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I had been figuring (based on what my PT had said a couple of weeks ago) that I'd be out for a few more weeks yet. But yesterday both he and my orthopedic Doc put me through the ringer with exercises and x-rays, and both agreed I was doing great, and could go back to class. No rolling or falling yet, but anything else that doesn't hurt is fair game. I even showed Doc a video (on my iPod) from my dojo, to be sure he understood what Aikido was. He thought I was nuts to want to do that (he's hilarious), but didn't think my shoulder would be in danger.
I tried some gentle warm-ups from class at home last night, as a sanity check, and that went well. So tonight I joined in, instead of just watching.
I kinda figured I would make it partway through (a 90-minute class), and would start to get sore/ouchy, but noooo.... I did fine. Everyone was very considerate in their techniques, and really nothing hurt at all. I'm just giddy.
The exercises I've been able to do (both strengthening, and mental/awareness kind of things) have made a huge difference. (Many thanks to everyone who suggested things to do, and cautioned me about things to not do, in response to a question I asked on the Forums this past week!) I don't feel any of the muscle pain I did in the first few classes, and felt more stable and solid during class.
I was especially encouraged right from the start (during a pre-class 15-minute meditation period), when my right knee did not hurt. It was chonically stiff. Seiza hurt, and sitting cross-legged hurt more. I've been doing lots of warming up, stretching, and massage, and it's been getting better. Tonight, not even a twinge.
There were even a few moments when I felt glimmers of competency. I'm still a tangle of arms and legs, all going in the wrong directions (bless Sensei's patient heart, and my fellow students), but every now and then I got them a little bit organized and did the right thing, more or less.
I'm not letting up on the ice packs, exercises, stretches, or PT, but meanwhile, I'm very encouraged, and looking forward to next Tuesday.