This week I stood in the hall of the Physiotherapy clinic I frequent approximately three times a week and found myself doing a little show and tell. My Physiotherapist was explaining my situation to a colleague and we were taking a look at the scar on the top of my upper leg. The scar looks pretty nasty and shows the effects of multiple surgeries pretty much eliminating any chance of using two-thirds of my quad muscle ever again.
In many ways I’m making progress. I’m up to around 75% weight bearing on my right leg, my ankle is rotating nicely, the one-third of my quad muscle that does work is getting stronger every day. But there’s a harsh reality when we look at my knee. It isn’t bending much past 85 degrees (to help you understand what that means, you turn a bike pedal with a 110 degree bend), hurts when stretched and will probably require surgery to repair.
The reason I tell you all this is because I’m not dealing with it very well. As I reflect on this latest dip in my recovery journey, I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so down about all this. I knew it would be hard and challenging but I wasn’t anticipating the melancholy, the tears and the struggle.
In a word I think I’m struggling with EXPECTATIONS.
- I expected to be driving by now.
- I expected to be bending my knee 100+ degrees by now.
- I expected to be weight bearing by now.
- I expected to be avoid knee surgery some how.
- I expected to be more energized and not so stinking tired from all this rehab!
- I expected this to be easier but it’s not.
I don’t know about you, but when you are NOT where you thought you should be by now or NOT who you thought you would be by now or NOT achieving what you thought you would have achieved by now – it can be discouraging.
So what am I doing about it?
For starters, I’m admitting it. To myself. To you. To my wife. To my friends. I’m stepping back and reflecting on what’s going on and why. My journal has some fresh ink in it. My prayers reflect my struggle. And I’m not giving up!
Bottom line – I’m walking through this phase in my recovery journey like I have every other dark tunnel I’ve been through. I believe God will get me through and I’m not trying to get through all this on my own.
On the wall of the Physiotherapy clinic is a list that puts some of this in perspective:
THE 10 NEVERS OF PHYSIOTHERAPY
- Never say “I can’t” because you’ll do it anyway.
- Never say “It’s easy” because we’ll just make it hard.
- Never say “I want to go home” because you’ll just stay longer.
- Never complain because we never listen.
- Never argue because you’ll never win.
- Never lose count because you’ll start at 1 all over again.
- Never scream or cry because it only encourages us.
- Never look like you’re enjoying it because we’ll put a stop to it.
- Never hold your breath because if you pass out and die, we have to fill out paperwork.
- Never lie or cheat because we know the truth and you’ll live to regret it.
Physiotherapy is hard.
I expect that!
What I am learning is this: I can’t expect unrealistic expectations to be met. When I realize I have unrealistic expectations, make the necessary adjustments and keep shuffling forward one day a time – one exercise at a time – one leg bend at a time – and trust the process and God to see me through.
What unrealistic expectations do you have that are messing you up?
How can you process your emotion and adjust your expectations?
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