Nicole sent me a puzzle of myself. I opened up a package from Chicago and pulled out a box with four pictures of myself and the words “Erin Lynn Robinson is FUN!” She said she wanted to send me something that wouldnt make me fat and something that would make me smile. I laughed out loud, what a great idea. I absolutely despise puzzles (she couldn’t have known that), including any sort of sodoku or word scramble. I am not sure why. I like to use my mind but I have never found these sort of activities entertaining. Sure, it’s fun to SOLVE the puzzle but I would rather skip all the work and frustration and just get to the end.
Last weekend, I overdid it. (I know, shocking right? I am such a patient person!) I felt great all weekend, doing my normal “relaxing activities,” trying to stay on top of my PT, enjoying the amazing weather we have been having, catching up on my reading. I got the opportunity to go to Matsu last weekend- literally the best sushi in the world and I felt like I was ready to really go out on the town. We sat at the bar, had an entirely too expensive meal and a couple of carafes of saki, topped with oreo/mint mochi (rice paper ice cream, it’s amazingly good) and continued out on the town. I was mindful of my injury and did all the right things— stuck with one drink an hour, tried to have water in between, stayed seating when possible, avoided the dance floor and was careful on the ice. It had been almost three weeks, I was feelin good!
Flash forward to 9 am (which was really 8am, thanks Daylight savings) and me due at work. My knee was throbbing and stiff as it had been the second day after surgery. The combination of wine, saki and vodka mixed with raw fish was not doing my stomach well and I was tired because I had only gotten 6 hours of sleep. I did NOT feel well. It felt like my knee had a hangover! I begrudgingly headed to work and managed to put in a full day but was in pain the entire time. I counted my drinks and even though they added up to substantially less than anything I usually drank, I knew that it was still too soon. When they told me the recovery time of 6 months, I knew I would beat that. I was strong and healthy and determined. However, maybe I could cut the time by a month or two. But not five, I knew I still had a long road to go and I just had to be patient.
My knee was stiff and sore and in pain for two whole days. I felt like I couldnt straighten it without a sharp pain running up my leg and even the bike hurt to come all the way around at first. I felt like I had taken five steps back and was frustrated and mad at myself. During my normal PT session at The Awesomest Physical Therapy on the Planet, Amber did a lot of manual therapy and tried to get my knee back to where it was. It took the whole 30 minutes, but it felt okay afterwards. In PT, they do not agree with “no pain, no gain.” Amber always says your body knows the best and in an injury situation, you should never push it to the level of pain. After doing the bike for a few minutes without pain (thank god!), I was doing my hamstring exercises on the ball and felt a pop in my hamstring. Almost like I had ripped it in half. I knew it was weaker because of the graft and thought I had literally just destroyed my leg. I hobbled over to the modalities table, after saying a few swear words. Jasmine, the PT aid wasnt sure what I had just done. We asked Chris, the other PT and he said it was common and said it was scar tissue and my hamstring trying to rebuild itself. As Jasmine used an ultrasound on my knee, I was relieved I hadnt done real damage to my hamstring, but winced at my new sore muscle. I felt like I was not progressing as quickly as I had imagined and I was completely frustrated.
On top of all of this, I am brutally out of shape. I have been diligent about sticking with my exercises, but the bike for 15 minutes on low resistance is just not keeping me at that level I was at once upon a time. I actually broke a sweat today which was a big deal because I snuck in a couple of reps on the TRX for my arms. I am breathing hard walking up the stairs and feel like I am losing muscle mass by the hour. I just want to run, hike, bike! But instead I am stuck inside, doing the few exercises that are helping me bend my knee at a normal angle. GRRRR.
Conclusion: I have had a rough week. As I have plugged away at Nicole’s puzzle, I have realized how symbolic it is to what I was going through. Basically I was given a mess and told to put the pieces back together. Sometimes, in life, we are given a big box of pieces and other times they are small and easy to put back together. Often times they look much easier than they actually are, and you don’t even realize it until you begin to put the pieces together. Sometimes its a daunting task and you cannot envision ever being able to figure it out. But you try one piece after the other. Some don’t work the first time and you have to try the piece somewhere else. But the puzzle can always be put together as long as the pieces are all there. My puzzle has been difficult this week, I keep trying to put the pieces in places they don’t belong. The final product feels so far away and the challenge something I don’t even want to do. I just want to be at the end and better and looking at the final product with pride. But then it wouldn’t be as rewarding would it? If the puzzle was easy, I would never really feel what it’s like to overcome a challenge, the pride in accomplishment of overcoming a major setback. Life is filled with little puzzles, little challenges that seem daunting and tough to complete. But no one has ever created a puzzle that can’t be solved. So I will just keep plugging away. And hopefully one day, appreciate and feel proud of the final product, knowing that I built something from the ground up when it was just a mess to start with.
And then, when it’s done, I will move on to the next puzzle.
Thanks for the puzzle Nicole. And for all of the flattering pictures of me.