Fighting vanity

I’m at the point in my recovery where I’m hyper critical of things that I shouldn’t be concerned with exactly.  Though, I think the girly-girl in me (Ok mom, stop laughing.  I’m not always a tomboy.) always focuses on things that aren’t important.  When I was in the hospital in 2006, they wanted me to start walking and I was mortified to think that I hadn’t shaved my legs in 2 weeks.  I’m Italian.  That’s not pretty.  The night before my walking therapy was to begin, my sister went out and bought 3 different razors (she wanted to be sure that she got one that I liked) and actually shaved my legs for me.  How’s that for sisterly love??  But, even though I should have been focused on the bigger picture of walking, I was worried about a more superficial aspect.  I am humble enough to admit that that’s a shortcoming.

But, it can also be a good thing.  For example, after that same hospital stay, I cut my hair to a little bob (it had been almost down to my waist) and donated it to Locks of Love.  I thought that as vain as I was being in my recovery, I couldn’t imagine a person struggling with cancer and hair loss who felt bad because they didn’t have hair.  (I have such thick hair they probably could have made 2 wigs out of the hair that I donated!)  So I tried to turn the vanity into something positive for someone else.

I’m going into all of that to explain that I look at this video that was taking this morning at PT and all I think is how pushing your shoulders up to support body weight is probably one of the most unflattering things that a person can do!  I should be looking at the fact that my steps are the best steps I’ve taken since August 2013.  Or the fact that I went 20 feet farther than last week and am at 250 feet or so.  Or the fact that I promised Drill Sergeant Jr. (she’s the one with me in the video) that I would walk two full laps with no break by her last day in the clinic (which I didn’t realize was next week- good thing I love a challenge!)  But nope.  I’m thinking how I don’t want to share this video because it’s so unflattering.  But, I’m dedicated to sharing my recovery, so here it is.  Don’t judge.


Yesterday was a milestone.  Well, let me take you back a bit to put this all in perspective.

It was two weeks ago, Sunday.  I was sitting at home with the hubs when we decided it was time to do a little PT.  I strapped on my braces, grabbed the walker and went outside.  Decided a little fresh air working out might do me some good.  I wasn’t really sure how far I was going to go, but just set out.  I walked.  And kept walking.  And kept walking.  Well, I took two little seated breaks in the midst.  But the point was, I kept going.  When all was said and done, I walked about 200 feet!  With good controlled steps!  This was definitely the farthest I had gone since this little adventure began on 8/13/13.  Normally I’ve been walking about 30-60 feet on a good day.

The day after I had my marathon walk, I went in to see 5 O’clock Shadow.  I told him about my long walk and I think he was skeptical.  I did my warm-up, kill-me-now exercises.  Did you know that standing is actually harder than walking??  Yeah, who knew!  So then came time for the walking, and I walked across the room with pretty good gait.  But then I was pooped.  Then I think 5-O was definitely skeptical.  I tried to explain that I was just tired from the mileage I got the day before at home.

This week, I had another Monday morning session.  (Sidenote: I need to stop going in on Monday mornings to see 5-O, or I’m going to have to change his name as it seems Monday is shave day. I told him I was extremely disappointed and lodged a formal complaint. I’m not creative enough to give him a SECOND name!) I purposely didn’t walk as far on Sunday to preserve my strength for Monday’s session. We started out with the same warm-ups. He made me want to kill him by making stand. He pointed out that it is actually possible to sit too straight and told me he actually wants me to slouch a little, because what I think is slouching is actually the perfect amount of straight. Another “who knew?!” moment was had!

Then came the moment of truth. It was time for me to walk. I started out with a good walk. I made it to my normal stopping point with ease. Pressure on my legs, mostly off my arm. Smooth gait. Totally showing off for a therapist he was training who happens to know Drill Sergeant. Hoping that word will get back to Drill Sergeant about how good I’m doing now, because I was a hot mess when I was working with Drill Sergeant back in the hospital. He was a good sport (and by that I mean total mean jerk, hence the name) and I want to show him that I really did listen to what he said despite what my blubbery tears may have indicated.

