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I Want to be an Overachiever

Growing up, I was never an overachiever in school. Being number one in my class didn’t really interest me, and my sister was smart enough for the both of us. I did however, always get good grades. I think I only had a few B’s in high school and my only C was in AP Biology, which was like an A. A win-win situation if you ask me. I just never saw the need to stay up all night studying. It seemed too stressful. Even in college, when it was my bedtime, I went to sleep. I never once pulled an all nighter and I still graduated magna cum laude. I did what I needed to do in order to do well in my classes. I was just never interested in being the best in my classes. Being an overachiever wasn’t my thing. I’d rather balance school with hanging out with friends, going to the gym, and salsa dancing. 🙂

That was school. This whole recovery process is a completely different thing. I want to do absolutely everything possible to be the best physical therapy patient I can be, to make the most progress, and to be the person who recovers the fastest from this surgery (ever). When it comes to my hip, I want to be an overachiever.

Yesterday I wrote about the thing I missed the most… bending my leg. I couldn’t tie my shoes, I had a 10 degree rotation in my hip, and I couldn’t cross my legs. It was very frustrating but I knew I could try harder. So what did I do yesterday? I stretched. I walked a lot without my crutch. I worked on my hip rotation. Every time I walked into my bedroom, I made a point to do this marching exercise my PT gave me. None of this hurt but some of it was hard. I know that my progress depends on my actions as a patient, and I’m doing what I can to do all the right things. I want to be the best at physical therapy.

This morning I planned to go upstairs for another upper body and core workout. I was once again left with the dilemma of tying my shoes. Yes, I could have asked Mario for help. After all, I couldn’t tie my shoes yesterday so why should I be able to do it today? But I didn’t. I stared at that shoe for about 60 seconds contemplating how I was going to get it on and tie it. And then I did it. I successfully put on and tied both shoes. I immediately went to show Mario. He was so proud. 🙂

This morning was my fourth PT appointment since I started a week ago. I always start with a warm up on this step machine followed by the leg press. Then Shawn, my therapist, gives me several different exercises to work on activating my muscles. (Because they had to cut through the muscle to get to the bone, there is a lot of activation currently not happening.) There was an exercise Shawn gave me on Monday that I could not do. No matter how hard a tried, it wasn’t going to happen. But me, being the physical therapy overachiever that I am, I came home and practiced… a lot. Today we tried that exercise again, and to my amazement, I was able to easily do it. I felt like I earned an A+ with a gold star by my name. I guess being an overachiever is kind of fun.

As I said earlier, I have about a 10 degree rotation in my hip. By that I mean If I’m on my back and pull my leg in, when I try to rotate my hip (knee) out and put my ankle on top of my other knee, I can only go about 10 degrees. In other words, my ankle is nowhere near my knee. Well that was Monday morning. I’ve had two days of practice since then. Today we tried that rotation again and guess what… I added about 20 degrees in just a few days. All of that going above and beyond is really paying off. Can I get an A++ in physical therapy? And perhaps another gold star? Shawn was so impressed with my progress and I was too.

Different things interest different people. Some people like studying a lot and some people like physical, hard effort. I definitely fall into the camp of physical, hard effort and I’m completely okay with that. This physical therapy thing doesn’t always feel good and it certainly isn’t always easy. Sometimes I hurt and sometimes I get frustrated. But I want to be the best, so I try again. And then I try some more. Yes, it’s hard work but I love it. Even more, I love seeing the progress I’m making and hearing the words of praise when Shawn notices my improvement. It gives me even more motivation to try harder. If physical therapy were a class, I am confident I would earn an A+.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

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