The Monday before my prior Wednesday hip surgery Tim and I skated for a couple of hours. Even though he was not available today, I figured it couldn't hurt for me to go alone because I'm a bit superstitious and figure if I repeat what I did last time it might make this time go well too.
I have skated several times now since being cleared by Dr. Mayo. Today was definitely better than the others. That may be because I had a "what the hell" attitude. After all, if I fall or pull a muscle it doesn't really matter because I'll be able to lie around and recuperate for 8 weeks.
So I attempted a lot of new things today. I wanted to see which limitations were in my head and which were physical. Turns out a lot of them really are physical. My quad and hip flexors usually start hurting within 5 minutes of taking the ice. It's not horrible pain but it is enough to notice, and worsens to the point where I really can't do much with my right leg by about 30 minutes. This pain is accompanied by weakness, meaning that I can only have my weight on my right leg alone for a certain amount of time before I can't hold it any more, and I can't hold a good extension at any angle.
I started with FO and FI eights (figures) and FO and FI loops. Not bad really. I did choctaws (blues and rhumba) and rockers (FO, FI, BO, BI). Slowly, I might add. The first rhumba choctaw I can do, but don't have the strength in my right leg to hold the BO edge long enough to step forward on the second choctaw in the sequence, so I had to put my foot down in between. I skipped counters because twisting while bending was difficult and I was experiencing pain in the flexors by then. I bit the bullet and did FO and FI twizzles with some speed on both feet and they weren't too bad. I did a BI upright spin (on my right leg).
Finally, I tried to do a hydroblade just to prove the absolute limits of my limitations, because I was darn sure it would be impossible and I was right. As I started to bend down (I didn't get very far) my right leg muscles all instantly rebelled with screaming pain. OK, that is going to take more time. A LOT more time ... in the gym.
Right now I feel like I have one good leg and one bad. Next time I skate they will both be "post-op," meaning "bad." Most of the confidence I have right now is based on my left leg still feeling about the same as before. Next time I won't have my strong left leg to bail me out if I get into trouble. Next time it will be a brave new world of learning to deal with new balance points on both sides and a new reality of weakness and pain until I am able to build those muscles back up.
I figure I'll be cleared to skate again 4 months after PAO#2, which lands me squarely on March 18th, my 47th birthday. It's on my calendar.