Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Overcoming a disability

I don’t think of myself as having a disability, except for things like a handicapped parking permit. I can’t drive these days, but I carry the permit for whoever is chauffeuring me.

I am handicapped in that it’s hard for me to reach things on high shelves, etc. But I view all that as temporary, and it has gotten better with permission to put weight on my broken leg. I resisted this, but the physical therapist said weight bearing builds layers on bones. Remember that walking is prescribed for osteoporosis patients.

With the PT’s reminder in mind, I was a bit taken aback when the orthopedic surgeon said yesterday that he saw no change. I though it wasn’t working. But he went on to say that we had to challenge the new bone to see if it would hold up—so, to me, that meant no change was a good thing. Yes, I heard the implied last of that—hold up to my great weight.

I haven’t weighed myself in a long while, because I can’t stand with both feet and not holding on to anything, but I suspect I’ve lost weight. Friends tell me my face looks thinner, and I know I’ve been eating lightly—lots of tuna fish and cottage cheese, yogurt and applesauce.

I asked the surgeon if I could walk up three steps (from the driveway to the front porch—much easier than the ramp that is like riding a roller coaster, something I never liked). He gave his blessing, so yesterday, with Jordan’s help , I walked from the car to the steps—maybe six feet—and up the steps. The surgeon’s ditty to help me remember was, Good foot goes to heaven, bad foot goes to hell.” It means going up you put your good foot up first; going down, you put the bad foot down first. I haven’t tried going down yet so am a bit puzzled how that will turn out.

But yesterday all went well. I did fine on the steps, and Jordan wheeled me across the porch. The door sill at the front door stymied her however, and she finally announced I would have to walk. There were no grab bars, nothing for me to hold on to, except Jordan who was behind me. It made me very nervous, and I swear I came close to falling a couple of times. Got to work on that technique.

But being able to put weight on my “bad” foot has made life so much easier. I stood at the sink tonight and hand-washed a few dishes that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher. I can also stand—carefully—in front of a cupboard to reach a spice on a higher shelf. Life is good. Handicapped? Who, me?

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