For six weeks leading up to the operation, sometimes four times a week, always at least ninety reps a week: I was doing leg raises. Tedious and tiresome, I rarely failed to complete the routine. I needed momentum going into the surgery, but my options were limited. The knee was shot. Couldn’t squat, couldn’t extend, couldn’t descend without a throbbing reminder of my mortality. But I could ascend. So I did, time and time again, and the muscles remembered.
Recovery: Day 5.
Sunday night. Sleep overcomes the majority of the household. I’m restless, though, and pumped full of narcotic-induced bravado.
I’m going for it.
Using a maneuver I’ve perfected through the years, I shift from the couch seamlessly to the floor without waking the sleeping giants within. Those slumbering behemoths are the four horsemen of an excruciating apocalypse. The quadriceps, resting a bit longer.
In between deep breathes, a mantra: “…align the knee to toes. Engage the thigh. Push down to go up.” I have to remind my body how to function. It’s like someone hit the reset button. I’m relearning how my leg works, but this is the fourth time taking this test. I’m a better student now. I studied for forty days. I remember. The muscles remember.
Engage the thigh. Align the knee. Push down to go up and…pain. Pain everywhere. Pain all the time. Giants awaken. Push down. Go up. Push down to go up. Ride out to meet them! Engage. Align. FIRE! Apocalypse. Keep pushing. For death and glory! Breathe. Go. Rise!
Boom. Goes. The. Dynamite.
Game: blouses. One more little victory. One more morale boost. One more momentum-building moment for a psyche desperately craving a win. Suddenly, this recovery seemed less daunting.