fitness · injury

Sam’s sad knee saga: A struggling system meets the pandemic

I’ve been seeing physiotherapists and sports medicine doctors about knee pain and function since my mid forties. I’m 57 now. It’s been a while.

Advanced knee osteoarthritis has ended my time as a soccer player first, then running, then CrossFit, then cross country skiing, and then Aikido. My sports world has narrowed considerably. I still lift weights and do yoga and ride my bike, but I can only walk short distances and I’m in pain a lot of the time. Lately it’s started to affect my sleep. Wordle helps. Thanks Wordle.

Years of physio, injections, canes, and braces later, in 2018, a sports medicine doctor recommended me for total knee replacement and referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. It was time.

Image description: A photo of Sam just outside Central Park. I’m wearing black leggings, sandals, a sleeveless black jumper and a purse over my shoulder. Also, a knee brace. I’m smiling and the sun is shining.



In August 2019 I went into the hospital and met with the surgeon and his assistant and talked about what the surgery involved, how much recovery I would need etc. Since then pretty much radio silence. There was the usual wait. In Canada it’s a year to 18 months depending on where you live. But then there was the pandemic.

Some friends had knee surgery during the pandemic. Why them and not me? I’m not sure. One had both knees replaced at the same time and while that sounds brutal it has a kind of economy of scale and risk that sounds attractive. Would I be eligible for double knee replacement? I have no idea.

Last summer in 2021 I reached out to the referring physician to check in. I started to have those kind of worries that arise in this sort of situation. Could they have the wrong number? Maybe they lost my file?

The sports doctor has a memorable name. It’s one of those names you can’t quite believe isn’t a joke. It’s “Getgood.” He’s Dr. Getgood at the Fowler Kennedy Clinic in London, Ontario. New xrays determined that now both knees need replacing. They can’t do any more injections because in case I do get called in for surgery that would make surgery not an option. You need to wait months between last injection and surgery.

The clinic said that the hospital kept operating on young athletes throughout the pandemic, less worries about covid I guess. Once things opened up again, there were hundreds of seniors with zero mobility who needed joint replacement. And I see why they need surgery before me. Still, being stuck in the middle and waiting isn’t much fun.

So here I am. As covid continues, the surgical backlog grows. American friends are puzzled. People keep think I’m putting off the surgery because I’m nervous. Not true. I mean, yes I’m very nervous but that’s not the issue.

I’m just waiting.

I’m learning about how waitlists are maintained.

I’m learning about Quebec’s two tier system.

I’m finding the opacity of the system frustrating. I’d like to know where am I on the current surgeon’s waiting list. I’d like to know what the criteria are. I feel like I could make better decisions about my life if I had more information.

Friends suggest I change waiting lists, change hospitals but I’m not sure. Does that mean I go back to the end of the line? Can you be on multiple surgeons’ waitlists? None of this is clear to me.

Through my family’s varied health crises, and we’ve had some dramatic ones, I’ve been proud of the Canadian health care system. But I’m not happy and I’m not proud of where we are right now.

Listen to this episode of The Current if you want to hear more.

“There are thousands of Canadians whose surgeries have been postponed because of the strain COVID-19 is putting on health-care. Matt Galloway talks about addressing this health-care issue, with Dr. Jean-François Joncas, an orthopedic surgeon and president of the Association d’orthopédie du Québec; and Dr. Danielle Martin, a family doctor and the chair of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto.”

At the moment I’m on an airplane. My first flight since the pandemic began. There’s a lot of standing and walking in airports. I’m starting to consider the mobile cart to the gate. I’m staying in the conference hotel to avoid walking too much and I’m telling friends who I’ll see here that I need to eat in or near the conference hotel or take taxis.

Update: It’s very pretty here and I’ve walked a fair bit so far.

Vancouver in bloom

There’s also a 24 hour Peloton Studio at the hotel and bike rental nearby. Don’t worry. I’ll keep moving on two wheels. There’s also a pool, a hot tub, and yoga. I’m a naturally cheerful, optimistic person but if you get the sense that this is starting to wear on me, you’d be right.

Dressed for travel 2022 style

The early mornings are nice here too.

Boats, water, and grey sky with sun just starting to rise
fitness · injury · walking

Sam, the slow walker

If you are hiking in a group and waiting for slower people to catch up, don’t start walking again when they do catch up, because then you got a rest and they didn’t. I think about this tip a lot, in many different contexts.