So I made it to the mirror which is my normal stopping place. And then I angled the walker. “Oh, you’re making the turn?!” 5-O said as he pushed the walker behind me. “I’m making a circle. All your other patients do it, so why can’t I?!” I retorted. “I think you should!” he replied. About halfway through the circle of the whole clinic I said “Why am I showing off and pushing voluntarily?? Now you’re going to make me do this every time!” I despaired. “Probably!” 5-O laughed. By the end, I was exhausted, sweaty and my arms throbbed. About 2/3 into my walk, more weight went onto my arms and I was swinging my legs a little more than a controlled gait. But I still tried. I still focused. And most importantly, I made it!

I normally don’t talk too much about my clients on this blog. But, I have a new one who I will call Persistence. He is persistent in his determination to prove his innocence. He is persistent in growth as a person. He is persistent in his questioning everything I do (which he claims is to just help me, but I think secretly he’s persistently testing me, to which I reply “bring it!”). The reason I bring him up is that he inspired me to keep pushing through. Some days I’m too tired to fight for my walking. Some days I’m just bummed out by the situation. Some days I just find it easier to roll around than try to get upright again. But, as I wanted to give in to the fatigue and sit in the wheelchair that 5-O had behind me, I thought “If Persistence doesn’t give up in his fight, how can I give up in mine?”

So I made it to the end and sank into my wheelchair at the exact place from which I started. All in all, it was probably a 100-120 foot walk. The look on 5-O’s face really made it all worth it too! He was super proud of me, and I’ve said it before and will say it again: I respond really well to positive reinforcement. The bad thing is that he’ll probably make me do it every time now. But I accept that challenge and give myself a couple weeks until I’m doing two laps!

Plateaus (or beating good enough)

My doctors have always told me to expect plateaus when it comes to my recovery. They said that it’s completely normal to have upward changes in my ability and then for a while I’ll flatten out and stay there for a while before starting to gain again. They said this as a way of encouragement. They didn’t want me to be sad or disheartened when I didn’t see improvements. They knew how I live for improvements, no matter how miniscule. I monitor my abilities (or lack thereof) so closely that I am usually able to perceive any change, no matter how slight. It’s those changes that motivate me to keep trying.

What my doctors didn’t realize is that I am lazy. Give me any excuse to not have to try, and I will take it. Yes, I want to walk. More than anything in the whole world I want to walk (mostly because I want to drive and regain normality). But, I’m also very lazy. I am still hoping that I will just wake up one day fixed. Afterall, I went to sleep and woke up broken. Why can’t it work in reverse?

But my doctors gave me an out. A reason to not push it. I would stand for 35 minutes (a target I hit 2 or 3 weeks ago) and then I sit down. Blame it on the plateau. I’m not doing any longer because there’s a plateau. I walked to a spare room in my house, about 50 or 60 feet (Note to self: measure so I know, cause that’s important!) and haven’t walked any further. Plateau again.

Somehow, plateau became synonymous with “good enough”. Am I saying there aren’t plateaus? No way. There are for sure plateaus. There are times that I try my absolute 110% hardest and I can’t do any better. But, if I’m not trying my hardest, and settling for good enough, then it’s not a plateau. My mom pointed this out in her honest-in-a-way-that-only-my-mother-can-be way. She told me the other day that I was giving up. And why was I not trying harder. I met this comment with my normal eye roll, shrug and “You don’t understand mom!” (Yes, I do revert to a twelve year old when I have no real rational argument.) She replied “No, I don’t understand. But I see what’s going on.”

This conversation started because my dad’s birthday is coming up. His birthday request is to have me to come to their house- a place I haven’t been in 10 months, because there are 4 stairs to get to the patio on the side of the house. He’s only asking that I get to the patio, because inside there are much more steps that there’s no way I could conquer. He’s asking for me to try to figure out the 4 steps. And the narrow bathroom. I think I owe it to the man to try to figure out those problems. This started the conversation with “I can’t.” My mom said that she knew this request by my dad would be like a carrot on a stick in front of a horse. At first I resented that comment because it almost seems like I want to be in this wheelchair or like I’m not trying. But, as my stubbornness left me, I was forced to realize she was right. (I HATE ADMITTING THAT!!) I had given myself solace in plateau when really I was hiding in good enough.

