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.

Who knew!

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.


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