I a.m. not a morning person.
I a.m. more a night owl.
I a.m. sometimes required to be at an appointment early—early for me—at 7:30 a.m. I a(i)m for 7:30. Check in, etc. Sometimes at the PT center, there’s a line.
I a.m. not smart about anticipating traffic. Good thing I a(I)med for early. I was only 5 minutes late. Sorry, Celia. She understood. She also let me bleed into her next patient’s time. I a.m. at that place where she can say why don’t you do three sets instead of two, or do the star motion/balance movement after the leg press, then the squats with the ball against the wall. “Just remember, slow,” she says, “and make sure your knees don’t go past your toes.”
So I have my routine. Elliptical, which increases every time by five more minutes (the real machine is WAY harder than mine). Then various stretches. Invariably my hamstrings bunch up, especially when I do those bridges—and now the moving bridges—with the 65cm exercise ball. Then clamshells, now leg raises. I have five pages of strength moves and stretches.
Some are easy. Those will build up fast. Some are hard. I’m hot and winded before I finish my prescribed sets. The easy seeming moves are harder than they look. Others I’ve mastered more quickly—like squats. I resisted the ball at first, but Celia’s right. It helps.
So, no, I a.m. NOT a morning person, and I don’t love sitting in parking lot roadways or taking 40 minutes to accomplish a fifteen minute drive. I do like saying hello to my therapist, sharing small niceties about weekends and weather. And I like that the elliptical faces a wall sized window. The sun pouring in. Me, paying attention to my posture, engaging my core, looking forward to improving the stamina and resilience (even if limited) of my crunchy knees.
“What’s your pain level today?” asks Celia. The requisite question.
I think for a minute. I no longer go into the “left is far worse” schpiel. I know this is a gage, not a polygraph test. It’s my own gage, my own measure of relative sensation, compared to a previous.
“I a.m., I’ll say, a two today.” I was doing my hamstring stretches, more effective against the bench than raised, I have learned. I’ve also learned I a.m. getting stronger. A limitless at a time. A little more every day.
And I a.m. commuting, as I stretch and hold a little further, to start my mornings with stretches and moves. Like my own version of PT yoga.
I a.m. capable of this. I a.m.