After we shut the restaurant down in 1994, Ellen got me a job as a para-educator in special ed at the school where she was working in Berlin for the ’94/’95 school year. I moved into the Montpelier school system in the ’95/96 school year. I was working with a husky young man who had autism. He was on the computer one day and decided to start pounding on the key board. I moved swiftly to wrap my arms around him and my back went out.
The school sent me for physical therapy for my back. They gave me a bunch of great stretches and exercises that I did up until just these past 2 years. Plan is to begin them again… soon. I asked the PT’s if I could double dip on my visit… did they have anything I could do to help my knees? They did. I have never stopped doing these little tiny little knee dips. Then… I tried sitting on my Airdyne after a few weeks had gone by… I would put one foot on the pedal and the other on the footrest… and would move the pedals with my hands, using the arms of the Airdyne… maybe 5 rotations, then change to the other foot and move that foot around.
After a few months, I noticed some real improvement… could actually use both feet on the pedals and do 5 min on the Airdyne…. the stairs were getting much better… I was even walking to the bank and the post office. In 1997, I saw they were having a 5K run/walk in Cambridge, VT and decided to see if I could walk it. It was great.
I found myself moving at a pretty good pace… I catch up to this elderly gentleman and we start a conversation… he was also a walker that used to be a runner. We start swapping stories … then I tell him the story about my knees that I just wrote about above… He stops… He says… “Would you like me to tell you why you are now able to walk by doing those simple little exercises?” I responded: “You know why?”
He said: “Yes… My name is John Bland. I am the doctor emeritus at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. My specialty is the growing of new cartilage. You have all new cartilage in your knees.”
The rest of the story tomorrow.