Another MRI scan has revealed that I’m still very much in the injured stage of my rehab. I arrived at my doctor’s office last week with the mindset that anything that didn’t involve me skipping out of their clinic, tossing my crutches to one side, would be quite devastating. But I knew deep down that there had been some suspicious pains in my knee that didn’t encourage skipping. The scan showed areas of stress further up my femur and the upshot is at least four more weeks of hopping. The good news? I am allowed to swim! All hydrotherapy-based activities are my friend. And I can do some light resistance cycling plus continue with the physio gym-based rehab. Yes.
With my personality being as it is and having a serious need to expend energy and be active, I’ve clung to the good news and spent a week diligently hitting the pool at all available opportunities, and performing leg raises. A lot of leg raises. I’ve found there is a great deal of comfort to be had from having a focus. For example, I am a terrible swimmer. I know a lot of people say this, but this week whilst in the pool a colleague, who was also having a lunchtime swim, stopped me to give me some tips. The tips it turned out led to a revelation and a little internal victory. I may be a long way off running but I’ve set my mind on become a terrific swimmer in the mean time.
The main focus of my rehab at the Isokinetic clinic (my saviors) is currently about rebuilding strength in my right leg to support my longer-term transition back into running. It helps me a lot to know we’re doing all we can to get me up and running as soon as my body will allow. The difference between this clinic and all other physio-based treatment I’ve had in the past is that it all happens there. There is homework too of course, but I have to attend a few two-hour sessions each week at the clinic in their gym to perform my routine. Alex is in charge of how I spend my time whilst there and he will have another two or so patients who he divides his time between. I’ve never felt quite so cared about by the professionals; it’s incredibly personal above all else.
What’s more, I’ve been exposed to treatment I didn’t even know existed. Here is where I must briefly mention my electrotherapy. Each visit to the clinic ends with me essentially enduring electric shocks pulsing through my leg for 15 very long minutes. I am probed up as it were, then given the controls to crank it up as high as I can tolerate. It isn’t pleasant. In fact, I’d melodramatically call it the most insane pain I’ve ever experienced, much like a jellyfish-octopus hybrid sting might be, I’d imagine. It claims to stimulate every muscle fibre in the leg to prevent muscles wastage, clever.
Electric shocks aside, one of the best things about my visits to the clinic is the other patients. I’ve made friends and been able to bond over injury with people from all sorts of backgrounds each at different stages in their rehab. As I mentioned before, it can be difficult to always be around able-bodied people. Working in the Runner’s World office, I have to suck it up as the team head off for lunch time jaunts in the park, come back high-fiving, talking about cadence and new pbs. But here everyone understands and there’s a union in that.
In times of injury, rather than hibernating with all of the snacks in the world on the sofa, try the keep the long game in sight. Yes, there is no high quite like the one you get from running and motivation to perform seemingly mindless activities is hard to cling onto. But if you can cling to it, your legs will thank you when you make the epic transition back into running. And it will be epic.
See part one here.