Thursday, 30 September 2010

Departure from the CERS

Tomorrow morning I am leaving the CERS in Capbreton and taking the train back to Epinal. Well technically, I am taking the train from Bayonne to Bordeaux, then from Bordeaux to Lorraine TGV, where Marion will eagerly pick me up and we will return back to Epinal together!

I am pretty excited to head home, it has been a long 3 weeks here, and though I remained motivated the entire stay with the heavy workload, I am really looking forward to getting home and back onto the ice with the team. The doctors want me to take more time to continue reinforcing my leg, but they did agree to allow me to skate and see how that feels. My hope is to get on the ice tomorrow night for practice with the team, not take part in the drills just yet but just skate and shoot the puck a bit, then progress a bit each time and be ready to play soon.

The biggest thing I will miss from the CERS is the food! At lunch today I spoke with the Chef to see if he would let me know what the ingredients are in the amazing salad dressing. He retreated to the kitchen and printed me off a copy of the recipe right away, I was so pumped. A very nice gesture from this Chef that knows all 150 patients by name, which is amazing because they all come and go every 3-4 weeks.

Another thing I will miss is seeing the Rugby men in full team uniform. I will clarify.... Being in the south west of France, Rugby is the primary sport here, so obviously there are many Rugby players here at the CERS with injuries. What gets me though is that some of them come into physio or the gym in their full team uniform, all the way down to their high striped socks. I am not criticizing, but you just don't see that, not in any other sport. Just imagine if I was sitting on the physio table or riding the bike with my shoulder pads, jersey and skates??? Ok, that was a bit extreme, but you get the picture.

All in all, this was a great experience, I met some really nice people here but most importantly my knee is way better than it was when I arrived. Now I will be able to rejoin the team, start skating and know that my return will be a few weeks away!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sorry Mom, No Internet

Listen mother, I had no internet ok! I finally got internet again this morning, as the boutique here at the CERS was closed all weekend. It costs $10 for a week of internet or $40 for a month. Since I am only here for 3 weeks, I have had to renew the internet now twice. Though last Friday I forgot and ended up with no internet all weekend. After taking a temporary break from the computer (Friday) because I was up late on Thursday night watching NHL highlights and videos, I indirectly was punishing myself by not going on the computer all day Friday. Then I totally forgot to renew! Ok mom, there is the explanation, sorry :)

So, a lot has happened in this past week, I have moved on to some new machines to strengthen my quads and hamstrings while also taking on AQUA GYM!!! If someone is reading this out loud to some eager listeners, it may sound as though I have begun a wrestling career against a vicious super hero named Aqua Jim, but in fact it is only a workout in the pool, to simulate running and changes of directions.

I have also been attacking the Spin Bikes (Velo for our French readers) every other day so I can have my conditioning up to speed for when I get back on the ice with the team!

With only 3 days left of work before I get on the train and head back to Epinal, I am starting running and movement outside tomorrow, as well as meeting with the Doctor to set up a plan for when I return to Epinal. I sure am hoping these next 3 days go smoothly, as I am anticipating a return to the ice upon arrival. Suiting up for a game is still unclear but at least at this point I believe my knee is strong enough and stable to begin skating, then hopefully lead into changes of direction, followed by contact and some games!!!! I am so excited to get back out there and just be around the rink everyday. After all, it is my job, and I love my job!!!

Another positive thing is that while I was away, the workers came to the house and finished the kitchen, so I will be heading home to a nicely renovated kitchen. Remember how much I love to eat! Almost as much as I love hockey.

Marion is back to school now too, she is just starting her 2nd week now in Nancy for Law school. Yup, not just a pretty face ;) It will be great to see her too, and considering I did not have internet, it made it a bit complicated this weekend to talk since we had planned to talk on Skype. Though now that I have it, she has informed me that she can't find her camera anyways hahaha! (I hope she is finding it as I write this :) )

Well......what else is there to say now.... my team got 1 point on the weekend, losing in a shootout. That's better than we did in the home opener, losing 1-0, getting scored on in the last 7 seconds of the game. I sure am eager to get back and help out as much as I can, I have made huge progress in these past few weeks, the return of #15 is coming!!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Happy Birthday Andre!

Having only had a half day yesterday, the afternoon seemed pretty lonely. Marion had just left with her friends to go back to Epinal, and since it was Saturday, I only had treatment and a workout in the morning.

