I saw Trainer D for the first time after he was out for a week and he took one look at me and demanded, Is that a brace?!?!?
“NO.” I said defensively in a tone of deep offense.
Then I remembered that he could actually see it even though I was wearing black and was hoping the black brace would just blend in with the rest of my knee.
“Yes,” I admitted in a grudging whisper.
I settled on a sullen, non-committal “Maybe,” in the end, leaving him to draw his own conclusion.
It took me a couple more visits to tell him that things had been going south with my leg while we were on a hiatus. I didn’t want him to be like, I turn around for one second, and look what happened.
My leg is getting better, thank you, and although I’m on hiatus from Gen and CMD right now (SNIFF) Coach R and Trainer D (now that he’s back and fully informed) have been taking care of things. Coach R had to rein me in (again) a couple weeks ago. He told me to “calm down” on the incline because it was aggravating all the stuff going on with the left leg. (It’s been dragging, the knee is a little compromised, and I’ve got weird adhesions growing.) His strategy is “containment” so it doesn’t get too out of hand. One day he was doing his usual inspection and said wonderingly, “Are those my fingerprints?” Ummm, yeah, R, those are yours. I hadn’t seen anyone else yet that week so that was the one and only time it was all Coach R’s fault.
When I finally told Trainer D about it he immediately pinched me, putting his thumb on top of a particularly painful spot on my left shin. He was determined to work the adhesion out and then there was a lot of stretching and muscular intervention and the end story is that my left leg ended up feeling a lot lighter like when he did that crazy Mr. Miyagi thing during my first session.
That was a year ago – and I remember lying on that table, wondering if this was a good idea but glad Daddy was 3 feet away, “reading” a big book. Trainer D did something to my hip and said, Get up and walk around. I was thinking, That’s pretty brassy there, new kid, but whatever. I humored him by sliding off the table and walking a bit. My mouth fell open when I realized my leg felt different, like it had when I first started acupuncture and cupping.
We’ve been rolling merrily along ever since, and 3 months later I went in search of an AlterG, and lo and behold, Coach R was there. When I first started trying to move again after the hemiparesis surfaced I could only do a few minutes of slow paces on the Polly the Warehouse Cat (my elliptical). I worked my way from 500 paces to 1000, counting each step. I might have started at 100, I forget. I increased my goal by 50 paces until I reached 1000, and then I started counting in minutes.
The day I met Coach R I couldn’t run myself – he had to reach over the AlterG’s console and push some buttons so I broke into a slow trot. Now I’ve been having too much fun and he had to tell me to “calm down.” 🙂
On Mondays I just “run” but on Thursdays it’s a full workout: I “run” and then we do Training. At first I was nervous about tiring myself out on the AlterG and then having to do squats etc. I only did 12 minutes before Training in the early days. Once I came home from Boo Boo’s house, with successful AlterG experience under my belt thanks to the Southern Gym, I was running faster and longer. I started going twice a week and extended my Thursday run to 30 minutes at a much faster pace (still doing intervals) and have enough energy for Training afterwards. On my first day back (after Oregon and Ai Ai’s house) I told Coach R, “Raging chi, R. Right here [pointing to myself], RAGING.”
The raging chi quip is oftentimes me “hoping,” not a factual statement, but hey, I’m doing what I can over here. If I’m really tired, or if I just don’t want to do something I stand still mid-exercise and say to Trainer D, I’m busy. Subtext: Watcha gonna do about that, D?
He just laughs and waits for me to rally, or he’ll break down the movement more so I can handle it in pieces.
It’s true, though, I AM busy. It’s like what the physiatrist told me – I’m pushing it. But keeping busy is a coping strategy – the more you do the less you have to think. Well, I’ve had more time lately since I’m having a hiatus from Gen and CMD (I say again: SNIFF), and it turns out I’ve needed the rest. RecoveryLand isn’t a walk in the park, and the ride gets pretty rough sometimes.
But since I’ve had more time to reflect I realized that I’ve definitely built some muscle over the past year. These guys’ goal is not to build muscle for muscle’s sake, though. I just do as I’m told, but apparently they’ve got it all worked out in terms of the mechanics of movement, functional application, etc. But the most obvious and immediate payoff for me is that it protects my joints (which aren’t functioning normally anyway, so they need protection), and helps me move better.
In the not too distant past I couldn’t make it past 6pm without severe pain and lying on the Ceragem (massage) bed. My core is so much stronger now, and I know how to manage myself more effectively – yes, fatigue and pain are still problems, but I’ve made huge progress. Maybe 2014 wasn’t such a wash out after all.