Thursday, September 17, 2015

How's the Leg?

Me on a ladder, picking bagworms from our pine trees - something (standing on a ladder) that was impossible just a few months ago


How is my leg?  So glad you asked.

I'm walking, that's the most important thing.  

I'M WALKING!!

But I do have limitations.  Like right now as I'm sitting at this computer typing this blog post.  My left leg is numbing up.  I cannot sit for more than ten minutes without my leg swelling up.

My leg is the best when it is elevated.  When I get up in the morning after a full night's sleep in my bed, my leg is normal.  There is no swelling, no thickening of my ankle.

My orthopedist told me that my leg would never be the same but "almost" the same.  I guess that was to be expected since I severed my quadricep muscles on my left leg when I slipped and fell on the icy cobblestones that bitter five degree cold night as I left work February 17th of this year.

I never expected my leg to be the same.  Way back in 1962 I fell and dislocated my knee on my other (right) leg while I was in the Army.  I wore a hip to ankle cast for six weeks to give my leg a chance to heal.  That leg was never the same.  "Almost" but not quite.  For instance, I can't run.  Walk fast, yes.  But not run.  This leg injury is more serious. 
When I dislocated my knee I just stretched my ligaments.  This last fall I completely severed the quadricep muscle. I had to have surgery (twenty-five staples) to reattach the quadricep muscle so the bottom half of my left leg would work again.  

Recovery was twelve weeks long, including a month and a half of three times a week physical therapy.  And I am walking now for which I will be forever grateful.  Just as I will be forever grateful that Bill was here to help me through this, one of the most difficult periods of my life.

My real test though was a few weeks ago when I took my annual vacation to visit my friend Pat at his home in Toronto.  On the way we stopped by Niagara Falls for a day's stay.  And we did a LOT of walking.  It was then I found my limitations.  I can't walk like I used too.  

Walking was always the one thing that I had.  My life has been walking.  I didn't grow up with the privilege of having my parents present me with a car on my sixteenth birthday.  No such privilege for me (just as not having a college education supplied for me).  Whoops!  Am I whining again? I guess so but after all these years I still haven't reconciled to those facts and probably never will.  But not having a car, especially during my high school years, meant that I walked a lot and I mean A LOT.  And all those years I lived in center city Philadelphia (eleven), I walked to work every day.  Sun, rain, cold, heat . . . . I walked often passing my co-worker and friend Don McK. standing not eh corner waiting for his bus to take him to the same location, the bank where we both worked next to the Philadelphia City Hall.

So I had to drag myself around walking with Pat as we tried to cover all the tourist enticements in Niagara Falls.  I was so embarrassed that I couldn't keep up, me The Walker.  But Pat said not to worry.

These days, I go out every morning before breakfast and take my walk, probably less than a mile.  I hope to build up my endurance and get back to back to my previous walking abilities.  I don't know if I'll ever get there but what I do know is that I am walking now. And for that I will be forever grateful.


Just don't fall of the ladder Ron!


13 comments:

  1. People might be forgiven for thinking that you look like a nosy perv spying on the neighbours, hoping to get a view of them in delicto flagrante. All you need is a pair of binoculars!
    Btw: Of course I'm happy to hear about the speed and extent of your recovery, even if it is just a bit less than ideal.

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    1. Oh no Ray, over the top of those trees I was peering over, is our own property. Those tree border our property. And yes, I am so happy that I can walk again even though it isn't like I could before. Hopefully, overtime I will regain my former walking ability.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    Having to walk places may have been one of the blessings of your life. You learned to enjoy something with a lot of health benefit. We did a lot of walking together as kids and neither of us ever stopped feet as transportation. I use to walk to work in Philly when I lived in University City and I walked up to Temple a lot when I attended there. I still walk a lot of places that others drive to as well as my 5-mile morning jaunts. As to college, I wasn't handed that either and I went by working days and going nights. I think college is over rated and over hyped, though.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      You're so right, walking is one of the treasures we've had all our life. I never stopped appreciating my ability to walk to wherever I wanted to go. Thus it is so strange now that my walking is limited because of my leg injury recovery. Hopefully, over time I will regain my previous walking ability. And you are also right about college being overrated. It is, I've always known that. All those college students who major in political science. What's that? A career path? Or just an excuse to go to college and party it up? The latter I suspect. I think we did pretty good in life without college, don't you?
      Ron

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  3. Ron, I'm ecstatic that you're walking, I'm delighted that you're climbing - - but I'm scared shitless that you'll fall off that ladder!!! To hell with the bagworms. They're not worth the risk. BE CAREFUL!

    Do I sound like a nagging old fuddydud? I'm just a very concerned friend.

    Ironically, I've discovered that it is impossible to use a ladder here in the mountains. I've tried numerous times, but the ground is so unlevel that it always topples over.

    SpellCheck assures me that I spelled "unlevel" wrong.
    A pox on SpellCheck.

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    1. Jon,
      One thing about living in southern Delaware, the land is TOTALLY flat. Bill hates it. When we lived in Pennsylvania, we lived not he side of a hill. The only flat part of the land was right around the house. Everything else, you walked on a slope. I hated it. I felt like I was walking lopsided.
      Thanks for your concern of me on the ladder. I didn't feel too secure on that ladder anyway so I won't be going back up anytime soon. When I was in Toronto recently, Pat climbed a tree. No way would I climb a tree. I am taking no more chances on injuring my leg. I never want to go through the helplessness and dependency I had when I was out of commission.
      By the way, how is your back now? Still recovering from your fall on the ice?
      Ron

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  4. Getting out and moving is so wonderful. Keep moving, don't let yourself be shut up inside. With my adventures this year, my attitude changed, even if it is on electric mobility cart, I will be out an moving as long as I can.

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    1. David,
      For over a month I was confined in our house. I felt like I was suffocating. Even though I had to use my walker, I went out anyway. I just had to get out. Everyday, I have to get out. Like you, I will be out moving as long as I can. When I can no longer move about, I'm finished. Life is over for me.
      Ron

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  5. I think you are coming along quite well. Just don't overdo. I am still building up my walking abilities since I got new knees.

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    1. Jono,
      I did overdo on my recent vacation in Canada, especially that first day in Niagara Falls where we walked every where. These days, I take a shot morning walk in the morning to gradually build up my strength and extend that quadricep muscle that was reattached My doctor told me it would take me "at least a year" for total recovery. I'm impatient but I will take it gradually.
      Ron

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  6. Ron

    You are a great walker. And we did overdo it a couple of times. But trust me - you don't slow anyone down. The last posting you put on your Toronto visit shows a half out of the grave Pat who obviously couldn't keep up with Ron. Health is a wonderful thing to be grateful for. And if we have to slow down a bit from time to time to keep enjoying it - so be it.

    Pat

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  7. This is good news indeed.
    Be careful now - Mr. Shaw would have lived to 100 if he hadn't been climbing ladders into trees - he did so in his 90s, fell and that was that.

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    1. Rest assured I am being very careful with my leg. Never again do I want to be in that helpless position.

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