Thanks to severe osteoarthritis in both knees, I’ve become a slow walker. See here and here and here.

I feel pretty good that I am still walking and I’ve read lots about the benefits of walking even though it hurts. But I’m not walking very far or very quickly these days.

Cheddar is very patient and seems to easily adjust to whatever speed I want to walk.

Walking with Cheddar

I’m glad my friends who walk with me–hey Kim!–are patient.

On the bike, I’m sometimes the faster one and this same lesson about waiting for slower people is true there too. When waiting for slower riders at the top of the hill, never just take off when they get there. Sometimes cyclists play a game called “no rest for the wicked” where first to the top have to ride back down and ride up again with the slower riders. As a slower rider, on hills, that feels ok with some people, some of the time. I talk more about this here.

When I’m walking and people get ahead, I’m happy if they walk back to me and I’m also happy if they wait. The only bad combo is waiting and then taking off again the minute I get there. That’s lonely and it would be less pressure all round just to walk by myself.

Walked home from work!

Recently my knees have been feeling a little less painful. I’ve even been able to walk home from work and I’ve been enjoying walking alone in a way I haven’t before. It’s a nice mental break between work and home (the bike ride is too fast to count as a real break) and I like getting to have complete control of the pace without worrying about other people.

fitness · injury · martial arts

Christine is trying to focus on what she *can* do.

I was frustrated at myself in Taekwondo class last week.

This problem with my heel/toe/calf is making it extremely hard to properly execute my patters because I can hold my leg in the right position. And because I can’t put my leg in the right spot, my hands for get what to do. And then I end up facing the wrong direction and…so on.

I was feeling especially annoyed because I wanted to be preparing for my next belt test but this injury is really slowing my progress.

I’m the midst of all that annoyance, I had a flash of insight.

My physical practice is pretty limited right now but I could be studying my TKD theory. I could be practicing how to describe my patterns and how to teach them. I could be watching videos and observing technique.

A series of stick person drawings depicting different aspects of Taekwondo training.
Here’s a sketchnote I made when preparing for my last belt test. If made more of these, I could be enjoying creative practice AND preparing for my test. Image description: this is a drawing I made about the 9 training secrets in TKD. I have a series of stick people illustrating different aspect of the training and some text describing each one. The areas between the drawings are coloured yellow.

But, instead of doing all of that work that is freely available to me, I had been focusing on the one thing that wasn’t available to me right now.

Once I had broken that spell, I started to see all the other ways I had been letting my toe/heel/calf pain get in my way.

I’ve been able to walk each day but a lot of other cardio exercises aggravate my heel so I have been largely avoiding them.

When I started thinking in terms of what I *could* do instead of what I couldn’t, I remembered the seated cardio I did after an injury a few years back. I did a quick search on YouTube and have the one below a try – I really enjoyed it.

Link leads to a workout from Puzzle Fit called 20 minute strength and cardio workout for lower body injuries

I haven’t turned into Merry Sunshine. I’m still annoyed about my toe/heel/calf but I feel good about this change in focus. it better for my brain and for my body.

Have you benefitted from a chance in focus like this?

How did it play out for you?

fitness · flexibility · habits · injury · stretching

More Rehab Exercises Keep Christine On Her Toes

I have spent entirely too much time thinking about my big toes this week.

Aside from the occasional stubbing incident, and an unfortunately-located bee sting when I was 8, I have never given my big toes much thought at all.

A GIF of Garfield, a large orange cartoon cat with black triangular lined patches on his back and tail, is moving on tiptoe. ​
Okay, so I’m not ‘on my toes’ as much as our friend Garfield but this GIF made me laugh so I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Image description: A GIF of Garfield, a large orange cartoon cat with black triangular lined patches on his back and tail, is moving on tiptoe.

But last week, a conversation with my chiropractor led to the realization that I roll my foot inwards when I am trying to keep my balance. That means that the muscles in my feet weak from not being used properly. And, I am compensating for that weakness by using muscles in my legs instead.

You remember the ongoing saga with the muscles in my legthe pain in my heelwait, is it my foot, right?

Well, this is probably tied into that whole mess, too.

