I was getting a little frustrated the other week. The stress of waiting for the x-rays scheduled for this week was starting to get to me. If they looked good, I’d have to wait one more week before I started partial weight bearing again (July 23rd!) If they didn’t, I’d have to wait seven weeks or more (I preferred not to know!) That kind of uncertainty can really eat away at a person’s composure.
I asked many times whether there was anything I could do to improve my odds. The answer was basically no. Sure, both smoking and taking NSAIDs reduce bone growth—now you know–but I am tobacco-free and I have plenty of narcotics for pain. My physical therapists were pretty straight-up about the fact that no amount of their suggested exercises would help. Those exercises were to improve my range of motion, and I was doing them so diligently that I got kicked out of physical therapy until I could bear weight again. I have always been the kind of person who does the homework. But bone regrowth, unfortunately, is not the kind of thing that rewards diligence.
On Tuesday, after a sleepless night, I went to the x-rays and my appointment with my surgeon. The x-rays took a long time. The plate in my leg is so large that the technicians couldn’t capture it in one shot, so they ended up taking twice as many x-rays as they had planned. For that kind of thing you get two lead aprons. Lead aprons are heavy.
Happily my surgeon is not the kind of guy to burlesque. He dashed in, checked my range of motion and said I could start partial weight bearing (25%) that very day. One week early! Yes!
Learning to walk again after three months without my foot touching the ground is harder than I had hoped. After spending Tuesday afternoon limping around I was so tired I spent all of Wednesday passed out in bed. I was warned that my foot would be sensitive, and that was an understatement. At first, putting weight on my right foot felt like walking on shards of glass. I don’t really care. I can now move around at the pace of a distracted toddler, which is perfect, because I have kids. Yesterday I walked across the room carrying a glass of water for the first time in months. I can even go a few steps holding onto a wall. Sure, this is all totally pathetic, but I’m not proud. Next week I can go up to 50% weight bearing. And so on.
Unfortunately, I still can’t ride a bike. I was told this was a balance issue and I have to be fully-weight bearing. But a stationary bike is supposedly fine, which whatever, how is a stationary bike going to get me anywhere? So mid-August it is. In the meantime, though, this walking thing? It’s really great.