Crimson Coast Dance

April 2nd, 2021: ON RECOVERY PROCESS: THE FEAR AND AFTER by Geneviève Johnson

Reconstruction, by Genevieve Johnson

A Story

It started last week, Saturday after my Friday surgery.

My surgeon is a great surgeon but not known for his bedside manners. (I laughed about this with every nurses I met during my stay.) You don’t meet him before and certainly not the day after your surgery.

Good thing I woke up quick in the surgery room as I could ask him:
“- What did you put in?
– The Dual-Mobility as we talked about in April. (In April he told me he did not want to put the Dual-Mobility as I wanted but the ceramic one.)
– So the split at Christmas? (I joked.)
– No split.”
And he turns around to leave, never to be seen by me again…

He called my husband and told him “everything went well”. These three words and hung up. (Just the essential my husband wanted to hear anyway.)

The Fear

Before being discharged around lunch time, I met for 10 minutes a young physiotherapist filling in to alleviate the very overloaded orthopedic department.

As we walk to the stairs, he tells me to put only 30% of my weight on my operated leg.

I am surprised as all the people I talked to before – who had the surgery, my physio, chiro, fitness trainers… – told me that I would walk the very next day . Being myself in the body-mind field and very “body aware” I know that weight bearing is the key to build up and strengthen bones.
I asked him how long. 
Very vague, he said until my next appointment with my surgeon (which is in 3 weeks)…

Good thing: I have a doubt in my mind about this and put a red flag beside it.

Arbrenvol, by Geneviève Johnson

From Saturday to Monday, the fear of the 30% floats like a shadow over my recovery.
I feel that if I put too much weight, the joint will pop up in my shoulder.
The mental image of dislocation is very horror-movie-like.

I start to think I will never walk normally again.

My doubt resurfaces:
I cannot believe that at 48 years old, fit as I am, on top of all the usual precautions (that my 77 years old hospital roommate did not get since her surgeon is doing a new type of incision…) I can bear only 30% for 3 weeks!

I send an email to my Navigator nurse who is the link with my surgeon.
In the hour she wrote back:
“I am sitting beside Dr Burnett and he says you can fully weight bear. I think it may have been a mistake (smiley face).”

un monde, by Geneviève Johnson

Right then, I stood up and walk with full weight on my leg.
No dislocation.
No pain.
Centered over my 2 legs.
Almost no limp.

After

With this floating shadow of fear lifted, nothing is stopping me.
I am walking already.
Now I believe I will dance again and very very soon.

Fear easily becomes a heavy deforming veil.
At first it prevents us from doing dangerous things. It helps us survive.
But at one point it has to be questioned and tested.

Do I still need this protecting shadow of fear or is it smothering my life?

celle à volute de violon, by Geneviève Johnson

Once the answer is “no” we don’t have to fully dive with eyes closed in the unknown.

We can take a few baby steps outside this comfort zone of fear and test. Then start from this new point to move forward and forward and forward….

My Exercises Routine

The few physiotherapy exercises I have to do post surgery cross path nicely with some Pilates exercises and Bartenieff fundamentals and development patterns. Wrapping them in these more somatic experiences helps me enjoying them fully.

If You Have to Choose One Exercise:

CORE ACTIVATION is what helps me the most in walking and moving properly without pain right now. Because of Pilates, I have been developing it for years.

This is the thing you can work on starting today and forever:
anywhere – any time in – any position…

Anatomy online course – YouTube

CORE refers to your deepest layer of abdominal muscles the Transverse Abdominis.

It runs parallel to the floor when standing and wraps around your waist line linking all the lower ribs to all around the top of the pelvic crest and also attaches to your spine (like a corset). It creates a cylinder capped with the pelvic floor at the bottom and the diaphragm at the top.

This core is best triggered on the EXHALATION:

  • when you arrive at the very end of an exhalation think as if the cylinder is narrowing towards the mid line of the body
  • as it lengthens up with the diaphragm and pelvic floor domes pulling upwards towards your head.

CORE ACTIVATION gives you

  1. Support
  2. Balance 
  3. Good posture

It lightens the weight of the torso over the hip joints (knees and ankles) therefore creating space and more freedom of movement.
As you walk, activate your core, lifting your pelvis off the hip joints.
Imagine that it hovers off the joints like a helium balloon.

(This video is an example therefore not fully done.
If you do it, make sure you do both sides evenly, 5 to 10 reps each side.
Before each session, remind yourself of precautions if you have any to follow.
For me: surgical leg no crossing the midline, no twisting, no bend more than 90 at the hip joint)

do you have a story of fear holding you back?

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