For the past five months, I have posted rehabilitation updates on my Facebook feed as I reached rehabilitation milestones. I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement from hundreds of friends whenever I shared a progress report. Yesterday, I shared an important update – one I was not confident about achieving back in January when my former personal assistant dropped me and I fractured my femur.
Rehab update: I have been discharged from outpatient physical therapy (PT)! And my sitting left knee flexion is 90 degrees! Without pain!
Yes, I have been discharged from outpatient PT! The range of motion in my left leg has improved dramatically from January. Although pain is still a frequent companion, it is less debilitating than it has been in months. My tolerance for physical activity has increased. I have lost twelve pounds since my discharge from the rehabilitation hospital in February.
Do I sound like I’m bragging? I AM!
On January 11, while sobbing on my bedroom floor waiting for the ambulance, I knew I had sustained a life changing injury. When you live with a progressive neuromuscular disease, you know these types of events can strip you of independent mobility and function. It has happened to me in the past, and I was fearful of how this incident would impact my daily life.
I knew recovery would be a long, painful process. I was not wrong. There have been countless times when sudden pain caused instant tears and furious outbursts of expletives. Rehabilitation has been tough, and certainly not pretty. I have been cranky, moody, short-tempered and brusque with those who love me. I have snapped at family members who offered assistance, and pushed away well-meaning friends because I didn’t have the energy to be social.
But I am not a quitter, particularly when an orthopedic surgeon who doesn’t know me well tells me I will never do something again. Those who DO know me understand the best way to get me to do something is to tell me you doubt my ability to get it done.
And I don’t know how to fail with humility and grace. If I set my mind to do something, I stubbornly persist until I have accomplished the goal.
Back in January, I could not predict how long it would take me to get to this point or if I would ever get to this point. Yet, somehow I have made significant progress and my therapists feel I can be set free to continue rehabilitation without their assistance.
I WILL continue my rehabilitation program even though I have been discharged from PT. I know it is working. I see it in my movements and feel it in my leg strength. I have worked too hard to stop now. The scary truth is this injury may have finally created what physical therapists have tried to create since I first started PT as a child back in 1978 – a Denise who voluntarily engages in and enjoys routine exercise.
Current status: Relaxing with a gin and tonic while shopping online for a cute bathing suit in a smaller size. 😉