On a typical New Years Day, I’d wake up (probably a little or a lot hungover), head straight to the gym and likely hit the grocery store on the way back to set myself up for a ~clean ~ start to the new year. Obviously this year looked a little bit different.
By this point, I’m starting to get extremely bored of my new daily routine. Netflix is unappealing, I am out of good books to read and I can only stare at my computer screen for so long. I’ve found that staying busy and remaining patient are two of the most important parts of this recovery process. It’s when you run out of things to do that your mind starts to take you down a non-productive downward spiral. I think my parents had kind of picked up on the fact that I was still a little down in the dumps so, in an effort to think of something new for us to do, my mom whipped out aprons and said “WE ARE GOING TO MAKE HOMEMADE PASTA.” It wasn’t the New Year’s Day ritual I was used to, but it was something out of ordinary and that was exactly what I needed. Cooking and baking with all of my new gadgets has been a HUGE relief of stress and passer of time. Did the pasta turn out? No. Does it matter? No.
Moment of silence for the pie that was supposed to be pasta.
Physical therapy on week three started to pick up a little bit. I was consistently using the Nu-step for about 10 minutes to warm up. I may have been still coming in at dead last next to all of the people quadruple my age in PT, but hey, gotta start somewhere. Did Lance Armstrong win his first race?? I do not know, but I would like to think not!!! My knee was getting a little bit of a deeper bend each session and I was pretty happy about that. I felt a little more human and felt like maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
AND THEN I HAD A REALLY GOOD DAY. Santa was supposed to bring me new tennis shoes for Christmas, but he did not deliver, that stupid little fat man. He had left me a note under the tree saying that there has been delay but I do not know Santa personally, therefore I did not trust his promise. This may be the only time I admit this, but I was wrong. Santa pulled through in a big way. You the man, my dude.
Last year around the holidays, I bought a pair of ON running shoes and let me tell you, I put some miles on those puppies. So much so, that I had worn holes in the toes and on the sides of my shoe. Since my gait has been so compromised since I started dislocating my right knee, that’s the shoe wore out first. The side started to wear out about halfway through the year and by this time, my toes were basically sticking out all directions possible. It was time to be less hole-y.The shoes arrived (not by sleigh as I expected, but via FedEx), and I couldn’t put them on fast enough. The gals at PT had been giving me shit about my holy shoes (of course I came back with ways “it’s not even Sunday!!!) so I was excited to let them know that Santa did not, in fact, forget about me!!!
Once I got them on, I swear to you it was like they had super powers. This sounds so dumb, but when you are quarantined inside for weeks on end with the extent of my daily excitement being sitting on a different chair in the living room, you start to find joy in the most random things. These shoes gave me hope in a weird little way. I knew that I was not gong to be able to put them to use right away the way I used to, or even put them on without a little help, but just having them on my feet made me feel so excited for what’s to come. But for the time being, I was enjoying hobbling around the house and attempting PT exercises in them. I was even able to lift my leg off the ground unassisted for the first time! Things were looking up and I was looking much better in my new HOKA x OutdoorVoices Cloud tennies. LOOK OUT WORLD!
When the weekend rolled around, it was time for my favorite weekly activity: Let Holly out of her cave day!!!!!! I had mastered Trader Joe’s and Target. I was ready to level up. At this point I had started to feel pretty confident in my capability to get around and I was craving pizza like you would not believe. I was seeing it on every TV show, movie, commecial, Instagram story, twitter post, TikTok (I have become a TikToker out of boredom, it’s true), Snapchat and even in my dreams. It was a sign. You bet your ass I am bringing pizza with me in 2020. Lucky for me, there’s a cute little pizza place called Princess in Iowa Falls about 20 minutes away from us. I told my parents that my mental health depended on me getting out of this town and eating pizza. That’s a proposition they could not turn down because I think they understood that I would likely turn into the hulk if project pizza party did not happen.
Getting dressed and putting on makeup for the first time in forever (which by the way, my skin is loving me for this break) did wonders for my human-meter, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bit overwhelming. Since my brace is so bulky, and they need access to skin at PT for the e-stim, I have basically been living in shorts since my surgery…in the winter….in Iowa. Nice. Obviously, that’s not the look I wanted to go for to wear to Princess, but because I couldn’t quite wear jeans yet (mostly due to the swelling of my knee and rigidity of the denim), my options were pretty limited.
I own two jumpsuits. One of which I wore to my Trader Joe’s field trip and the other that is cheetah print head to toe and now my only option left for my big Saturday outing. Subtle! Aside from being a bit obnoxious, this thing is DANG comfy. AND it was $7.99 on sale at Target. Very easy to put on and my brace fits over it like a charm. Problem solved. I was ready to go and feeling semi-cute brace and all.
Luckily we got front row parking, because it had just snowed and iced over a bit the night before. My dad grabbed one of our doormats from home to put it on the icy ground outside the car- God bless that man. Once I got inside, there was no hiding. As if my cheetah girl style jumpsuit wasn’t enough in small town Iowa, the clank clank clank of my crutches against the hardwood floor did the trick!!!!! I stared at the ground the entire walk in. Half because I didn’t want to fall and half because I was afraid I would have to answer the same questions everyone asks. I only had enough energy to do that one time today…for our server. And it paid off cause I think we got free dessert because of it. Ain’t nothing that a little pizza, wine and homemade ice cream can’t fix. I should add that by this point, I can handle a drink or two here and there. More human points for me! And thank god I had gotten my liver primed because Bachelor Monday was around the corner and I will not be caught watching without a glass of Pinot Noir in my hand.
Week three went down as my best week since my surgery. I started to make strides in PT, was off the pain medicine completely (save Tylenol), and got out of the house. I even finally stopped being a bit of a recluse and reconnected with some people who make me feel whole via FaceTime. It can be so easy to isolate yourself during a period of change and recovery, especially when you can’t get behind the wheel. I still am not cleared to drive, I am not even able to sit in the front seat. Obviously that puts a dent in making the rounds to see friends. For that reason, I’ve been so so appreciative of the support that I have received from friends, family and people I have connected with online who have read this or found me on Instagram because of similar surgeries. It’s been a big relief to have such a support system behind me and that I can be on the other side of the support system for some of the fellow MPFLers I’ve met along the way.
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP. I set a goal for the next week to start to ease my way back in the gym and harass my parents for more field trip time. At this rate, I’m going to have to invest in some more jumpsuits