Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding My Balance

At PT, there's this one therapist -- let's just call her "Jenny" -- whom I've nicknamed "Clueless Jenny" because she never seems to know what she's doing. She gives the best foot massages out of everyone there, but other than that, she seems to be off in her own world. She'd always ask ME where to put the electrodes when she placed a hot pack on my foot and just kind of let me do my exercises on my own with little input. She was always really sweet, so I just sort of shook my head and did my routine.

Well, this morning, all of a sudden Clueless Jenny turned into Drill Sergeant Jenny! I don't know where in the hell this came from, but she had this whole routine planned for me that was really, really hard.

First, I did 10 minutes on the treadmill (at 1.5 mph and an elevation of Level 3, thank you very much) and then 10 minutes on the bike. She then had me do a series of balance and gait exercises where I had to step over, through and around small cones. The exercises themselves weren't too bad (though I felt a bit wobbly when she had me do a side step), but the repetitiveness got to me, especially when I had to do figure eights around the obstacles. I was getting dizzy! My balance and equilibrium are still off, so I was seriously getting nauseous from walking and stepping in circles over and over again. I kind of liked stomping over the little cones, though -- it made me feel like Godzilla.

Once I mastered the cones, she placed these things on the floor that looked like file folders -- that were slightly higher than the cones -- and I had to step over, through and around those. By the time I finished with that, I was dripping with sweat! I figured that I was done for the day at this point, but Jenny had one more set of exercises planned for me. I had to stand and raise one leg -- and then balance using no hands. Yikes! I could do it for about two seconds, but that was it. My balance sucked even before I broke my leg, so I wasn't too surprised. But then she got this evil grin on her face and told me to do it with my eyes closed!

Seriously, though, while I may dislike these routines while I'm doing them, I'm happy that I'm being pushed and am proud of the work I've done so far. And I'm beginning to feel the results in ways other than how my walking is affected. Today at work, I had a really stressful day where a person whom I've been trying to get for a story didn't return my calls and I got blamed for her basically screwing me over. But when I later hobbled toward my bus stop, I realized that, as hard as that walk still is, I was feeling better. I was out in the fresh air, I was moving ... and the headache that I was getting all day disappeared. For weeks, walking has felt like a chore for me because it's been so difficult, but this was the first time since I've been back on my feet that I felt a glimmer of enjoyment from doing it.

I don't think that being physically fit will solve all of my problems: it won't make me beautiful, rich or get annoying sources to call me on time for a story on a tight deadline. But being in shape will at least help me DEAL with the stresses of life -- and I plan to keep getting that better balance, but physically and mentally.

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