Posts Tagged ‘knee pain’

One Shot

October 20, 2015

It doesn’t happen very often.

And.

When it does.

It happens on the way home from work rather than on the way to work.

Every once in a while I make it the 6.5 miles from work to home without having to put my foot down on the pavement.

It is the most delicious and delirious thing and I realized as I was crossing Divisadero on Oak that I might actually have a unicorn of a ride happening.

I made the timed lights, I picked up my speed, I felt my left knee complain, I said, come on baby, we got this, and zoom zip, through the light and rolling down the Pan Handle and it’s all, almost, but not quite, downhill from there.

I have made it once to work from my house, 46th Avenue and Judah to Lexington and 20th, on my bicycle without putting down a foot.

It was a reckless ride and not something that I need to experience again.

I just wanted to see if I could do it, and I could, but it meant running lights, stop signs, riding down Lincoln all the way to the Wiggle and a lot of clever maneuverings on my bicycle that weren’t the safest.

I am really safe on my bicycle.

Some folks are nuts.

I want to live.

I have so much to live for.

Just the level of contentment I have for my little home right now, it knows no bounds.

I got the cutest message from a woman in my cohort about a photo I had put up on Instagram with my little nook in the corner of my studio that has a chaise lounge and a “new” reading lamp, that it looked like just the place to curl up and read all of Professor Dubitzky’s reading in.

Of course she didn’t say Professor Dubitzky.

Ha.

She said, “Milly D.”

Our inside, though, I am sure the professor does know and winks at it, name for the teacher.

What I love is that the class is all Freudian analysis and yes, that’s right, my corner seat is a chaise lounge.

The doctor is in.

Er.

The graduate school student is in.

I have started writing “I am a therapist” in my morning pages where I write my affirmations.

It follows right after the one that says, “I am an artist.”

And I added another today.

“I own a brand new Buddy Scooter.”

Yes.

I am back in the market.

I talked a lot about it with a friend of mine who is really good with money and negotiating and asked if he would help me go down to Scooter Centre and get a good deal on the scooter.

It does not look like they have the Buddy I want, I want the Buddy Italia in Avocado, in the shop.   Although, I bet they could get it in if they don’t have it in stock.

It’s a 170cc, goes up to 60 mph and gets 92 miles per gallon.

It also has a two-year parts and labor warranty which includes road side assistance.

It’s about $3200.

I could go buy it right now.

But.

That would mean using my prudent reserve and my student loan disbursement up.

I would feel uncomfortable not having a prudent reserve and I don’t like that feeling where there is nothing in the savings account.

So.

I talked to my friend tonight and told him about how I have been setting aside money and also that I expect I will get a bonus at work on my birthday again, which is a week before Christmas, so it was basically a holiday bonus, but whatever, I don’t have to label it anything other than a gift.

A gift that I am banking on using to buy the scooter.

In conjunction with the money I have been setting aside.

The plan, God is laughing, I hear you, my thought, is that I will go down on December 19th, which is the day after my birthday and hand my friend my money, I figure, go to the bank, withdraw the cash and walk in with cash and get a better deal, and let him do the negotiating.

Which means in 60 days I’ll have a new scooter!

This is the plan.

Who knows if it will happen, but that’s the thought process so far.

I won’t get burned buying a used “Vespa” again, although I wouldn’t mind a Vespa, new, they are a bit more expensive then the Buddy and I would have to wait a bit longer to save up the money, probably at least another six months.

I don’t want to wait that much longer.

My knees be aching again and maybe, yes, maybe, it’s time to stop commuting 15 miles a day on the thing.

It’s been 10 years of riding a bicycle in this city.

I would miss it.

And.

I would miss the exercise.

But.

I can do different things.

I can learn to surf, I got a wet suit.

I can scooter to a pool.

I can go to yoga.

The time that I would save from riding my bicycle would not be a great deal, but it would be significant enough that I think I would be able to take a yoga class or go swimming at a pool on the way to work.

