It has been quite a while since I last wrote an update for you all, and as you will see, this may well be my last update. If this is destined to be my last update here, please feel free to check out my regular website, which includes my regular blog.
In the time since I last wrote I have progressed from the walking with a stick to not needing any assistive devices aside from the brace, and this includes no stick even when barefoot at home. Alongside that Dr. Koop had a few weeks ago said I should stop wearing the brace at night, and that we could make the brace more flexible (and since I have done those two things). Both of those have made the last few weeks far more “normal”. I found that I sleep better without the brace on, and am no longer half-tripping when standing up with the brace more flexible. All in all those two improvements transitioned my life to a more usual set of patterns.
This past week was even more significant in many ways. At my PT appointment (which are now just every other week) I was given the go-ahead to cease using a bench in the shower, along with the help in part of a nonslip mat. This has meant that the last few days my showering has gone back to completely independent, since all that was left I needed help with was the bench anyway. This has made my daily life get back very close to “normal” in many ways. Today, with the aid of a backpack-like laundry carrier, I did my own laundry, which frankly was the only other bit of regular life that had still been upended by recovery from surgery.
I also had a virtual visit with Dr. Koop earlier this week, at which he looked at x-rays that were taken the day before after PT. Those showed that the bone healing is moving along nicely, which is to be expected given my near entire lack of pain (only have minimal pain sometimes, and really that may just be stretching in the brace anyway). He was impressed with my near-daily walks that average around 2 miles each (though, for PT’s sake the walks can now be every other day, and as it gets warmer heat may be a weather permitting question as to if I go for a walk at all or not). He told me that from here on out wearing the brace is really a matter of stability and comfort, not as an aid to bone healing. As such, with his blessing, I’ve already begun the process of slowly diminishing how much I wear the brace while at home, since my pre-surgery normal was simply not wearing it around the house. For now, that means taking it off after dinner and leaving it off until just before breakfast the next morning, including using stairs in both directions barefoot. Eventually, with the advice also of my PT, I expect to go even more of the day without the brace. Dr. Koop said he’ll see me back in September, when the final post-operative x-rays would be taken.
But, now that I’m officially allowed to wear the brace less, and am walking very close to my pre-surgery normal with or without the brace (just have some gait issues with regard to even my steps out between feet to deal with), I functionally feel about 95% recovered. Yes there are still a number of exercises and stretches to do as PT each day, as well as those appointments themselves, and the bones will still be healing for the next few months, but other than that every part of my life is back to “normal”. You see, that is why this may be the last time I write here, and why I haven’t written here in so long, because I’m so close to feeling fully recovered that in many ways the recovery is far from the top of my mind or daily activity anymore.
You may have noticed that I’ve put “normal” in quotes where I did use it, and used other words to get to the same meaning as well. This gets us to the wording of the title of this post too. Maybe I am physically, as well as in most of my day to day life, getting back to my pre-surgery expectations and actions. But that is about where such “normal” ends. We’re still deep in the midst of the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that went and upended all of our global human civilization in the midst of my recovery. So, not much beyond me nothing will be “normal” for a while, and maybe not ever (the “new normal” as some call it, but really, the world is just in a state of constant flux right now). Even I am experiencing this fully now, and believe that it is part of why I find it hard to think I am as recovered as I am, because so much of everything else is different around me.
But, closer to home, just about 6 miles from where I live, across the river, George Floyd was killed. So though few businesses directly near me were affected by the looting and property destruction (though the gas station across the street to our north was set on fire) I very much do live at the center out of which all the unrest across the nation, and protests worldwide, spread from. That completely overtook the pandemic for about 1.5 to 2 weeks in my ability to think about the world, and also made it hard to focus on what was going on as a result of George Floyd’s death in other places. News of the pandemic nearly disappeared from my awareness as the Blackhawk helicopters were flying overhead during our nightly curfews for so long. So that is very much another aspect of broader society were I am that has changed our course away from “normal”. I mean, I really do yearn for the time when my surgery was the most significant thing in 2020, but we are far from that time. At this point, the surgery will be a footnote even in my history of this year as we grapple with everything around us that is changing our lives forever.
However, even that isn’t all that makes my life right now have just a semblance of normalcy. With my recovery from surgery nearly complete (at least in the day to day of things), other forces take hold again, as do other medical needs (dental work on Monday morning, eye appointment hopefully in a few weeks). So as my physical health, with my right foot at least, begins to level off, other crap, including that which is around constantly, peeks out again. Though maybe those things are my regular too, making just the societal mayhem feed the machine of unknowns. But, as the recovery diminishes the unknowns and sense of living in a not-normal time will very much remain.
Anyhow, very much onward with the fine line I’m walking along right now between recovering from surgery, and feeling recovered from surgery, as well as between being present to those who want my presence and not feeling able to give that. All we can do for the moment is hang on to what we have, and hope for the best we want.