Monthly Archives: October 2009

Phys Ed….

…..sort of.

So I’ve been going through physical therapy for my right knee, which has turned into therapy for my right knee plus custom orthotics for both feet plus some work on my tibia and femur, which have both twisted in an effort to shorten my right leg to match my left leg. It’s going well, mostly because I have an excellent therapist and an enthusiastic and engaged physical therapy student working with me and because I’m diligently doing my assigned daily stretches/exercises.*

Yesterday, I got fitted for the orthotics. The therapist who does that had not seen me before and thus had not seen my long, skinny, bunioned, twisted-and-practically-prehensile-toed feet. They are old lady feet, except they’ve been like that since I can remember. No pretty open toed shoes for poor Inez, ever. *sigh*

Anyway, the guy comes in and lifts my right foot without really looking at it yet, asking me what I suspect is his standard first question: “Have you ever been fitted for orthotics before?”

“No.”

Then he looks at my foot and says in the most shocked voice one can use and still remain professional, “Really?”

“Nope.”

“No one has ever suggested it?” He picks up my left foot.

“Uh uh.”

“Wow,” he says in the same tone of voice you’d use if you’d just seen, say, the Loch Ness Monster gallumphing down Main Street.****

“You should see my spine,” I said.

“Oh, yeah,” piped up the very thorough, earnest, yet impossibly young and sweet physical therapy student. “She’s been great as my first patient work-up. You should see my notes!”

Yes, even out of the classroom, I’m doing my twisted, bony little part to educate today’s youth.

*The therapists were hugely pleased with my compliance and said lots of people don’t do their home exercises. I can’t understand that — why go to all the trouble of physical therapy if you’re not going to do everything necessary to get better? But then, I don’t understand why my students don’t read their assigned texts, either.**

**I don’t even expect them to read ALL of the assigned texts — I’ve been a student and I’m pretty lazy in general. But unless I assign reading responses which means reading = points toward the final grade, many students would do none of the reading at all. None! Since when does school mean no reading?***

***Some profs feel that rewarding reading with points is letting the academic standards team down, but I’ve tried teaching classes in which most students were unprepared and thus unengaged. That way lies bitterness, liquor, and way, way too many cats.

****Or the Abominable Snowman (anyone who mentions Bigfoot in the comments will be the focus of some very bad thoughts, KURT).

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…and I’m back

Not feeling my usual, chirpy self, but back enough to blog about it.

My good friend Jennifer sent me an email a couple of weeks ago, noting it was mid-semester again and as usual, I’d disappeared. And boy was she right — this one hit me hard, for some reason. I was a bit underprepared for classes but felt WAY unprepared, and the first week of school had meetings and other non-teaching work galore, and it just didn’t let up all month. And then a couple weeks ago, when I started to feel like I was on top of things again, my right knee started experiencing bouts of burning pain that were just no fun at all.

After finally visiting my doctor (because the pain didn’t go away when I ignored it and did nothing) and having x-rays that showed that age and a lifetime of clumsiness had scarred up the tissue under my patellas fairly severely, I had a physical therapy appointment yesterday with a long-time therapist and a PT intern, both BVU grads, which was fun. They were amazingly thorough and gentle and helpful. So thorough that they found that while, yes, they can help me with the immediate problem of the knee pain, the larger problem that has caused me hip and back pain on and off my whole adult life is that my left leg is significantly shorter than my right and that my right tibia has actually twisted outward in an effort to shorten itself and create balance.

How did 46 years’ worth of doctors and my own experience fail to notice a significant difference in my leg lengths? I do indeed have a “high hip” on the right side, but it’s always been assumed that was a product of my 3-curve scoliosis.*

So, in addition to therapy to treat my current knee pain and help prevent future knee pain, I’m going to be fitted with a lift for my left heel — a type of orthotic. I may have some pain in re-training my body to a new stance, but it should mean much better comfort and health for the rest of my life, and I’m pretty excited about that.

Now research on the internet tells me that a 1/2″ lift (12mm) is right below the border of having to have specially-made shoes, so let’s hope I don’t need anything higher. Given the fact that I already have a lot of trouble getting good-fitting shoes, I might have to stick with lace-up styles the rest of my life.  But I can live with that because 1) having long, bony feet has meant that I’ve never been able to be a big fancy-shoe consumer and 2) I’ve got that whole Quaker simplicity and lack of vanity thing going on, or at least I’m trying to.**

More overwhelmingness to follow in terms of school — I’m teaching 2 weeks of a women’s studies class on top of my current load after Thanksgiving and I’m going to teach during our January interim and I haven’t prepared for either beyond a general idea of what I want to do. But I’m pretty sure I can deal with that and not disappear again. On the knit/crochet front, I’m in a shawl/wrap phase at the moment — oh, and I’m planning to get together with a new faculty member who knits and start a weekly or bi-weekly charity projects yarn night for students and staff. But that’s not until February, thank heavens.

*Yeah, I’m thinking my skeleton is not real pretty.

**Okay, I still have my hair low-lighted to hide most of the grey. I’ve had little enough to be vain about my whole life, so I’m enjoying the whole Iowa-humidity-curly curly pretty hair thing, dammit!