Friday, February 13th, I finished rehabilitation for bilateral knee surgery. I began on Monday, December 19th, and, twenty-two sessions later, I graduated from the McLean Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in Simsbury CT. No band played "Pomp and Circumstance"; no diploma was issued; even my dear wife didn't attend. But I would like nonetheless to celebrate my success and those skilled professionals who helped make it possible.
Plus, I shall show you some of the instruments of torture and exercises of exasperation which strengthened my weak knees even as they humbled this seventy-two year old body with evidence of its frailty.
Four physical therapists had a hand in my rehab: Fawn, Eric, Jennifer, and Julie. Mostly Julie. She is a young mother of infant Michaela, a graduate of UConn, and an avid sportswoman who, had she not damaged her shoulder and knee, might be entertaining notions of competing in the Winter Olympics in ski moguls.
Eric, also a graduate of UConn, was early identified as Norwegian-American. I tried on him some of the Norwegian I picked up during my sojourn in Brooklyn among the Vikings. To no avail! But he is fond of those limp potato pancakes Norwegians dish up on special occasions. Eric was the gentlest of the therapists with me, though by far the biggest: I guess he thought I might be a tad fragile.
Fawn was the first to evaluate my knees and prescribe a course of rehab. She has the longest tenure of the four therapists, a few months longer than Jennifer. I asked Fawn, of course, if she had ever heard of Fawn Hall of Iran-Contra fame, the only other Fawn I had ever heard of. "Sure," she replied and remembered that six foot tall beauty's fifteen minutes of fame.
Jennifer handled me twice. She was the toughest; but when Julie heard that evaluation, she turned up the pressure on my knees until I cried, "Uncle"... several times! For whatever reason, I asked Jennifer what church she belonged to in her hometown of Simsbury; and she answered in confirmation of my suspicion, "the United Methodist Church." Whereupon followed a session of "do you know's".
All four therapists were, simply put, wonderful. They knew what to do and how to get me to do it with a minimum of cajoling. PT has been referred to by some who have been subjected to it as Pain and Torture. And it was also that at times, but I would suggest that PT might also stand for Pretty Terrific in the way in which it has helped restore an old man's knees to a strength surpassing the week preceding surgery. I was, pre-December 12th, lifting one hundred pounds on the leg push down exercise machine at the local exercise center at the community pool in which the family has memberships. At the completion of the rehab, I was able to lift one hundred twenty pounds (two sets of ten each).
This afternoon, on an excursion to the Newington Krispy Kreme, we waited for fifteen minutes for the doughnut machine to crank out fresh glazed diabetes-makers. I stood observing the Rube Goldberg contraption unaware that Barbara was timing me. After ten minutes she remarked, "Do you realize you have been standing all this time?" That's another measure of the success of the surgery and the rehab. Two minutes this past December and I would have been begging to sit down.
Herewith, from start to finish are the paces through which I was put for the past two weeks.
Thanks to Julie for taking most of these photographs.
Like they say, "No pain, no gain." But for me, the pain was so little to pay for the great gain.