So this weekend, with the metaphorical dangling carrot in front of me, I pushed myself. I have 2 things I have to master: bathroom and stairs. I focused on bathroom this weekend. Because the doorway is 22 inches and my wheelchair is almost double that, I’m going to have to walk. So the hubs and I practiced. I strapped on my braces, wheeled to the doorway of the bathroom, got up on my walker and went for it. I walked the 7 or so feet to the toilet, turned around and managed to sit. When I toilet is only 16 inches off the ground, and you have pretty much no leg control, it’s hard to sit gracefully. Our biggest concern was to try to go easily enough to not shatter the porcelain. But I did it. Using as much control as I could muster, and relying a lot on my arms, I sat. It was the first time I sat on a toilet from a standing position in 9 and a half months. First time I sat without my wheelchair being directly next to me. That is a weird thing. But also a completely motivating thing! Inspiring even! But, before I could revel in that, I had to practice standing up. Standing from 16 inches with no leg control is even harder. The hubs held the walker and I tried to lift myself. Attempt 1. Fail. Attempt 2. Fail. Attempt 3. Fail. My arms just weren’t strong enough to get me up high enough to swing my legs under me. I was trying to contain my frustration. The hubs asked if I wanted my wheelchair. Every part of my brain was screaming “YES!!!” But, then, that damn dangling carrot of my dad’s party was there in front of my eyes. I had to do this. Attempt 4. Success! I was finally able to figure out how to maneuver myself so I could get halfway, muster some energy for a second push into all the way. And I did it! And then, just to push it, I walked all the way back out to the family room (about 50-60 feet). During the walk back, I didn’t even need to sit once. I took two little rest breaks, but was able to stand the whole time. Another first! I felt like Rocky at the top of those steps doing a victory dance!

So, I still have those pesky stairs to figure out. But, I figure worst case, I can always lower to the ground and scoot up the stairs on my bottom. Or I can be carried in my wheelchair like an empress being carried in a chariot. That’s the easier part to figure out. And that’s the task for next weekend. Because now I have realized that I can’t let good enough and plateau become the same thing. And I need to push as much as is humanly possible because the plateaus will come naturally. I can’t fabricate them out of laziness if I’m truly dedicated to getting back on my feet.  And I have to remember that the euphoric high that comes along with accomplishing new goals  is better than giving into (or fabricating) plateaus and good enough!

Bionic legs

Yesterday, I received a gift.  Ok, well, I paid nearly $3000 for this gift, but it’s a gift nonetheless.  I got my bionic legs.  These legs were custom made by this amazing prosthesis guy near my house.  My mom and I went to his office two weeks ago.  He put molding stuff on my legs.  It was similar to the stuff they use to make a cast when you break a limb.  The molds went all the way up to my hip.  Very awkward.


He told me they would take about a week and a half to make them.  He wasn’t lying.  At exactly a week and a half, I got a call that they were ready.  We made an appointment that coincided with physical therapy, so I could pick them up and then take them exactly to 5 O’Clock Shadow (my physical therapist’s new name, since he always sports a very well manicured stubbly beard) to show me how to use them well.

I showed up at the office, a little nervous.  I’d been hanging my hopes on these braces.  In my mind, these would be a game changer.  Once I get braced up, I’d have no more excuses.  But, what if they didn’t work right?  What if my legs still couldn’t hold me up or work?  Rolling into the office, I was so nervous I was almost in tears.  Thank goodness for large sunglasses and beautiful Southern California weather that necessitates the wearing of said glasses!

Then I saw the braces.  They were awesome!


