Friday, February 13, 2009

Standing on Tip-Toe is Hard


It seems everything that stops pain comes with side effects, or collateral damage.

As part of getting microcurrent treatments for my arthritis, the Physical Therapist  keeps testing my strength.  Before starting the first treatment, she had me raise my knees and then she tried to push them down. She couldn’t. She had me do a series of tip-toe stands. She had me stand on one-foot-at-a-time for 30 seconds (or maybe it was longer – it felt like a long time.)  I could do all that. No problem. If I’m proud of anything, it’s being strong.

At the second testing, standing on tip-toe was difficult and I couldn’t raise up as high as before. My legs had become wobbly when I stood on only one at a time. And it was no problem to push my knees down.

In addition, I could no longer bike up the 21st Street incline. I was grabbing the bannister in order to go up or down stairs. And I became tired walking up the hill to the Art Museum.

But I had flexibility in my hips – which was what I had asked for.  And the microcurrent does stop the pain for up to 4 days at a time.

When I told the rehabilitation doctor that  the microcurrent was making me weak, he insisted that was impossible. 

This was not just my subjective opinion. The physical therapist’s own data showed that I was weaker. The clinic’s testing confirmed my experience.  But the PT talked about maybe my previous strength was from spasms in my legs.  What? I had spasms for 60 years? I’m used to being strong. Spasms hurt. My only pain was in the hips – not the entire legs.

Then my PT found an article that said microcurrent lengthens muscles and the same strength in a longer muscle won’t be as effective as it was in a shorter muscle.  So, again, I asked for stronger exercises to get my strength back.

According to their tests, I’m still stronger than most people my age, so they don’t get it.  Most bike-riders avoid the 21st Street incline.  I love to bike it. Biking up a steep hill feels good when my legs are working.  Most people don’t mind grabbing the bannister. And so what if I get tired walking up hill? I guess they've never encountered somebody who wants as much activity as I do.

It’s my life. I want it back. All of it!

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