Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let the PT begin....

Having been given the clearance to put weight on the fractured right leg last week,  I was cleared to begin physical therapy to restore range of motion and general conditioning to restore muscles weakened by 7 weeks of inactivity.

I immediately set out to make a PT appointment but backlog made it impossible to secure an appointment until yesterday.

This one week delay was probably a good thing.  Initially, simply walking on my right leg tired the weakened calf muscles, quadriceps, and the bottom of the right foot.  Despite all the isometrics exercises that I had done,  it turns out that there is simply no substitute for weight bearing to maintain leg strength.  So, for example, whereas before the accident I was routinely doing sets of 25-30  heel drops on one leg with 85pounds on my back;  last week I could not raise my body weight once on the right leg, my right calf having become so weak.

In any even,  after assessment the therapist gave me a home program of:

  1. Hamstring stretches, lying prone, using a length of webbing with a loop tied in the end to capture my foot (as opposed to doing bent-over toe touches, which irritate my right hip).  3 x 20 sec
  2. Calf stretches on ramp or leaning against wall, 3 x 20 sec
  3. Quad lifts, quad locked, lying on my back, 3 x 10 rep
  4. Hamstring/glut bridges starting on my back with knees bent, 3 x 10.  These I find to be REALLY difficult much to my surprise.
  5. Standing hip clamshells with elastic loop around legs 3 x 10
  6. Standing hip flex, w/ elastic loop around legs, 3 x 10
All of the above, twice daily followed by icing.

Also, last week I started eccentric heel drops, no weight;  3 x 15 straight leg, 3 x 15 bent leg, every other day.  This week I am increasing the frequency to daily.  On the right side I cannot do 15 reps with straight leg so I cut the reps to 10.  I will increase to twice daily as soon as the right leg can do  compete sets in control.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No more crutches!

Today I got my 6 week check up:  X-rays look good says the doc.  He gave me the OK to put full weight on the fractured leg-  No more crutches!

It felt extremely strange walking on the bad  leg;  the calf and quad are very weak and my arch  and heel are sore and tender after 7 weeks without weight since the surgery.  But I walked around the block with my wife and daughter!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Richard Peck, Rest in Peace

 My friend Richard was buried yesterday.  He had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer back at the end of February.  He passed on July 1st.  

I met Richard back in 2011 when he took his son Nick and his other Webelos to check out Troop 4.  Richard struck me as no-nonsense, and a little gruff as he sized me up; we hit it off and he jumped right in and was right there working knots with the boys.  A few months later Nick and Richard joined our troop. 

Richard was absolutely devoted to Nick.   He and Nick went camping at the beach and he taught the boys first aid;  we went camping in the local mountains, and he helped the boys make the most shocking pagan war flag, it was awesome.   Richard often told me how excited he was about Nicks growing confidence and independence and sense of self empowerment.   Richard  helped out everywhere and the boys and the adults loved him.  He was salt of the earth.   He taught cooking  and pulled my introverted son into it;  they shared a love for Penzey’s spices.    Richard gave us his chile verde recipe. 

At Bandido a couple years ago Richard helped me out with a climbing program.  He was off belaying other boys while I taught  Nick how to rappel.  Richard was so proud of Nick for taking that on.  He wrote me later that  he “could see a sense of pride.... No false bravado from him....Bravery is accepting that you are afraid, and pushing forward in spite of that. One of the best emotions in life is laughing through tears...:. Or grinning while physically shaking .... Good stuff !!”  We went out on our own and climbed and rappelled at Horseflats; Richard belayed me while I tackled the crack at Romeo Void over and over until I got it.   I was pretty scared on the crux of that little climb but Richard had me on belay until I got it.  Richard loved all this so much he got his climbing instructor card.  He took Nick out on  his final instructor’s exam -  where Nick got to show off some ‘special’ techniques on a 70 foot rappel!  Richard was beyond proud of  Nick for how he handled this;  he told me that most of the adults had bowed out (it was very high “pucker factor”).   The last time we climbed was after the Angeles Crest 100 last year (where Richard crewed me, along with my wife, brother, and a couple of other close  friends)  when Nick and Richard and I went up to practice anchors and rappel rescue at Horseflats.   We looked forward to climbing and exploring more up there.  We wanted to scope out the scary 80- foot Toprope wall, but we never got the chance.   

I trusted Richard  and that trust extended  from the rock into some hairy stuff in the real world.   He was real.    We tried to be on our  best behavior around the scouts and I for one had to work hard to keep my language clean.   But I loved the fact that when we were together  without the boys his language could sometimes blister paint -- I felt like I could breath around him.  Richard became my close friend and confidant.  When I got  upset at people places or things, he would just listen, wouldn’t judge, but would tell me that he wasn’t going to put any bullets in my chamber.

About these adventures, Richard once wrote to me, “We all have a ‘golden window’ in life sometimes, to do things we haven't done before, and may not be able to do again in the future. This is one of those opportunities for me…”  I read those words now and they seem prophetic and leave me speechless.   His time was too short and I miss him.