The braces were put on me, as it’s kind of awkward to do it myself.  Granted, I will learn and get better.  But for the first time, they were put on my.  I stood up.  It was amazing!  I stood better than I had in months.  My legs felt straight.  My back felt straight.  I decided to go for it, and took off walking along the parallel bars.

Obviously, I got tuckered out pretty early on!  But it was a great start.  The prosthesis guy said that I had more determination than most people.  That made me happy.  I’m a sucker for positive feedback!  I then went to PT with new legs in hand.  5 O’Clock Shadow seemed happy with them.  We spent the whole session playing with them.  He’s going to try me on arm crutches as well as the walker to see what I do better on.  He said I’d have more independence with arm crutches.  So, it seems like a no-brainer to me!  Harder but more mobility seems like the way to go!  I do love a good challenge anyway.


5 O’Clock told me to practice standing at home this weekend.  He also told us to get a gait belt for if we practice walking.  The hubs could follow behind me with my wheelchair and grab on to the gait belt if I started to fall.  We obviously listened:

If you’ll notice, my wheelchair is far behind me, and the hubs is in front of me filming.  Oh, and no gait belt.  Whoops.

Now, I am more motivated than ever to walk!  It’s going to be hard.  But, what about this journey hasn’t been hard?  But at least I’m feeling progress.  And that speaks volumes!  And my new mini-goal (cause my mom said I have to have one) is to walk into my neurosurgeon’s office next time I see him in July.  I think he’ll be awfully stoked to see me cruising in.  I know I’ll be stoked!

I also know that with my new bionic legs, there’s no stopping me now!

Sore. Soar.

I am sore.  Capital S-O-A-R.

Let me go back to the beginning.  A couple weeks ago, I became frustrated with my physical therapy.  I felt I was in a rut.  I’m not progressing.  The routines were always the same.  I wasn’t seeing much change.  I know that plateaus happen.  I am prepared for that.  But it seemed I was in a PT rut.  My parents came down to take me to a session.  The session started off with my therapist trying to put leg braces on me for 25 minutes.  No joke.  25 minutes.  Then I walked one lap around the room (about 60-70 feet) and then I was done.  She ended the session 15 minutes early.  I was frustrated.  I’ve been really pushing myself in pool therapy and seeing great results.  But then I have a session like that, and I’m frustrated.  There’s also the fact that I felt my therapist didn’t really get me.  She’d put a brace on and ask “How does that feel?”.  That’s hard for me to answer since I have no feeling in my legs….

I’m the type of person who lets things go.  I will just put up with things.  I put up with these sessions for months, because I just figured that’s what it was supposed to be.  And I didn’t want to say anything to upset my therapists, cause I really like both of them.  It’s definitely nothing personal.  My mom is like a pit bull when it comes to me and my health.  She will fight and protect whenever she feels that I am threatened.  She witnessed this session and she lost it.  She sees how hard I am fighting to get mobility back and was beyond livid that the therapist would be so nonchalant about the session.  She wanted me to call the boss and ask for a new therapist.  I don’t like awkwardness.  I decided to try to find a new place.

Keep in mind, I was spoiled by having the Drill Sergeant during my acute rehab.  He was seriously the best physical therapist ever.  He pushed me.  Made me work.  I hated him.  And I want to find someone as similar to him as possible.  Call me a glutton for punishment.  If I didn’t live 2 hours away from him, I’d still be going to him.

I was referred to a new facility by the pool where I do my swimming.  I looked them up and they seemed young but very educated and qualified.  I made an appointment for the evaluation with the head of the group.  He was probably about my same age and full of energy.  He seemed to know what he was talking about.  But what struck me the most, is that within an hour after my evaluation with him, he’d already contacted a prosthesis guy on my behalf.  This guy is going to make my bionic legs.  I’d been trying to get them made by a company since early December 2013 but they were giving me the run around.  I told the new therapist that and he was outraged.  The fact that he was willing to help me when he had known me for 50 minutes meant a lot to me.  That’s when I decided to break up with my therapist for good.

