Week 8 (June 15-21)

Day 50 (Wed, Jun 15th)

Stay the course!

Day 51 (Thu, Jun 16th)

Stay the course!

Day 52 (Fri, Jun 17th)

Stay the course, but also ran around trying to pack for UK business/fun trip.

Day 53 (Sat, Jun 18th)

Travel day from MSP to JFK then to Manchester, England overnight.  Flights all horribly delayed but somehow we managed to get ourselves (but unfortunately not our luggage) from here to there.

Day 54 (Sun, Jun 19th)

We slept a tiny bit on the plane and today is jet-lag day.  Our luggage did not arrive.  We found out it’d get in about a day (plus transport time to Blackpool) later.  We had to stop at a Tesco to try to find some clothes for the day and for Monday as well.  The rest of the day was spent trying to stay up…we visited downtown Blackpool.  Interesting note, we’d been told it was like the “Vegas of England” but either the cabbie took us to the wrong end of town or it’s more like the “half way boarded up Jersey Shore of England”.  The only thing that made it worthwhile was the extremely low tide, which made for a very surreal looking beach.

I didn’t manage to do any PT at all today (Hint…it stayed that way for the duration of the trip)

Day 55 (Mon, Jun 20th)

Business day.  It went very well.  Thankfully there was lots of sitting so no undue strain on the knee.  We broke down and ate at dinner at the hotel…it was very tasty, but it’s a chain with 3 restaurants back home.

No PT again.

Day 56 (Tue, Jun 21st)

Business day again, it also went well.  We got out early; chatting with the cabbie on the way back to the hotel he suggested a nice pub in the charming little community of Poulton-Le-Fylde.  What a fantastic call it turned out to be.  We toured the grounds of a thousand year old church, enjoyed local cask ales from the Town Hall pub and the Thatched House as well.  We had a fantastic Thai dinner too with some friendly locals who showed us the town and told us of their travels.  Truly a wonderful night.

On the other hand, I spent way too much time on my feet…swelling will follow.

Posted by Greg on August 9th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Week 7 (June 8-14)

Day 43 (Wed, Jun 8th)

I only managed a single PT session today.

Day 44 (Thu, Jun 9th)

I missed my morning session today, but trying to take extra stairs to at least partially compensate…

Aaaaand I missed the evening one too.  It was all for a good cause, namely playing music and reminiscing with my brother.

Day 45 (Fri, Jun 10th)

Today I missed my AM PT and even then barely made it to work on time.  Then with Kammy’s help I realized I’d missed my 9 AM PT appointment.  Thankfully there was a 1:30 opening so I took it.  I came clean with my physical therapist, told him I hadn’t really done any PT in the past two days.  He told me not to worry, that I’m getting close to the point where I’ll start with every other day anyway.  He then went on to assess my progress.  I can do 20 one-legged squats (assisted) now, and 20 retro-step-ups about 4” high.  He explained how I could tweak the exercises to keep them challenging; Work toward 90 Degree bend on squats, and start adding a pause at the bottom of up to 5 seconds.  For the retro-step-ups I’ll keep adding height and also pause just after my heel comes off the floor.

He also modified the bridge, now I’ll use two feet to get into bridge position, and then alternately lift right then left leg off the floor.  Once I’m comfortable with those I’ll switch to single-legged bridge.  He restated that I’m progressing very well, and that in a couple weeks we will do an assessment to gauge my progress.  At that point he may introduce jogging to my PT.

Day 46 (Sat, Jun 11th)

I slept in today (much needed!) then did morning PT.  I don’t seem to be any worse for wear for having skipped two days; in fact my muscles seem a bit relaxed, and ready for more.  I’ll try to get the other one in today, but in any case my brother leaves tomorrow so it’ll be back-to-normal for a week at least until we head out for the UK.

Day 47 (Sun, Jun 12th)

Stay the course!

Day 48 (Mon, Jun 13th)

Stay the course!

Day 49 (Tue, Jun 14th) Progress check-in

Today I bumped my step-down height up to 5”, I could only manage 15 step downs at that height.  I also tried single (affected) leg bridges for the first time, which went well; I was able to do 20 without much difficulty.

My walking pace is about back to normal, though I do have to be careful not to introduce a slight unevenness between sides.  It’s not quite a limp but it’s different.  I’m still nervous to start running but haven’t been given the go-ahead yet anyhow, so there’s still time to get more comfortable.

Posted by Greg on July 30th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

HTC Sensation first thoughts

Comments Off on HTC Sensation first thoughts

My wife and I are both on T-Mobile and have been using G1 phones for the past couple years.  They’ve been very good phones but are starting to show their age.  A few months ago mine started to be hard to hear while talking…and just a couple weeks ago hers started having  SIM card errors.  I’d been tasked with finding our new phone but hadn’t seen the one that I really wanted (I wanted an EVO but wasn’t willing to drop T-Mobile for other reasons, mostly several people on the plan).

On Thursday after I’d been putting it off for far too long, she decided to ‘just stop by’ to see what T-Mobile had.  And of course what they had was the brand new HTC Sensation.  Long story short…she walked out of there with two of ’em.

First Look

Wow, it’s a beautiful phone!  even though the form factor/screen is significantly larger than the G1 it feels much smaller in my pocket because it is so thin!  The screen is really gorgeous too.  I’m at that stage where I need reading glasses some of the time.  With the G1 it was getting to be most of the time.  I don’t have to grab them so often with the Sensation because of the larger, sharper screen.  The Sensation has some nice screen effects by default so it shows very nicely.


This is my first phone without a ‘real’ keyboard…it’s taking some getting used to.  The default keyboard has some idiosyncrasies that make it a bit annoying to use, but you can install others and I’ll be trying out a few.  The first two on my list are SwiftKey X (Amazon Android Marketplace) and Swype (It’s in beta still).  The default Keyboard has a swype-like interface but I haven’t grown to like it yet.  Stay tuned, I’ve only tried for a couple of days…


My first concern with the Sensation has been battery life.  The sales person recommended we charge/discharge completely for the first few days, then re-charge before restarting.  Battery life was not impressing me in the least, but it was a weekend and I was using the phone heavily.  I think if you’re going to use your phone all day every day you’ll want to buy a spare battery or you’ll need to plug in for at least part of the day.

I sure wish there were an option to have a bigger battery…I’d happily live with a lump in the back of the phone on those days where I wanted to use it heavily while away from power.


It takes a while to get used to a new phone and this one is no different.  So far it’s a bit of a pain to actually answer the phone, Swype does some weird stuff when it interacts with Google’s auto-complete search.  Also there are places where I wish for a more intuitive interface.  I do feel like I’ll be much more used to it within a few days, though…it’s mostly quirks of using the On-Screen Keyboard and getting used to where Settings and Options are once I get into an application.


Review at Engadget:


So far I’m really liking my new Sensation.  The keyboard is taking a while to get used to, battery life seems better as the days go by, but everything else is pretty nice.  I’ll write again as I get used to this new phone.

Posted by Greg on July 29th, 2011 :: Filed under phones,Tech

Week 6 (June 1-7)

Day 36 (Wednesday, June 1st)

At my PT appointment today, Adam told me that I’m doing very, very well…for someone ‘my age’, perhaps the best he’s seen.  He quickly qualified it by saying that ACL reconstruction is way more common among the 14-30 year olds.   Then he said that the few over-30 he’s worked with have had a lot harder recovery than I’m having.  I’ll take that as a compliment!

He added “the Bridge” and “Retro-step-ups” to my PT list, and removed passive extension and stair step-ups.  The Bridge is an exercise for the gluts and hamstrings.  On your back with knees bent at 90 degrees, you lift your butt and lower back off the floor.  I’m doing 15, eventually I’ll work to doing it with just the affected leg.  Retro-step-ups are stepping backwards up a step.  I’ll eventually do a full stair height but this one is pretty tough, so he started me out at 2” step up.

Day 37 (Thu, Jun 2nd)

Stay the course!  The retro-step-ups seem a bit easy so I increased the height to 3”.

Day 38 (Fri, Jun 3rd)

I skipped my evening PT today, mostly because Kammy and I had the evening free and went out to a play then dinner and drinks.  Truthfully, it felt good to skip one; the increasingly physical exercises are leaving my muscles sore at times.  There was one painful part of the evening: The play.  We were in the front row of the balcony and there was really no room to move my leg around.  I’m still not ready to sit with my knee at 90 degrees for over an hour…that play could not be over soon enough.

Day 39 (Sat, Jun 4th)

Today is a beautiful day in Minneapolis!  Kammy and I overslept, and then had to go to a couple appointments.  Once we got home I took care of my ‘morning’ PT even though it was early afternoon.  Then I went out in the yard and did 3 hours of yard work.  I took down some significant branches from some trees in the side yard and cut/bundled/bagged the whole lot.  My knee was pretty tired by the end of it, but my back was probably even worse…So, normal pains were worse than knee pain, is that a win?  In spite of the 3 hour outdoor workout I still did my evening PT while we were catching up on a bit of Doctor Who.

Day 40 (Sun, Jun 5th)

It is another beautiful day here in Minneapolis so we got up early.  My leg feels tired today, but still I do the morning PT.  We all do a bit of cleaning up, normal Sunday chores, and a bit of lounging around.  Then I get the brilliant idea that we should go directly to Ikea and walk around there (and Target) for hours without finding anything we were looking for.  In case you were wondering…yeah, my leg is tired this evening.  I iced it right after dinner and will keep it up for as much of the evening as I can.  Still, I’m planning to do the evening PT.  With family coming to town in a couple days I expect it’ll be much harder to keep up with the PT schedule…

Day 41 (Mon, Jun 6th)

Today was my 6 week follow-up with the surgeon.  Unlike the 1 week follow-up this one was very quick.  He checked on my range of motion, did a quick joint exam, looked at the healing scars.  He noticed the swelling that I have left and said I could expect it to be mostly gone in another 6 weeks.

Then he told me about grafts in this stage of recovery.  It turns out that right after surgery you have a quite-strong tendon held in place by hardware.  Over the course of the first several weeks it vascularizes and in the process weakens considerably.  He hand-drew a graph and showed that in terms of strength, the graft will be at its weakest in a few weeks…which I noticed will be right around the time that I’m really feeling better.  Then over the following three plus months it will get stronger and stronger as my body converts it from a tendon to a ligament.  Basically, this is no time to think you can jump ahead in your activity.  On the other hand, I expect the physical therapist to have me start jogging pretty soon.  I have to say I’m a bit nervous about that part.  I was also surprised to hear my surgeon say he’d prefer I ran outside instead of on a treadmill…that it’s safer.  Kammy pointed out that the physical therapist was very impressed with my recovery to date “for a guy my age”.  I will take it as a compliment again.

Day 42 (Tue, Jun 7th)

My brother is in town…I’ll have to be careful to keep up with PT!

Posted by Greg on July 27th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Week 5 (May 25-31)

Day 29 (Wednesday, May 25th)

Whoa, I forgot to do PT last night.  Well, strictly speaking I did remember about it but not ‘til I was already in bed and quite tired.  That wasn’t the first time that I didn’t do PT but it was the first time that it wasn’t a conscious decision not to do it.  This AM I was feeling pretty good though and I added some more weight to the leg-lifts in the form of a heavy shoe; I also added more height to the step-downs bringing it up to 4”.  Thankfully, the discomfort I was feeling last night is gone.  I think it was due mostly to swelling, and I think the swelling was from standing (not walking) too much yesterday.  I’ll ask during my PT appointment at 9.

My PT appointment went well as usual.  Adam introduced a new exercise he called the single-leg dead-lift.  This exercise replaces the standing balance that I’d progressed on pretty well to the point that I could do it eyes-closed for over 45 seconds.  The single-leg dead-lift works like this: You balance on your affected leg and then bend forward extending your leg backward as counterweight.  Ideally you keep bending forward until your fingertips touch the floor, then you return to a standing position, still balanced on the one knee.  Work up to 10 reps.  Adam also modified my step-downs to be full height steps, but no step up.  Basically it’s walking down steps which I do on our actual steps now.  The other things stayed the same, continue working toward 20 single legged knee bends (I’m up to 6 or so out of twenty); Step ups stay the same for now.  Continue leg raises with weight (a heavy shoe); Knee bends, Hamstring stretches, Passive extension.

Also, today, I walked from my office to Chipotle for lunch.  It’s a 1.2 mile round-trip which I accomplished nearly at normal walking speed.  It felt a bit uncomfortable but I was able to do it with very little to no limping.  Felt good, really, and it definitely tasted good!

Day 30 (Thursday, May 26th)

Stay the course!

Day 31 (Friday, May 27th)

Physical therapy is a commitment.  On a daily basis you have to choose it.  You have to look ahead and decide to do it instead of whatever else you have going on.  There will be times when it doesn’t fit in.  There will be times where it only fits in because you make extra effort to do so.  Today was one of those days for me where I realized early enough in the day that I had to take the opportunity right when it presented itself.

That said, it went well; my PT is becoming more strength-oriented and less flexibility-oriented.  The exercise are actually leaving my muscles sore, I’m starting to do the exercises with my ‘uninvolved’ leg to make sure that it really is stronger than my ‘involved’ leg.  I really do want to come out of this raring to go for the ski season…don’t want to end up with an injured leg that’s better than the uninjured leg!

Day 32 (Saturday, May 28th)

It’s funny that the day after a post where I state that physical therapy is a commitment, I can’t manage to do any physical therapy at all.  That said, I predicted it’d go this way, and I DID spend a significant portion of the day on my feet, going up and down stairs, hauling things.  Heck, I even trimmed the hedge and picked up the trimmings.  I spent about 2 hrs at the barbecue grill.  Strangely, my leg did not swell up horribly.  Knowing what I was getting into, I wore a Tubi-grip today for the first time in a week to help with it.  Actually, now that I’m typing that I didn’t get any PT in…maybe I’ll actually do it.

Day 33 (Sunday, May 29th)

Stay the course!

Day 34 (Monday, May 30th)

Stay the course!

Day 35 (Tuesday, May 31st)

I woke up today feeling like my knee had made another jump forward in its healing process!  Sleeping last night was less tedious; that is, my knee tolerated more positions.  This is a good day!

Posted by Greg on July 26th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Week 4 (May 22-28)

Day 22 (Wednesday, May 18th)

Today I tried a trick I figured out a while ago.  If an exercise is giving me trouble, do it with the ‘good’ leg for a while, paying close attention to how I move when there’s plenty of strength and no pain.  Then switch over to the bad leg and try to duplicate the exact move.  The exercise that is giving me trouble is still step-downs.  I really haven’t progressed this week on these, and it seems, if anything, that they’re becoming more painful to do.  Anyway, after paying close attention to form with my good leg/knee I tried again and they seemed at least a bit easier to perform.

Another disconcerting thing: The passive extension has started to hurt more than it did before.  I really don’t like the weird way that my progress moves forward then backward, swelling goes up and down, pain decreases then increases again.  With luck it’s nothing bad and just part of the normal process.

Day 23 (Thursday, May 19th)

Today is the first day that I drove the car to work.  Parked in the ‘close’ ramp, but up on the 6th floor.  That meant a lot of steps to traverse but not such a long walk (one city block in St. Paul).

Day 24 (Friday, May 20th)

There must be something psychological about going to Physical Therapy; this morning my knee felt better than it had in a long time while I was doing my PT.  (Later when walking in to the PT area I was walking the fastest I have since my surgery.)  Passive extension still feeling a bit off, and Step-Downs still giving me trouble, but otherwise a smooth start to the day.  I didn’t have time to ice before heading out for Tria.

Kammy drove and I sent off a couple emails, then we talked about my ongoing fantasy of creating (or even imagining) a fully functioning Utopian society.  She shares the view of many (most?) people that human nature is basically incompatible with Utopia; that once you take away any struggle that people might experience to acquire basic comforts that they all become sloths.  I have to admit that it is one of my stumbling blocks in my mental exercise trying to imaging how we’d get from here to there (there being utopia).

Once we got to Tria we checked in and I paid for my last-week’s visit too; then it was back to the PT room with Adam.  He immediately noticed I was off of the crutches and watched me carefully as I walked back.  He said I was looking strong.  He examined my knee and asked about my progress; I complained about the painful passive extensions and the Step-Downs.  Next he took flexion and extension measurements, both of which were great!  I got to -5 degrees with extension and 125 degrees of flexion which was 4 more than last week.  Adam said that the passive extension might be hurting just because I’m at the full extension and there’s still swelling…and that I can drop that exercise going forward unless it feels good to do it.

Next he took me over to a stationary bike to limber up a bit.  I talked with him about leg stiffness…it is stiff so much of the time.  He said it was something that would be with me for the better part of 6 months, and that it would come and go with the swelling that will also take that long to be rid of.

Adam led me over to the horizontal squats machine and he had me do some exercises; first both legs then just the bad leg.  It felt good to work it this way.

After a few minutes of those we went over by the mirror to look at my form and progress on the Step-Downs and Knee Bends.  Watching me struggle, he pointed out that I was going way slower than he recommended, and showed me how to tweak the exercise to make it better (and easier) for me.  My Knee Bends were coming along well so he had me try a couple of single-legged ones…they are hard but I can feel how good they’ll be soon.  He said I should start doing 15 normal then 5 single legged Knee Bends and slowly reverse the proportion over the next week or so.

I was feeling a bit short of time so I didn’t get iced with the game-ready today…Next time!

Day 25 (Saturday, May 21st)

Hey, my leg is feeling a bit better, and the swelling is down some more…I can see my kneecap, well almost.

Day 26 (Sunday, May 22nd)

Stay the course!

Day 27 (Monday, May 23rd)

Walking: Almost normal pace today…Almost.  I’ve been watching morning news channels while exercising, and I think that I was better off for not knowing what was going on in the world.  During my evening PT I’ve been watching “The IT Crowd”.  If you’ve never heard of it it’s a British sit-com about a couple of IT guys and their boss who knows nothing about IT.  Mindless humor ensues.

As for the PT itself, it is going slower now (less progress per day) but that’s just as Adam said it would.  Getting range of motion back happens pretty quickly, getting all the strength back will take the rest of the 6 months.

Day 28 (Tuesday, May 24th)

I don’t know what happened today, exactly.  I think maybe I stood up too much.  Whatever the reason, by the time I got home my leg was pretty swollen and walking was harder than it’s been recently.   I suppose that some elevation and icing will do me well this evening.

Today marks four weeks since surgery.  Adam (my physical therapist) says I’m doing well, well ahead of the curve.  It feels sloooowwww though.  When it feels slow it’s good to reflect on what all has happened and just how far I’ve come in four weeks.  Stairs are very manageable (up is easy, down needs handrail help); Walking is almost back to normal pace most of the time; Getting up from and down to floor is pretty reasonable; Driving? No problem.  What’s left to go?  I still have a ways to go before I’ll kneel again, and there’s no running yet.  Obviously sports are a several months off too.

So, my initial Injury was at the end of February, pre-hab lasted 6 weeks, now I’m 4 weeks beyond surgery.  I am 2 ½ months into an approximately 7 ½ month process.  Hey I’m 1/3 of the way done with this.  From here on out it’s just a matter of staying the course with PT and waiting for everything to heal and strengthen up.  I can’t decide if 5 more months feels like a long time or a short time.

Posted by Greg on July 24th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Days 14-21 (May 10-17)

Day 14 (Tuesday, May 10th)

Not much to report.  Did morning and evening PT.

Day 15 (Wednesday, May 11th)

Today’s PT resulted in more shifting of my exercises and also marks the beginning of once-a-week visits.  Here’s the new regimen: 5-minute Passive Extension; 20 Heel Slides; 1-minute Hamstring Stretch; 30 each of front and back Leg Raises (but drop side ones).  Then I stand up for 20 Step-Ups; 20 Knee Bends with 5 second pause, but now I squeeze a midsized kick-ball between my knees.  The goal is to get my Medial quad to work harder, right now my Lateral quad is doing all the work; 1 minute Balance, but now do it on a pillow or other more challenging surface.  The 20 Knee-Bands were dropped in favor of my new bane: 20 Step-Downs.  I can only do these from about a 3” platform of magazines, and even this feels painful, uncomfortable, and awkward.

In the evening I hit another milestone.  I drove for the first time since surgery.  I’ve been feeling like I was maybe up to it for the past couple days…so I gave it a try and it was fine.  Once I’m a little more mobile I can start driving to work too; it’ll have to wait until I can comfortably make the walk from  the parking ramp to the office.

Day 16 (Thursday, May 12th)

Stay the course!

Day 17 (Friday, May 13th)

Stay the course!

Day 18 (Saturday, May 14th)

Stay the course!

Day 19 (Sunday, May 15th)

Today was a beautiful day in Minneapolis, we got out and took care of some business, I picked up a track-suit at a second-hand store for a work event on Friday, and Z wanted one too so we got him one. It was so nice that we decided to take a walk by the lake.  This was a big milestone…I did it with no crutch at all!  I walked very slowly to ensure that I didn’t limp and Kammy stayed with me while Z zoomed all over the place, first on his scooter, then just running around.

Day 20 (Monday, May 16th)

Today’s main news is that I left the crutches behind entirely.  I walked (slowly) to lunch and back, but my co-worker is still dropping me off and picking me up…Won’t be long now until I start driving to work again.

Day 21 (Tuesday, May 17th)

Stay the course!

Posted by Greg on July 23rd, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Day 13 (Monday, May 9th)

It’s a stormy morning in Minnesota as I begin my PT today.  Somehow seems appropriate.  I have a feeling that doing PT in the middle of summer won’t be as fun as on a stormy day like this.  Here’s the lineup: 5-minute Passive Extension; 20 Heel Slides; 1-minute Hamstring Stretch; 30 each of front, side, back Leg Raises.  Then I stand up for 20 Step-Ups; 20 Knee Bands; 20 Knee Bends with 3 second pause; 1 minute Balance.  Then I ice while writing this and it’ll be off to work for me.

Took a Walk

At lunch I decided to take a walk (using 1 crutch, mostly for balance).  I had a check that I had to deposit and I haven’t had any cash since before the surgery.  Under normal circumstances it’d be a 10 minute walk (tops) each way.  I went to the bank, made a deposit & withdrawal, stopped by a fast-food place and grabbed some food to go, and returned to the office.  That took 45 minutes, and my leg is tired and swelling fast.  I got out the icepack and iced while I ate.  It is tricky to balance exercise and activity with rest at this stage.

Posted by Greg on July 21st, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Day 12 (Sunday, May 8th)

Today I made sure to get my exercises all in, especially after my wimpy showing yesterday.  My leg really started out swollen after yesterday; it wasn’t just limited to the knee either.  My calf and even ankle looked a bit larger than they should.  During recovery from the initial injury I recall this same thing.  I got a quite swollen ankle for a day or two after overdoing it some.  On the other hand, it seems to me that overdoing it just the right amount facilitates recovery.  You feel awful at the end of the over-done day and weak the day after, but the next day seems to come with a jump forward.  I should add that this is anecdotal, I haven’t done any research at all as to whether it is valid, it just seems to be my experience.

Anyway, I did full PT both times.  The only notable things are 1) I’m increasing the ‘pause’ to 3 seconds during my Knee Bends, and I’m starting to move my uninvolved leg around during the 1-minute Balance to make it trickier.  I guess I’ll have to start doing some eyes-closed soon.

Posted by Greg on July 19th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files

Day 11 (Saturday, May 7th)

Saturday, Saturday…Saturday was the first big departure from the ‘plan’.  I only did one partial PT and I never managed to ice my knee at all.  More importantly, I never really gave my knee much of a break all day.  Yes, it suffered for it!  Yes it was pretty swollen all day.  The one thing I DID do was to practice good walking.  I’m careful to start a stride with heel, leg extended; to lift my leg at the end of the stride; and to make even strides.  This means slooooow walking for now.  Why so far off schedule?  We did all the Mother’s day stuff today.  We took Grammas to ‘Good Day’ for a nice brunch.  We took Zander for a haircut, dropped him off at Gramma Pat’s.  We went to Home Depot and got the stuff to make some hoops for Kammy (She’s interested in ‘hooping’ now) and I helped her get started building a few.  Then I set about getting in a set of PT quickly before our early dinner reservations with friends.  I was about half-way done when they called to tell us they were quite early.  I gave up the rest of PT in the interest of moving the evening along; we all had early dinner reservations for Fogo de Chao!  It’s way too expensive, but damn it is good!

Posted by Greg on July 16th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files