Friday, September 3, 2010

Goodbye physical therapy, hello bike

I am now the proud recipient of a diploma from physical therapy.

Yes, I graduated yesterday. Rob, my physical therapist, re-evaluated me and said I had achieved four of my six goals, the most important being balance.

(Hmmmm. Sounds kinda like a C+.)

I failed miserably on my arm strength, which is understandable given that my left arm still hurts from my last fall and also because we didn't really focus on my arms. At home I have been trying to regain some arm strength by lifting weights, but I took a break after my fall. I am trying to get back into it, although I don't want to do any motions that make the arm hurt.

Quad strength is the other area that I didn't pass, although he did mark me down as "making progress." I think the prednisone has a lot to do with this.

I liked my twice-weekly visits to physical therapy. It provided structure to my days. Also the therapists were nice, the music was good, I got to use the exercise equipment, and we played fun games.

Now I have to do it on my own. As most people know, it's hard to stick with a home routine. Sigh.

To shift gears a bit (sorry about the pun), Rob also said he thought it was safe for me to get on my bike again. I went home all excited and put air in my tires. I decided to first practice getting on and off. I couldn't lift my leg high enough to get on. I was frustrated.

I switched to Katie's bike, which is a little smaller. That one worked better.

When they talk about our "re-birthday" after transplant, they aren't kidding. I'm like a little kid on the bike. I teetered around the driveway, first pushing along with one foot at a time. I was scared to hop on. I need another fall like a fish needs a bicycle.

Finally I gathered my courage and wobbled up and down the driveway a few times. I wondered briefly, "Can you forget how to ride a bike?"

I guess you can't. I turned left at the end of the driveway and then left again down the next street, Sycamore Knolls, which branches into three directions, each with a hill. I turned around before it got hilly, impressing myself by staying on the bike at the turn.

I could tell that my legs haven't totally recovered, because even that small ride was hard on my thighs.

But I got a small taste of that wonderful feeling when you're cycling at a decent clip.

As a kid I biked fast on the boardwalk in Atlantic Beach, doing little tricks that made my mother squirm. When I rode without touching the handlebar, I waved at her while she sat on a bench for my command performance.

Yesterday I couldn't shout, "Look, Ma, no hands!"

But I could say to my son, "Look, Joe, I did it!"

1 comment:

Ann said...

Congratulations! I still have problems with my quad strength, but can tell I'm making progress. As for my arms, forget about it. Regarding the bike, I'm excited for you--that's quite a big step.