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Annie : Learning to Walk, Home Improvement, and the Slow Return of My Life
Diary entry posted Sun 11:41am 24 April 2005

Apr 24

So, it's been a little while since I last updated. Here's where I am as of now:

In the physical improvement area, at week 15, I am still working on getting my gait smooth. I apparently have all kinds of little bad habits I have acquired since my break which are brought out every time I do a PT session. If I walk too fast, I tend to take a larger stride with my bad leg than my good leg. So I need to concentrate on taking equal strides. I also tend to rotate my pelvis so my bad side (the right) is slightly to the rear of the good and I walk at a slight angle. That is something you tend to do after using crutches. So I have to concentrate on walking with my pelvis perpendicular to my line of travel. I also tend to "tri-pod" with my bad leg a bit out to the side if I walk too fast, so I need to remember to keep my leg in next to my other leg. And, I need to remember to roll all the way through my foot on each step. Now mind you, I do this and don't even realize it most of the time. So, as I walk I am constantly trying to be aware of all these crazy things I have a tendency to do. Learning to walk again is quite interesting!

As far as PT is going, I am SO glad I am fortunate enough to have it. I truly do not know how you learn to recover from these breaks in the best possible way without it. And your improvement is huge once you start. I had no idea I had all these little bad habits until my therapist pointed them out. I am still trying to figure out why after 3 months all of a sudden I have a donut of swelling around my ankle, but I am beginning to realize these breaks have a mind of their own when it comes to the healing process. Out of the blue, I can have these shooting pains which take my breath away for a few seconds. And out of the blue, swelling can appear. And equally out of the blue, it can disappear, like this morning. I am beginning to just take the new appearance of some weird pain/sensation as part of the process. I do wish the stiffness would start improving; I look like Frankenstein when I first hit the floor in the morning! As for PT, I am still faithfully doing my exercises 3 times a day, and they are really helping improve my ROM. I am also faithfully doing my walk, looking up at my beloved mountains for inspiration (I have a date with the summit of one of them), quite often taking my little "boy" Cody with me for company. I am increasing my mileage, and yesterday I added a hill, going both down and back up to work my ankle and calf muscles. I also will ride my bike on its rollers to work on my aerobic capacity which by now is pretty pathetic. How fast it all goes away, and how slowly it all returns. As for my PT sessions, I am still doing the evil BAPS board, only now I can almost make it all the way around both forwards and backwards. I am also still doing the lunges on the inflated pads, and am getting more stable all the time. Last session, my therapist made me squat on them, and catch a weighted medicine ball without falling over. Balance is coming along nicely. I always end my sessions with time on the leg press machine to try and rebuild my quad lost why immobile. And my therapist always works my ankle and massages it which feels SO wonderful. Slowly but surely, there is improvement.

In the home improvement department which was completely put on hold during this little adventure, we have returned to the draftsman to finalize our kitchen addition plans, then it is off to the engineer to get our snow load calcs, and finally to the county to pull a permit. We are hoping to at least get the framing and new roof on before summer fire season really gets going and everything comes to a halt again. I am pretty sure I won't be up on the roof, but I am hoping I can help with some of the framing. I know I can help with the rough electrical and plumbing. So, that is also slowly picking up speed.

At almost 4 months post break and surgery, my life is slowly returning. Yesterday, I went to one of my daughter's soccer games, and despite yet another snow storm trying to make things a bit miserable, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Of course my ankle had a lovely donut of swelling again, but I can deal with that. That's what pillows and ice are for. I also am trying to practice my driving so I am more comfortable on the freeway with all the nutcases that seem determined to talk on their cell phones while styling their hair and eating a hamburger! I am finding more and more that I am capable of doing, and I keep pushing myself to learn more. My daughter says I'm obsessive, but as I told her, no one else is going to get my foot back. I either continue to push, or I accept things the way they are. I want my "normal" foot back, whatever that is now. What an experience this has been. I have learned more patience than I ever thought possible (I have enough now, can we get on with things!!!), and I have SO much empathy for anyone with a broken anything. The wife of my daughter's coach has an external fixator on her left arm, and I immediately feel a kindred understanding. I am finding a resevoir of resolve I didn't know I had to keep pushing myself along in the recovery process. And through it all, has been my daughter, who I hope has learned some important life lessons from all of this, and my best friend, my husband, supporting me, hauling me all over the place, encouraging me, holding me when I was so sad, and helping me laugh. I would not wish this experience on anyone, but if you keep your mind open, there are gifts for you in it ...

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 Sun 11:41am 24 April 2005
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