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Rehab Redux #3

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March 13-day 3

 I woke up on Thursday after my best sleep so far. Uninerrupted Z’s from 10 pm until 5 am. I had a shower and changed the dressings on my wounds.  Five or so smallish cuts around the knee with the biggest maybe 2 cm long.  The most tender part was the bruising on the lower thigh adjacent one of the higher cuts. I drove to see my physio, avid pro level cyclist Gene Della Siega. I couldn’t find parking close by so I had to hobble about a block to get to the doors.  Gene took a look at the knee and explained that for the first week or two the focus is simply wound care and increasing the range of motion. Then he gave me hell for not using my crutches so I promised I would use them until I regained a more normal walking gait. With ACL repair he explained, the key is to get 90 degrees of flexion by the end of six weeks.  He checked mine out and I just squeaked 90 degrees on this the third day after I went under the knife.  Not bad for an old guy I thought to myself.  Gene had me do some extension/flexion exercises and then I got on the recumbent. I didn’t have enough range to make a full pedal stroke but it was nice to be back in the saddle anyway.  Back and forth I semipedalled looking forward to better times. I went home with a couple of new exercises to try out and a Thursday night date at the Legion for beers with the guys who still went riding.  At least my elbow was still in top form! 


March 14-day 4 

Swelling was down a bit and when I got up I went over and did my floor exercise.  You lay on your back and inch your legs up and down the wall to increase the range.  When I had to extend my knee up to regain the length I usually had to hook my good leg under the foot and give it a boost. Then I hit my exercise bike.  I raised the seat up as far as my leg extension would permit and I was able to get in a full pedal stroke. The leg was very tight and stiff but I it wasn’t particularly painful. I was on a roll so I put in a full 5 minutes. Baby steps.

March 15-day 5 

More of the same.  This time I was put in a full 15 minutes on the bike. Progress! I went shopping and made sure I brought my crutches.

 March 16-day 6 

I went for a walk around Crescent Park for an hour with the dog.  Dropped the seat a bit and put in 30 minutes on the bike and did the stretching.  I figured I had earned a good pre St. Patrick’s Day warm up happy hour with Frank, Jonathan and Lenny as we finished off Frank’s prize 21 year old Macallan single malt.  Good thing my liver wasn’t damaged during the surgery!

 March 17-Day 7 Managed to pull off an hour on the bike today and a 45 minute walk with the dog.  Not quite well enough for an Irish jig but had a great St Patrick’s all the same. Still icing the knee. Hard to believe a week earlier I was under the knife.  The knee is still swollen and the hemorrhage products are working their way down the leg to the ankle.  The incisions are healing nicely. 

March 18-Day 8

More of the same today.  Walked to Crescent Park and around for an hour and 15 minutes with crutches.  Put in over an hour on the bike and managed more range with the stretching exercises.

 March 19-Day 9 

I had my second physio appointment today.  Gene was quite pleased with my progress to date. No more crutches or tensor bandage needed and range of motion is improving nicely.  He checked out the surgical result on the knee and gave it a good report.  New exercises today include more strength and balance work.  Hamstring curls using the ball.  Mini lunges and mock jumps.  Leg press, 2 and one legged.  Standing squats on the balance board and bosu ball.   Felt good on the joint and created a nice quad burn. He included an interesting yoga one legged T/crunch combo.  The next physio appointment was in two weeks.  I was really hoping to get out on the road bike the first weekend in April but he didn’t recommend it. Bummer.  Tried some knee hugs to increase flexion range and put an hour on the stationary bike.  At least it’s pedaling.

March 20 –Day 10


Able to descend stairs without holding the rail although I could feel my quad cramping if I descend too last.  Had a relatively normal paced walk around Crescent Park for an hour. Did 10 lunges, 10 T and crunch, and I was able to kneel enough to do 30 ab rollers. Put another hour on the stationery bike.

  March 21 –Day 11

The first day of spring. I walked Tess for an hour or so around Crescent Park. We are heading up to Whistler today for Easter holiday. It’s bittersweet to see the new snow on the ground and the sun shining on the mountain peaksas we cruise up the 99. Went for another walk down to meadow park with Tess and Ernie with a couple of travellers.  Knee is feeling better although it is nerve wracking when she meets up with another dog.

 March 22 –Day 12 

Walked for an hour and a half along the valley trail and did the ab roller at the cabin.  It’s a beautiful sunny day on the slopes but here I am stretching my leg indoors and wiritng my essay. I hit the gym in the afternoon.  Did some leg press, bosu lunge, and balance board, then 30 minutes on the recumbent then 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Leg got stiff in the afternoon but loosed up after.

 March 23 –Day 13 I wake up to a snow storm.  There is 5 cm on the ground in the valley while the mountains have received 15 cm overnight. Damn these snow conditions. Paul and I walk Tess. Swelling is reducing nicely around the knee so that the scars are elevated firm bumps so that my knee resembles an albino Klingon. The blood products form the bruising that descended my lower leg have now assumed a lovely greenish-yellow hue. Overall a little stiffer than yesterday it seems. 

