If someone told me years ago that I would someday write a blog post about the ability to walk, I would have called them crazy. That’s just something we take for granted. But when you’ve spent 10 weeks off your feet, it feels pretty amazing to get back on them. Alas, here is my post about walking, which I feel is completely blogworthy.
My first real walking experience was earlier this week during pool therapy. The water absorbed roughly 50% of the weight bearing, so I’m not sure it could really be called walking. I was, however, proud of the eight minutes. I was also physically exhausted. After publishing the blog, I immediately fell asleep for hours.
The good news was that I wasn’t terribly sore the day afterward. That means that the walking didn’t interact too much with the injury. I was sore the day after that, which was mostly just muscle soreness. That was completely understandable, as those muscles have not been used in their entirety in about six months. Yes, six months. Maybe longer.
When I delivered this news to my therapist on Wednesday, he was encouraged. He had me walk around a little bit during therapy just to see how it felt. He wanted me to pay close attention to my gait to make sure I’m walking straight. He also wanted me to focus on the pain. Soreness is going to be expected and is something I have to deal with, but any sign of actual pain means it is time to stop. He told me that I could split time trying to walk with crutches, with the reminder to listen to my body for warning signs. If I felt okay, I could increase the walking. If not, then I better rest.
I first tried it on Thursday. It felt weird, like my right leg was not altogether a part of me. I was mentally willing it to move like I would will myself to push something. I had to look at my feet as I walked to make sure they were straight, and I tried not to limp. If I lost focus, I would naturally start limping again and walking wobbly.
After the first couple short excursions, the soreness came back. After resting and using the crutch awhile, I would try again. When the day was done, I had spent about half of my traveling off crutches. That was worth being proud about.
It still felt weird when I started walking this morning, but the soreness was not as evident. At first I was wobbly, and had to be careful again to walk in a straight line without limping, and I improved. Before I knew it, I was standing in place, walking around a little brisker, and gaining strength.
By the end of the day, it finally hit me that I’m finally walking again. This is it. I may use the crutches sporadically from here on out, perhaps on stairs. I’ll be careful not to walk too much, and will bring along a crutch when going out just in case, but this is still a turning point. Tomorrow should be easier; the next day will be even easier. By next week, I should be 100% back on my feet, ready to take the next step (pun intended) in my rehab.
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this feeling. I’ve already heard from many who had knee surgeries, broken legs, or various other conditions about the oddity, thrill, and liberating feeling of walking again. All the stories I’ve heard are just like mine. During the time that they were incapacitated, it felt like they would never walk again. It seemed to last forever while immobile, yet in hindsight, it didn’t seem like very long.
10 weeks sounds like a long time, and it sure felt like a long time. Now that I’m walking, in time these past weeks will seem like a blur. When I’m riding, this current transition period will seem like a blur as well. I’m getting pretty close, and have already begun wondering at what point I should start getting my bikes tuned up.
I think soon.