Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 weeks and counting

It's funny how this blog goes. I wrote on here before that I actually like blogging. I like putting my thoughts on the virtual paper and despite the title of this blog, there's clearly a lot more focus on "other stuff" now than poker. I might care about that hypocrisy if I were writing for someone else or for a general audience but in the end, what it comes down to is that I mainly write for myself. So, the past few weeks, there were numerous times that I wanted to blog about something I had in mind at the time... but something gets in the way... and these days, the "something" mainly consists of work, physical therapy, and work outs.

So this coming Wednesday will mark the 6th week since my knee surgery. It's really amazing how this works. I mean the knee surgery is literally like hitting the "reset button" on your leg. All your muscles go dormant, you lose whatever definition you had in your legs and everything that you take for granted like walking, quickly jogging across the street when the lights are flashing, or going up and down the steps, or climbing over the tub to get into the shower are all the things that you actually now have to work up to. The progress is fast and slow at the same time. I work hard on my PT sessions (3x a week) and on days I don't have PT, I still repeat the PT exercises to the extent that the therapists allow me. Tricky thing is, the more you can do, the better, but you don't want to overdo it because then the tissues in that area will flare up and you wlll have more swelling, less range of motion, and you will be unable to do some of the exercises until the swelling comes down which could be a day or two. And now, I can pretty much walk like normal although there are times my left knee still feels a bit stiff so I walk with a slight limp. I can go up the steps now pretty comfortably but I still can't go down the steps (yes, going up is A LOT easier than going down the steps). I can pretty much climb over the tub to get into the shower... I feel only a slight pain bending my knee that much to do it. And no, my tub is no higher than your average tub... that's how much range of motion you lose. I can now bike on a stationary bike even though I struggle to maintain 80+ RPM on Level 1. And that's not because of cardio... that's how weak your muscles in your leg become. To put it in perspective for those that don't do the stationary bikes, I can keep up 80+ RPM at Level 15 (on a bike whose max I believe was 25, maybe 20) pre surgery.

The funny thing is, initially, I didn't go out to bars and such because when my knee is vulnerable and I'm wearing a big brace, the last thing I want to do is to be around a bunch of drunk people. I had some of my neighbor friends and coworkers joke that I can play the pity game and pick up girls that way if I wore the huge brace to the bars but I really suck at playing the pity game. I'm so independent (have been since I was young) that I just don't want any pity. I don't need the "awwwwww you poor thing" type of comments and nor do I want to hear another person's injury story which seems almost inevitable... like they want to find common ground with you or something. It's just a torn ACL. I'll live and not only that, I'll be back to pre injury form and more so I don't need anyone taking pity on me and nor do I want that to dominate the conversation. I love sharing PT notes because that's fun but I don't want to hear the "yeah, I tore my ACL by xyz" or "I've torn both my ACL's" (well so have I so don't expect pity from me sucker) or any of that crap.

So anyways, that was the initial reason I avoided bars... but now, I've been so focused on working out through PT and still finding time to hit the gym 5 days out of the week so I'm more cognizant of what I'm putting into my body. I was never a health nazi and I'm not one now but I definitely pay attention to my protein and carb intake to make sure that I am getting sufficient amounts, especially because literally, pretty much all 5 days, I am working out twice a day if you include the PT exercises. So now, I'm not so keen on drinking too much because I know that that will impact my workouts the next day. So these days, I tend to have a beer or two at home or if I'm out for dinner, at that point. But nothing more. In a way, I'm kind of a hermit. I mean I go to work, I go to my PT, and I go to the gym... and that's pretty much it. Rest of my time is spent watching the NBA playoffs or playing poker online. Which seems kinda isolated and crappy but I am actually enjoying it. I look forward to my PT sessions because each session is an improvement and an opportunity to be able to do something new. Plus I've never worked out with anyone after college (in college, we had team lifts and practices, obv) so it's a nice change to have someone who is like a trainer working with you.

Oh and btw, if any of you ever have ACL surgery (and I really hope that none of you will), going to the gym with braces to work your upper body doesn't impress women but it will draw a lot of positive remarks from guys. I guess girls think you're crazy that you have to be that much of a workout nut but the guys are all impressed like "that's dedication man" or "dude, you should be an inspiration to all those other lazy guys that always find excuses." And yes, I've heard various versions of those statements from many guys. Only one girl gave me props and several others that I know just gave me the various versions of "why are you still coming to the gym?"

Hey, that is just how I roll.