The day I was going to put my foot on the floor. The day that my life was going to begin again. I could hardly sleep the night before thinking about how I waited for the last three months to start actually doing something to change my situation. An hour before physical therapy time I already had my tennis shoes on and I was counting down the minutes. Time crept slowly until it was time to go. I arrived 10 minutes early and hopped with the aide of my walker back to the therapy table. I jumped up on the table, took off my leg brace and prepared myself to do some healing. The assistant applied the moist heat and ultrasound to my knee. "Big day today, finally get to put some weight on your leg-40% right?" My heart leaped-I get to put weight on my foot. Even though its only less than half my weight its still going to be on the floor.
The therapist waved at me while he was working with another patient. I just kept thinking,
"hurry up hurry up"- I was dying to get moving. The heat machine was on a timer and I watched as it was counting down... 3 minutes to freedom, 2 minutes, 1 minute. The beeper went off and the therapist motioned for me to get off the table. "Grab your walker and come on over here." He met me half way across the room and showed me exactly how I was to put my surgical leg on the ground an walk through my steps. I stepped down on my foot and immediately noticed tingling and something else- Whoa - there was actual feeling there. The blood supply was getting down there. But what I didn't notice was pain. I didn't have any pain! I spent some time the night before anticipating the excruciating pain I would feel when my bones in my knee hit the plate and screws that were put in there during my surgery, but it never came. I walked with my foot on the ground across the room using my walker and following the directions exactly. There was a few times when I wanted to hop like I had been doing all this time but I reminded myself that I'm allowed now.
When I reached the other side of the room the therapist asked me if I wanted to try the treadmill since I was doing so well. Okay!So I got up on the treadmill. It was set for gimp mode which means really slow. He asked me to hold on to the bars and to treat them the same as my walker to see how I do. I did all of 30 seconds before pain shot through my kneecap like I never had before. He stopped the treadmill- "30 seconds is better than none" he said so matter of factly but with a smile. I felt a huge let down. I didn't let on to any of the staff there but I was so disappointed in myself. I tucked those feelings inside and continued the rest of the excercises. It wasn't until later at home when I finally let myself feel the let down. I wanted to walk so much, I wanted to toss aside the walker and put my foot on the ground and walk but it didn't happen that way. It was at that moment that I realized how long the road ahead of me is going to be.
That night as I put my leg brace on over my pajamas just like I have been doing every night for the last 3 months I noticed how swollen my knee and foot were. I worked so hard keeping my leg propped as much as I could and in one day all the swelling was back. And to top it all off my good leg and knee were starting to hurt. I'm guessing that favoring that leg is starting to take a toll on it. I took a pain pill and laid back in the bed. I looked up to the ceiling fan. I have been watching the ceiling fan go round and round for months and its still there, twirling and blowing cool air on my face. I looked to my left and my bedside stand is still there holding my books and alarm clock. To my right is my closet with all my clothes put away by Bob, nice and orderly just like always.
Nothing had changed.
Nothing had changed except that I put my foot on the floor today and walked first time in three months.