Having a Great PT Day, Reformer-Style

Yesterday turned into one of those totally unexpected great days. The kind where everything seems to go right.

The very best thing was my physical therapy. Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt that something about my recovery turned a corner; the walking is better; the swelling is less; I feel more and more like myself at every juncture. When I went in yesterday, I was very pleased to be seeing my regular therapist, Christine, again (we’d both been on vacations for the last couple of weeks and so missed one another).

She did some testing with ankle raises and told me I’m at about 70 percent right now. At 80 percent, I get to start incorporating running into my routine. While I didn’t comment on it, I did make a mental note that, with this number, I probably wasn’t going to get to run at the end of the month as I’d hoped.

Physical Therapy Exercises

Oh, well; I set that aside as Christine briskly moved onto other new things. She had me bump up my speeds on the treadmill during my side-to-side and backward walking…which meant I had to incorporate a bit of hopping into the motion. Now, it may seem a small thing, but it’s been quite a while (six months) since I’ve been “airborne” in any capacity. Hopping says progress; you can’t run without being airborne. This was simply thrilling! So I had a new speed PR on the treadmill…I’ve met my max speed on the Newton walking forward (3.8), and I’ve gone beyond side-to-side (from a 1.8 to 2.0) and backwards (from 2.0 to 2.4) all at full body weight. I actually worked up a little sweat AND breathed a bit hard — nirvana! I was grinning like a total loon.

This alone would’ve made the day a good one. But there was more to come.

Trying Out The Reformer

Christine had me get on a piece of equipment called “the Reformer” — nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! — which would allow me to essentially jump from a prone position, relieving my ankle of some 50 pounds of body weight. First, I jumped with both feet in order to get the motion down. It was like being a kid on a trampoline or in a jump-up. So fun! I was laughing and having a blast.

Next, she had me jump on the good leg only, my right one. Piece of cake! And then it was time to jump with only the bad one, my left ankle. And it was funny; there was this momentary “oh shit” reflex. It was hard to take the first jump. Total fear factor (irrational, I know, but that doesn’t make the fear any less real) that something would go horribly wrong, that my ankle would collapse, that arrows of pain would shoot up my leg, that sort of thing. I said as much to Christine, who told me that fear was normal and expected and that’s why we were doing it here first…just try.

So I jumped.

It’s hard to do justice to the feeling of pure joy that washed over me when it was just fine. Nothing hurt. Nothing was screwed up. It just felt a bit stiff and unwieldy, kind of like it needed to “wake up” and then it was fine. It was bliss. It was heaven. I did not want to stop jumping.

There were other new, challenging things to do but that was the big break-through. It felt like I’d been given a big gift, and I hope I accurately conveyed to Christine just what a wonderful moment that was for me.

The rest of the day was filled with other fantastic things. I went by the French Place house and found that they had started work on the outside trellis, which was a total surprise. My hubby got back from his trip and joined me there, and we wound up having an unexpected late lunch date at El Chile, one of our favorite places. That evening, we had a family get-together at the house for dinner (everybody but the middle child, that is, who is still working at camp). And all of the good things for the rest of the day were surrounded in this wonderful glowing aura left over from PT.

One of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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