Saturday, June 17, 2017

Skiing—and this Business of Walking

I bought some new skis. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never skied in my life and am not likely to start at this age and in my current physical state. For one thing, I’m the opposite of naturally athletic; for another, I’m afraid of height. I cannot imagine myself at the top of a mountain slope, preparing to take off downward on a couple of pieces of wood with poles that would probably be useless in my terrified hands.

No, I bought skis for the back legs of my walker. Previously I had to move the walker ahead by lifting it slightly after a couple of steps because while the front legs rolled, the back were plain and either balked or squawked. Now it glides, even going easily from one surface to another, and enables me to walk normally, one foot after the other, without unnatural pauses, I think ultimately the skis will help me improve my walking strength.

Monday will be five months since my surgery, and I’m still not walking unassisted. I do great on my walker and can go lots of places, which has allowed me to resume a semi-normal life going to church, shopping a bit, out to lunch and dinner. About a month ago a neighbor with whom I had lunch and who had hip surgery about three months before I did, emphasized that I was making progress and full function comes at different times for different folk. She was back-pedaling from her statement that by four months post-op she had given up her walker. And I have a neighbor close by who has had two hips operated and; his wife tells me he was off the walker quickly, and I remember him offering to do a dance at supper one night. I feel slow, retarded, lazy, inadequate—you name it.

And I fear I’ll never walk again. My brother brought me a brochure yesterday about a fancy, very stable, very expensive walker he thought I should consider. When I said I hoped not to need a walker forever, he warned that I might not but I will probably never have much stamina again. I didn’t tell him, but I was crushed. In my dreams, I walk freely and confidently.

My surgeon warned against comparing myself to anyone else because he said he’d never seen a hip in the shape mine was in. (I’ll spare you the gory details.) But don’t each of us think our situation is the most dramatic, the most extreme? For me, the comparisons are inevitable. I see both him and my family doctor next month, and I’m anxious to hear what they have to say.

Meantime, grateful for every invitation, I get out as often a I can—my goal is once daily either to go out or have someone in. I do my leg and shoulder exercises almost daily, and I walk, with help, down the driveway or in the backyard. And I dream of driving my cute VW convertible, doing my own grocery shopping, and running free again.

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