I’ve had 3 sessions with my new therapist now.  Each time, he has pushed me beyond what I think I can do.  He also explains the mechanics behind what I need to be doing.  He wants me to struggle and fight and do things the right way, versus sloppy movements just to get something done.  This is just like the Drill Sergeant.  With the DS, if I did something sloppy, I had to repeat it until I did it right.  This new therapist makes me do that.  With DS, I was sweaty by the end of the session.  My shirt looked like I had been doing pool therapy.  The new pt pushes me until I have broken a sweat, and then makes me continue even further.  DS was sarcastic and hilarious.  The new pt isn’t quite there yet.  But, maybe soon.  I warned the new pt that I would always try to argue and convince him to go easy on me and that he can’t let me get away with anything.  He said he never does.  So while he’s not the Drill Sergeant, he seems to be the closest I will get to having DS out here with me.  And as long as I progress and have someone who keeps me working, I’ll be ok with that.  And that is why today, after yesterday’s hour long session, I am sore.  And soaring.

Freedom Is…. My Ode to Pool Therapy

Freedom is…being in a pool.  Well, in my world anyway.  When I was younger, I loved swimming.  My brother and I practically lived in the ocean on weekends.  We had a pool that we always played in.  I was on a swim team (but really only because my sister was on it and I wanted to do whatever she did).   My family water skied as often as we could.  If it was water related, I was down for it!

In my teenage years, I didn’t swim quite as much.  I guess I just got busy with dry land activities.  I played softball in high school.  I hung out with friends at places other than the beach.  Then college and work became priorities.  And by college, I clearly mean partying, which involves liquids other than water.

But as I got older, my physical limitations got more pronounced.  While I used to play 3rd base on my high school softball, team, I found myself coaching an adult league because I couldn’t run anymore.  Dancing turned to watching dance competitions on TV.  (My friends Dr. Barbie and Mr. Dr. Barbie and I are pretty much obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance.)  My life of activity was quickly turning sedentary.  I fell so often that my scrapes were getting scrapes.  (And for the record, I still call them “owies”.)

But then I moved to the desert where I rediscovered my love of the water.  The hubs had a pool at his condo.  He would go out for walks with the dogs and I would spend 45 minutes in the pool.  There is nothing more freeing to me than to be gliding with ease through the water.  I can’t hurt myself!  Ok, well I’m sure I could hurt myself.  Sometimes I misjudge the wall when I’m doing the backstroke.  But, what I mean is I can’t fall down.  When I walk, there’s a good chance gravity will win.  In the pool, I win.  I am in my element.  Plus it’s apparently good on the joints and all that other medical mumbo jumbo.

Yesterday, I went back to the pool for the first time in nearly 7 months.  At first I wasn’t medically cleared because of my zipper.  No, I don’t really have a zipper on my body, though for repeat surgeries, that would probably come in handy.  I refer to my back scar as my zipper, cause it literally runs the entire length of my back.  Then my legs weren’t working enough where I would have been able to keep them down.  My physical therapist told me they would just float to the surface.  That sounded frustrating.  But last week they said I was finally at the point where they thought I could handle pool therapy.  The only down side is that there isn’t a physical therapy place with a pool out here.  The only one closed shop years ago.  But I did find a local pool with a lift, and I decided I could figure out the rest on the fly.

I waited for a day when my parents would be coming down so they could take me.  In case anything went dreadfully wrong, I’d like them to be there to help me out.  We drove over to the pool and I was ecstatic.  I couldn’t wait to get in.  I even bought a new swim outfit consisting of board shorts and a rash guard so I didn’t have to be nervous about being in a bathing suit in public.  We got there and were informed that the pool didn’t open for an hour.  My excitement started slowly fading into nerves as I sat there waiting.  What if I couldn’t control my legs?  What if I got tired?  What if I got stuck in the pool?  What if, what if, what if?