Who knows.

I am not going to worry about the exercise part, it’s important to my life and I need it to keep the crazy brain at bay.

I thought all these things when I was riding through the park, the cool breath of October flowing over my body, ruffling my hair, there is nothing quite as sexy, to me, I don’t know that any one else who’s ever experienced it (not that I have asked), but, there is something so sensual about getting off my bike when I get home and after I lock up the garage I go inside my cozy, sweet studio, and sweep the hair up off my neck and it’s cold.

Cold.

From the wind and the air.

It is such a delicious feeling to lift the cool hair off my neck and swirl it up into a bun.

I shiver thinking about it.

I would miss that.

But then again.

I won’t miss the painful knees.

I did make sure to get to work early and do a lot of stretching, it’s the IT band in my knees that is too tight and I can do some things to strengthen the muscles around my hips, that’s why I was contemplating yoga a little while ago–although, really, in what time?  The stretching helps, but sometimes I think, maybe, just maybe, 10 years is a good run for bicycle commuting in San Francisco.

A decade of riding these mean streets.

I have seen a lot of change.

And more than one lost tourist with the Blazing Saddle logo on their bike stopped at Oak and Stanyan trying to figure out where they are on the map and where the hell the bike path goes and where is the fucking ocean anyway?  And the bridge, how do we get to the bridge?

I have even ridden folks through the Pan Handle and around the Wiggle to get them to go where they are going, I did that not too long ago, I was stopped, asked for directions and I noticed the glazed look coming over the woman’s face when I told her where to go and what streets to take, and just took pity.

“Follow me, just follow me for the next ten minutes, and I will get you to Market, at which point I will cross the intersection and you will turn left and be able to follow Market Street where you need to go.”

Just here to be of service.

I don’t have to think about it too much.

But it is exciting.

I like the idea of change and my life getting bigger and fuller and lovelier.

Not that more is needed.

I have everything I need.

And more than I ever expected to have.

So.

Much.

More.

So.

Much.

Love.

Advertisements

Perfection Is Not An Option

April 22, 2015

Well damn it.

Now you tell me.

I wanted to throw in the towel a few times today, and it had a lot to do with wanting perfection.

The great thing?

I wasn’t even aware that I was seeking perfection, that is how ingrained in my being seeing said state is.

I never was nor will I ever be perfect.

I can end up waiting for the day to come and before you know it I will be dead.

But at least I will know why my knees hurt so damn much.

I have Patello-femoral Syndrome.

Yippee!

Gah.

Irritation of the knee cap (my poor Patellas–both the suckers have it, although my left is slightly more out of whack then my right) and the surrounding tissue due to increased compression.  There can be pain around or under the kneecap and sometimes in back of the knee.

Check.

Check.

And check.

Painful activities may include:

Running.

Ayup. Hurts like a bitch to run.

Walking when it is flared up.

Yup again, which is why I finally made the appointment to see my primary doctor, despite visions of knee surgery dancing fearfully though my head.  When the walking got too painful I knew the gig was up.  I am a professional nanny, it’s bad enough when my shoulder flares up from pushing the stroller, not walking is out of the question.

Please.

What else hurts?

Going up and down flights of stairs.

Oh yeah.

Horribly so.

I don’t talk about it, but it sucks, and ironically, which the physical therapist that I worked with today told me, it’s actually worse going down stairs.  And yes, the family I work for has a two story house and steps leading up to the front door as well.  I go up and down those steps more often than I can count.

I did a stair test and she showed me where my knees are pulled out of alignment.

Driving hurts, after a while, but yes it does, and the best, since I live in San Francisco, walking  up or down hills.

Bahahahahaha.

Oh good grief.

What contributes to PFS?

