Had my first physical therapy session yesterday. It was mostly an initial screening, seeing where I was and what I wanted to do etc. The physical therapist was happy with my general strength and flexibility. I kept trying to tell her that most of my problems don’t show up until I’ve been on my feet for a while, but she reassured me that most of her patients come in much worse. I had gone in worried about my strength and balance, in that order. My function strength seemed OK, but my balance was actually worse than I thought.
I did a simple test, stand on one foot for 30 seconds. It was tough on my right foot, and my left was noticeably worse. Doing with my eyes closed was hopeless, I was going over in under 5 seconds. She assigned a list of 5 exercises to do. We would concentrate on balance first and then work our way into the strength part. She thought I’d be able to do the first three with little problem, but that the last two would be challenging. I went home and then started my exercises a few hours later. Wow. Standing on one foot was still challenging to me, but rowing 2 sets of 30 seconds on each foot was really difficult, it really took it out of me. And that was the first exercise! The second one involved standing on one foot while moving the other leg. I couldn’t even do two sets of that.
I called it quits for the night. I figured that between the exercises at the office and the food shopping I had done, my legs were too tired. This morning was a classic example of struggling to wake from a coma. I was in bed for what seemed like forever, still dreaming but knowing that I had to get up. It took an unbelievable amount of willpower to actually get up. There was no way I was going to get to work on time, so I called them up, ate, and then did my exercises. I think my initial suspicion was true about being tired the day before because this time I was able to do both sets of both exercises. It was still difficult, but I could do them. I was tired though. Had to rest afterwards. I tried going to work, but that didn’t work out so well. I knew I was in trouble when the walk from the car to the store totally wiped me out. My legs were rubber, and my glutes, calves, and hamstrings were all aching. I turned right around and went back home. As bad as I felt, standing on my legs for another 7 hours was not going to do me any favors.
So I’m guessing my currently prescribes exercises are both strength and balance ones. I have so little strength in my legs that even standing on one foot for 30 seconds at a time is a good workout. No wonder I felt so awful when I did 20 minutes on the exercise bike! I have my first real session tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be really tired at the end of it. I’ve already warned work that if I feel like I do today on thursday, I won’t come in. Still, this is a different type of exhaustion, this is a physical exertion one, so I’m hopeful that even a few sessions like this and I’ll be noticeably better. Wish me luck!