I went swimming today! I was thrilled.
I had major surgery in August and was on a non-weight bearing cast through November. The last six weeks, I have been attending physical therapy twice a week. The surgery was to replace a torn tendon in my left foot. I had been wearing a specially made black leather boot the year before but finally even it was not providing enough support.
The surgeon took out the tendon. She described it as a rubber band stretched beyond capacity and replaced it with screws. I have 12 new screws in my foot. I ponder occasionally if this has added to my body weight or could it be six weeks without exercise. I haven’t flown since the surgery but I am now one of those bionic people who you don’t want to get behind in airport security lines. I am sure to set off every alarm.
When I agreed to this surgery, I wanted to keep the movement in my foot so I could swim, dance and ride my horse. My foot doesn’t move right or left but does flex up and down. As a non-physician, I totally under-estimated the toll this surgery would have on my ability to do anything. All fall I was on a scooter. While I could drive, I couldn’t get out of the car because I couldn’t lift the scooter out of the back while hopping on one foot. Most of my friends couldn’t wield the scooter around either. Fortunately, my husband could take me for rides. The taxi service, while expensive, was dependable when I absolutely had to be somewhere i.e. a doctor’s appointment.
Once the cast was off, I was expecting to walk out of the doctor’s office. But after 3.5 months in a cast, I was back in a boot. Six weeks into physical therapy and I can ride a recumbent exercise bike at level 10 for 20 minutes and walk on a treadmill at 2.0 miles per hour (snail’s pace) for 10 minutes. This is all with my brace on. I am learning to walk at home without a brace. I am dancing in the playroom to our boom box. I started at 5 minutes and I’m up to about 8 minutes a day. My goal is 30 minutes so I can go back to Jazzercise. Riding my horse and electric bike are somewhere off in the future. When the PT said I could attend water aerobics, I was ecstatic.
Today, I walked down to the pool (no brace), used the steps to get into the kids’ end and floated off to the deep end with one foot feeling like I had a rock tied on. I was absolutely thrilled. The warm water lapped around me. My friends said “Hello!” The dance music and instructor kept us kicking and splashing for 45 minutes. Afterwards, I was able to get up the steps, shower, wash my hair and be on way.
I felt almost normal again, almost.
As I enter a new year, I am looking forward to celebrating the little successes in life; getting up in the morning, reading the paper, walking, and swimming. These are things I use to take for granted as I chased some mandatory “to do list”. Now they are the things I most enjoy. I feel blessed I’ve been given the opportunity in the new year to dive in again.