I’m not sure if the problem started with my toes, messed up my foot, then aggravated my calf and so on, or if things went the other way, or if it all kind of happened at once.*

I wish that I could have noticed the whole thing before it got this bad, I just have to work through all of the different muscles while they recover.

So, I’ve added some toe exercises to my calf/heel/foot routine. I have been taking my chiropractor’s advice and consciously choosing to use my big toe for support as I do yoga and walk and practice Taekwondo.

And I bought some of these chummies (you may know them as toe spacers but they’re chummies to me.)

A white-appearing person’s feet, one flat on the floor and the other raised to show the bottom. They are wearing blue toe spacers that wrap around each toe.
These aren’t my feet! This is a photo of ‘Toe Pal’ spacers as shown on Amazon. Image description: a white-appearing person’s feet wearing a pair of blue gel toe spacers. One foot is flat on the floor and one is raised so the sole is visible. The spacers wrap around each toe and have a thicker wedge that rests between the toes to hold them apart.

I think my feet are feeling a little better already but that is probably just the power of suggestion.

I guess that as long as it encourages me to keep up a routine that will work, it’s a useful form of delusion, right?

Anyway, let’s hope that I can soon get back to not thinking about my toes, my feet, or my calves at all.

*This article certainly makes it sound like the problem could have originated in my toes.

fitness · injury · monthly check in

Sam is Checking in for September 2021: Goodbye Snipe, Hello Zwift, and More Knee Sadness

September is the month where some activities end and others begin.

One that’s ending is sailboat racing. Bye Snipe! Water levels depending there may be a Turkey Regatta but I don’t think our schedules will fit it in. But we did race in the Snipe Nationals and ended the race feeling inspired to get better and be more competitive. That felt significant.

Here’s the official report here. And my blog post about our race is here.

Here’s photos from the Snipe Nationals:

September was also our last canoe camping trip of the season. It felt like we were sneaking in one last weekend in Algonquin. It was cold. It was wet. But it was also glorious. The fall colours were beautiful. We also saw a moose! But now we are drying out and putting away the canoe, paddles, etc until next spring.

September feels like a transitional month because while we are scrambling to sneak in some last outdoor bike rides, sail boat races, and canoe trips, it’s also the month that we are back to Zwift.

I’m just over halfway through Zwift Academy Road 2021. It feels good to making decent progress this time through. Last year was a little dicey!

I’m back to racing Thursday night team time trials with TFC on Team Phantom and I’m also captaining another TFC team, Team Dynamite, in the Tuesday night Zwift Racing League (ZRL) series.

We still have four spots available if you’re a category D rider looking for some company and competition and lots of laughs. Drop me a line! I’m racing in the mixed category and we’re a North American team, participating in the 730 pm EST time slot. I’ll blog about trying to organize a Zwift team/herd cats later, I’m sure.

Our first race was last night on Watopia’s Waistband. It’s a good distance, for me, just under 30 km, and relatively flat. It was a TTT and we needed four riders to compete. We started out with 6 but two people had technical difficulties and didn’t make it either into, or out of, the start pen. Our team of four was me, two other Phantom regulars, and a new person. It all went relatively smoothly with one team member keeping us in line (thanks Keith!) and another rider taking the majority of the turns at the front (thanks Jack!). Results won’t be posted until tomorrow but I’m not much fussed. Really it’s about improving over the season and coming together as a team. We’ll get there.

I’ve also rejoined the gym! More on that later too but the short version is “thanks vaccine mandates!”

I started these monthly updates because of impending knee replacement surgery. Turns out it’s not so ‘impending’ thanks to covid in addition to the usual wait times in my part of the world. I met with the surgeon and did the pre-op check up in August of 2019. Two years have passed since then. On the one hand, it’s not such a big deal. I can ride my bike and walk Cheddar in the neighbourhood. On the other, I’m in pain everyday, and waking during the night with knee pain. It doesn’t let up even though I am working around it. I plan my trips up and downstairs carefully. I miss long dog hikes and even walks around the city. I was thinking that stay-at-home pandemic time wouldn’t be a bad time to be recovering from knee replacement but it looks like the world will be wide open for travel and I’ll still be waiting. Grrr.

fitness · injury · stretching

Heel Pain Update: Clock Watching

Remember when I mentioned that I was having trouble with my calves that was causing pain in my heels?

Or, to put it another way, remember when I was learning the same lesson all over again?

