Knee-jerk Reactions

This week has taught me the true meaning of “mind over matter.”

I’ve been given a new physical therapy regimen. The first week I had no idea how far I was supposed to progress, so I took it easy and didn’t move that much. Big mistake apparently. Now the doctor’s office is worried about knee stiffness, so they’re sending me to my local physical therapist every day this week. If I’m not there, I’m on my rented Continuous Passive Motion machine 4.5 hours a day (three sessions, 1.5 hours). If I’m not on the machine or at therapy, I’m doing exercises or putting ice on my knee.

Ice is on my knee right now. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ll have time to finish this post before my next CPM session.

While it’s easy to complain about this intense schedule, I don’t because I see the difference every day. I’ve been nervous about my knees my whole life. Preventing my kneecap from dislocating was on my mind constantly, and it still is because I haven’t done my right knee yet. My insecurity runs so deep that my knees have developed actual “knee-jerk reactions” to various movements. I’m so afraid my kneecap will move that my knee automatically jerks or tenses if the physical therapist stretches it in a way that would have caused pain in the past. The doctor, nurse and therapist think it’s because of the pain, but I have a high tolerance for that. It’s strictly because my subconscious is holding me back.

I wish there was a way for me to put my knee in phsyco-therapy, because that’s what it needs. It doesn’t believe yet that everything is okay now.

Then I discovered there is a way to talk to my knee. Whenever I feel a jump or instinctive tension, I take deep breaths, remind myself to be calm. It stopped jumping. I was so shocked today when I could actually straighten my knee out while sitting. I’d never done that fully before.

I’m not a competitive person, but this week, I’ve become competitive with myself. This progress makes me want to test my limits and see what “new tricks” I can learn. When I get my second knee done, I can imagine working out regularly.

After all, an hour at the gym every day would be nothing compared to my current schedule.

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