This was me yesterday, doing the traffic on two feet for the first time since the middle of November.
Okay, one foot and one boot, but let’s not split hairs. It’s progress! Progress that I’ve been waiting a long time for — to stand up straight without the help of a crutch, a husband, or a scooter. I’m trying to celebrate the small steps towards recovery (no pun intended) but I’m also a bit overwhelmed thinking about the long road I still have ahead of me.
I don’t just have to re-learn how to actually walk, I also have to re-learn how not to be scared to walk. I had been walking in fear for so long — at how bad the pain would be each time I took a step — that I now need to learn that it’s not going to hurt. That I’m not going do something to hurt myself. That I can and should just… walk.
It’s just another test in a series of tests I’ve faced these past few months. I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I’ve also noticed something — that we only talk publicly about the good days. All you see on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the celebratory moments. Like the day I came back to work on my scooter and felt so triumphant after doing my first traffic report kneeling on the upside down trash can. Or when I found a comfy enough spot on my brother’s couch when we were celebrating Chanukkah to take a cute shot of me and Brian’s ugly Eagles sweaters.
But the road to recovery isn’t just shaped by the moments of progress. I want to remember and document the trying times too, because I think it’ll make me appreciate the joyous moments even more so.
When the doctor told me he could fix me and that I would once again, one day, walk again without pain: I cried. I was relieved.
When the nurses got me all prepped and ready for surgery and I sat there waiting to be called in: I cried. I was nervous.
When I woke up on my couch the morning after surgery and realized the anesthesia had worn off: I cried. I was in pain.
When Brian pushed me to the bathroom on a swivel desk chair for what felt like the hundredth time: I cried. I was helpless.
When I left the house for the first time to go for my follow-up appointment with the doctor, and I realized I didn’t have enough strength to use crutches: I cried. I was exhausted.
When I fell getting out of the shower, landed straddling the lip of the bathtub, and Brian had to help me up: I cried. I was humiliated.
When I walked around our apartment yesterday for the first time since November, I felt like a scared, clumsy baby calf learning to walk for the first time. I crashed on the couch after and curled up in a ball. Brian snuggled up behind me and gave me a speech about how far I’ve come and how much better off I’ll be after the foot heals. I cried. I was grateful; I am loved.