Well, I have (mostly) learned my lesson (for now) about changing anything hat make me dread exercising and I have been working on a variety of stretches to help my calves and, hence, my heels.

But, it turns out that the best (i.e. most helpful) thing is to hold a calf stretch for two minutes on each side a couple of times a day.

GIF description: two polar bears are in a small dip in the snow. One starts to climb out and pauses to stretch its back legs.
This is not exactly the stretch I do. Mine is a sort of lunge as this is an upward bear. Also, I just have two legs and I am not quite as furry. GIF description: two polar bears are in a small dip in the snow. One starts to climb out and pauses to stretch its back legs.

I can feel the difference it makes AND it is way better than trying to remember to do multiple exercises multiple times every day.

BUT

(You knew this was coming, didn’t you?)

I hate it.

And it hurts.

A lot.

But, I don’t hate it so much that I won’t do it and it doesn’t hurt so much that I can’t do it but it is so unpleasant that I can’t even distract myself with reading or watching videos.

I just end up watching the timer click along and wishing I could time travel to a not-too-distant future where my stretches were already done.

Meanwhile, though, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. After all, it has all the hallmarks of something that my brain would shuffle out of my daily schedule – it’s dull, it’s uncomfortable, and the results are definitely not instant.

Yet, I have been pretty consistent. I haven’t missed any days and most days I have done the stretch twice. (Yes, I have also done other stretches too but I haven’t been quite as consistent with those.)

Image description: a GIF of a gold star being drawn in neon. White text reads ‘You get a gold star!’​
I’m giving myself a gold star for my efforts on this. 😉 You can share this one – your efforts count, too, of course. Image description: a GIF of the outline of a gold star being drawn in neon. White text reads ‘And you get a gold star!’

I’m not sure what has made me able to stick with this particular hated exercises but I guess the fact that I can feel a difference – even if it is not instant – keeps me returning to the stretch.

Now, if I could only get to the point where things have improved enough to reduce the pain while I stretch.

At least that way I could concentrate to read or watch a favourite show while doing the exercise.

I’m really bored with watching the timer show – I already know the ending and the plot just drags along.

fitness · Guest Post · injury · running

On Being Ground to a Halt (Guest Post)

By Alison Conway

In this month’s lead up to the Olympic Games, various American track athletes have been posting about the injuries that prevented them appearing at the trials (June 18-27) where they might have qualified for a spot on the US Team. The heartbreak is palpable: “I live in an optimistic world,” writes Emily Lipari, “but I have truly struggled to find the good that comes from this one.” Keira D’Amato observes the fickle nature of her ill-timed injury: “The fall of 2020, I was able to push [my] limits and accomplish some incredible personal feats. Unfortunately, this spring season was on the other side of that equation.” These women, and many others, are watching their long-dreamed of chance at Olympic competition recede over the horizon.

“We have tried everything,” Lipari remarks of her knee injury, and I can relate. Last March, I was ready to run the Boston marathon, with 10 km and half-marathon PBs freshly minted in January and February races. We all know what came next. I slogged out a quiet summer of running and looked ahead, along with the rest of the planet, to 2021. But a niggling knee pain in October developed into a full-blown injury by December, and suddenly I was no longer running, at all. I did my rehab exercises and resigned myself to a couple of months off. An MRI showed a complex meniscus tear, probably the work of many years, aggravated by who knows what on a long run. I got on a bike and I jumped in the pool and I waited for recovery to arrive with the spring cherry blossoms.

I have been here before. After several years of running in my teens and early twenties, I developed knee trouble and my physiotherapist suggested that, since I liked swimming well enough, I should just stick to the pool. I don’t remember this moment very clearly, so I couldn’t have minded giving up my runs. Thirty years later, I mind very much. When I started running again at fifty, I thought, “We’ll see.” As the years passed and the knees showed up, week after week, my fears of injury subsided. “Besides,” I thought, “the science is better now. My physio will fix me if I break.” But my physio has tried his very best, and I’m still broken. A few short runs in April resulted in another flare up and pain all over the place. The specialist has advised me that I should start planning an “alternative activity” future—my knees are telling me it’s time to quit, he says.

The fact that my heart, as well as my knee, is broken this time round tells me that running has been doing some heavy lifting for me over the past few years. It found me a new community after a midlife move across the country; it helped me recover from the loss of a parent and a family home; it gave me goals to reach for, a way of moving through my fifties with confidence and strength. Now, I walk the dogs. I swim my laps. I pedal miles along a country road. Sometimes dark clouds block the sun.

