The healing of lovers and cheaters
He pulled a 3″ tall stepping bench into position in front of a hand rail.
“You just stand parallel to it and step up with your left foot, bringing your right foot up beside it, then step your right foot back down, following it with your left,” he said, demonstrating the action.
It seemed easy enough. I took the same position and repeated what I’d seen him do.
“Not quite,” he said, showing me again. I gave it another shot.
He shook his head. “Nope, you’re cheating. You need to bend your right foot when you’re putting it down.”
I thought I was bending my right foot. I tried again.
“Still cheating,” he said noting my unnatural movement while shifting my weight up over my still compromised left knee.
After a couple of minutes of his demonstrations and my failed attempts to copy a very simple movement, my physical therapist decided to throw in the towel on this particular exercise. “C’mon over here,” he said. “I have lots of ways to work that same set of muscles where you can’t cheat.” He was teasing about the cheating, but serious about working the muscles.
“I don’t mean to cheat!” I protested, as I gratefully followed him to a machine where it was much easier to do what he was asking of me. However, I still found myself not using the proper muscle set if I wasn’t focusing on exactly what I was moving and how I was moving it.
My knee is currently “waking up” from the confusion that occurs when you cut into the tissues surrounding the joint, even tiny incisions like the ones I have from the scope. But the issue goes deeper than that. I have been moving unnaturally, compensating for pain for nearly a year. I haven’t climbed steps normally in about that amount of time.
I realized today that my knee doesn’t remember how.
I’ve lost muscle memory in that knee. It’s not only forgotten exactly what to do, but the muscles are weak and unstable from being used inefficiently for so long. The purpose of rehab is to wake them up and remind them of their purpose while strengthening them to do what they were designed to do.
I’ve met a lot of folks I wish I could take to rehab, even though they’d probably say nooo, nooo, no!
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
But seriously…I’ve witnessed so much pain in the lives of people who don’t know who they are or why they’re on this whirling ball of dirt. They limp along in weakness and inefficiency, just trying to survive.
Who of us hasn’t been there? I surely have.
My heart aches when I have conversations with people who really don’t understand how loved they are. They still expect to jump through hoops to keep God from smiting them. That’s a lot of pressure. It’s hard to have a relationship of love and trust with Someone who demands perfection and has perfect aim with lightning bolts.
My knee will get stronger as I keep showing up and submitting to the direction of the physical therapist. He massages scar sites (OW!) and inflamed tissues (OW!) and makes me work body parts that have been slacking off for a long time (OW!). But this isn’t the pain of destruction or deterioration; this is the pain that is necessary for healing.
And healing pain, while not fun, is good pain.