Then came the moment of truth.  The man who operates the lift told me it was ready.  As I transferred over to the chair, I asked him if he’d done this before.  He said he operated the lift every day.  I told him I meant, had he been on the lift and dunked into the pool?  He said he had and it wasn’t scary.  He began to raise me up and swing me slowly over the pool.  A couple old ladies watched me.  Old people love me because they have someone to feel bad for.

Then came the dunking.  My dad was recording it on his phone to put on Youtube.  I guess it could be used either as self-motivation or a way to earn a million visits if something went terribly wrong.  You can’t say the man isn’t always prepared.  I was finally lowered into the pool.  I unclasped the belt and pushed away from the chair.  My arms propelled me in the water back over to the side of the pool.

And it hit me: I was free!  At that point in time, I wasn’t the girl in the wheelchair.  I wasn’t the person with the legs who were betraying her.  I was just someone going for a swim in the water.  It was amazing!  It was liberating!  It was earth shattering!

It was exhausting!  Seriously and undeniably exhausting.  After 7 months of sitting around on my behind, I’ve realized exactly how out of shape I am.  And I realized how all of my physical therapy isn’t nearly enough.  For once since this whole mess started, I’m actually excited to be doing physical activity!  I can see where this will be beneficial, both mentally and physically.  I can work on leg movement, but then I can swim laps like a pro.  I can do work and I can be free.

I can be free!

recovery = roller coaster

The life of a paraplegic in recovery is a full on roller coaster.  Not the gentle Disneyland kind of roller coaster that is mostly plateau with a few dips and twirls here and there.  (Note:  This is not a dig at Disneyland.  I almost daily try to convince the hubs that we should be season pass holders.  I love it that much!)  It’s a roller coaster from a two-bit carnival: rickety, slow to start, not quite sure it will actually make it up the steep parts, not quite sure it will hold the weight on the down parts, nausea and tear invoking, thankful to be alive at the end kind of ride.


Thursday was possibly the worst day of my post-hospital therapy yet.  I arrived at the session full of eagerness for the session ahead.  Ok, it was a 7:30am session, and I’m not a morning person.  Plus, the hubs had kept me up all night by his fog horn restoration snoring.  So, maybe it was destined to not be the greatest of sessions.  But, I was still eager.  My PT showed me this contraption she wanted me to work on.  It was part fork lift, part swing.  Ok, it was neither of those things, but that’s how I picture it in my head.  It’s a harness on this tall crane-like structure.  It’s supposed to hoist you up so you can walk.  Well, this one was broken.  Something about a dead battery.  But that didn’t stop my PT.  I pulled myself into a standing position from my wheelchair and they strapped me in.  They told me to let go with my hands.  That was fun.  I was suspended in mid-air as if on a swing in a playground.  I could handle this.  Then they told me to take steps.  My brain relayed the message to my legs, but my legs seemed to not be home.  It could be that the machine had me at a half-standing position with my legs bent at 75 degree angles.  It could be that my legs don’t work right.  Whatever it was, they wouldn’t move.  I told my PT this.  Her assistant PT then sat on the machine and moved my legs forward for me.  What was the point of this??  I can’t be in a swing with someone moving my legs for me all the time.  (Or can I??  That actually sounds kind of fun.  I could sit in the swing drinking mimosas while they so the work of moving my legs.  Note to self: rethink this whole contraption.  And buy orange juice.)  I proceeded to get really frustrated and was on the verge of leaving this session.  They unbuckled me from the machine by literally unbuckling the snaps and letting me slop down onto my wheelchair.  I then asked to use the normal support walker that I like to use.  We tried that.  I took a few steps and had to stop.  The assistant PT was still trying to move my legs and was more in my way than I needed her to be.  I’m stubborn and independent and like to do as much as humanly possible.  I sat down again, feeling the burn of tears I was fighting back in frustration.  I kindly (read: not sure of my exasperated tone) asked her to not move my legs and let me do it.  We tried one more time and I walked about 15 feet.  I was so tired from all the failed attempts that I couldn’t do more. And beyond frustrated.  Have I mentioned that I was frustrated?  My PT told me to not worry about the bad days, as she jumped up and down, did ballerina twirls and plies, the running man, and any other move that required moveable, workable legs.  Ok, she really didn’t do any of that.  She just stood there.  But when you’re frustrated that you can’t walk, someone even standing seems like an amazing and enviable feat.

