Pains and Gains
Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?
Well, okay. I’m not fond of Fonda, but this is the only thing with which I can agree–in exercise, as in much of life, you do not have success until you’ve endured the pain and made it productive.
Let me give you an example.
Eleven years ago, I had my first knee replacement. Ten years ago, the second one got tossed out and replaced. I was young to have it done, only 56 and 57, but my doctor agreed with me that it was an issue of quality of life. I could be in extreme pain 24/7 for the next ten years, or we could get the job done and face possibly having to do it again 20 years down the road.
It hurts. No getting around it. The physical therapist had me up and putting weight on the knee the day after the surgery. Pain. Intense. Take-your-breath-away pain. “Take your pain meds 45 minutes before you start your therapy,” they warned me. I believed them. I did what they said.
The next day, they started regular PT. P T stands for Pain and Torture. Don’t let them tell you anything different. I was very thankful that I was allowed to go home the third day. A physical therapist would come to my home three days each week to put me through my paces.
He was very nice, and very matter-of-fact. “If you don’t do the work, you will not have full use of your knee. You have to work through the pain in order to reach full mobility. Our goal is for you to forget you have replacements. The only thing you may not ever want to do is kneel. Or pivot. Other than that, you should be able to do anything you’ve done before. So, let’s get to work.”
(Here’s a before and after of somone’s knee)
He was right about all of it. I’m glad he was tough. I worked so hard! My husband had a hard time listening to me groan, pant, and sometimes sob my way through my routine. I tried to do it when he wasn’t home, but there was a danger of my falling and needing help, so he tried to be available. I pushed myself to go beyond the goals my therapist set, without being stupid about it.
Oh, my, yes, there was pain. Plenty of it, in spite of taking the medication faithfully. However, I healed well and was soon sleeping through the night without pain for the first time in several years. You realize what a blessing that is only when you get it back! My therapist was right–I can’t kneel for more than a few seconds, and my basketball days are over.
Since I had my knees replaced, the industry has created better replacements that allow pivoting and kneeling. If I ever need a do-over, maybe I’ll be playing basketball at the Ancient’s Olympics someday 🙂