Still with the half day, I did all my leg exercises, spent an hour in the pool working out and had a test on the spin bike. Since the doctor is happy with my progression, he had me start with bike workouts a bit early. So yesterday morning at 930am was my bike test to see how hard they can push me in terms of my heart rate. I was pretty excited to get to work and was dripping with sweat by the time the 25 minutes were up. Every 3 minutes I had to increase the tension and also increase my speed. We worked my heart rate up to around 175 beats per minute. Not my max heart rate but a rate I could still maintain for 3 minutes. The biggest positive was that I had no knee pain during this.

After lunch, I had the afternoon off, I iced my knee a few times to make sure it didn't swell up from all the work I was doing, then spent an hour or so watching some Entourage episodes on the computer. I also spoke with my older brother Andre a few times on skype during the day. It was a pretty exciting day for him and the kids as it was Julien and Sebastien's first hockey practice of the year! So they were bouncing off the walls all day and driving Andre crazy. I told him to try and remember what it was like on a Saturday morning when he was little and the hockey season was just beginning. Maybe Andre was just wanted to celebrate his 36th birthday a day early and wanted all of the attention???

My evening was designated to watching the live scoreboard of my team who was playing their home opener in Epinal against Villard de lans. I have to admit, this was very difficult to watch, knowing that I can't do anything to help them. It was 0-0 most of the game, then a few penalties were called in the last few minutes, leaving us short handed 4-3, resulting in Villard scoring with 7 seconds left. I swore so loud that I could probably have been heard all the way up to the 4th floor. Had I been in Thionville, all of the old people would have been woken up by this, but on a Saturday night here in Capbreton, nobody is sleeping.

I wrote a few paragraphs of this blog, then I had reserved a time to swim today so I am just getting back from that now. I got a pair of goggles today, and it was so much easier to swim lengths with those on. It was quite refreshing getting some physical activity today and then tonight I have 1.5 hours of recovery. This includes sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, cold tub, massage etc... I am not exactly sure of how this will all work, I will have to write about that tomorrow, but I sure am looking forward to it!

As I mentioned briefly above, today is Andre's 36th birthday! I have spoken with him on skype 3-4 times over the last 2 days since he got a computer with a camera and I have tried to prepare him for this big day! He really isn't that old, our captain and best player Jan Plch just turned 36 and I think if Andre were still playing hockey, he could be just as good. They are both left handed playmakers with very good vision and can score. Both also use very big curves, as Andre was known for his Paul Coffey pattern. Now he is passing that knowledge and experience on to his two boys Julien and Sebastien.

Though Julien is right handed like his two uncles (Gabe and Myself) and Sebastien left handed, he may need our help to teach Julien some tricks of the trade, but as I write this......if I recall correctly, in Andre's glory days of confidence and swagger, he once claimed he was better than I was right handed, and would show off his skills in our parent's basement. So he is probably best suited for teaching both of his boys the game, even if it takes 4-5 hours of hockey in the basement on his day off, on a Saturday morning! Good luck brother, love ya, and have a great birthday!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Anti Gravity, Biodex and Ice- The recipe for success

Ok finally some time to breathe! These last 3 days here in Capbreton have been super busy, but pretty amazing at the same time. I have done pretty much the same routine since Monday, with slight modifications each day as I progress. So to jump right into it, I will break down the day!

730am- Nurse enters room to take blood pressure/give pills/wake you up!

730-830- Breakfast. Consisting of yogurts, cereal, bread, jam, orange juice, and a selection of bananas, oranges, apples and kiwis

830-945- Physio. Mostly exercises to work on strengthening my entire left leg. I begin riding the bike for 10 minutes. Then I get into this Anti-Gravity Machine, so cool. So I put on this spandex short that has a huge waist with a zipper. Then I stand in this AG machine, I zip the big shorts to the machine to prevent air from getting in, then it sucks out all of the oxygen down by my legs. So basically all you can see if just my upper body. The idea is too keep good walking mechanics, while not over stressing the joints, so using only 50% of my body weight. Today I used 70% though, so I am progressing! As soon as I get out of the machine, my legs feel so heavy, I have to walk around a while to feel normal again.

