Some months ago, Patient Colleague was walking behind me upstairs. “You are walking really badly” he said – correctly! For several years now, my knees have been bad and getting worse, so that walking up and eventually also down stairs was turning into a real ordeal. I gasped on every step and groaned on many, hauled myself up by the banister or went down sideways. I was noticeably avoiding stairs – not doing things that necessitated going up or down, and asking people for help (such as when I had to get out of the baptistry!)
Well, Patient Colleague’s comment was a catalyst, and I took myself to the GP, who looked at my age, diagnosed arthritis and sent me for a scan and to see a physio. The physio, in due course, looked at the xrays and said “that’s not arthritis” and gave me exercises. And then we progressed to the point where she said a gym would help.
When we lived in our previous home, I had gone to the gym most days for 8 years – with little visible effect. So the thought of starting this again did not appeal. But hey! I can’t climb stairs and it is miserable.
So, for the last three months or so, I have been going to the gym about three times a week, and doing both cardio, and exercises, weights and stretches, that are designed to strengthen my knees.
I have seen the improvement, but today, I realised just how much I have recovered. Today, I climbed the 35 steps to Bolt Hole – with my hands in my pockets and with no gasps of pain. That is – never once did I have to stop to recover from the sharp pain, not once did I have to reach out to the wall to balance myself, not at all did I need to rebalance to help myself make the next step….. It’s not perfect; there is still pain when I climb stairs. But in comparison, it is wonderful, and almost unbelievable. Going to the gym and doing the stuff, seriously and regularly works.
And what might be next….? Probably not a marathon. But climbing out of the baptistry without help would be good!
I am so grateful to the Physio and the Nice Gym Man.