Tight hip or knee muscles; weak hip or knee muscles; flat feet (oh man, have you seen my feet?  Flat as pancakes, thanks dad. Plus my arches fell in my early twenties from all the food service work I was doing waiting tables, catering, bartending, hostessing, cocktail waitressing, expediting food (my best friend and I met at the Essen Haus and amongst many of my “fond” memories of the establishment was her strapping an ice pack to my knee to get me through the night’s shift, with, yes duct tape); and lastly, repetitive or excessive amounts of activity.

Can anyone say bicycling in San Francisco (and Paris and Oakland) for the last 9 years, 5-6 time a week, an average of 12-15 miles per day.

And that’s not including the year I trained and rode the AidsLifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to LA.

I started the training for that November of 2009 and trained every weekend up until the week before the ride in June 2010.

So.

Um.

Yeah.

A LOT of repetitive activity.

And it’s not what you would think, or I would think, it’s not the movement of the knees that the problem.

It’s the sitting in the saddle, the excessive sitting is tightening my hips which have pulled my knees completely out of alignment.

It turns out that not only are my hips extremely tight, they are also excessively weak.

Great.

They’re wide too.

My sister used to joke that our family hips were meant to birth a 10 lb baby without breaking a sweat.

When the physical therapist asked to test my knee strength I was afraid what the pain was going to be like, and was a bit surprised that there wasn’t really pain.

My knees are strong–thank you bicycling.

But my hips, oh, man.

As soon as she started manipulating my hips, my knees started to hurt.

I was shocked.

But I could feel the IT Band (Iliotibial band, which is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh, the top part is attached to the glutes and the bottom to  the shin bone just below, yes, you guessed it, the knee) pulling my tight as she moved my hips and tested them for flexibility and strength.

“Your hips are so tight, your knees are going to hurt just from this,” she adjusted me on my back and then showed me a stretch and then had me roll over on my other side.

“Both hips are extraordinarily tight and weak, resist the pressure as I push down,” she said.

It was like a soft pat but I couldn’t hold my leg up as soon as she pushed down on a hip.

I was again shocked.

And also relieved.

There is something that I can do about it, I don’t have to have surgery and I don’t have to stop riding my bicycle.

“You may at some point down the line have to have surgery, but certainly not at this time, there’s a lot of strengthening and stretching to do before that even becomes an issue,” she reassured me as I relayed my mom’s double hip and double knee replacement surgeries.

I also spoke with my mom recently and found out that there is high cholesterol on her side of the family, both she and my grandmother and probably others in the family.

Great.

Well, at least I know it’s not from my diet, which is really quite impeccable, if I do say so myself, though not perfect, since I’m still taking iron supplements like they’re going out-of-town.

I’m wondering what else can fall apart on my body.

Please, hold on a little longer.

I want to have sex again.

I bet that will stretch my hips.

Ha.

The physical therapist gave me sheets of exercises and stretches to be done, not once, not twice, but three times a day, plus icing my knees (where are those frozen peas?) two to three times a day as well.

“When your charges nap, stretch, do the clam shell one especially,” she directed me.

Sure.

Let me just lie down on the floor and do the clam while the mom and dad walk around me on their way to their home office.

I negotiated doing them after work when I got home on my bike, which is not a negotiation, my knees hurt like whiny little bitches by the time the day was done and I knew I had to stretch and strength train.

Good thing no body was around to see me floundering and trying to not cry in frustration doing said clam strengthening exercise–two sets of ten twice a day; the bridge, 2 sets of ten, twice a day; top leg lifts, 2 sets of 10 reps, twice a day; standing squats, two sets of ten twice a day; and then a bunch of hip flexor stretches.

Ugh.

But I did them.

And though I am sore, it’s a good kind of sore and I am grateful to have a solution that is not surgery.

Despite not wanting to do the work, which is always the case, I get to do it anyway.

And if I follow her suggestions,which I am good at doing, following suggestions, I should have no knee pain in a bout a month.

Considering it’s been years now, I’m cool with that.


%d bloggers like this: