Of baby steps and leg lifts

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The hip bones, connected to...well mostly metal now
The hip bones, connected to…well mostly metal now

Here’s a test for you. Lie in bed on your side, with your back straight and your leg that’s touching the bed bent. Place a pillow between your knees and straighten your other leg. Lift that leg up, keeping your foot pointed at the wall. Hold it elevated for 10 seconds, bring it down, and repeat.

How high did you get? How long could you do it?

I bet your results clobbered mine with my bum hip.

My first try, I barely got my knee off the pillow. Next time around, it cleared it, but it was quite tiring. I get a little higher each day. We’ll see where I am in a week or so.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

I thought I’d been doing amazing in terms of recovery and following my physio, but my first visit to the physiotherapy clinic recently gave me a cold dose of reality.

The great thing is that the physiotherapist who visited me at home is running me through my paces at the clinic. He knows me, and my progression.

And he knows how to put me in my place, while at the same time explaining why a certain exercise is so important.

In this case, it’s one specific muscle on the outside of my thigh. He said it’s a short muscle, but one that is important to strengthen if I want to walk normally again.

I don’t want a hitch in my step, as I’ve had one for a few years now. I’m working that muscle.

I’ve reached the point that there is still a little pain now and again, but I’m trying not to do too much. I have found myself in a room, carrying things in both hands, wondering what I did with my cane, only to realize I’d left it in the room I’d just been in.

That’s a good thing in terms of not being in much pain, but bad in terms of training me to walk without that hitch.

I generally only take over-the-counter pain meds prior to a physio visit, or if I’m in a fair bit of discomfort – which isn’t often anymore. I look back on where I was at various stages of my recovery and marvel at the progress. But if I look day to day, I get disappointed.

Day three: It was a real challenge to go up three steps with the help of a railing and my cane. Present day: I can do it with just the railing or the cane (but I generally do use both for safety purposes).

Day 7: Using just extra-strength Tylenol for pain relief. Taking two every six hours, even in the middle of the night. Present day: Only as needed, and not even every day.

Day 14: Moved from traditional four-leg walker to one with two wheels and two sliding legs. Present day: Just a cane, sometimes not even remembering to use the thing.

Day 21: My first return to work. I was there for all of five hours, and flaked out in the recliner at home afterwards. Used just a cane to get from the house to the car and the car to the office, and back again. Still relying on wheeled walker a great deal. Present day: I’m pretty much office bound, but I’m back full time. Apologies to my co-workers…

Day 28: Parked the walker for the most part. Moving around with just a cane. Slow and steady wins the race. Present day: Sometimes beat my wife up the stairs to the front door (she has to carry most any of the stuff we have with us, you see).

Day 35: Between working from home writing in the morning, laying out the paper in the afternoon and co-ordinating with the printer over an issue (thanks to Michelle at our office for doing the heavy lifting on that one), this was my first really full day back on the job. Present day: Every day is a full one now.

Day 40: Power washed the back patios. I moved all the furniture off on my own, took breaks as needed, and cleaned off some furniture as well. It took an ungodly long time – more than 90 minutes – but I did it. And when I was done, I felt pretty good. Two hours of yard work pre-surgery would have left me pretty much incapacitated for the rest of the day.

The big hurdle, and I hope to jump that June 25 – the date on this newspaper – is driving. I meet with Dr. Stone on that date to go over my progress. It’s at this appointment that he decides whether I’m ready to drive or not.

I’m not sure who is looking forward to that date more, my wife or myself. She’s been amazing, taking me to appointments, picking me up for half days at the office, doing all the running around, including ferrying our child to and from dance (with incredible support from some other Dance Moms).

I miss my truck and the freedom a set of keys can give you. And I am tired of being a transport burden on others.

Plus it is another stepping stone on my road to recovery.

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