Despite the title of this one, I have no beach travel to report since my last update. But I do have some travel of other sorts...
I was able to tackle two areas this past week which have opened up some feelings of independence!
#1 - Driving! As you know, my right leg has suffered some major injuries. I am still nursing a very sizeable wound (i.e. ~8"x5") on my outer calf. Additionally, there are several inches of bone, muscle tissue, tendons and a key nerve gone. This is why I will have "foot drop" (the ability to pull your foot back up when walking or driving or whatever) and will wear a brace (the AFO I've referenced before). I've been told I will learn to drive with my knee and hip vs. using my ankle. So needless to say I have been wondering what it will actually be like to drive with this new situation.
While we were touring outpatient facilities, one bold and loveable PT said I should just try to drive to see what it's like. I really liked the sound of this idea! This is where it comes in handy to essentially live in the country and own a John Deere Gator. :) Last week Aaron and I sat in the gator and decided to give it a whirl. To my amazement, it didn't feel that strange. It felt fairly close to what it felt like to drive before. And I wasn't even wearing a brace yet (I can't until my wound heals more). So I'm not taking to the highway just yet, but this small yet mighty feeling of independence to drive again was exhilarating! It also made me feel hopeful about the recovery process for my right leg. So here's to gators and independence!
#2 - Going upstairs! As I have mentioned, I am grateful our house works very well for a wheelchair. I can navigate the main floor quite easily which is great. My kids, however, sleep upstairs and I was GREATLY missing doing the bedtime routine. I despised lying downstairs hearing others put my kids to bed (though I was grateful for the help of course). This part of the day was usually the hardest for me as it was always my thing to put them to bed no matter the circumstance.
So the other night I decided I was going to do something about it. I'm free of wound vacs, I don't have skin graft pain anymore, I still feel strong...so why not try crawling up the stairs? I tried this last week for the first time. I locked my wheelchair in place adjacent to the landing and maneuvered myself out. Then I began crawling up the stairs backwards using my one good hand and my other okayish-for-now hand. Mitchell and Morgan immediately joined in and Mitchell coined the term crab crawling.
So every night since, I crab crawl up to bedtime and we sing a new song about crab crawling (the song leaves a little to be desired to be honest but it cracks me up :). I then scoot into Morgan's room, hoist myself up into her rocking chair, direct her to brush her teeth and go to the bathroom and then we start the routine. Aaron then comes up and helps me finish and I crab crawl away. This all may sound like no big deal in the land of normalcy, but for me, crab crawling has been another major mental/independent/normal milestone. Plus, this has to be good cardio and arm-muscle building, right? ha! Better than an exercise bike I tell myself!!
So those are a couple of fun additions to life from the last week. Another piece of news is I did in fact get to come home with my first official prosthetic limb last Monday. When I got to my appointment, it was waiting all ready to go plugged in my old tennis shoe. There was a carrying bag including the wall charger as the ankle/foot has a microprocessor so requires getting charged like a cell phone. Who knew...!?
It's honestly been equal parts awesome, strange and frustrating having it at home.
It's awesome to be able to walk upright around the house. I feel like I'm ten feet tall for the couple of hours a day I wear it.
It's strange to get used to seeing it, using it, saying, "hey Aaron can you help me put on my leg?". Just a new reality.
It's frustrating to learn something new. It is tight as I will continue to shrink so it's hard and uncomfortable to put on at first.
But - I know (er, pray and hope and almost know!!) that it will feel like an old hat in the future. I've read so many articles about others with prosthetic limbs and it definitely gets so much easier. I've also had the chance to talk to a couple of people this past week who have lost limbs and that has been helpful to see an awesome future state. My current analogy is I am the junior high kid who just got contacts and has to spend three hours putting them in and they feel uncomfortable. Everyone I've talked to has said it will take less than a minute to throw this thing on in the future and I won't even think about it. A guy (you know who you are - thank you!!) told me last week about a trip to Disney where he walked around the parks all day and all night long (with triplets!) comfortably on his prosthetic leg. Now if that's not a testimony for walking I don't know what is!!
So that's the update from our little corner of the world. I hope this finds you doing something you love today. Because though it might sound cliché, life is short and is meant to be lived to the fullest!!
PS - crab crawl photo to come soon! Grandma E (aka my awesome Mother-in-Law) snapped one the other day I need to get from her camera.