It Sucks! It Sucks! It Sucks!

Beavis (of Beavis and Butthead) says a quadriceps tendon tear sucks. I do concur. So I was thinking that since the previous post didn’t mention the Q word, that maybe it was time to see if I could turn that one-time non-occurrence plural; a streak of non-occurrences, as it were. But it is not to be, I’m afraid I’m going to have to mention and consequently expound upon my SEO-friendly quadriceps tendon tear.

That would be my torn quadriceps tendon. My ruptured quadriceps tendon, in other words, or quadriceps tendon rupture, if you prefer. There, I think that about covers it. For the rest of the post, I’m just going to say “my leg,” assuming that you understand that I’m referring to my screwed up leg, and not the healthy one (the one that’s tired of picking up the other’s slack).

But I’d be kidding myself if I said my life doesn’t revolve – sometimes literally – around my leg. Previously I’ve mentioned how it seems like for every bit of progress I make – the two-steps forward cliché – I subsequently take one step backward. The past few days have been no different.

Tuesday I was at my physical therapy appointment, and for the first time since I tore shit up in my thigh, I was able to bend my leg beyond 90 degrees – still not enough to complete a revolution on the stationary bike, even with the seat as high as possible, but getting close. I had been stuck at 90 degrees for a few weeks, so I was pretty excited about this. I can’t help but think that the speed of my recovery will increase significantly if I can just start spinning on the bike.

Then I was teaching a class on Wednesday evening – my one class, that meets three times a week. Things were going fine, orthopedic-wise; there was no more discomfort than usual. Then, near the end of class, the students were in small groups playing a board game – we were practicing with gerunds and infinitives, don’t you know – and I was wandering around monitoring, answering questions here and there. At one point I tripped over someone – just a small stumble, as someone decided that was an opportune time to stretch out her legs. I instinctively switched most of my weight to my good leg and my Tiny Tim crutch and jerked my leg up, bending it just a wee bit farther than it was ready to bend.

Looking back, the phrase “hurts like a motherfucker” comes to mind; I think that adequately conveys how it felt. Of course in the brief moments that I stood there stone still, sucking down the pain, I was thinking the blackest of thoughts terrible thoughts: I’ve torn out the sutures and subsequently re-torn my quadriceps tendon. Moments later I stood there bending my leg, flexing the quad muscle, etc., as the pain ebbed thereby proving this was not in fact the case and putting my addled, panicky brain at ease. At worse, some micro-tears and the attendant swelling and soreness the next day.

In retrospect, I was being silly, although I suppose given the circumstances I can forgive myself the momentary freak out. But I’ve been through this before, and probably will again, more than once, before I regain a full range of motion. And Dr. Phat himself noted that the rupture itself is healed, and short of some extreme accident – like stepping off a bus, sigh – that reinjury is extremely unlikely.

But these comforting thoughts were not enough to keep me from having a long night; the leg was achy and sore enough that an epic-length sleep became a series of short napping vignettes. This in turn made me crabby and somewhat depressed today; when my therapist looked at my leg and said “Whyyyyyy?” – well, that didn’t help.

On the plus side, I bent my leg to 105 degrees today. Fifteen more degrees and I’ll be spinning on the stationary bike. Another week? Two? As the immortal Butthead was wont to say. “It sucks. It Sucks. It SUCKS! IT SUCKS!”