a general schedule for me in terms of being able to run and start doing pivot sports again. At the three-month mark I can start really running again and by five months I have to get fitted for a knee brace to do pivoting. That's a relief that I can do all this.

My biggest worry at this point is that my benefits aren't going to cover me that far in. I'm still trying to get answers from my Union and from HR regarding what I'm going to have to do about that. I really can't afford $1,000-a-month payments under the COBRA stipulation - if it comes to that, I might as well quit school and go find a day job that offers me benefits. According to my Union records, it seems that my benefits are paid through until November, but I have no idea what that means for me in terms of how I will pay for coverage. I'm anxious and scared of what is to come and I have no way of controlling the future. I'm forcing myself to go back to my night job as early as next week if I can fit it. Major :-(

In other news, this was my regimen yesterday:

- heat (without stim!!!): 10 min
- massage
- elliptical: 10 min with resistance
- squats: 3 x 15
- front step downs: 3 x 15 at 8"
- lateral step downs: 3 x 15 at 8"
- front step ups: 3 x 15 x 8"
- leg extensions: 3 x 15 x 1st weight setting
- leg press: 3 x 15 x 7th weight setting
- leg press with left leg: 3 x 15 x 4th weight setting
- balancing exercise (one foot balancing while catching a ball): 2 x 30 seconds
- straight leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 4lb
- hamstring curls: 3 x 15 x 2lb
- stretching
- Game Ready icing (without stim!!!): 10 min

I've graduated from the stationary bike and the electric stimulation! It's so great to actually be able to do my exercises and know that my leg is much stronger.

I have a 3-month follow-up with my doctor in a few weeks, and I have to get another referral for more physical therapy. Oy, I hate health insurance stipulations, especially being a part of an HMO (despite how cheap they are).

Friday, September 19, 2008

More physical therapy.

Today was a really long day - five hours of quantitative analysis is enough to fry ANYONE's brain.

I went to physical therapy after class for 1.5 hours. I'm basically on autopilot now - just trying to get everything stronger before I move onto the pivoting exercises . . . eventually.

Regimen for today:

Knee warmup with stim: 10 min
Stationary bike: 10 min on strengthening
Leg extensions: 3 x 15 x 1st weight plate
- I extended with both legs, and went back down with only my left leg.
Frontal step downs at 6": 3 x 10
Lateral step downs at 8": 3 x 15
Step ups at 8": 3 x 15
Leg press: 3 x 15 x 6th weight plate
Unassisted squats: 3 x 15
Straight leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 3lb
Hamstring curls: 3 x 15 x 2lb
Mini lunges: 3 x 10
Ice with stim: 10 min

After the session (before icing), my therapist checked my strength levels and measured by degrees of flexion and extension. At this point, I'm missing about 1 degree of extension, and my flexion is at 124 degrees. Hamstring curls are the toughest out of all my exercises, particularly because I still have swelling in my knee that prevents me from bending up far enough. Walking is no longer a problem; I hope we can progress to running soon.

Driving my car (manual transmission) is still kind of tough as well, since the vibrations from my engine irritate my knee, and my clutch is relatively heavy. That I'll have to get used to with time as well.

I hope I can eventually get back to my night job - I need to repay my union dues and earn some hours to cover my health insurance for the next quarter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week 8

Thanks to everyone who's been reading and keeping up with my recovery. It's so great to have such support. :)

Today is 8 weeks post-operation. I think that roughly equals two months, give or take a few days. The best thing about today is that I'm thinking less about the knee and more about other things. Don't get me wrong - my knee still occupies my mind at times, but lately, it just hasn't been as prominent as say, working on a case study for school.

Tangent 1: School's been in session for three weeks now and I'm finding myself intellectually challenged by the material, which is nice. Some courses are more challenging than others - that's a fact of life, but I know that I'll have to give my all if I want to do well in what I'm taking (Marketing Management, Financial Reporting, and Quantitative Analysis). I'm thankful that I got out of Economic Analysis for Managers, and I took Leading Individuals and Groups last year as an undergraduate. And I finished Communications Strategies before everything else started, which was my first graduate course (as an MBA student) out of the way. :)

Tangent 2: Work hasn't been so busy, now that the first few weeks are over. I'm dealing with an average of five to ten students per shift now, instead of 20-25. It'll be nice to work on other projects besides registration, too. Today, I found two student workers doing their homework in the back room, and being a peer of them myself, I couldn't just tell them to put their homework away (otherwise, they'd look at me like a boss, rather than a peer). I had to grab a full-timer to control the situation (homework is a no-no at work, at least in my office) . . . that was a tough decision to make. At least I'm learning what not to do in my communication skills . . .

