I started physical therapy last Monday to rebuild strength in my leg. The leg has been locked in a brace for three weeks for the purpose of building scar tissue around the MCL. The task in front of me now, that the scar tissue has formed, is to bring life back to the leg and get it strong and ready for surgery. (And then, the process of being locked starts all over again. Every thing I’m working through now, will have to be repeated at the end.)
I did not realize how much of a “crutch” my 24-hour brace was to me until the therapist removed the brace. While all of the other PT patients were working in the main open area, I was moved to a back room, with the door shut. “Is this so no one can hear me scream?”
My leg felt like jello and I wondered how I would ever keep my knee from falling out of my leg. I didn’t even recognize my leg… The flesh, the muscles, all looked foreign to me. Before I could even process that sensation, I had to begin straightening and bending the leg… Minimal progress was made, and I had an entirely new kind of pain. (Truly, I just need my mom… I just need my mom….That day at her funeral, when I was crying… It was for this future day, when she wouldn’t be here and I needed her.) In addition, I couldn’t fire up the muscles in my quads. They were completely numb — the therapist explained that it was a broken connection between my muscle and my brain.
At home, during my home therapy session the next day, there was a moment, when I decided that walking just may be overrated. Too much pain, too much work, and too much progress to go. I can now remove the brace for home therapy, but lock the leg back up at all times.
I think however, that your body, and your entire will to survive, takes over though… And through some kind of grace you do make it through. By Wednesday, I had progressed to having my leg straightened to 8 degrees, (working toward 0), and I bent the leg to 81 degrees — working toward 120.
But victories, I’m learning are short-lived. Progress has been slow since, and pain has increased.