Thursday, March 4, 2010
Learning to walk
Babies are difficult. Anyone who is a parent will tell you this. And I know why. Let me fill you in. It's because they know they are going to have to learn to walk. Having been through that a quarter of a century ago, I have been nothing short of an expert walker until that fateful night last January. And after spending 4.5 weeks on crutches after my surgery, there is nothing I wanted to do more than walk on my own two feet. Oh the freedom! The places I could go if I only had two feet. Over grass, up and down stairs, through the rain!!! The problem, as with babies, is that there is a learning curve between walking and not walking. And IT IS FRUSTRATING!!! Ok, lets start at the beginning here. My beautiful, bedazzled, hot pink cast came off. People saw what my leg hair looks like after 4.5 weeks of not shaving. Remember, cleanliness and dignity jumped ship quite awhile ago. And they put me in a walking boot. A WALKING BOOT! I still get happy when I think about my boot. Why? Well, the first word is walking. And second of all, it is removable. Meaning, I can wash and shave my leg, and my leg can feel the breeze on it's face again. So after the nurse cut my cast off, they slap this thing on, and she tells me to walk. Just like that! And the learning curve starts.....So I crutch out of there, trying not to get down on myself because I still couldn't walk yet. My entire leg had atrophied from the weeks of not using it. The muscle was all shriveled up inside my skin. Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic, don't panic. I tried to focus on the positive (shaving my leg....omg!) and I tentatively tried this whole "walking" stuff. As is, with 90% of my weight still on the crutches, I set my foot down. Now, as we have all learned, I have a high tolerance to pain. And I spent the rest of that day not eating because I was literally scared that if I put food in my mouth I would throw it up from the pain of trying to walk. So I formulated a plan. The nurse said I needed to be walking again in three days. So the first day I would "walk", but I would set my crutches down with each step. Day two, I'd lose one crutch and go all Tiny-Tim style. Day three, crutch free. And so I started. I celebrated making a lap around the kitchen table. And after a couple days of not eating a single thing, I COULD WALK. And I was just as proud of myself as I was the first time, all those years ago. I'm not sure if anyone else thought it was that awesome, but I think it's just because those people haven't had to take breaks from being independently mobile. Either way, I was a walker. Ok, I was more like a limper. It wasn't pretty. With a lot of the muscle gone from my leg, I kind of had to swing that whole leg around instead of bending it at the knee and picking it up. De-light-ful. And this, my friends, is why they created physical therapy. Which I was set to begin, again, in a short few weeks. Would it be as much fun my second time around?