Tangent 3: I'm no longer taking long naps after I get home from work/school now. It's been nice to have more energy lately, although physical therapy still exhausts me.

I went to my physical therapy session this evening and discovered that my routine changed a bit. Now that I am at the 8-week mark, I have to start working harder to get back to normal:

Knee warmup with stim: 10 min
Stationary bike: 10 min on strengthening
Squats: 3 x 15
Step ups (front): 3 x 15
Step ups (side): 3 x 15
Leg extensions: 3 x 15 x 1st weight plate
Leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 3lb
Short arcs: 3 x 15 x 2lb
Game Ready icing with stim: 15 min

I graduated from the wall squats with the exercise ball, and my therapist got rid of my hip strengthening exercises all together. She was really surprised to see that I could do leg extensions so well, despite it being the first time I had done them in so long. The leg extension exercise was the most difficult; my form was off and I had very little strength in my left leg; my right leg carried on the work. The strength will come with time, but I'm happy that all the walking I've been doing has been helping my knee. Go recovery!

Funny note: everyone who knows me who saw Tom Brady's injury instantly thought, "Wei had the same injury!" Boy, do we ACL veterans know how he feels.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Week 7

I woke up this morning and was pleasantly surprised to find that shuffling to the bathroom wasn't as painful. The knee itself is still stiff when I first try moving it after being stuck in the same position all night, and it still feels like there's a weight on the calf part of my leg, but overall it seems to be doing a lot better. The swelling has gone down a great deal since the last time I posted a photo, too (which I don't have for now).

I had my 12th PT session since the injury today - my therapist upped some of the weights for the exercises I do:

Knee warmup with stim: 10 min
Stationary bike: 10 min on strength training
Leg press: 3 x 15 x 6th weight setting
Short arcs: 3 x 15 x 2lb
Leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 3lb
Hip abductions: 3 x 15 x 4lb
Prone hip abductions: 3 x 15 x 4lb
Hip adductions: 3 x 15 x 4lb
Hamstring curls: 3 x 15 x 2lb
Wall squat with exercise ball: 3 x 15 at almost 90 degrees
Heel raises: 3 x 15
Step ups (front): 3 x 15
Step ups (side): 3 x 15
Calf/hamstring stretches
Game Ready icing with stim: 15 min

My physical therapy sessions are lasting about 1.5 hours at this point if I do my exercises at a relatively quick pace. It's been helping a lot and compared to when I first started PT up again after surgery, I've come a long way. Apparently I'm able to walk normally now, too - sometimes I have a limp after sitting for too long, but that usually goes away when I "warm up" and walk for a little bit.

In the meantime, school has been draining me daily, and work is exhausting, especially when you deal with an average of 10-15 students a day. But, I'm slowly getting back on track with what my schedule was before the injury, so we'll see how I fare.

It's motivating to hear that things are getting better, and to compare the results to a point in the past. I hope that I can progress more by this time next week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tom Brady potentially out for the season?!

I can't believe it - another heavily-followed athlete with a torn ACL. The Patriots are going to have a hard time playing this season without Tom Brady if the diagnosis is what it seems . . .

Boy, do I know how that feels. At least mine wasn't AS painful as Brady's sounds (and looks).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Week 6

Six weeks and everything seems pretty much the same since last Thursday.

Regimen for yesterday:

Knee heating with stim: 10 min
Massage: 5 min
Stationary bike for strengthening: 10 min
Leg press: 3 x 15 on 4th weight setting
Leg lifts: 3 x 15 x 1lb
Hip abduction: 3 x 15 x 3lb
Hip adduction: 3 x 15 x 3lb
Step ups: 3 x 15 x 2nd setting
Side step ups: 3 x 15
Wall squats with exercise ball: 3 x 15
Heel raises: 3 x 15
Hamstring curl: 3 x 15
Hamstring stretch, quad stretch, etc.: 10 min
Ice with stim and weight on knee (for getting full extension back): 10 min

I'm having a lot of trouble with the hamstring curls and hip adductions. For some reason my leg just doesn't respond the way it should. I'm not too happy about that.

The good thing is is that everything else doesn't give me that much trouble. I get tired doing leg lifts, but I think that's because my quad just isn't there yet. I compared my quads the other day and my left quad is at least an inch or two smaller than my right one. I don't even fill in my pants the same way! It's so strange.

This month has been rough scheduling my physical therapy sessions. I can only do one a week, and I'm starting to get worried about how long my disability lasts. I think I need to contact HR about that. I don't want to go back to work if I'm not okay to do so, but I really need to work so I can have that extra cash.

Rough times are ahead . . .