Monday, October 02, 2006

Somewhat Better

SUMMARY: Knee is improving--I think--

My office looks more like a physical therapy gym every day.

So here's the thing. My knee has been more or less the same, sometimes worse, sometimes better, for the better part of a year. I don't believe I ever talked to the doctor about it until it got all swollen and miserable in April of this year at TRACS. Then, it got better-enough pretty quickly, although I know for a fact that, after that, the swelling never completely went away. I don't actually know whether there was any swelling before that because it never occurred to me to look.

But now that I'm doing physical therapy, and the therapist keeps telling me, "No pain! If it hurts, stop!", I've become so much more aware of whether there's pain. And the problem is that I have NOT been in that mental space for most of the last year; it was more like "OK, it's sore, I'll get over it eventually." So, in fact, I don't know how much better (or worse) I am than when it finally went over the top again two weeks ago.

It's still puffy here and there; some days it seems worse than others and I'm not really sure what I'm doing differently. It is my subjective opinion that on days when I'm more active, it's better. But I haven't been tracking things like how much walking at the shopping center did I do.

I have gone back to doing a few exercises with the dogs in the yard. For most of the last 2 weeks I've been doing very limited tug-of-war (which is my primary means of exciting and interacting with the dogs) because (thanks, PT, I think) I'm more aware of how much pressure it puts on the knee and causes more pain when the knee is in its lower stages. I've been doing more tug-o-war off and on the last few days, although I'm trying to keep it to the left side (I'm *so* uncoordinated with my left arm!).

I'm trying not to run hard or pound, but just a few quick steps here and there to move with the dog.

I have not actually scratched from this weekend's competition. I have very kindly show secretaries who are cutting me a little slack, although I wouldn't blame them if they had simply said "decide now! why should you be special!". But I really do have to decide tomorrow. I've got an appointment with the PT tomorrow morning again and--well--we'll talk. It might be a short conversation.

Icing the knee. What better way to elevate it than on the computer? (No, my thigh is *not* three times the size of the computer, thank you very much.)

At the moment, I'm thinking I could go (all the way!) to Dixon for just one day to see how it goes. It is true that my knee seems to be in a state where, if I don't think about it, I don't notice whether there's any mild pain. And this is about the state in which I've been doing agility for months now.

OK, you don't all have to write back and tell me to get my head screwed on straight. If it's crooked, it's pretty much going to stay that way. If my PT is adamant, I'll probably scratch the whole weekend. But if there's the slightest doubt... I dunno. I just need to be on the field with Boost and I just want to do something with Tika! I could even just go for 2 or 3 classes for each dog instead of all 5 each.

And since I don't see the orthopedist until friday, which is really truly too late to decide go/no go, and since the best (tentative) diagnosis I have so far is arthritis, well, dammit, it's just going to hurt and that's the way it'll be for many years. So what's the big deal.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my exercises ("no pain!") daily: 100 "quad sets" (slight leg lift) each leg, 5-10 leg-lift sets, time on exercycle (supposed to be working up to 45 mins/day, but it's slow because knee does become annoyed), bouncing on the exercise ball (10-15 minutes 3x/day), assorted stretches and tightenings and balancings and so on. And icing, icing, icing.

We'll see, we'll see...

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