I often participate in exercise with gusto. Sometimes I take on a home project with the same enthusiasm. Home projects can be as good a workout as an hour at the gym.
Four-Hour Exercise Workout
For 15 years I’ve put up with wood folding doors that hide my washer and dryer where one side didn’t shut properly. Yesterday, the left side panel decided it had had enough and came out of the track from the above door jamb. I thought this would be a simple fix. I had no idea it would be a four-hour exercise workout.
I looked for the easy solutions first: pushing the door back onto the track. That didn’t work. Tightening the screws at the top of the door that attached it to the track. That worked for a couple of seconds. Unhinging the hinges from the doors, studying the difference between the two doors, reattaching the hinges… nothing worked. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was causing the door to not close properly.
Take a Break From Exercise
Finally, it hit me. I looked on top of the door and I knew then that one of the screws was stripped. (Thanks to me having seen the This Old House episode recently with the stripped door screw.) This meant that I had to take the entire door down which was made of two heavy panels. I unscrewed the hinges (again) and laid the panel with the stripped screw on the floor. By this time, my neck was hurting from always looking up. My shoulder was hurting from straining to screw and unscrew screws. So, I took a break.
Home Exercise Equipment Was Never Like This
I had my step ladder out and my Phillips screwdriver and a Flathead screwdriver.
I had a large flashlight out because my hall light is out and I need an electrician for that problem. When I came back from my break and made holes in the door panel the old-fashioned way, with elbow grease, I realized that putting up the door and screwing together the two panels at the hinges was not going to be possible from standing on the outside of the doors. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I decided to climb on top of the washer and dryer. This was no small feat for a 5’8″ 170 lb person in such a cramped space, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I was a locomotive barreling down the track intent on getting the door back onto its own track by hook or by crook.
If The Foot Doesn’t Fit We Must Acquit
I was able to position myself on top of my dryer but I couldn’t squeeze my right foot inside the door. No matter, I was able to push the door panel into the slot with its new screw and new position that fit better against the door jamb than ever before! I had to climb down to get the other door panel to re-attach the hinges. This meant that I had to climb up on the washer and dryer again. Before I climbed up for the second time, I decided to shut the washer door which I had previously left open. I could have easily fallen in the first time. Wouldn’t that have been a sight! Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get out! (When I used to do kickboxing at home, my son would say he didn’t want to think about it because he pictured me falling and breaking a leg or something. Good thing he didn’t see me yesterday with my doors!)
Exercising at The Gym Pays Off
If I didn’t exercise at the gym, I’d never be able to lift these door panels. They were heavy and awkward because they were so long. I had a heck of a time trying to screw the hinges back in. The only positive in all this was that none of the screws were in so tight that I couldn’t get them out, even after all the years they were in there. It took some long arm reaching around the outside of the panel to get the panels to meet so I could re-attach the hinges. Lucky for me I have long arms.
A Mystery is Afoot
After four hours of intense labor the job was complete. The door glided evenly with no resistance. The doors met in the center without buckling. Somehow I found the energy to make dinner. I even cooked some chicken so that I could eat it tonight. I had my dinner, washed the dishes, and thought I must have stepped wrong somehow because my right foot started to hurt. The more I was on it, the more it hurt until the pain was getting to be too much. I still had to take a shower. I took my shower and that didn’t help my foot. I knew it was time for my frozen peas in the freezer. I save a bag of frozen peas to put on injuries to help reduce swelling. By this time it was 9:00 pm and I decided the best place for me was in bed with my peas; peas on my foot and not under my mattress for I was not feeling like a princess at this point. I was feeling more like her scullery maid.
I have no idea what I did to hurt my foot. This foot had suffered many previous injuries. It has an arthritic toe and metatarsalgia. It’s had a sprained ankle and plantar fasciitis. It has been viewed by many a doctor. I’ve been wearing an orthotic in the shoe of this foot for about two years. Clearly I shouldn’t have been climbing aboard washers, dryers, or lifting heavy doors for that matter. But who’s going to stop me?
Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning
I took two Advil and I kept my frozen peas on my foot for an hour while I lay in bed watching the TV. I wondered in a half doze how long this injury was going to last. Days? Weeks, Months? I thanked my lucky stars for going grocery shopping earlier in the day, pre-door hanging. I wondered if I would be able to sleep because I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t find a comfortable position. After an hour the pain subsided to my surprise. I set aside the peas and turned off the TV and quickly fell asleep. Around 2:00 am I awoke and fearfully set out to the bathroom. My foot hardly hurt. Was I dreaming? I got back to bed and fell asleep.
I stayed in bed until 10:00 am today not looking forward to putting any weight on my foot. I got dressed and walked to the kitchen. The pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. How could that be possible? I haven’t exerted myself at all today and I’m not tempted to “try out” my foot to see what it can do. Sitting at the computer is the perfect place for me.
Exercise and the R.I.C.E Method
R.I.C.E. is a mnemonic to help you to remember how to treat soft tissue injuries.
R – Rest, get off your feet, don’t use the injured part.
I – Put ice on the injury. A bag of frozen peas works best; keep it in the freezer for immediate use.
C – Compression. Alternate compression with ice. For my injury, the bag of peas with my comforter on top was all the compression I could handle.
E – Elevate the injured part. Ideally, it should be elevated above your heart.
I’ve used the R.I.C.E. method before for injuries but typically didn’t have access to ice immediately when the injury occurred. This time was the exception. Apparently, timing of the R.I.C.E. method is of the essence! I’ve often used ice for times when I get cooking burns and splatters and that works incredibly well for me. Ice may be another miracle worker.
I hope my story helps you to remember to use the R.I.C.E. method for soft tissue injuries. Thanks to Susan T’s Kitchen for her request for a post on sports injuries.