It is a small loss in a year of catastrophic losses, but it is a loss just the same. No one likes to see me sad and friends have weighed in with advice and opinions. Everyone, it seems, has a meniscus surgery success story to share. It’s time for a second opinion, they say. Hyaluronic acid, plasma injections! The options seem endless, until they aren’t.

Covid has taught us all that we don’t know a lot of things. Like many others, I struggle with uncertainty and would rather find a story to tell, one that puts me back in charge. Blaming myself for the injury is one way to know something. Tracking down a specialist who will give me the right referral or a different diagnosis is another. For now, though, I’m swimming into an uncertain future, about which, today, I know nothing. And I’m thinking about all the runners who have gone before me and wondering how they felt when they put their trainers away for the last time.

Image description:  Two dogs on an Okanagan trail, with the shadow of someone who would rather be running than walking in the foreground.
 

Alison Conway lives and works on the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples.

advice · fitness · flexibility · injury · stretching

Christine Learns The Same Lesson…Again.

I was at my chiropractor last week about a problem I’m having with my heels.

I already had a working theory that my sore heels were a result of overly tight calves (I was half right) so I had been doing all kinds of different calf stretches to try and find some relief.

One of the most useful sets of stretches I found was in this short yoga video.

Her exercises helped my calves…and my heels, at least temporarily, but there was one problem.

I really hate that ‘front fold with your fingers tucked under your toes’ stretch.

I mean, I HATE IT.

I know, I know! Why don’t I tell you how I really feel.

Let’s see if this helps clarify things:

Image description: A GIF of Sophia Petrillo, an elderly character from the show Golden Girls, raises ​and lowers her hand as she vehemently says ‘I hate that!’
Image description: A GIF of Sophia Petrillo, an elderly character from the show Golden Girls, raises and lowers her hand as she vehemently says ‘I hate that!’

I forced myself to do it though because the rest of the video was so helpful (I was wary of the bouncing but I didn’t hate it) but I found myself dreading it and putting it off, and even the promised relief for my heels didn’t help.

So, anyway, I’m mentioning all of this to Ken, my chiropractor (and my cousin!) and he, clever soul that he is, sensibly said ‘You won’t stick with a stretch you hate, do something else instead.’

Glerg.

Of course!

How many times do I have to learn this lesson?

How often will I have to be reminded that the best exercise is the one I’ll do?

Why can’t I remember that hating an exercise can be a good reason not to do it?

Now, I get that sometimes there are exercises that must be done in order to heal specific things and how much you hate it may not be a factor in that case.

But, for me, it keeps happening for exercises that can easily be switched out for something else.

I need to start letting ‘I hate it!’ be a signal to find an equivalent exercises that I like instead of a signal to dig in my heels and (try to) force myself to keep doing something that feels awful.

(Besides, digging in my heels is definitely not going to help right now. 😉 )

Do you have exercise lessons that you have to learn again and again?

Please tell me that I’m not the only one!

aging · fitness · injury · training

Sam is checking in for May 2021

Sam as seen from the back deck, wearing a headband, black tights and a burgundy tank top and boxing gloves, looking up and smiling. There’s a heavy punching bag hanging from a frame in front of her.

May has been my month of aspirational outdoor exercise. I joined the university’s outdoor exercise challenge and got to work. Luckily that coincided with nice weather here in Ontario and my son’s purchase of some backyard exercise equipment including a frame for his heavy punching bag and a collapsible rowing machine suitable for outdoor storage. Between that stuff, a yoga mat, a kettlebell, and a medicine ball we’re good to go for 3 minutes off, one minute rests rounds of all the things times 10.

I’m also dog walking and bike riding outside too. Currently I’m 11th in the #GryphFitness challenge. Go Team Middle Aged Dean!

I blogged about the challenge Get outside and play! It’s May!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is challenge-logos.png

The outdoor exercise kick is also accompanied by a snack size exercise kick. I’m not sure what it is but my ability to focus is somewhat challenged right now. I have the attention span of a gerbil. I’m still working lots of movement into my day but it’s a lot of mini bursts of different things. A ten minute stretching video here, some rowing and lifting there, throw in some kettlebell swings and some TRX moves…

My bike rides are still long and focused but nothing else is really. There have been 20 minute yoga videos I’ve found it too hard to finish at one go!

