So I returned to my role as a Library Techncial Assistant (LTA) officially on January 6th. My work as a librarian was more cerebral, which is code for… more sedentary. Meanwhile, work as an LTA is very physical as it managing the actual circulation of books and facilitating curbside pickup. I went from averaging around 1,000 steps a day at work as a librarian to easily getting over 5,000 steps a day at work as an LTA.
I felt more physcially tired at the end of the workday, with occasional body aches – but I was handling this change overall just fine. Until last Tuesday.
On average, my library does ~130 curbside appointments a day. Last Tuesday, February 2nd, we had 230 appointments.
By the end of the day I was limping.
Rewind time now…..wayyy back to 2014. I was concluding my weight loss journey, having lost ~60lbs with diet and exercise, trying to figure out how to live a maintenance lifestyle. During this process I did an obstacle course 5K with my younger sister – the Dirty Dash. Not my first or only 5K, but it ended up being my last one. The course designers were lazy and literally filled the course with walls for runners to climb – up and over, up and over. In climbing one wall, I heard a sicking pop in my knee followed by intense pain. I found a medic who tied up my knee, gave me some water, and asked if I wanted to finish the course. I limped through to the finish line, skipping the rest of the obstacles.
After over a month of dealing with left knee pain I finally got an MRI (thanks, HMO) and discovered I had partially torn my ACL. I had a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon that went horribly, told I wasn’t sporty enough to necessitate surgery, followed by physical therapy that was literally two visits and a print out of exercises to do at home and the gym.
The entire experience was incredibly disempowering – I had worked hard to lose weight and yet my fitness level wasn’t enough to warrant repairing my body to my doctors. Through discipline I worked to strengthen my muscles around my knee, training them to compensate for the weakness of the tear. But I lost motivation to go to the gym as frequently. I felt like I could never escape the idea my body was not ENOUGH – it didn’t matter what I did, this body (and, by extension, me) would always be found wanting.
This triggered the beginning of gaining back the weight I lost and then some. I haven’t been to the gym in a long time, although I honestly miss it at times. I’ve done other things to keep moving – I did circus classes for a while, I go for walks. But extended activity has me in pain and feeling powerless again. Even just attending a baseball game with Katie that required climbing staircase after staircase (cheap seats) ended with me limping so badly that Katie begged us access to the special elevators (not available to the general public).
So, back to the present in 2021 – a little over 6 years later. The weakness in my knee had been irritated by the intense demand of Tuesday, and from the pain I know the partial ACL tear is the issue. This is a familiar type of pain by now, and did it HURT. So I called out from work, knowing I needed to rest my knee after the intense demand of Tuesday. But of course it couldn’t be that simple. If I had an injury aggrevated by work, I was told by my manager that I needed a work release to come back. Too bad that the two doctors I’ve seen think I need at least 3 weeks of resting my leg (!!!) and then consulting with an orthopedic specialist before I can return to the regular physical demands of my typical work duties. So I’m on light duty.
Not the way I envisioned returning to work as an LTA….I’m working short days, sitting at a computer and answering phones. Resting my knee and hating that I haven’t been able to just ignore the issue into non-existence. Half wanting a surgery to FINALLY make my knee more usable, half dreading the recovery and pain a procedure would bring about.
Is it 2022 yet?
UPDATE: I had a recent MRI and we discovered my ACL tore completely at some point! My meniscus also has a tear (probably from the instablity of my knee), which is the source of the pain I’ve been dealing with. I found a MUCH better surgeon and have surgery scheduled on April 8th. Wish me luck!