Then when my legs don't feel like they are 200lbs each, I do some hamstring exercises, followed by some leg press, glutes and single leg holds. Mostly ranging from 6 sets x 15 reps, or some in static mode

10-11am- I quickly head up to my room to put on my bathrobe and grab my towel before heading down to the pool. Once I have showered, I get in right away and start doing lengths, being careful not to put too much torque on my knee while swimming. The first day I almost puked after 8 full lengths of the pool in my front crawl mode! I think that last time I did this type of swimming I was working towards my orange badge at Kennedy High School's swimming lessons. Oh how my mother was so proud (too bad I failed the red badge because I couldn't dive).

After the lengths and catching my breath, I spend 10 minutes on the under water stationary bike, so cool! And another 10 minutes on this other under water stepper/stair master sort of thing. Then it's half time and I switch pools, going from the cold one (not too cold) to the hot one (fairly hot). In the hot pool, I have 5 laps to do against the current, with all these jets that are just forcing water in the opposite direction. It reminds me of the days living on Alsace with our family's above ground pool, when all the kids would start swimming in a circle, all in the same direction to get the water flowing that way, then all of the sudden we would stop and try to swim the opposite way against he current. Ya, it is like that :)

11-12pm- Working in the gym with the personal trainer. This is pretty fun here, I get to work upper body with strength training and core as well. Very important part of the day because when I leave here I want to be ready to play and having this hour each day ensures I will stay in top shape! Since I wont be doing bike sprints until next week, they have me doing the hand sprints. It is like a bike except you pedal with your arms. So I have a heart rate monitor strapped on to my chest and there I go, same idea as the stationary bike but with your arms. A bit more tiring though I think. Other than that, we are working on speed and power, since the season is starting and I did the strength training all summer to work up to this point.

12-130pm- LUNCH- so so so good. Since we are all high performance athletes here, and having a dietitian on staff, we are provided with some amazing/well balanced meals! Each day for lunch and dinner, we have the choice of Fish or Meat. I even had duck the other day! We start off with some sort of salad. Tonight we have Soja, Tomato, Avocado, Sesame, Vinaigrette Basilic Salad to start, followed by some fish in a curry sauce and Fromage Blanc with raspberry sauce. Pretty excited, and also very hungry after that detailed explanation.

2-230pm- Back to physio, complete another round of some of the exercises before heading upstairs for some electrodes.

230-3pm- Compex. Here, I sit in a room full of other athletes. It is exactly like a classroom at school, not even kidding, we sit in the same desks. There is a "teacher" or electrode technician would gets us set up for the half hour and we all sit quietly with this machine goes to work on our muscles. The only difference from school is that there is a TV that plays Rugby or Soccer matches. So we just blast our muscles, trying to get everything firing properly again.

3pm-5pm- Back to physio, here I do another round of the exercises, a bit more treadmill work, where I am currently only doing a fast walking pace. It is pretty cool though, as they have two treadmills facing each other and a mirror placed in the middle that shows only your legs. So if someone is facing you on the other treadmill, you can see their upper body, but it looks like they have your legs because of the image in the mirror. Did not work so well with the 6'8 African French basketball player though.

Today I progressed to the Biodex Machine. This is the one that is hooked up to a computer, that measures your strength and power output, while you provide the resistance in both the concentric and eccentric phases of the leg extension. Though I do not have full range in this yet, it was a good sign that I could do it, as I was not able to do it on Saturday when we last tried it.

Then to finish off, I was allowed to bring my hockey stick down and work on my stick handling while in a single leg hold position. Yesterday I did this exercise with a partner, as we tossed a ball back and forth while holding on a single leg, so I asked if I could do the same exercise, except with stickhandling my "Swedish Stickhandling Ball." So dripping with sweat, I ended the day of work with that. What a day!

5pm- Snack time! We have a choice of fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges, kiwis) and yogurt!

7pm- Dinner time! See above for detailed description of tonight menu

Also I forgot to mention, I am constantly icing my knee during the day, this is just to avoid any swelling. Though I am staying in my limits and not working through any knee pain, the workload itself could affect it. So they encourage us to ice about 4-5 times per day.

On another note, my team back in Epinal battled hard last night and pulled out a win on the road in Dijon 4-3 in the first game of Coupe de la Ligue. Keep it up boys! I will be back to help as soon as I can!