Luckily this month the many exercise snacks approach was also vindicated by science.

Cheddar is my back deck exercise buddy!


Cheddar, the blond dog, laying crosswise on a blue yoga mat surrounded by random weights on Sam’s back deck.

Not much knee news. I started these monthly check-ins to mark the countdown to my knee replacement surgery. And at the end of May this was in my Facebook memories,

May 29, 2020:

“I keep waiting for the letter telling me that my knee replacement surgery is delayed. On the bright side, it’s not any worse and I’m still walking Cheddar. On the downside when all the travel restrictions are lifted I want to go hiking in England and New Zealand again.

And yes, actual physical letters. Hospitals are one of the few sources of snail mail that’s serious.”

Still waiting. Sigh. And now it’s both knees. But I’m also still walking and things aren’t worse. Hanging in there.

fitness · injury

Appreciating All the Moments (guest post)

Guest post by Michele A.

I use the kitchen counter to balance myself for 15 reps of mini-squats as I stare forlornly out the window at a cyclist pedaling by on my street on a gorgeous sunny day and wonder “when will I get to do that again”? I fell while riding recently, breaking and dislocating my femur. I’ve been told 6-12 months until full recovery. I’m fully weight bearing because of the long Cephalomedullary nail that is now a permanent part of my anatomy, so at least I can balance myself here long enough to do my PT exercises, but six or more months feels like an awfully long time.

As I was approaching my 50th birthday a couple of years ago, I became very conscious of time and how much of it I had left to do the things I enjoy. I made a focused effort to not wish away any of it. No longer would I say things like, “I can’t wait until this is over” to a crazed period of work, or “I can’t wait until -fill in the blank- event/ day/ activity is finally here.” As if anything between now and that time didn’t matter.  Be in the moment, even when those moments are difficult and try to figure out how to make the best of it. Appreciate the mundane as well as the more exciting days.  So when the pandemic hit, this approach was challenged. How do I make the best of things in this isolated new world?

I pondered how I could reflect back on this time and not think of it as a horrible year. Perhaps I could even consider it with some fondness. If I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job of adjusting. I grew to not hate working from home by finding pleasure in the little activities I could do during the day that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. I befriended a herd of goats, which I blogged about. I cooked up a storm and returned to my recipe blog with renewed vigor. I took virtual group guitar lessons that turned out to be much less intimidating than in-person ones. And, of course I rode my bike and ran on trails because moving outside is typically a cure for all that ails me.

I settled into a new groove and was fairly content even though I missed a lot of activities from the Beforetimes. There was light at the end of the tunnel:  more people I knew getting vaccinated, warmer weather was descending upon us, and I was making actual plans to partake in weekends away with friends this summer.

Bam! There I was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Me and my "fall risk" bracelet.
Me and my “fall risk” bracelet.

In the last many weeks I’ve been trying to come up with yet another new groove and a way to get through this period of time without wishing it to be over as fast as possible. I depend on movement and specifically movement amongst the trees to socialize, keep fit and stay in good spirits. With that gone, this mindset of not wishing away time has become much more difficult, but I am trying hard to stay the course.

As anyone who has been injured knows, the recovery process is just as much about tending to the emotional challenges as it is to the physical ones. I’ve been given a lot of advice during my recovery, all of it well intended, yet not all of it helpful. However, I’ve found on several occasions, someone has come along and said just the thing I needed to hear in that moment. At a particularly low point, a friend said to me in a texting conversation, “think of all the firsts you have to look forward to!” I stared at that text for a few moments and realized this was the thinking I needed to adopt. (Thank you, Rachel!)

Rather than expending my mental energy focusing on all the things I can’t do right now, I will recognize and celebrate each of the firsts I encounter. The first time walking with a crutch instead of a walker. The first time changing my bed sheets. The first time going into my basement to do my own laundry. The first time making something in my kitchen that was more complex than boiling water or heating prepared food in the microwave. The first time visiting my goat friends. The first pedal strokes on my indoor bike. (I’m hoping this last one will be soon.) This provides me with many milestones to reach and allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment regularly.

I’m curious to hear from the readers out there about how they made a recovery period not only tolerable, but perhaps even, dare I say, enjoyable.