Day 11: Tennessee Bird Walk




February 15, 2005 at 10:42 am

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10 AM: I can walk!

Actually, it’s more of a shuffle, since I’m stuck in the immobilizer until I get fitted for my hinged ACL brace tomorrow.

After gingerly shifting my weight from my crutches to both of my

legs, I finally stood on my own two feet this morning! It’s funny how so many discoveries in life — some blessed, and some not-so — are made in the typically cramped space of the bathroom of one’s home. In my case, I chose the bathroom to take my “first steps” because there wasn’t far I could fall in any direction. And so it begins — I can walk! I’ll have a better idea of how my knee handles things when I have the proper brace on, of course.

After testing my knee for stability under my full body weight, I went out the front door (it took a week, but I finally mastered steps!) and crutched across our front lawn to the garden hose.

Justin’s been running ragged with all his usual duties and obligations, coupled with all the ones he’s had to pick up during my “infirmity.” We were so busy yesterday, the plants in our front yard didn’t get watered, and I was up to the challenge this morning. I figured the hardest part would be getting the hose moved to where I needed it, but that was no different than how I’ve moved things around the house these past ten days — crutch over to it, pick it up, give it a good throw ahead of you, and repeat until you reach your destination.

The challenge was walking on crutches on wet, uneven and sloping terrain (namely, grass!) I used both crutches and wore my immobilizer, since I’m not going to subject my left knee to that kind of surface until it’s protected in the ACL brace. I took everything slowly and it all went well, including getting back inside with now-wet sandals and crutches. Of course, I feel like I just completed a 10 minute ride on the stationary bike again, but at least I have a sense of accomplishment, and watered plants, to show for it!

11:30 AM: I’m inclined to hop into my car and just go for a drive to reacquaint myself with the wider world, and driving.

I still have to wear the immobilizer, but at least I can take it off to climb in and out of my driver’s seat without fear of doing damage to my knee now! I took a short walk around the downstairs portion of our house a little while ago with no immobilizer and just one crutch. My left foot is a little numb, but other than that and some twinges of pain as the knee reawakens to its intended use, it felt surprisingly good. I didn’t push it, since I know I shouldn’t be doing a lot of walking without an ACL brace on to prevent excess shear, torque and other forces on my new ACL. Common wisdom has it that a newly-grafted ACL is no stronger than a wet paper towel for its first 3 months; after that time, it’s developed a blood supply and thus strength.

Hop? There will be no hopping, Mr. President!” — The American President

I’ve meant to refer to this earlier, but it keeps slipping my mind: in addition to forcing one to incorporate exercise into their daily life, this surgery also forces one to slow down and just “be” for a little while.

Here’s an excerpt of , to a future ACL replacement patient, that mentions this in a little more detail:

“Just take it one day at a time and you’ll probably find yourself making strides that adjust the timeline of your recovery and rehab and bring you back to “normal” activities a little faster than it seems like they might right now. Just take it easy though. This surgery forces you to take some time out, and really in this day and age, that’s hardly a bad thing. I’ve watched clouds swirl and form, observed birds in my backyard I had never seen before… and done other things that, in my normal harried life, I would never have done [or would feel guilty for wasting time, when I did do them.] So take time, rest up, and you’ll do great!”

11:30 PM: I drove myself to my parents’ house this afternoon and spent the evening with them. I even gassed up my car on the way to their place!

The best part, however, was comfortably using only one crutch and no immobilizer to walk around the house!

I walked very slowly and deliberately, and look forward to getting the brace tomorrow so I can prove to family that I’m quite stable and capable once again.

Cat News: Blanco, our cat, is still being held for observation at the vet’s.

His condition hasn’t changed, which is a blessing and a curse: it makes the next decision — surgery or no? — more difficult.

I suspect he will require surgery, but since we seem to be burning money like it’s kindling, I suppose there’s no harm in giving him and nature some time to resolve this without a knife. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad’s cat, Sundance, is also in the same feline hospital with similar symtoms and a diminished body weight.

Musing: You know, when I said I was hoping for a productive 2005 I may ought to have specified what that meant, exactly.

So far, what it means is: second knee injury in early January; knee surgery in early February; sick cat and likely veterinary surgery in mid-February.

It’s productive, alright, but not remotely in the way I had intended!

* The title of this entry, “Tennessee Bird Walk,” refers to

by Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan.




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