Thursday afternoon I received a call that a session on Friday morning opened up.  I jumped at it.  I didn’t want to end my week on a bad note.  Friday morning I went (at a more reasonable time of 9:30) to the session with my folks who had come down to see me.  We strapped on the leg braces and I was ready to go.  We had my normal support walker and a path with no obstacles.  I need nothing else in life.  I popped up out of my wheelchair, steadied my legs below me and was off.  10 feet.  20 feet.  25 feet.  I got to the end of the path and had to make a turn.  I made the turn at a very wide angle.  The kind of wide turn like big rigs have to make which necessitate the signs on the side of their trucks to not try to sneak by on their right.  But I made the turn and kept going.  My PT was in front of me rolling backwards.  I informed her that there was an abandoned wheelchair behind her that she was going to roll into.  Another PT in the room thought I said I needed a wheelchair and, clearly freaked out that no one was going to help me, literally ran over to say I needed a wheelchair.  That was very nice of her.  But I didn’t need a rest.  I was ready to keep going.  They cleared the obstacle and I took another step.  Apparently a few seconds of stopping made my legs think it was break time.  They didn’t want to move.  Not exactly sure how long I went, but it was great (read: fast with big strides).  My PT then informed me that turns were actually harder than going straight.  Break time was over and I made the trip back.  Then came a turn.  My legs, remembering that they were just informed that turns were hard, decided they needed another break.  I firmly believe that ignorance is bliss.  If I know something is hard, I will dwell on it.  “Mental block” is my middle name.  But, I made it back to the starting point, and probably did about 60-65 feet in great, big, normal strides.  My PT told me that now she wants me to go slower to work on form.  I told her that that is harder.  Apparently she knew this.  (Reminder to self: take her cookies at next session so she won’t be as hard on me.)

The point of all this is that one day I’ll have the worst session and the next I’ll have the best session.  It’s hard to remember this in the midst of a bad session.  And in the midst of a good session, it’s hard to think of anything except for sheer exuberance.  Hence, the roller coaster.

97 days into recovery

Today I am at 97 days after my surgery.  I can’t tell if time has flown by or dragged excruciatingly slow.  When I was in the hospital, it dragged.  Sometimes I think it actually went backwards.  I felt hopeless, like I was never getting out.  I’d look at pictures of my dogs and think that it had been forever since I had seen them and forever more until I would see them again.  I genuinely worried that they would forget me.  Since then, I have days that fly by and days that crawl.  I guess that’s to be expecting.  It’s tough because I have never been a patient person.  I want to be up walking.  In my mind, I could get up and walk across this room right now.  Clearly my legs just aren’t getting the message. 

This morning I had physical therapy.  After strapping my legs into braces and ace bandages, I was able to walk for about 60 feet.  I look like a drunken sailor when I walk.  I can’t make the walker go straight.  The physical therapist I worked with today kept forgetting to move the walker for me.  The audacity to make me do it all myself.  Ok, I guess that’s part of the therapy part.  I’m always saying I want to do things for myself.  It’s just unfortunate that I kept pushing the walker into the wall, rather than walking in a straight line.  (Hence the drunken sailor remark.)  By 60 feet, I was pooped.  I’m pretty sure that 60 feet equals 2 miles.  Uphill.  In mud. 

Last week at this time, I could only walk 50 feet, broken up into 20 feet and 30 feet.  The week before that 50 feet broken up 15, 15 and 20.  Today it was 20, 20 and 20.  Beyond that, my legs were remarkably less wobbly.  Before it was like a baby giraffe trying to figure out these new stilt-like contraptions below my body.  Now they’re more like al dente spaghetti: not quite hard but not exactly a limp noodle. 

97 days in and however many more that it takes ahead of me.  Better than I was yesterday and not as good as I know I will be tomorrow.