March 24-Day 14

Two full weeks since the surgery. Had a decent walk in the morning with Tess.  The road was quite icy so I was cautious not to slip. Packed up and got ready to head home.  My quad started to cramp up descending stairs if I went faster than a slow descent.  I had experienced a the same thing last time I  injured so I didn’t think too much of it. This too shall pass. Managed to spin for an hour when I got home.

  March 25-day 15


 I started off the day with a reasonably fast paced walk thought the bike park.  Feeling pretty good today, it was nice to walk on something that wasn’t frozen, slippery and lumpy. I drove the civic to the park just to see how it would be to commute with standard transmission-no problem. Back home in the afternoon, I did a set of the lunges and then I think something bad may have happened.  While doing one of the one legged balance exercises I felt a ping or clunk behind the knee.  I hope that wasn’t the new ACL tearing!  Legs up now and iced with an ibuprofen on board. I don’t know if you are familiar with that sinking feeling but that pretty much sums up the rest of Tuesday evening. Took one last ibuprofen and then hit the pit with the ice pack. It’s back to work tomorrow.

  March 26-day 16 

Didn’t sleep too well. Not so much because of the knee but more because of the impending reality of work combined with worry that I may have screwed up my recovery which had gone so well up until then.  I got up and did some club admin at 4:30 am. The discomfort/tightness seemed to isolate to the lower hamstring area but also occasionally the top end of the calf.  Grabbed a quick breakfast and then off to work at 5:15.  The hammer was definitely tender using the clutch today but not so bad I couldn’t make a shift.  Don’t tell ICBC! Took a bunch of old man steps from the Health Sciences parkade to my office in the JBM Building of the Faculty of Dentistry.  If I stretched out my stride the hamstring would let me know it.

 For those of you that don’t know me, when I am not volunteering with SORCE or riding my bike I actually work as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC. After dropping off my laptop at my office I headed over to the local Gold’s gym for some rehab.  I did 20 minutes each on the elliptical trainer, rowing machine and recumbent bike at medium efforts.  None of these exercises aggravated my hamstring but I didn’t try some of the more dynamic moves. I called the surgeons office to let htem know what I had experienced yesterday and they recommended I come in to Royal Colombian to the Cast Clinic on Friday.  

I was cautious not to stretch the hamstring too much while walking around the clinic and tried to stick to a shortened , reasonably normalish gait.   All the walking was an aggravation though so I grabbed a bunch of admin paperwork and took it home with me so I could telecommute on Thursday.

 March 27-day 17 The discomfort was definitely focusing more on the hamstring.  Specifically the lower outside aspect so I hopeful it was just a minor muscle pull.  Playing soccer for years I have had plenty of minor muscle pulls and strains and this was beginning to feel a lot like that. I chose not to walk today because that seemed to aggravate things the most.  Did two hours of easy spin on the stationary bike after finishing up my paperwork at 2pm.  Ernie enticed me to head to the Legion for a beer after the Thursday night ride so I walked the 8 blocks down to the legion at a cautious pace… the hammer was still letting me know when my stride was too long.  But the beer was worth it! 

March 28- day 18

Off to Royal Columbian for 8:30 today to get the word from the surgeon. I wore shorts despite the cool weather to make the examination easier. So here I am typing this as I wait for the benediction!  I get a couple of new x-rays form a hilarious radiologist and wait some more.  After two hours my number comes up and after a brief history taking from a 3rd year med student name Arash, my surgeon checks things out.  The graft is still intact and he is pleasantly surprised my range of motion.  He is confident I just pulled my hamstring as I had suspected and I am elated. I leave RCH only to find a freakish blizzard blowing outside.  So it’s off to lunch to Cactus Club with some buds and we celebrate the good news with an Ugly Ale (or two). TGIF


March 29- day 19


There was less tightness today and for the first time since the injury I take the dog for a walk.  Still getting the occasional sharp twinges but I can feel that things are on the mend. I pull off another hour on the stationary bike and try a bit of out of seat efforts.  It’s all good.


March 30- day 20

Jury rigged a podium mounted to the stationary bike for some multi tasking. Strolled around Stokes Pit with some of the stakeholders. 

 Monday, March 31-day 21 Hit the gym at UBC today.  Hamstring still tight walking.  10 minute warmup on the elliptical at pre surgery level of effort.  Did some leg press and bosu lunges. Finished up with 20 minutes of rowing at presurgery level and cadence and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike. 

Tuesday, April 1-day 22-start of Week 4

Walking stride much improved today so I felt like I am back where I was last Tuesday before I injured the hamstring.

 Week 4 Couple more minor hammer tweaks but largely good progress. Saw Gene on the Friday. He was happy with my progress and gave me the green light to ride outdoors. On Saturday I went out to trailday and ended up pulling my hamstring again while schlepping stuff around between the storage bins.  Another set back so no ride for me on Sunday. 

Week 5

 Had my first mountain bike ride at the club Saturday Social Ride on April 12.  Stuck to the double track and the BLT.  It was definitely harder than riding the spin bike—no cheating allowed on a hill.  Anyway, with my first ride under my belt I am signing off. 33 days post surgery and I’m back!  See you in the trails once again. 

Pollo Grande


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