Walking Again - Sort of...
I went back to see my surgeon on Tuesday. That was 6 weeks past my ankle surgery. Dr. Guzel had stabilized the broken bones in my lower leg and the dislocated ankle with a metal plate and a handful of screws.
Dr. Guzel had never given me a timeline for my expected recovery or any idea of what to expect at my 6 weeks past surgery appointment. Obviously, I should have asked that question but didn't think to at the time. My assumption was that bones heal in 6 weeks so he would tell me to take off my boot and walk again. Everyone I talked to - my sister the nurse, my niece the nurse, my daughter the almost nurse, the physical therapists and anyone who had ever broken their tibia/fibula - told me to restrain my expectations. They all explained that 6 weeks might be fine for a broken arm but your arm doesn't have to support your body weight. It was much more likely that the doctor would suggest I try 25% of my weight on that leg for a few weeks before we went up to 50% and then finally to something approaching real weight bearing.
I am totally thrilled and surprised that I was right. Maybe Dr. Guzel is just an unusually wonderful surgeon or maybe I heal better than expected. Whatever the case, I was told I could now do "weight bearing as tolerated." Holy cow. That is amazing. I could put as much weight on that leg as I could stand. I also could now sleep without the boot on and take the boot off to start doing physical therapy on my ankle. Freedom! I'm out of the wheelchair and onto the walker. It's a great upgrade.
Of course, anyone who has had a broken bone will understand that it's not that easy. I stood up and put some weight on that foot but my entire body was telling me no. No, no. Don't do that. We have been working constantly over the last 7 weeks to NOT put any weight on the leg. The new normal had taken over. It was like suddenly trying to stick your finger in a light socket even though every fiber of your being knows that is a really bad idea.
For now I'm working on shifting my weight back and forth between legs, stepping one step to the left, right, back and forward onto my booted leg and practicing stepping up and down the stairs. Up and down the stairs is the scariest move of all right now but every time I do it successfully I feel better about it. I'm also doing point/flex types of stretches with my foot out of the boot. It all feels wonderful and scary and it's all really hard work. I'm supposed to walk back into the doctor's office in 6 weeks on my two legs with no cane or boot or assistance. I'm up for this challenge.
Oh, and by the way. I was given an award for the "Best Patient & Healer of 2018". How cool is that? It comes from my husband's newly created Academy of Relatives of Nurses. Note that it was issued by Aluminum (Al) Walker.