Non-linear Recovery

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on April 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

Recovery progress is not linear.  In the same way that improved use through lessons will typically reveal long held and previously invisible habits of use, and thus require a newly dedicated conscious response that may “feel” like going backwards, so the changing structural conditions and shifting mobility of injury recovery requires time, endless patience, and a trust in Alexander principles. Progress is a spiral, not a line.

I managed to figure out how to use myself as well as possible in teaching with a fully extended, then a minimally flexed, knee.  The solutions I found on a daily basis were evidenced in my overall elastic response, despite a condition of self that was dramatically limited.  Now, my injured knee conceptually can bend much more, but the challenges have increased.  I would have believed that an increase in allowed flexion would equal more ease, but that is not my experience yet.

The injured knee is both stiff and wobbly, which sounds contradictory.  The muscles, tendons and ligaments have been in only one length and use for 8 weeks.  Elastic response in the knee area has yet to resume.  Although the knee doesn’t hurt actively (except at night, when it really aches), the sensations are distractingly strange.  My knee doesn’t operate in any recognizable way.

The distraction of the odd sensations brings a huge demand to inhibit focussing on the injured knee.  I can’t claim to have yet succeeded in keeping my picture big and attending to the whole self, even in teaching.  I struggle, and the struggle is challenging in a way that is different from the stimulus of pain.

Still, the daily, constant activities of monkey and lunge while teaching must help not only with my overall response, but with the knee’s recovery, weird as the sensations might be.

Walking on the street is a whole new challenge also.  Although I can move somewhat more easily, balance is constantly changing.  Even a slight breeze seems to throw me off balance, and I must use my cane to steady myself.  I am both more and less confident.  My stamina has improved, but sudden wobbly knee sensations scare me.  My attention gets drawn downward, and I have to use all my resources to go up again, to use the whole of myself in a balanced manner.

A favorite local dog, Oliver, was tied outside the coffee shop a few days ago.  I was a block away when he spotted me, and he wagged and wiggled and smiled all during my slow and wobbly progress until I could greet him appreciatively.  His patience, and his joy in my arrival, remains as a metaphor for my eventual progress.  Grimacing and despairing won’t help me now.  Patience and daily joys will.

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