Monday: PT Said I could start walking full time as long as I keep my Aircast on. I could use the knee scooter if I wanted to, or crutches, or nothing, just rest and ice and stop if it hurts. I had a celebratory walk around to my teammates and my DH at work to mark the occasion!
Going up and down the stairs with one crutch is easy, no crutches is fine too. My incisions and heel are sore, like a bruise, but they donít acutely hurt.
Tuesday: At home I was walking up the stairs normally, one foot on each step. Canít do that going down, though, since the boot doesnít bend. Still, Iíll take my victories where I can.
I took my knee scooter to work with me ďjust in caseĒ. We left it in the car. I walked in on my crutches, and am much much slower than I was with my scooter. Crutches are unwieldy, but they do the job. I got a pouch for one of my crutches to carry items like my phone and badge, or a bottle of water.
I didnít use the crutches much today but I was doing mostly desk work. I walked to the bathroom on the other side of the floor twice, unassisted! I still try to keep it elevated as much as I can when sitting. Itís easy to get the toe of the boot caught on things so I have to be careful not to trip. Iím starting to feel the muscles in my right thigh and hip working again and they are sore! That reminds me to do my PT when I get home. Ironically itís my good foot and hip that are the most sore, as I canít walk evenly with this boot, so I limp a little.
My ankle started hurting around 4pm, which was normal. Getting up and walking around didnít help the way it usually did, so I took some ibuprofen. First time I have taken painkillers in several weeks! I donít feel bad about it.
Friday I walked the whole day without using crutches, from getting out of bed to getting back in. I carried them around with me, but I didnít use them. I felt so proud of myself. My ankle hurt, yes, but not badly. It seems to hurt more if I rest it too much - ironically.
Mornings are better than evenings for energy and mobility. Friday night I slept like a log. I woke up at 2am and had to use the bathroom, and for once, it wasnít a big deal!!! I knew I had to stand for a moment, get over the initial ďowĒ of putting weight on the foot and the pain in my heel, but I knew it would only take a minute. After a minute I walked to the bathroom, used the facilities, and walked back to bed. I think that was the first time since my accident that I was able to do that and not panic. It was a wonderful experience.
Saturday I was left home alone (I insisted DH go golfing) and I never in my life thought I would be so happy and grateful to climb stairs and do laundry - but I am, and I was. I emptied the dishwasher, and file fit up again. I made myself lunch. I went out on to the deck. It was WONDERFUL. I had to go down into the garage a couple of times to get supplies, take out the trash - and it was OKAY. Yes, it still takes me longer than normal to do things but not nearly as long as it used to.
Tomorrow will be the end of Week 9 and I intend to practice walking in my ankle brace, with crutches. Like my boot, I plan to ease into the brace over the week. The PT wants me to bring my brace and a pair of shoes on Monday, and I am scared to do so. I will, because I know I can do it, and I know Iím getting stronger every day - but the fear is real. I acknowledge the fear, I feel the fear, and then let it go of the fear. I repeat this to myself as I breath. Acknowledge, experience, release. Acknowledge, experience, release.
I bumped into a friend the other day, and we were discussing Physical Therapy (PT). She said she never does her PT for her runnerís knee, she just wants to run. It was all I could do to not stop her and say ďyou MUST do your PT. You MUST.Ē I held my tongue. Her confidence wasnít about me, it was about her - she was trying her best to empathize with me and in a subtle way, she was expressing her feelings about herself. Am I more disciplined than she is? No, I donít think so - I think we are on different timelines. Mine is much slower than hers. She can do her PT exercises once or twice a month, or when her knee bothers her, and be fine. I canít do that - or I wonít recover.
I have been thinking a lot about time and perspective since my accident. This broken leg and ankle has forced me to slow down - WAY WAY down - and re-evaluate a lot of things I thought were ďurgentĒ. It has also forced me to acknowledge my needs and the requirements of my recovery. All uncomfortable, stretch goals that I knew I should be working on but never got around to.
I have learned to say ďI need helpĒ. I have learned to say ďI would but I simply cannotĒ. I have also learned to say ďI want to, but Iím not there yet. Soon, but not yet.Ē I have learned to say ďI am not able to, and I am sorry.Ē
The last one is the hardest one. I have to say it a lot, because it was my right leg I broke, which means I cannot drive. My DH has had to drive to and from work, which stresses him out in every manner possible. Itís hard for me, as I can resign myself to drive-time traffic and not let it get to me, but DH cannot. I try my best to thank him for driving, and often apologize for my accident, saying I would drive if I could, and I really wish I could, but I cannot, and I am sorry. I say this for him, not me. It acknowledges his stress and his sacrifice and his work to take care of me. It is a loving thing to do for him.
This goes back to what I wrote earlier about forcing your caretakers to take care of themselves. I was blissfully happy today to do laundry and clean up the kitchen, knowing that he was out with his best friend, golfing, enjoying the sunshine. His pleasure and happiness makes me happy. That is a selfless act of love which is just as valid and as important as his selfless acts of love to take care of me when I need him to. When I am incapable, incapacitated - he was there.
Your caretaker loves you - even if they are not in a relationship with you. Even if itís a third party helping you, they love you, or they couldnít give you the help you need. Love takes many forms and has as many shades as the colors of the rainbow. All are equally valid and all are equally good.
As I tell other friends of mine - when you are given an act of kindness, remember it and pass it on. Someday you may be given the opportunity help someone who is in a situation similar to the one you are in now. Remember the help and care you have been given. Store it and give it to someone else later when you are called upon to do so.
Pass it along - good deeds are often unrewarded, so let your mind and your heart reward you when you pass it along. You will know that you gave back what was given to you - and that is all that matters. Can you sleep at night? Good. You did good, then.
As for your own recovery and healing, follow your PTís instructions to the letter and push yourself to do more. Let the stretches hurt, in a good way. Let yourself fail when re-learning to balance, just donít fall down. Failure is the stepping stone to success. The frustrating part of PT is learning to fail. Expect soreness. Recognize muscle soreness as nothing more than your muscles ďwaking upĒ from a long sleep. Thatís all it is. youíre not hurting yourself, even though it hurts. It is just part of the process. Healing wouldnít hurt if it wasnít an active process. Thatís why ďhealingĒ is a verb. ďHealingĒ is a description of an action. Many times, action causes discomfort. Rest, ice and try again.
I have been very surprised just how quickly the foot, ankle and leg are coming ďback to lifeĒ so to speak. I do a round of exercises in the morning and evening - and the next day it is SORE. But the 2nd day it doesnít hurt and my exercises are easier than they were. I can do more, I can use more resistance, I can put on more weight. Itís very encouraging.
The flexibility is also beginning to return. Every morning I realize I can point my toes just a tiny bit further, I can rotate my ankle just a tiny bit more freely. I havenít measured it, but I can FEEL it. And itís wonderful. Itís motivating. Itís encouraging. Itís thunderously uplifting! I reward myself with the feeling of joy and wonder and a big smile - and I canít wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!!!