I could not let April end without posting one update, and it’s an update I would not have predicted when I posted the third of three in March. During that month, at my second post-operation visit with my surgeon, I had been given permission to remove the full-extension leg braces. I could keep them, make a sculpture out of them, burn them. They belong to me. This was a burst of sunshine to my outlook.
True, I had to continue with the bulky aluminum walker which was not much of a bother. In two weeks I was spending nearly all of my time carrying it — mostly to impress my physical therapists who wanted me to follow “doctor’s orders,” and a little bit to give an impression that I was experiencing significant discomfort when I was on my feet at my employer. Both efforts were charades, of course. I was still riding the disabled minibus service, Access Springfield, and starting in late March I begam entering and exiting on the steps after the entry door opened. I no longer needed the hydraulic lift that allowed me to stand, stabilized by my walker going up and coming down. On April 13, I took my last Access Springfield ride — home from the airport museum on a Saturday afternoon — and the next day I drove out to the airport in my pickup truck for the first time since January 12. THAT was another milestone in the recovery action! I’ve been driving ever since.
Since I began driving again, I’ve not bothered with the pretense of needing the walker. It’s all been going fine . . . until about April 2 when I began visiting the hospital for hour-long physical therapy workouts twice a week instead of the previous onceas, and things became real serious real fast. Just as I began to see “light at the end of the tunnel” — naiively imagining all the workouts would be over reasonably soon — as I religiously followed the physical therapists’ instructions for a series of excercises at home that took about 30 minutes every morning . . . they made the tunnel longer, adding some standing excercises involving some that involved simple but perilous (to me) squats to strengthen my upper quad area, stretching exercises for the hamstrings and balancing excercises because good balance is mandatory for maximum safety. As a result — and this is what I would not have predicted a month ago — I have begun to lose the sense of pride I had during the early recovery days when I was seeing progress almost every day, gaining confidence.
I’m still a 65-year-old fellow with no love life, fair social life, an employer I allow to drive me absolutely nuts and no real prospects for imporoving either. Also, I cannot BUY help at the airport museum. It’s hard to be creative when my head and heart are mired in disappointment. I’ve not written a new poem since leaving the hospital; haven’t blogged since May 23. The physical therapy and daily regimen at home are creating more physical distress by the hour than in the early days. Why the hell bother with all this theraphy?
At the end of today’s physical therapy session, my sour outlook was obvious. Therapist Alex (a woman) offered to reduce the twice-weekly sessions to one a week again, and I declined. At least I will do the exrcises at the hospital. At home, I’ve become less inclined to do ALL the recommended workouts.
I’m told that on my next visit to my surgeon, he will likely discontinue my sessions at the hospital and advise me to keep excercising and walking a lot. I will miss the visits with Alex and Heather there. I’m missing more than engaging. Missing what is not mine and engaging the surprisingly social life that is . . . all the while wishing I didn’t have so many things on my calendar. They’re on my calendar for a reason: I LIKE to be with people who like me.
So I will continue with this for awhile, try to be more conscientious, and will share a new poem come May.
Live long . . . . . . and proper.